The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for the voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma. May of 1838 marked the deadline for voluntary native removal, many people agreed to move, however many refused. The military was prepared to use force and did so under the command of General Winfield Scott. General Scott ordered the round-up and removal of over 17,000 Cherokees who refused to leave. So began the Cherokee "Trail of Tears," one of the darkest episodes in relations between the United States and Native Americans.
The process was swift and brutal. Detachments of soldiers arrived at every Cherokee house and drove men, women, and children out of their homes with only the clothes on their backs. They were forced into encampments while awaiting removal. The first group was taken by boat across Alabama after leaving Ross’s landing. Great hardship and death became part of their journey Food and supplies were limited and disease was rampant. In June of 1838, the rivers were to low for travel. The last group was sent by land to Waterloo, where they reloaded and continued. Because of so much hardship, all remaining were carried on different routes. As many as 4,000 deaths occurred because of this forced removal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes.
The Creeks were from Alabama and Georgia. They gave up millions of acres of land and homes. Many were put into chains and taken to Oklahoma. Over 14,000 were removed, with over 3,500 dieing. They traveled thru the Tuscumbia area and camped near Spring Park.
The Chickasaw were people from Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. They also suffered the same indignation.
The Choctaw were from Alabama and Mississippi. Over 14,000 were sent to Oklahoma, however approx. 5,000 remained in Mississippi and lower Alabama.
During the Seminole removal from Florida, a group split and entered into the swamps. There they fought the U. S. for 7 years, and were never conquered.
Join us as we honor those from the past who traveled this Trail of Tears. Let us learn from this mistake, accept each other as we are, and walk together in peace.
History of the Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride
In the early 1990's research began of Native American history surrounding the Tri-state area. Learning that the Trail of Tears removal had used a route passing along present-day Hwy. 72. conversation began with Bill Cason of Whitwell, Tennessee about what could be done to bring public awareness to this event. It was felt that this route should be officially recognized and marked. Conversation after conversation took place. One day Bill Cason, a Harley-rider, suggested that the best way to he knew to get people's attention was to have a bike ride.
Thus began plans for the 1st Annual Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride. On October 8, 1994, eight motorcycles began the ride at Ross's Landing. By ride's end the number had increased to approximately 100. By 2001, the 8th Annual Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride began with 40,000 motorcycles and ended with a reported 90,000 motorcycles pulling into the ride’s end – making this event the largest organized motorcycle ride in history.