Timeline of Cherokee removal

Timeline of Cherokee removal

A timeline of events leading up to and extending away from the Treaty of New Echota from the time of first contact to the treaty of reunion after the American Civil War.

1540 – Members of DeSoto’s party become the first Europeans to encounter the Cherokee, at the town of Joara.

1567 – On a lengthy journey into the interior from Santa Elena, then the planned capital of Spanish Florida, Pardo establishes the Presidio of San Juan next to the Cherokee town of Joara. On later journeys, he encounters the Cherokee at Nikwasi, Tocoa, Kituwa, Itsati, and other towns on several occasions.

1634 – The Cherokee first encounter English colonists from the Colony of Virginia.

1654 – English from Jamestown supported by a force of Pamunkey attack the Rickahokan (possibly Cherokee) village of 600-700 warriors in the vicinity of the later Richmond, Virginia and are soundly defeated.

1711-1715 - The Tuscarora War.

1715-1717 - The Yamasee War.

1721 – The first reported band of Cherokee emigres cross the Mississippi River after a treaty with the Province of South Carolina ceding land between the Santee, Saluda, and Edisto Rivers, reportedly led by a warrior named Dangerous Man. One group of this band is supposed to have made it to the Rocky Mountains and survived into the 19th century. It was in pursuit of this band that Sequoyah later left Indian Territory and disappeared into Mexico.

1754-1763 - The French and Indian War.

1755 – Treaty with South Carolina ceding land between the Wateree and Santee Rivers.

1758-1761 - The Anglo-Cherokee War.

1768 – Treaty of Hard Labour with the British Indian Superintendent ceding land in southwestern Virginia.

1770Treaty of Lochaber with the British Indian Superintendent ceding land in the later states of Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

1772 – Treaty with Virginia ceding land in Virginia and eastern Kentucky; Watauga Lease.

1773-1774 - Dunmore's War.

1775 – Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with the Transylvania Company; Watauga Purchase; a group of Cherokee defeats Spanish miners in the Mine La Motte area of Missouri.

1775-1783 - The American Revolution. In the early years, the Cherokee in all sections (the Out, Middle, and Valley Towns in North Carolina, the Lower Towns in South Carolina and Georgia, and the Overhill Towns in Tennessee) support the British against their colonies until the treaties two years later.

1777 – Treaty of DeWitts’ Corner with South Carolina and Georgia ceding the lands of the Lower Towns, and the Treaty of Fort Henry with Virginia and North Carolina, confirming the Watauga concessions. As a result, Cherokee of the Lower Towns migrate westward into North Georgia, while Dragging Canoe removes westward leading a large group of like-minded Cherokee, mostly from the Overhill Towns, to what is now the Chattanooga area in Southeast Tennessee and begin the Chickamauga wars.

1782 – A group of Cherokee under Kunnetue receives permission to emigrate west of the Mississippi from the governor of Spanish Louisiana.

1782 – Dragging Canoe leads his people further westward and southwestward into what becomes known as the Five Lower Towns area, eventually penetrating Northeast Alabama as more Cherokee refugees migrate to the area.

28 November 1785 - Treaty of Hopewell.

22 February 1791 - Treaty of Holston.

1 March 1792 - Dragging Canoe dies at Lookout Mountain Town (now Trenton, Georgia), and is buried at Running Water Town (now Whiteside, Tennessee). He is succeeded as leader of the "Chickamauga", or "Lower", Cherokee by John Watts.

25 September 1793 - On the way to attack White's Fort (now Knoxville, Tennessee), a combined force of over one thousand Cherokee and Muskogee warriors under John Watts attacks a small fortified homestead called Cavett's Station. After Watts negotiates a surrender, another Cherokee chieftain, Doublehead attacks and kills the family in violation of the terms despite the attempts of Watts and James Vann to prevent it. the incident causes the break-up of the invasion force and leads to a bitter rivalry between Vann and Doublehead that causes a rift in the Nation which lasts long past their deaths.

26 June 1794 - Treaty of Philadelphia, primarily a peace treaty with those Cherokee following John Watts.

1794 – The Bowl leads a party of Cherokee west just after the peace treaty between the U.S. government and the party of John Watts. Little Turkey, chief of the Upper Towns which now spread from the Little Tennessee River down into North Georgia, is recognized as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, though the Hill and the Valley Towns in North Carolina remain largely isolated and the two most populous groups, the Upper Towns (who favored acculturation and remaining in the East) and the Lower Towns (who favored maintaining the old customs and emigrating to the West), remain estranged from each other with each having their own regional council.

2 October 1798 - Treaty of Tellico affirming boundaries marked under previous treaty.

Spring 1801 - The Moravian Brethren establish Spring Place Mission on land given them by James Vann from his Diamond Hill plantation, the most important feature of which is a school.

1802 – In exchange for the State of Georgia surrendering to the federal government its claims to its western lands, President Thomas Jefferson agrees to extinguish the titles of the Muskogee and the Cherokee to their lands within its borders.

1803 – Little Turkey dies, and former Dragging Canoe warrior Black Fox is chosen to succeed him as principal chief.

30 April 1803 – The United States of America purchases from Napoleon I of France the Louisiana Territory for the ultimate amount of $23,213,568.

24 October 1804 - Treaty of Tellico for land cession.

25 October 1805 - Treaty of Tellico for more land cession, including for the Federal Road.

27 October 1805 - Treaty of Tellico ceding land for the Tennessee state assembly to meet upon.

7 January 1806 - Treaty of Washington ceding land.

August 1807 – Doublehead, Speaker of the Cherokee National Assembly, and one of those chiefly responsible for engaging in secret land deals for personal profit, is assassinated in a tavern at Walker’s Ferry near the Cherokee Agency (now Calhoun, Tennessee) by The Ridge and Alexander Saunders. James Vann, Doublehead's archrival, is originally designated the main assassin but is too inebriated to function when the time comes.

1808 – Because of their attempt to make a secret deal for their own profit with U.S. Commissioner Return J. Meigs, Black Fox and his assistant principal chief, The Glass, are deposed from office at a council in Hiwassee Old Town, with Black Fox being replaced by a fellow former Dragging Canoe warrior Pathkiller.

11 September 1808 - The National Council, meeting at Broomtown, authorizes the formation of a lighthorse patrol of regulators to prevent squatting by whites, robbery, horse-stealing, and cattle-rustling; The Ridge is made head of the whole force.

1809 – A large group of Cherokee under Ataluntiski, Doublehead’s brother, emigrates to lands in what is now Arkansas, where he becomes the first chief of the Cherokee Nation, West. Later in the year, Meigs sends John Ross to these Cherokee as his deputy.

19 February 1809 - James Vann, leader of the anti-treaty faction in the Nation, mentor to younger Cherokee Charles R. Hicks and The Ridge, and richest man in the Nation (east of the Mississippi River, in fact), is killed by a single shot while drinking at Buffington's Tavern, on the Federal Road northwest of Frogtown. Due to numerous persons having witnesed or been the victims of Vann's carpricious fits of temper and drunken rages, possible suspects are nearly infinite.

September 1809 – Black Fox and The Glass are returned to their former positions with the ending of the division between the Upper and Lower towns, with the understanding that henceforth all councils will be truly national and that no land belonging to the Nation will be traded or sold without the approval of the council.

1810 – A party under John Bowl (aka Duwali), son of The Bowl, and Tsulawi leaves for the West.

1811 – The “Cherokee Ghost Dance” movement influenced by Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa and led by the former Dragging Canoe warrior Tsali of Coosawatie, later of western North Carolina, begins.

1811 - Tecumseh's War.

1811 - Black Fox dies and is succeeded as principal chief by Pathkiller, with Charles R. Hicks as assistant principal chief.

1813-1814 – The Creek War, in which the Cherokee participate as part of Andrew Jackson's army, but only after being requested to do so by the Lower Muskogee when the latter beomce threatened by the Red Sticks.

1815 - John Ross opens a trading post on the Tennessee River that becomes known as Ross' Landing, with Timothy Meigs, brother of Return J. Meigs, as his partner.

22 March 1816 - Treaty of Washington ceding last remaining territory in South Carolina to the state.

14 September 1816 - Treaty of Chickasaw Council House, ceding more land.

1817-1818 – The First Seminole War takes place, with a troop of Cherokee cavalry attached to the 1400-man force of Lower Muskogee warriors under William McIntosh accompanying Jackson’s army.
1817 – The Cherokee-Osage War begins in Arkansas Territory.

February 1817 - The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions establishes Brainerd Mission across the river from the town of Chickamauga on land given to them by John McDonald, former British agent to the Cherokee, which once the site of his trading post. Like the Moravian mission at Spring Place, the mission's most important feature is its school.

8 July 1817 - Treaty of the Cherokee Agency recognizing the division between the Upper Towns and the Lower Towns, providing benefits for those who chose to emigrate west and 640-acre reservations for those who don't with the possibility of citizenship.

Spring 1818 – The Battle of Claremore Mound takes place in Arkansas Territory when a force of Cherokee with Shawnee and Delaware allies attacks the Osage villages of Pasona and Pasuga in retaliation for a number of raids by the Osage against farms and for horse-stealing.

1818 – John Jolly, who had adopted Sam Houston and who had previously succeeded his brother Ataluntiski as headman of Cayuga (on Hiwassee, or Jolly’s, Island) upon the latter’s emigration to the west, himself emigrates to the west bringing the remaining residents of Cayuga with him.

1819 – Two parties, one under The Bowl and another under Richard Fields, emigrate to Texas, then part of Spanish Mexico, settling nearby each other.

27 February 1819 - Treaty of Washington, largely reaffirming immediately previous treaty.

March 1819 - After the treaty in Washington City this year, mostly reaffirming earlier treaties but also guaranteeing individual reservations to certain prominent Cherokee, John Walker, Jr., storms into the room of John Ross, protege of Major Ridge (as The Ridge has been known since the Creek War), and attempts to knife him.

1820 – Ataluntiski dies and is succeeded as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, West, by his brother, John Jolly.

1823 – George Guess, better known as Sequoyah, a distant relative of the Ridge and Watie families, emigrates to the Cherokee Nation, West.

Winter 1823 – The last battle between the Cherokee and the Osage takes place, after which both nations agree to an end to hostilities.

1824 – Whitepath of Turniptown (near Ellijay), influenced by the teachings of the Seneca prophet Handsome Lake, leads a protest movement of traditionalists against acculturation and the changes in the structure of tribal government which forms its own council under Big Tiger. The schism last for four years.

1825 – Census figures for the Cherokee Nation, East, show 13,563 Cherokee natives, 1277 slaves, and 220 intermarried whites within the eastern nation.

1826 – Whitepath is removed from the Cherokee National Council, but is reinstated two years later when the schism collapses.

December 1827 – Pathkiller dies and is succeeded as principal chief by his assistant, Charles R. Hicks for what is left of his term.

January 1827 – Charles Hicks dies a mere two weeks after Pathkiller, and government of the Cherokee Nation falls on Major Ridge, as speaker of the National Council, and John Ross, as president of the National Committee.

26 July 1827 – The Cherokee Nation, East, adopts a constitution detailing a three-branch government with a bicameral legislature and eight legislative-judicial districts.

Fall 1827 – The Council chooses William Hicks to serve out the remainder of Pathkiller’s term.

1828Gold is discovered near Dahlonega on Ward’s Creek, a tributary of the Chestatee River, within the Cherokee Nation, East.
21 February 1828Elias Boudinot begins publication of the Cherokee Phoenix at New Echota.

6 May 1828 – Treaty of Washington in which the Cherokee Nation, West, cedes its lands in Arkansas Territory for lands in what becomes Indian Territory, though many remain for some time.

October 1828 – Elections are held under the new constitution of the Cherokee Nation, East, with John Ross being elected principal chief and George Lowery assistant principal chief; Major Ridge is appointed Ross’ chief counselor.

1828 – A delegation from the Cherokee Nation, West, including Sequoyah, travels to Washington City where they are pressured into signing a treaty giving up their lands in Arkansas Territory for lands in Indian Territory that are essentially what becomes the Cherokee Nation after the Removal.

4 March 1829Andrew Jackson becomes President of the United States of America.

19 December 1829 – The State of Georgia passes an act appropriating the lands of the Cherokee Nation within the territorial limits claimed by Georgia and extending the laws of that state to all persons living within its boundaries. The State of Alabama does likewise. The Georgia act in addition stipulates that all laws of the Cherokee Nation are null and void, prohibits the election of any officers, and declares that no Cherokee can testify in court against any white person.

1830 – During this year 561 Cherokee emigrate of their own accord to the western lands.

4 January 1830 – A party of thirty warriors under Major Ridge expels several families of white squatters who’d taken over the farmsteads of Cherokee emigres to the west in a detached section of Cherokee land inside South Georgia.

3 June 1830 – Governor Gilmer declares the Georgia legislative act of the previous December to be in effect and that all Cherokee lands, including the gold mines there, are now the property of the State of Georgia.

28 May 1830 – Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, aimed at the “Five Civilized Tribes”.

October 1830 – The Cherokee Nation holds its National Council meeting at New Echota, the last time it is held there. John Ridge becomes president of the National Committee, Going Snake becomes speaker of the Council, and Alexander McCoy, who’d earlier been deposed for considering emigration, its clerk. Ridge, William Shorey Coody (John Ross’ nephew), and Richard Taylor are chosen to lead a delegation to Washington to protest the harassment of the Nation.

January 1831-December 1832 – 907 Cherokee emigrate to the western lands in those two years. Most of these were in two parties, 347 in one and 422 in the other (including 127 slaves).

Early 1931 – The State of Georgia passes a law requiring whites living within the Cherokee Nation to take a loyalty oath and to obtain permission from the State in order to continue living inside the Nation. The law is aimed at missionaries, particularly those at Brainerd Mission near Chickamauga town.

24 February 1831 – Members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw are granted citizenship of the United States of America in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, which also cedes the land of the Choctaw Nation to the government of the USA.

12 March 1831Samuel Worcester and several others at Etowah Mission, a satellite of Brainerd, are arrested by a party of 25 Georgia Guard.

7 July 1831 – Worcester is arrested again along with two others. The following day nine other whites are arrested.

15 September 1831 – The trial of the eleven takes place in Lawrenceville, Georgia, with the jury finding the men guilty and the judge sentencing each to four years hard labor. Upon their arrival at the prison in Milledgeville, Gov. Gilmer offers to pardon them if they take the loyalty oath and leave the state. All but two, Drs. Worcester and Butler, agree to do so.

30 November 1831 – An attempt is made on the lives of John Ross and his brother Andrew by a white advocate of Cherokee Removal.

December 1831 – A delegation from the Cherokee Nation, East, composed of John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, James Martin, and William Shorey Coody arrives in Washington City to present Cherokee grievances against the State of Georgia.

3 March 1832 – In the case of Worcester v. Georgia, Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court declares the recent laws of the State of Georgia null and void and that the Cherokee Nation, East has the right to protection of the federal government from harassments by the states, and orders the release of Worcester and Butler.

24 March 1832Treaty of Cusseta between the Muskogee Nation and the United States of America, offering equal lands for those choosing to emigrate to Indian Territory and individual ownership of current lands with submission to Alabama state laws. After violence breaks out stemming from speculators defrauding Muskogee out of their land, the federal government sends General Winfield Scott to forcibly remove them.

Early 1832 – After a meeting with President Jackson who bluntly informs him that the United States will take no measures to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling in the "Worcester v. Georgia" case and that the Cherokee should prepare themselves for to go west, John Ridge reverses his stand against removal. Later, the other membes of the delegation come to a like decision.

16 April 1832Secretary of War Lewis Cass meets with the Cherokee delegation and offers them extensive lands in Indian Territory, sovereignty over their affairs after removing there, an annuity of equal value to their cession, payment for “improvements” to their ceded lands, support for schools and industries, and various other inducements in return for the cession of their lands in the East.

9 May 1832Treaty of Payne's Landing with a small faction of Seminole who favor removal. It is not ratified by the U.S. Senate for another two years.

23 July 1832 – The Cherokee National Council, meeting for the first time at Red Clay, passes a resolution not to hold elections as mandated by their constitution and to allow the same officers to continue, including John Ross as Principal Chief; after this all officials in the Cherokee Nation are unelected. Elias Boudinot resigns as editor of "The Cherokee Phoenix" after Ross refuses to allow him to publish the report of the recent delegation to Washington favoring removal; he is ultimately replaced by Elijah Hicks, one of Ross’ brothers-in-law.

This council marks the beginning of the sharp division between what are later called the Treaty Party and the National Party. Leading treaty advocates at this time include John Ridge, Major Ridge, Boudinot, David Watie, Stand Watie, Coody, William Hicks, Andrew Ross, John Walker Jr., John Fields, John Gunter, David Vann, Charles Vann, Alexander McCoy, W.A. Davis, James A. Bell, Samuel Bell, John West, Ezekial West, Archilla Smith, and James Starr, among others.

20 October 1832 – Treaty of Pontotoc between the Chickasaw Nation and the United States of America ceding their lands east of the Mississippi River for financial compensation and equal lands in Indian Territory.

22 October 1832 – The Georgia Land Lottery for the lands seized from the Cherokee in Georgia begins.

14 January 1833 – Worcester and Butler are finally released from prison.

February 1833 – President Jackson offers John Ross $3 million dollars and equivalent land in the west for those of the Cherokee Nation, East; Ross refuses.

14 February 1833 - Treaty of Fort Gibson correcting conflicts between land guarantees to the Cherokee and land guarantees to the Muskogee.

Sometime in 1833 – Tatsi, aka Captain Dutch, leads a party of Old Settlers from the north to join the Texas Cherokee in what is then the Republic of Mexico, and among them is Sam Houston, adopted son of John Jolly.

November 1933 – The Cherokee who have enrolled for emigration, including most of the Treaty Party, meet at the Cherokee Agency at Calhoun, Tennessee, where they elect William Hicks as principal chief of their faction and John McIntosh as his assistant. They send a delegation to Washington City to represent their interests which includes Andrew Ross.

13 March 1834 – An emigration party under Lt. Joseph Harris departs from the Cherokee Agency. Through later accessions, it eventually numbers 903.

Spring 1834 – John Ross proposes to Secretary Cass that the Nation be allowed to remain in the East on a small part of their land, subject to the laws of the respective states in which they live, and eventually assimilate into American society. His brother Andrew, on the other hand, signs a removal treaty that even the other removal advocates boycott. Major Ridge takes the middle way, condemning both extremes, citing, in the case of John Ross, the extreme destitution and dissolution of the Catawba who had followed that course.

16 May 1834 – Harris’ party arrives at the Cherokee Nation, West. Deaths en route number 120 due to a tyhpus epidemic.

19 June 1834 – The U.S. concludes a treaty with the party of Andrew Ross, brother of John Ross, over the objections of both the Ross party and the Ridge party, and is rejected by both the U.S. Senate and the Cherokee National Council.

24 June 1834 – John Walker, Jr., one of the leading advocates of Removal, is assassinated by James Foreman and his half-brother Anderson Springston on the road from Spring Place while returning home from a meeting of the National Council.

August 1834 – Elijah Hicks present to the National Council a petition charging Major Ridge, John Ridge, and David Vann with treason and calling for their impeachment and removal from office. The three are never tried, nor are the charges ever dropped.

27 November 1834 – The Treaty Party holds its own council at Running Waters, the plantation of John Ridge nor far from Oothcaloga (now Calhoun, Georgia).

The 1835 Census of the Cherokee Nation, East (not including the Oconaluftee Cherokee under Yonaguska in Haywood County, North Carolina, who are considered citizens of that state) showed -- Georgia: 8946 "Indians", 776 slaves, 68 whites; North Carolina: 3644 "Indians", 37 slaves, 22 whites; Tennessee: 2528 "Indians", 480 slaves, 79 whites; and Alabama: 1424 "Indians", 299 slaves, 32 whites. This made a total of 16,542 "Indians", 1592 slaves, and 201 whites living in the Cherokee Nation, East, for a gand total of 18,335 persons overall. This total includes 376 Muskogee living the Cherokee Nation, East, since the Creek War. The estimated number of Cherokee in the West is about 5000.

14 March 1835 – U.S. envoy John F. Schermerhorn offers the Ridge delegation $3,250,000 for the lands of the Cherokee Nation, East. The Ross delegation counters with a demand for $20,000,000, and when that offer is rejected outright, promises to accept an amount set by the U.S. Senate. The Senate almost immediately offers $5,000,000, but the Ross delegation reneges on their promise. Schermerhorn eventually concludes a preliminary treaty with the Ridge delegation offering $4,500,000 for the Cherokee lands in the East plus other financial considerations.

18 July 1835 – Hundreds of Cherokee, not from just the Treaty Party but also from the National Party (including John Ross), converge on John Ridge’s plantation named Running Waters to meet with Shermerhorn, Return J. Meigs, Jr., and other officials representing the United States government. After the conclusion of the conclave, members of the National Party murder members of the Treaty Party at a rate of at least one a week.

24 August 1835 - John Ridge holds a Green Corn Dance at the council grounds at his Running Waters plantation attended by hundreds, the primary purpose of the gathering being to build up support for a removal treaty. John Ross attempts to hold dances elsewhere to counter Ridge's, but the Georgia Guard disperses all of those.

October 1835 - The Cherokee Council rejects the offered treaty in October, but appoints twenty men, including not only John Ross, but treaty advocates John Ridge, Charles Vann, and Elias Boudinot (later replaced by Stand Watie), represent the Cherokee Nation for a removal treaty with the stipulation that it has to be for more than five million dollars. Schermerhorn, meanwhile, calls for a convention to negotiate a removal treaty at New Echota in the upcoming December.

2 October 1835 – The Texas Revolution begins.

7 November 1835 – The Georgia Guard invades what will later be Southeast Tennessee by crossing its own declared stateline on the way to Flint Springs in what is to become Bradley County to arrest John Ross at his house, where they also find and arrest John Howard Payne, taking both men to a make-shift jail at Spring Place. Ross is released nine days later, immediately heading to Washington City, but Payne is held an additional 3 ½ days.

1835-1842 - The Second Seminole War between the U.S. Army and the St. Augustine Militia versus the Seminoles under Osceola.

22 December 1835 – Some four hundred persons, exclusively from the Upper and Lower Towns areas with none from the Hill and Valley Towns in the west of North Carolina, converge on New Echota for Treaty negotiations with U.S. Commissioner Schermerhorn.

29 December 1835 – After a week of negotiations during which the price is brought up to five million dollars, to be disbursed on a per capita basis, an additional half-million dollars is given for educational funds, title in perpetuity to an equal amount of land in Indian Territory to that given up, and full compensation for all property left in the East, the Treaty of New Echota specifying terms and conditions for Cherokee removal to the west of the Mississippi river is signed by Major Ridge, James Foster, Testaesky, Charles Moore, George Chambers, Tahyeske, Archilla Smith, Andrew Ross, William Lassley, Caetehee, Tegaheske, Robert Rogers, John Gunter, John A. Bell, Charles Foreman, William Rogers, George W. Adair, James Starr, and Jesse Halfbreed. The committee reports the results to the full council (all person present) gathered at New Echota, which approves the treaty unanimously. After Shermerhorn returns to Washington City with the signed treaty, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot add their names. John Ross refuses to sign, returning to the Cherokee Nation, East, and implying to his supporters that he has worked out a deal with the government that if the Cherokee follow him, they will not have to remove.

February 1836 – The Treaty of New Echota is overwhelmingly rejected by the Cherokee National Council meeting at Red Clay.

2 March 1836 – The Republic of Texas declares it independence from Mexico as the Mexican army under President-General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna begins waging a war of retribution. Sam Houston, President of the Provisional Government, and later Republic, of Texas signs a treaty with the Texas Cherokee guaranteeing them their lands, but the treaty is rejected by the Texas Senate the next year.

18 May 1836 – The Treaty of New Echota is ratified in the United States Senate by just the single vote necessary for the required number.

23 May 1836 – President Jackson proclaims the Treaty of New Echota to the American people.

June 1836 – Federal troops under General John E. Wool, with support from East Tennessee volunteers under Brigadier General R. G. Dunlap, move into the Cherokee Nation to prevent disorder.

September 1836 – Dunlap disbands his brigade of volunteers and sends them home.

1 January 1837 – 600 members of the Treaty Party depart for the Cherokee Nation, West, paying their own way.

3 March 1837 – The first party removed at the expense of the U.S. government, composed of 466 person including the Ridge and Watie families, departs from Ross’ Landing (near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee) under Dr. John S. Young.

4 March 1837Martin Van Buren becomes President of the United States of America.

28 March 1837 – Dr. Young’s party arrives at Fort Smith, Arkansas, with most unloading and refusing to go further. A small number continues the next day to Ft. Coffee, Indian Territory.

1 July 1837 – General Wool is relieved from duty, with Colonel William Lindsey taking his place in command of the troops in the Cherokee Nation, East.

September 1837 – A delegation of Cherokee sent by John Ross travels to Florida at the invitation of the federal government to act as intermediaries between the Seminole and the government, the latter hoping the Cherokee will convince the Seminole to stop resisting removal. The Cherokee deputation--consisting of Hair Conrad, Jesse Bushyhead, Richard Fields, Thomas Woodward, and Pole Cat--employs stalling tactics and leaves convinced that the Seminole have chosen the correct course.

14 October 1837 – The second party voluntarily removed by the U.S. government, composed of 365 persons, leaves from the Cherokee Agency under B. B. Cannon.

27 December 1837 – Cannon’s party arrives in the Cherokee Nation, West, with 18 people having died along the way.

8 January 1838 – The War Department reports that 2103 Cherokee have departed for the west, 1258 having used their own resources.

8 May 1838 – Major General Winfield Scott arrives in Charleston to supervise the erection of forts for the troops and stockades for the internees throughout the Cherokee Nation. Forts in Tennessee: Fort Cass (Cherokee Agency), Fort Foster (halfway between Fort Cass and the current Cleveland, Tennessee), Camp Worth (Rattlesnake Springs), Camp Ross (Red Clay Council Ground), Fort Marr (southeast Bradley County), Fort Wood (east of Ross’ Landing), and Fort near Indian Springs. Forts in Georgia: Fort Hetzel (30 miles east of Spring Place), Fort Scudder (Frogtown Creek north of Dahlonega), Fort Talking Rock (near Jasper, Pickens Co.), Fort Gilmer (Coosawatie), Fort Buffington (near Canton), Fort Hoskins (Spring Place), Fort Wool (New Echota), Fort at Head of Coosa (now Rome, Georgia, Fort Means (halfway between New Echota and Cedartown), Fort at Cedartown, Fort Campbell (halfway between Dahlonega and Canton), Fort Newman (halfway between Ft. Gilmer and Ft. Campbell), and Fort Cumming (Lafayette). Forts in North Carolina: Fort Lindsay (Bryson City), Fort Scott (Aquone), Fort Montgomery (Robbinsville), Fort Hembrie (Hayesville), Fort Delaney (Valleytown), and Fort Butler (Murphy). Forts in Alabama: Fort Payne, Fort Turkeytown, Fort Lovell, Fort Likens, Fort Armstrong, (DeKalb Co.), and Fort Deposit (downstream from Gunter’s Landing).

10 May 1838 – General Scott issues a proclamation to the Cherokee Nation that troops are coming to round them up and enforce obedience to the Treaty of New Echota.

26 May 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of the Cherokee in Georgia, with most being crowded into Camp Cherokee at Ross’ Landing.

4 June 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of the Cherokee left in North Carolina, with most being taken to camps in Bradley County.

5 June 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of the Cherokee in Tennessee.

Concentration camps in Bradley County: Cherokee Agency, Rattlesnake Springs, South Mouse Creek No. 1, South Mouse Creek No. 2, Gunstocker Spring, Upper Chatata, Beeler Ridge, Chestua Creek, Camp Ross at Red Clay, Bedwell’s Springs, Wildwood Spring, Camp Hetzel (Cleveland), and Candy’s Creek. Concentration camps in Hamilton County: Camp Cherokee at Ross’ Landing and Camp Clanewaugh at Indian Springs.

6 June 1838 – First group of forced exiles, numbering about 800, departs from Ross’ Landing under Lieutenant Deas. The group takes on additional members at Brown’s Ferry, just downriver near the mouth of Lookout Creek.

12 June 1838 – Beginning of the round-up of Cherokee in Alabama, with detainees held at Fort Payne.

13 June 1838 – Second group of forced exiles, numbering about 875, departs from Ross’ Landing under Lieutenant R. H. K. Whitely.

17 June 1838 – Third group of forced exiles, numbering about 1070, departs from Ross’ Landing.

19 June 1838 – Lieutenant Deas’ party arrives at Fort Smith, where most emigrants disembark and refuse to get back on. Those who remain aboard disembark at Fort Coffee the following day.

19 June 1838 – General Scott grants the request from Ross and the National Council to suspend removal until better weather in the fall (the date suggested is 1 September). In spite of this, Capt. Drane refuses to halt his group, which has left just two days before. Scott estimates in his report that at the time there are about 3000 in the camps around the Cherokee Agency, 2500 at Ross’ Landing, and 1250 at camps between those two points, with 2000-3000 at interiors forts waiting to be moved to the concentration camps and around 200 remaining to be captured.

12 July 1838 – The boats from Lieutenant Whitely’s party run aground at Benson’s Bar, and the party continues overland eight days later.

25 July 1838 – General Scott agrees to the plan of Ross and the National Council for the Cherokee to supervise their own removal, accepting the bid of Ross and his brother Lewis to do so at a price of $65 per head. Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, and John Jolly, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, West, had put in a bid for just $9. At the time, the Mormon church was allotting $45 to bring members all the way from England to Utah.

1 August-7 August 1838 – Last council meeting of the Cherokee Nation east of the Mississippi River, at Aquohee Camp in the current Bradley County, Tennessee.

5 August 1838 – Whitely’s party arrives at the Cherokee Nation, West with only 602 person remaining; 143 have escaped from the party but the rest of those missing have died.

7 August 1838 – Drane’s party arrives at the Cherokee Nation, West with only 722 persons remaining. About 100 persons escaped before the party arrived in Bellefonte, Alabama, and another 300 while the party was stopped there, though many of the latter are recaptured. Seventy-six more escape before Waterloo, .

19 August 1838 – Last communion of the Baptist Church of Christ at Chickamauga, the church at Brainerd Mission. The missionaries accompany the Cherokee to the West.

28 August 1838 – The detachment of Hair Conrad, which includes Going Snake and Treaty-supporter (and Ross relative) William Shorey Coody, departs from the camp at Wildwood Spring. It crosses the Hiwassee River at Walker’s Ferry to the Agency, then the Tennessee River at Tucker’s Ferry before being forced to halt near the northern landing of Blythe’s Ferry because of a lack of drinking water due to the heavy drought.

1 September 1838 – The detachment of Elijah Hicks, which includes Whitepath, departs from the camps around the Agency following the same path as Conrad’s detachment only to be likewise halted at Gunstocker Spring.

3 September 1838 – The detachment of Jesse Bushyhead and Roman Nose departs from the camps around the Agency following the same route as the previous two, only to be halted before crossing the Tennessee River.

3 September 1838 – General Scott halts the emigration because the drought has dried up the springs and branches in the Cumberland Mountains.

1 October 1838 – The detachment of John Benge departs from Fort Payne.

3 October 1838 – Hicks’ and Conrad’s detachments, the latter now under Daniel Colston, get underway in that order. The detachment of Richard Taylor also departs from Ross’ Landing on this day. The rest of detachments gradually begin their journey on the land route in the following order under the listed supervisors: Situwakee, Bushyhead, Old Field, James Brown, Choowalooka (James Wofford), Moses Daniel, George Hicks, and Peter Hildebrand.

11 October 1838 – A detachment of 675 persons of the Treaty Party under John A. Bell departs from the Agency, having refused removal under Ross.

Sometime in October 1838 – Whitepath, fullblood leader of the traditionalists, dies near Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

1 November 1838 – Twelve members of a group of twenty Cherokee in western North Carolina who have evaded the round-up and forced emigration are captured and held under guard by three enlisted men and a lieutenant. During the night, two of the soldiers are killed and one wounded, while the lieutenant escapes into the night, as do the prisoners.

7 November 1838 – After seeing off the other detachments on the land route, the detachment of John Drew, which includes the families of John and or Lewis Ross as well as that of Joseph Vann, attempts to get underway on the luxury riverboat, but is delayed because by low water.

23 November 1838 – At this time all of the fugitives of Tsali’s band have been captured except for Tsali himself. On this day three of the men are executed by a firing squad composed of men from Yonaguska’s Oconaluftee Cherokee, who have citizenship in the State of North Carolina, and from Utsala’s Nantahala Cherokee, who live within the (now) former Cherokee Nation.

25 November 1838 – Utsala’s band finally captures Tsali and executes him by firing squad. For their part in helping quell this “rebellion”, his Nantahala Cherokee are allowed to join Yonaguska’s group.

5 December 1838 – Drew’s detachment finally gets underway.

28 December 1838 – Death of John Jolly, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, West. He is succeeded by John Brown, formerly of Brown’s Tavern, Landing, and Ferry in Lookout Valley west of Moccasin Point.

4 January 1839 – The detachment of Elijah Hicks arrives at Ft. Gibson.

7 January 1838 – The detachment of John Bell arrives at Ft. Gibson.

11 January 1839 – The detachment of John Benge arrives at Ft. Gibson.

16 January 1839 – The detachment of Daniel Colton arrives at Ft. Gibson.

2 February 1839 – The detachment of Situwakee arrives at Ft. Gibson.

23 February 1839 – The detachment of Old Field arrives at Ft. Gibson.

27 February 1839 – The detachment of Jesse Bushyhead arrives at Ft. Gibson.

1 March 1839 – The detachment of Choowalooka arrives at Ft. Gibson.

2 March 1839 – The detachment of Moses Daniel arrives at Ft. Gibson.

5 March 1839 – The detachment of James Brown arrives at Ft. Gibson.

14 March 1839 – The detachment of George Hicks arrives at Ft. Gibson.

18 March 1839 – The detachment of John Drew arrives at Ft. Gibson.

24 March 1839 – The detachment of Richard Taylor arrives at Ft. Gibson.

25 March 1839 – The detachment of Peter Hildebrand arrives ar Ft. Gibson.

3 June 1839 – A council to effect a union between the Old Settlers and the Late Immigrants convenes at Double Springs. The council breaks up sixteen days later without having reached an agreement when Brown becomes too frustrated with Ross’ intrangience and his insistence that the Old Settlers accept him as Principal Chief over the united Nation without an election. Ross’ partisans blame Brown’s actions on the members of the Treaty Party, particularly those who had emigrated prior to the forced removal such as the Ridge and Watie families.

19 June 1839 – A secret conclave is held by Ross’ partisans, allegedly without Ross’ knowledge, at which plans are made for the assassinations of Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, Stand Watie, John A. Bell, James Starr, George Adair, and others. Notably absent from the list are Treaty Party leaders David Vann, Charles Vann, John Gunter, Charles Foreman, William Hicks, and Andrew Ross.

22 June 1839John Ridge is dragged out of his home and murdered in front of his wife and children by a party of twenty-five men that includes Daniel Colston, John Vann, Archibald Spear, James Spear, Joseph Spear, Hunter, and others. Elias Boudinot is assassinated near his home by a party of some thirty men including Johnston, Soft-shelled, Turtle, Money Talker, Carsootawdy, Joseph Beanstalk, Edward Gunter, Sanders, and others. Major Ridge is assassinated in the State of Arkansas by a party including James Foreman, Bird Doublehead, Jefferson Hair, James Hair, and two brothers named Springston. With their deaths, the Cherokee Civil War begins. The Nation remains at war with itself and divided between the Old Settlers and the Treaty Party on one side, against the National Party one the other for several more decades with numerous murders for political reason each year.

15 July 1839 – The Republic of Texas, now under a new president, Mirabeau Lamar, attacks the chief settlement of the Cherokee in Texas, killing about 100, including Duwali. The survivors leave for the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.

6 September 1839 - Cherokee delegates meeting in Tahlequah, the new capital, composed mostly of National Party adherents but including a few Treaty Party members and some Old Settlers as well, sign a constitution for the reunited Cherokee Nation drafted by William Shorey Coody. John Ross becomes Principal Chief.

22 September 1839 – The Commissioner of Indian Affairs reports to the Secretary of War that there are 1,046 Cherokee remaining in North Carolina, including the Oconaluftee Cherokee, the 300 Cherokee form the areas of North Carolina within the New Echota cession, and 46 refugees from the concentration camps.

18 May 1840 – John Ross submits his claim against the federal government for the expenses of the Removal.

The following are figures compiled by Emmet Starr, as a comparison for the three different accounts. Captain John Page was the disbursing officer at the Cherokee Nation, East. Stephenson was the receiving officer at Ft. Gibson. Page lists as 11,813 departures; Stephenson lists 11,494 arrivals; John Ross lists 13,149 transported in all. According to Duane King, there were approximately 350 deaths during the Removal, about 200 of these deaths were in the camps centered around Rattlesnake Springs, the remaining 150 en route. The official figures for changes in numbers from the round-up to the last arrivals in Indian Territory were 424 deaths, 71 births, 182 disappearances, and 191 accessions (meaning persons picked up en route).

1841 - Winfield Scott becomes general-in-chief of the United States Army.

6 August 1846 – The Treaty of Washington is signed between the three factions of the Cherokee Nation in an attempt to end open hostilities and unite the Nation, at least on the surface.

1862 – The hidden divisions in the Nation break out into the open when Ross and a large contingent of his adherents break with the rest of the Nation over their support of the Confederacy during the Civil War and throw their support to the Union. Those remaining in the Cherokee Nation elect Stand Watie as principal chief, a post Ross abandoned when he fled to Washington City.

19 July 1866 – Treaty of Tahlequah reuniting the Nation and at last putting aside the divisions which have riven it for more than three decades. Though Stand Watie had summoned John Rollin Ridge from California to negotiate for recognition of a separate Southern Cherokee Nation, the Indian Office concluded instead a treaty with the delegation from John Ross prior to the treaty in Oklahoma. Sentiments of resentment toward each other and their descendants, however, continued well past the dissolution of the Nation in 1907.

27 July 1868 - Treaty of Washington, supplementing the treaty of 1866.

15 April 1872 - The Going Snake Massacre takes place in Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation.

8 February 1887 - The Dawes Act breaks up the tribal land base of the Indians in Indian Territory into individual allotments.

28 June 1898 - The Curtis Act abolished tribal constitutions and governments in preparation for the joining together of Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory into the State of Oklahoma.

1902 - Meeting in Eufaula, Indian Territory, the "Five Civilized Tribes" and other Indian nations to begin planning a separate state.

21 August 1905 - A constitutional convention meets in Muskogee to draft a constitution for the State of Sequoyah and appoints delegates to Washington, D.C. Though their efforts to be recognized are rejected by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, their constitution serves as the basis for that of the State of Oklahoma the next year.

3 March 1906 - The Cherokee Nation is officially dissolved.


*Alderman, Pat. "Dragging Canoe: Cherokee-Chickamauga War Chief". (Johnson City: Overmountain Press, 1978).
*Anderson, William L. "Cherokee Removal: Before and After". (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992).
*Baker, Jack, transcriber. Cherokee Emigration Rolls 1817-1835. (Oklahoma City: Baker Publishing Co., 1977).
*Brown, John P. "Old Frontiers". (Kingsport: Southern Publishers, 1938).
*Eckert, Allan W. "A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh". (New York: Bantam, 1992).
*Ehle, John. "The Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation". (New York: Doubleday, 1989).
*Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable Persons in Cherokee History: Ostenaco". "Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1", pp. 41-54. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1976).
*Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable Persons in Cherokee History: Bob Benge". "Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2", pp. 98-106. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1976).
*Evans, E. Raymond. "Notable Persons in Cherokee History: Dragging Canoe". "Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2", pp. 176-189. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1977).
*Evans, E. Raymond, and Vicky Karhu. "Williams Island: A Source of Significant Material in the Collections of the Museum of the Cherokee". "Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1", pp. 10-34. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1984).
*Foreman, Grant. "Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians". (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932).
*Haywood, W.H. "The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee from its Earliest Settlement up to the Year 1796". (Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1891).
*King, Duane, ed. "The Cherokee Indian Nation: A Troubled History." (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979).
*King, Duane, and E. Raymond Evans. "The Trail of Tears: Primary Documents of the Cherokee Removal". "Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3", pp. 130-190. (Cherokee: Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 1978).
*Klink, Karl, and James Talman, ed. "The Journal of Major John Norton". (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1970).
*Lumpkin, Wilson. "The Removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia". (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1907).
*McLoughlin, William G. "Cherokee Ghost Dance Movement of 1811-1813". (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1984).
*McLoughlin, William G. "Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic". (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).
*Mooney, James. "Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee". (Nashville: Charles and Randy Elder-Booksellers, 1982).
*Moore, John Trotwood and Austin P. Foster. "Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 1". (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1923).
*Moulton, Gary E., ed. "The Papers of John Ross, Cherokee Chief". (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1978).
*Ramsey, James Gettys McGregor. "The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century". (Chattanooga: Judge David Campbell, 1926).
*Royce, Charles. "The Cherokee Nation of Indians". (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1975).
*Starr, Emmet. Starr's History of the Cherokee Indians. (Fayetteville: Indian Heritage Assn., 1967).
*White, R. C. "Cherokee Indian Removal from the Lower Hiwassie Valley". (Cleveland: Cleveland State Community College Press, 1973).
*Wilkins, Thurman. "Cherokee Tragedy". (New York: Macmillan Company, 1970).

External links

* [http://www.cherokee.org The Cherokee Nation]
* [http://www.unitedkeetoowahband.org/ United Keetoowah Band]
* [http://www.cherokee-nc.com/ Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (official site)]
* [http://fax.libs.uga.edu/J84xSIx2x1xv19a/ Annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (1897/98: pt.1)] , Contains The Myths of The Cherokee, by James Mooney
* [http://www.muscogeenation-nsn.gov/ Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma (official site)]
* [http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2007/5/25/nashville_now_and_then_large_and_in_charge Account of 1786 conflicts] between Nashville-area settlers and natives (second item in historical column)

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