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In Their Own Words

May 20, 1838

Cherokee Reaction to Order to Leave

From Forsyth County, Ga., Capt. James Word wrote Lt. John McKay about reaction in the Cherokee Nation to Gen. Winfield Scott’s May 10 address telling them they would have to leave:

“… I have visited in person all the Cherokee Towns within the limits prescribe me… . So that now, not a Cherokee within a compass of ten miles around me but what are informed fully of the contents of General Scott’s address. The Indians in reply, all without a single exception, tell the same story, that they are waiting on [John] Ross and can do nothing until they see or hear from him, that if Ross says go then they are read, &c. They do not manifest any hostility on their part, say their are friendly to the whites and will not harm them nor will they seek to hide themselves in the forest or mountains. They are making no preparation for their removal and utterly refuse to sell or in any way dispose of their stock or other effects and say they will not but will leave it in the woods. And while upon this subject, I will inquire, what shall be done with the Indians’ property? Shall it be left a prey to waiting white men who are now ready to seize all and hold it as their own? … “

Source: Ed Cashin (ed.), A Wilderness Still The Cradle of Nature: Frontier Georgia (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1994), pp. 138.