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In Their Own Words

May 31, 1838

Eyewitness to Cherokee Removal

White missionary Daniel Buttrick witnessed the roundup of Cherokees for removal to the West. On this day, he recorded in his diary:

“Just before night a young Lieutenant called and requested accommodation for two or three officers and permission for a company of Cherokees to camp near… . Accordingly, a little before sunset a company of about 200 Cherokees were driven into our lane. The day had been rainy and of course all men, women and children were dripping wet with no change of clothing and scarcely a blanket fit to cover them. As some of the women, when taken from houses, had on their poorest dress, this, of course, was the amount of their clothing for a journey of about 800 miles! As soon as permission was obtained from the officers, we opened every door to these poor sufferers. Mothers brought their dear little babies to our fire and stripped off their only covering to dry. Oh, how hear-rending was the sight of these little sufferers! Their little lips, blue and trembling with cold, yet seemed to form a smile of gratitude for this kind reception. We wept and wept again and still weep at the though of that affecting scene.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 80.