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In Their Own Words

July 10, 1838

Eyewitness Account of Cherokee Removal

Evan Jones, a Baptist missionary to the Cherokees, wrote in his journal on this day:

“The overthrow of the Cherokee Nation is completed. The whole population are made prisoners. The work of war in time of peace was commenced in the Georgia part of the nation and was executed in most cases in unfeeling and brutal manner … . In that state, in many cases, the Indians were not allowed to gather up their clothes, not even to take away a little money they might have. All was left to the spoiler… . They were driven before the soldiers, through mud and water, with whooping and hallowing like droves of cattle. No regard was paid to the condition of helpless females. Several infants were born on the open road under the most revolting circumstances… .

“At Ross’s Landing, the place to which most of the Georgia Indians were brought, the scenes of distress defy all description. In many instances they were dragged from their homes without change of clothing and marched one hundred and twenty or thirty miles through heat and dust and rain and mud, in many cases bare-footed, lodged on the hard ground, destitute of shelter from dews and rains. They had of course become very dirty and on that account they have been reproached as degraded wretches. On arriving at the Depot, they were required to give up their horses and ponies, which they had brought along. Refusing to do so, men, women, and children and horse were driven promiscuously into one large pen made for the propose. The horses were there taken by force and cried [auctioned] off to the highest bidder and sold for almost nothing… .”

Source: William G. McLoughlin, “The Reverend Evan Jones and the Cherokee Trail of Tears, 1838-1829, 73 The Georgia Historical Quarterly (Fall 1989), pp. 569-570.