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Sequoyah Research Center

Cherokee Removal Chronicle, 1830-1839

Cherokee Removal Chronicle, 1830-1839



The Steam-boat Industry, Capt. Johnson, passed this place, on Friday last, from Fort Smith, on her way to Mouth of White river, where, we understand, she will meet with near 300 emigrating Cherokee Indians from the old nation, east of the Mississippi, whom she will transport to the Cherokee country up the Arkansas. The Industry has been detained above several weeks, in consequence of the low stage of the river.

Arkansas Gazette, January 19, 1830


The steam-boat Industry, Capt. Johnson, arrived at this place, about noon, on Wednesday last, having on board about 100 cabin and deck passengers, principally emigrants to the Territory, and about 200 emigrating Cherokee Indians, from the old nation, who are on their way to the Cherokee country up the Arkansas. A few of these Cherokees have a little of the appearance of the Indian, but the principal part of them show no signs of retaining in their veins any portion of the aboriginal blood.

The Industry left here on the same evening, for the new Cherokee nation up the river.

Arkansas Gazette, February 2, 1830


The steam-boat Waverley, Capt. Pennywit, arrived here on Thursday morning last, from New-Orleans, and departed in the afternoon of the same day, for Cantonment Gibson. She had near 100 cabin and deck passengers, mostly emigrants to the Territory, besides near 200 emigrating Cherokee Indians, who are removing to the Cherokee country up the Arkansas. These people are called Cherokees, in consequence of their residing among, and being intermarried with, that nation, but we saw very few among them, who bore any resemblance to the Indian.

The Waverley brought no papers from New-Orleans, nor any news of importance. There had been a slight improvement in the price of Cotton, and Sugar had advanced 1 or 2 cents per lb.

Arkansas Gazette, February 2, 1830


Emigration.-We learn, by gentlemen from the Mouth of White river, that they left about thirty families (embracing upwards of 200 souls) at that place, waiting for a conveyance up the Arkansas. They are all emigrants to the Territory, from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, &c.

They also left upwards of 70 emigrating Cherokee Indians at the same place, who were likewise waiting for a conveyance up the river.

Arkansas Gazette, March 16, 1830



To the Editors of the Advocate.

Cherokee Nation

Wigwam Neosho,

23d Dec. 1830

Gentlemen:–Recently a Nashville newspaper, dated 27th Nov. last, fell into my hands, containing a charge against “Major Eaton, Secretary of War, relating to a notice which issued from the Department, to receive proposals to a certain day, for furnishing ‘Indian Rations,’ to emigrants on Arkansas! The charge seems to be supported by ‘a Mr. Prentiss,’ who alledges [sic] that his bid was the lower but one, made  by a ‘Sub-Agent’ and that Major Eaton refused to accept the lowest bid, on the ground that it was ‘too low’—but charges, as the true reason of refusal a wish on the part of Major Eaton, to let ME have the contract at a higher rate.” I should not have noticed this charge, not withstanding my knowledge of its incorrectness and total want of truth, had it been made against the Secretary of War, alone—but when the author of the charge, has been modest enough to involve my name in the matter, it seems to me fit, that I should offer a corrective to his errors, as they are many. I am implicated, so far as the following statement of facts will go, and no farther.

Soon after my arrival at Washington City, last winter, I represented to Major Eaton the great injustice which was done to the Indians, when rations were furnished by their Agents, or under contracts made by them, as well as the fact, that the government was swindled to a vast amount, and the evidence existed, of the Agents being interested in the profits of the contracts let out by them to individuals. I proposed to the Secretary of War, either to furnish, or cause to be furnished, rations to all the emigrants who were then on the Arkansas, or might arrive thereafter, of good quality, and under inspection of the agents, or whoever the government might think proper to appoint for the purpose, at less cost to the United States; and to furnish them at three different points, in each nation; whereas the Creeks never received them, but at one point, and that within the limits of the Cherokee Nation!  I proposed to pay the transportation of provisions, and at my own cost to erect store houses and pay the expense of the issues; all which contingencies were then paid, by the Government! Major Eaton declined the proposition, for the reason, that he did not wish to let out the contract, as it was important, without a “public notice,” which was accordingly done! I had no objection to this plan, because, I believed that any change would be advantageous to the Indians, and would break up the system of corruption, which then existed!

Under the notice issued I made no offer, nor did I put in any bid. To say that Gen. Van Fossen did make a bid, I believe is true, but I was not in partnership with him in his bid. Soon after the notice was issued, I left the city on business, and while absent, it occurred to me, that the notice given was too short, to reach Arkansas, where the greatest competition for the contract would exist!—and as my urgency might have been a man cause of so short a notice being given, I left New-York sooner than I had designed doing, and reached the city, the day previous, to that, on which the proposals were to be opened.  I called upon the Secretary of War, and suggested to him the partial operation of the notice!  His reply was “I have seen Gen. Gibson, chief of the Commissary Department, and he has satisfied me, that the Indians can be furnished cheaper to the Government, through his department, and more satisfactorily to them, than by contract—therefore I will accept no bid, nor will I make any contract at this time.”

Now Mr. Prentiss, and Mr. Blake, the “Sub Agent” to whom he refers, were “deputy bidders,” as I can shew, to the CROWELLS; one of whom, is a Creek Agent, and the other a Creek merchant, and the same who put in a bid for the contract! No sooner did Mr. Blake return to Arkansas, than he was kind enough to insinuate flatly, (as he does every thing) that Major Eaton and myself were acting corruptly and in partnership in the Contracts! Mr. Blake’s bid was eight cents; that of Mr. Prentiss nine, and Mr. Thomas Crowell’s was a higher bid.—Col. Crowell put in no bid! Some time during last spring or summer, Col. Crowell wrote to Mr. Blake from Washington City to “withdraw his bid,” after which time Mr. Blake frequently declared, that Mr. Thomas Crowell and himself would get the contract, and engaged corn to meet it. So this inference is natural and true. That Mr. Blake, Mr. Prentiss, and Mr. Thomas Crowell, all put in their bids with the understanding, if at any time the lightest bid, Mr. Crowell’s, could be brought in, by withdrawing the two lowest, it was to be done. For even Mr. Prentiss does not allege that his was the lowest—so that he has no reason to complain; but if Major Eaton had said that he would make a contract, Col. Crowell was to settle all matters, and Mr. Prentiss, for a bonus or fee, was to withdraw his bid, and Mr. Crowell’s was to slip in for the contract, at a higher rate say, fifteen cents. The go-betweens, or counters are convenient sort of articles!  Thus the parties being all disappointed, notwithstanding the master spirit of Col. Crowell in management, this Mr. Prentiss is again introduced as a “hand plant,” or cat’s paw, to attack Major Eaton, and to bring in my name as a make-weight to the charge.

This “Mr. Prentiss” has been so kind as to say that Maj. Eaton and myself were “bosom friends,” as I presume with no other design than to compliment me. I decline his complaisance, and take leave to assure him, that Major Eaton and myself are not, nor were we ever “bosom friends!”—But a sense of justice to him, as a public officer, demands of me this statement of facts, as I know them to exist. The laws of Congress did not prohibit the Secretary of War from making private contracts, to furnish “Indian rations,” which he could have done, and even saved thousands to the Treasury, which had been, and were then unnecessarily expending every year, under arrangements of the former administration.

I have no hesitancy in asserting that the course suggested by the Secretary of War, (if pursued,) will be the most saving to the Government, and incalculably the most beneficial and just toward the Indians.

It is certainly a subject of some regret to me, that my name has been lugged into this controversy of great men:—but since it is the case now, before my God I pledge myself to show, (to whomsoever may choose to read the facts) a scene of coldblooded and heartless corruption, practiced upon the Indians in this quarter; and I will demonstrate that all the obstacles to emigrations, have been produced by the treatment, which emigrants have received from the Government, and its Agents in this country, as well as those employed in the old nation. In doing this I have no object but one, which is to prevent the recurrence of similar evils. My exposition will contain the most important points connected with emigration, to wit, collecting the Indians in the old nation, preparatory to setting out. Their journey to this country—their provision, transportation, &c. Their reception and location here. Their supplies since that time—and their annuities and monies promised by Treaty.

With respect, I am your most

Obedient servant,

Saml. Houston.

Arkansas Advocate, February 16, 1831


Indian Preference.-After the Cherokee, Tassels, was condemned to be hung, his counsel asked him how he liked the sentence. He answered that he would rather go to his own country and be shot. He was told that could not be done. Well then, said he, rather than be hung I will go to Arkansas. [from Georgia Courier]

The above anecdote is strikingly illustrative of the attachment which all persons, of whatsoever nation or class, feel for “the home of their childhood, the land of their birth.” Poor Tassels had no doubt resisted every inducement which had been offered him to leave the “graves of his fathers,” and barter the scenes of his infantile sports for a less interesting and more precarious home in the wilds west of this Territory-he would have even preferred death in his own country and by his own countrymen, to a separation from scenes to which he has been so long attached. But when he was doomed to suffer an ignominious death, and that death inflected by strangers, he exclaimed amid the anguish of his feelings, “I had rather go to Arkansas.”

Arkansas Advocate, March 2, 1831


Removal of Indians.-We understand that Capt. J.B. CLARK, superintendent for the subsistence and removal of the emigrating Indians, who is located at this place, received advices by the last mail, that the Choctaws are collecting for the purpose of removing to their lands west of Arkansas, and that they will shortly be ready to cross the Mississippi at the following points, viz: Vicksburg, Point Chicot, Mouth of White river, and Memphis, under the direction and control of such Agents as have been appointed to superintend their subsistence and removal.-We also learn, that, in addition to the parties about crossing at the above named places, under the direction of Agents of the Government, a party consisting of about 200 souls, is collecting, for the purpose of emigrating in their own way, and accepting the commutation of $10 per head offered by the Government, in lieu of rations, &c. The last named party will cross the Mississippi at Memphis, and will pass to their new homes at Kiamicha, via this place, and Washington, in Hempstead country.

We are also informed, that Lieut. Ryan has received a letter from Maj. Hook, of the Commissary Department, advising him that the Cherokees within the State of Georgia are about to emigrate to Arkansas, and that the appointment of Superintendent of their removal had been offered to an officer of the Army.

Arkansas Gazette, October 19, 1831



Cherokee Emigrants.-One family of Cherokees, consisting of more than 20 souls, emigrating from the Old Nation east of the Mississippi, have gone up in the Elk. We understand that upwards of 75 emigrating Cherokees were left at the Mouth of White river, and that about 500 more emigrants are on their way from the Old Nation-all destined for the Cherokee Nation up the Arkansas.

Arkansas Gazette, March 14, 1832


Mr. Ryter, of the Old Cherokee Nation, East of the Mississippi, informs us, that he saw a letter from Gen. Jackson and the Secretary of War, offering to the Old Cherokee Nation of Indians the counties of Crawford and Washington, on condition that they will emigrate West of the Mississippi. Mr. Ryter is direct from the Old Cherokee Nation, and we have no reason to doubt the correctness of his statement.

Arkansas Advocate, March 14, 1832


The steam-boat Reindeer, Capt. Miller, arrived on Thursday evening last, from New-Orleans, with a large keel-boat in tow, both deeply laden, and 35 or 40 cabin passengers, about the same number of deck passengers, and between 70 and 80 emigrating Cherokees. She left on Friday evening, bound for Fort Smith, and perhaps for Cantonment Gibson, if the state of the river will admit of her ascending that distance.

We regret to learn, that, shortly after leaving the Mouth of White river, a respectable half-breed Cherokee woman, by the name of Vann, aged about 60 years, unfortunately fell overboard from the keel-boat, in the night, and was drowned. The steam-boat was stopped the moment the alarm was given, and the yawl sent to succor the sufferer, but she was not seen after falling into the water.

Arkansas Gazette, March 28, 1832


Emigrating Cherokees—A party of Cherokees, (about eighty) emigrating from the Old Nation east of the Mississippi, passed up in the Reindeer.

Arkansas Advocate, March 28, 1832



The steam-boat Thomas Yeatman, Capt. Irwin, arrived opposite this place, on Sunday morning last, in eight days from Waterloo, Alabama, with about 400 Cherokee Indians, emigrating to the west from the Old Nation within the limits of Georgia, and passed up the river on the same evening. The party, we learn, were all in good health and fine spirits.

This party is under the charge of Maj. Benj. F. Currey, Superintendent of the Removal and Subsistence of the Cherokees east of the Mississippi, and is the last party of any considerable extent that will emigrate this spring.

It gives us pleasure to learn from Maj. Currey, that the rumor recently afloat here, that the President had proposed to cede Washington and Crawford counties to the Cherokees, on condition that they would cede to the U. States all their lands east of the Mississippi, and remove en masse to the west, is destitute of foundation. No such proposition has ever been made to them, nor any other giving any reasonable grounds for such a rumor, or for the alarm which it has excited in some of our western counties. The situation held by Maj. Currey, with respect to this matter, leaves no doubt of the correctness of his information on the subject.

Arkansas Gazette, May 2, 1832


Emigrating Cherokees.—The steam-boat T. Yeatman, from Florence, (Ala.) passed up on Sunday last, with a party of 400 Cherokees, emigrating from the Old Nation east of the Mississippi.  We are told that the party is under the direction of Maj. CURRY, of Nashville.

Arkansas Advocate, May 2, 1832


Removal of Indians. —The Secretary of War, in a Report lately communicated by the President to Congress, states that according to the best estimate that can be made, the number of Indians who have emigrated to the territory appropriated to them, west of the state of Missouri, and the Arkansas Territory, is 19 390—of whom 6,000 are Chocktaws, 3,500 Cherokees, 2,500 Creeks, 3,000 Delaware, 1,500 Shawnees, 800 Kickapoos, and the rest belonging to various smaller tribes. The number of Indians south of Michigan, who have not emigrated, he estimates to be 36,460, viz: Creek 20,000, Cherokees 11,000, Florida Indians 4,000, Miamis 1,000 and Wyandots, 450. —The territory which the Government proposes to assign to these tribes, is estimated to contain 100 millions of acres, of which about 50 millions have been already allotted to 8 tribes of Indians.

Boston Daily Adv.

Arkansas Advocate, May 9, 1832


Another Indian Rumor put to rest.-On hearing the rumor, which was some time since circulated in the western part of the Territory, that the President had offered to give the counties of Crawford and Washington to the Cherokees of Georgia, provided they would consent to remove en masse west of the Mississippi, we not only expressed our disbelief of the story in our paper at the time, and gave our reasons at some length for believing it to be a fabrication, but immediately wrote to Mr. Sevier on the subject, and requested him to procure from the proper Department at Washington, such a contradiction of it as would have a tendency to prevent such rumors, not only from getting afloat, but from gaining credence in future, among the people. This request he has complied with; and we received from him, by last week’s mail, the following letter, with that which follows it addressed to him by the Secretary of War, which we feel much gratification in laying before our readers. A more satisfactory answer could not be given to the citizens of this Territory on the subject-and we hope the assurance which it gives-”THAT THE PRESIDENT NEVER CONTEMPLATED THE CESSION OF ONE FOOT OF THE TERRITORY OF ARKANSAS TO ANY TRIBE OF INDIANS, AND NEVER SUPPOSED FOR A MOMENT THAT HE HAD ANY AUTHORITY TO MAKE SUCH A CESSION”-will tend to dispel all fears, if any still exist, in relation to the late rumor, and put them on their guard against listening to any idle tales that may be fabricated in future, with a view to exciting uneasiness in their minds.

As the Advocate first gave currency to the rumor, and that, too, without any qualification whatever, and subsequently published a communication calculated to increase the alarm already excited, we hope that print will do an act of justice to Mr. Sevier, and at the same time gratify many of its readers, by copying the following letters into its columns, and thereby partially repair the injury which it has probably done, in checking emigration to that fertile and interesting section of our Territory, which the authors of the story would have ceded to the Indians.

House of Rep’s., April 18th, 1832.

DEAR SIR-I received your letter on yesterday, respecting the rumors prevailing in Arkansas, on the subject of giving the counties of Crawford and Washington to the Cherokees of Georgia, and forthwith enclosed it to the Secretary of War, accompanied by a pretty tart note from myself, asking for information upon this subject. To-day I received the enclosed letter from the Secretary of War, in reply to my note. You will perceive, that he puts to rest such rumors. I hope, the next time such a story is put in circulation, that the author of it may be forthwith gagged until he can learn to tell the truth.

Yours, &c. A. H. Sevier

P. S.-I will call to-morrow, and ascertain why the surveys west of Brown’s line have been suspended.


April 16th, 1832.

SIR-I have just received your letter of yesterday, with its enclosures, and, while I state to you in answer, that the President never contemplated the cession of one foot of the Territory of Arkansas to any Tribe of Indians, and never supposed for a moment that he had any authority to make such a cession, you will allow me to express my surprise, that a rumor so extravagant in itself, could have given any uneasiness to the intelligent citizens of that Territory, or could have so far gained credence with you, as to call for the warm expressions you have used-expressions not out of place, if there had been any grounds for the rumor, but certainly not necessary till its truth was ascertained.

The surveys to which you allude, not being under the control of this Department, I cannot tell why they have been stopped. The circumstances can be doubtless satisfactorily explained at the Treasury Department. I return the letters you forwarded to me.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Lew. Cass.

Hon. A. H. Sevier, House of Rep’s

Arkansas Gazette, May 23, 1832


The Indian Rumor. –Some three months ago we stated an authority, which we at the time gave to the public, that the counties of Washington and Crawford had been offered by the President, to the Cherokees, on condition of their prompt removal from their present homes, to that portion of our territory. From the following letters from our Delegate it appears that there was no truth in the statement made to us, and, consequently, that an unnecessary alarm was produced among our citizens residing in those

It is with pleasure that we now publish authentic documents, to allay that excitement, produced by our former statement.

House of Rep’s., April 16th, 1832.

Dear Sir—I received your letter on yesterday, respecting the rumors prevailing in Arkansas, on the subject of giving the counties of Crawford and Washington to the Cherokees of Georgia, and forthwith enclosed it to the Secretary of War, accompanied by a pretty tart note from myself, asking for information upon this subject. Today I received the enclosed letter from the Secretary of War, in reply to my note. You will perceive, that he puts to rest such rumors. I hope, the next time such a story is put in circulation, that the author of it may be forthwith gagged until he can learn to tell the truth.

Yours, &c. A.H. Sevier

P.S.—I will call to morrow and ascertain why the surveys west of Brown’s line have been suspended.

Department of War

April 16th, 1832

Sir-I have just received your letter of yesterday, with its enclosures, and, while I state to you in answer, that the President never contemplated the cession of one foot of the Territory of Arkansas to any Tribe of Indians, and never supposed for a moment that he had any authority to make such a cession, you will allow me to express my surprise, that rumor so extravagant in itself, could have given any uneasiness to the intelligent citizens of that Territory, or could have so far gained credence with you, as to call for the warm expressions you have used—expressions not out of place, if there had been any grounds for the  rumor, but certainly not necessary till its truth was ascertained.

The surveys to which you allude, not being under the control of this Department, I cannot tell why they have been stopped. The circumstances can be doubtless satisfactorily explained at the Treasury Department. I return the letters you forwarded to me.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lewis Cass

Hon. A.H. Sevier, House of Rep’s

Arkansas Advocate, May 30, 1832


Extract of a letter from a gentleman now at Chatahoochie, to a friend in this city, dated the 20th inst.

“The Council, met on the Tennessee side of the nation on the 24th ult; it continued in session about three weeks. —The propositions of the President were submitted—They were not considered as liberal as represented; consequently, met with a cool reception. In fact, there appears a determination not to remove to the Arkansas, that country is not considered a desirable one; and the Cherokees say, they may as well perish here, as go there and die. The annual Council of the Cherokee nation will meet at the same place on the 2d Monday in October next: perhaps something new will occur before that period, in relation to Indian affairs.

Arkansas Advocate, October 3, 1832



By reference to our Obituary head to-day, it will be seen that two more of the passengers of the steam-boat Reindeer died of Cholera, in this town, last week. We also learn, that another, a negro woman, belonging to Mr. John Drew, of the Cherokee Nation, died on board of her, of the same disease, after she passed up, in 7 or 8 hours after the attack. This makes nine of the passengers and crew of the Reindeer who have been cut off by this disease since she left New-Orleans, or rather since she left Vicksburg, where it is thought it was contracted from passengers taken on board at that place, among whom it first developed itself.

These deaths produced some little alarm among our citizens, at first, but, as the disease has not spread, it has entirely subsided , and our town remains as healthy as usual.

Arkansas Gazette, July 3, 1833


The Cherokees.-Extract of a letter to the Editor, dated “Marion Co. Tenn. Oct. 23, 1833″

The Cherokees at this time are convened in Council, in the limits of Tennessee, about 150 yards from the Georgia line. They have erected temporary buildings for the purpose, at a beautiful spring in the woods. The enrolling system is in operation, and the enrollment of Cherokee families for Arkansas seems rather to be increasing, though the principal families disclaim any idea of enrollment, or of ceding their country.”

Arkansas Gazette, November 13, 1833



Emigrating Cherokees.–About 540 emigrating Cherokees, from the old nation east of the Mississippi, passed up the Arkansas, a few days ago, in charge of Lieut. Harris, U.S.A., on board the steam-boat Thomas Yeatman, on their way to join their brethren west of this Territory.

Arkansas Gazette, April 8, 1834


Lieut. R.D.C.Collins, U.S.A, arrived here last night, from Cincinnati, having left the steam-boat Cavalier near the mouth of Fourche, six or eight miles below this place, laden with provisions purchased by him for the U. S. Dragoons at Fort Gibson. We also understand she has about 200 emigrating Cherokee Indians on board, bound for the west. The Cavalier is expected up to-day, if she can get over the bar at the mouth of Fourche.

The Arkansas is again down to a pretty low stage-too low for steam-boat navigation above this place, and we understand it is close rubbing below.

Arkansas Gazette, April 8, 1834


The Cherokee emigrants, who passed up the river, about two weeks since, on board the steam-boat Thomas Yeatman, in charge of Lieut. HARRIS, U.S.A., we understand, are encamped near the mouth of the Cadron, about 35 miles above this place, in consequence of the water being too low for the boat to proceed farther up. Lieut. Harris came down to this place on Friday last, for the purpose of procuring wagons and teams to transport the emigrants to their destination by land, and, having made the necessary arrangements to employ the number require, returned on Saturday evening.

We are sorry to learn, that, in addition to the measles, which was prevailing among the emigrants, when they passed here, and which had caused a number of deaths, principally children, the Cholera has made its appearance among them, and carried off a good many victims. About 30 had died since they landed, previous to Lieut. Harris’ leaving, but the mortality had considerably abated within the preceding 24 hours-and subsequent information brings the pleasing news that the disease had nearly subsided, only one death having occurred
during the previous 24 hours.

Arkansas Gazette, April 22, 1834


The Cholera was still prevailing, with little or no abatement among the Cherokee emigrants, encamped near the mouth of the Cadron, when we last heard from them. The number of deaths in the party, from all diseases, since they left Waterloo, on the Tennessee river, amounts to about 60-a fearful mortality in a party originally not exceeding 550 souls, in the short space of about two months. Every humane exertion within the control of Lieut. Harris, the Conducting Agent, has been used to alleviate the sufferings of the emigrants.-one of the physicians, Dr. J. C. Roberts, employed by him to attend on the sick, was attacked with the disease, and died on Tuesday last; and Dr. John T. Fulton, the only other attending physician, was also seized with it last week, but, we are happy to learn, was convalescent and out of danger, on Friday evening last. Another has since been employed, from this county, who, we hope, may be more fortunate.

The disease also appears to be spreading along the river. A citizen of this county, Mr. Madison Taylor, died last week, about 15 or 20 miles above this place, and there was said to have been another case in his family and one in the vicinity, both of which are convalescent.; There have been several cases of the Cholera at or near Pine Bluffs, within the last 10 or 15 days, and three or four blacks have died-but the disease had abated when the last steam-boats left there.

For the information of our friends abroad, we have the pleasure of assuring them, that we have no case of the Cholera in town, nor in the vicinity, and that our citizens are as healthy as usual at this season of the year.

Arkansas Gazette, April 29, 1834


Upwards of 60 Cherokee emigrants were brought up, last week, on board the steam-boat Thomas Yeatman, and landed near the Big Rock, about 3 or 4 miles above this place, where they will remain until they can find means of conveyance to their new country west of Arkansas. Several of the party died on board the boat, of cholera, before they reached here, and some have since died. The disease was no doubt produced among them by the filthy condition in which they lived on board the boat they came up on.

Arkansas Gazette, May 6, 1834



It is high time, we think, that some other arrangement be made, to insure a more regular receipt of the mail from Memphis. There is defalcation and mismanagement somewhere in the present one. If a body of Indians, (men, women and children), with some 200 ponies, can pass through the Mississippi swamp in the course of two or three days, (which has been the case within the last two or three weeks), we can see no good reason why the mail cannot be carried through with regularity. But so it is-travelers daily pass through; and yet the mails cannot, because the swamps are impassable! The fact is, there is a lack of energy and perseverance on the part of those now engaged in carrying this mail, otherwise it would be more regular. The late contractor was discharged, in consequence of failing to perform his duty-but we do not perceive that his successor has mended the matter. The mail is just as irregular now as it was before his discharge. A new change, we imagine, will have to be made, before the public will be benefited. The route, we know, is a difficult one to perform; but, with ample compensation, (and no prudent man would undertake it unless well paid for his labor and risk), every obstacle can be surmounted, if energy and good management be used.

There have been so many failures of this mail latterly, that we do not know how many are due. They, however, we believe, amount to six or eight-enough, we hope, to authorize the Postmaster at Memphis to freight a steam-boat around with them.

One arrived on Saturday last, but brought nothing later than we received by that of the Monday previous. None arrived yesterday.

Arkansas Gazette, March 3, 1835



It would appear, by the annexed extract from the Texas Telegraph, that the people of that province are not particularly in favor of having more Indian neighbors:

“Those tribes are the same which have been removed to the ‘far west’ by the government of the United States. We noticed, in a conspicuous paper, and which has always advocated the cause of Texas, that in speaking of the Seminole war, and its consequent disasters, it said it clearly pointed out the necessity of removing the Indians west of the Mississippi. If the Indians east of that river are sufficiently formidable to hold the citizens in dread, in a country, too abundantly furnished with every means of defence, the citizens of Texas and the western states of Mexico surely have reason to apprehend hostilities from al the Indian tribes which have, from time to time, been sent on to their borders, unless the government of the United States take precautionary measures for keeping them in check. This they are in duty bound by the treaty to do, as well as to protect its own citizen on the frontiers, and which, we consider, the only and primary object of the military movements under the direction of General Gaines on the eastern borders of this country.”

Arkansas Gazette, November 22, 1836


John Ross, the celebrated Indian Chief, has been, for several weeks past, among the western Cherokees, for the purpose, it is said, of getting up a delegation from them to join the delegations from Georgia, to proceed to Washington City, for the purpose of inducing the government to renounce Schermerhorn’s Treaty, to which, it is averred, they never gave their consent.

Arkansas Gazette, December 20, 1836



From the National Intelligencer


Fort Smith, (Ark.) March 7, 1837.

The enclosed was handed to me by a friend, with a request that I would forward it to you for publication. I was at Fort Gibson when the circumstances to which he alluded occurred, and believe they are by no means highly colored.

I would remark, that with regard to the removal o the garrison from Fort Gibson, I believe there is but one prevailing sentiment, not only with the Government and the officers, but with the People. With respect to its future location, there is much difference of opinion. The citizens of this frontier, for whose protection it would seem the troops are destined, claim that the main garrison should be stationed on the line, and within the limits of the State. It seems, however, that the commissioners charged with the duty of designating a proper place for the garrison have selected Fort Coffee, entirely within the limits of the State, and, too, in a territory owned and occupied by Indians between us and that place. It would seem, according to all military rule, and to reason and common sense, that the proper place for the protection of the frontier should be accessible from our limits, where the unprotected could seek refuge, without the necessity of traveling through the swamps of an enemy. The distance of Fort Coffee from the line is not the only objection. This place is situated in the fork of two rivers, one of which must be crossed, and that, too, an Indian ground.

Fort Smith is a beautiful high commanding point, situated at the junction of the Poteau with the Arkansas river, and immediately on the State line. This place is, in my opinion, far more preferable than Fort Coffee; and, indeed, I do not know of a more suitable place than this for the contemplated garrison. Steamboats can get as far up as this place, when they cannot get any further. It is the only suitable place, in my opinion, where the garrison should be established.

But, there is an objection, by many gentlemen of the Army, to the establishment of the garrison within the limits of the State, because the Army would be within its civil jurisdiction. Perhaps the commissioners were not without this influence when they made the election. This objection, however, should not be entertained by them. They contend that a portion of the People of the State always infest such places by vending ardent spirits to the troops. This should not be any objection, because, if any, it can be easily surmounted by a proper discipline of the troops, without which, it seems, they are not free from difficulties, even if they are within the Indian country; and I will remark that the soldiers can, and do get as much liquor in the Indian country as thereout.

I am, very respectfully, yours.

The National Intelligencer, March 7 1837


FORT GIBSON, (ARK.) Feb. 14, 1837.

Messrs. Gales & Seaton:–There has been at this place for the last few days considerable excitement, showing the strongest evidence, in the judgment of many very intelligent persons, that a garrison should not be stationed in an Indian country.

The regiment of volunteers furnished by Arkansas was ordered by the commanding General of this place to rendezvous at this garrison. After remaining for some time, the principal part of them were discharged; the remainder, some three companies, were retained in the service, and were quartered about four miles from this place in the Cherokee country. A “frolic” of the Indian kind was made, and, during their amusements, as is always the case where spirituous liquors are freely used, a fight took place, in which two or three of the volunteers were handled “with gloves off” by the red gentlemen, which rendered them unable for duty the next day. This excited the remainder of the companies, and induced them to take vengeance on all Cherokees found in the neighborhood where the “frolic” was held, by inflicting on them the most brutal punishment

The moment this was ascertained by the Cherokees, the Captains of several of their companies called out their men, and marched to the place where the scene of punishment was inflicted. But fortunately, the General had been informed by the principal chief, Major Jolly, that his young men were beyond his control, and determined to have revenge. This intelligence induced the General to order the volunteers within the reserve, and near the garrison, where they now remain.

On the arrival of the Cherokee companies at the place where the act was committed, they found that the volunteers had withdrawn. This prevented a second scene of collision, which would have been of the most serious nature. One of the Captains commanding the Cherokees, finding the party which had committed the punishment on his countrymen had left here, adopted the usual custom among Indians, when the Indian ladies had been over-kind to the white man, and punished them by whipping until the blood was seen trickling on their heels! and, not satisfied with this, cut off their hair, and left them to reflect on their folly.

Gentlemen, you must suppose, when you are informed that there are not more than two hundred and fifty regulars fit for duty at this place, what a contempt the Indians must have for the military strength of the United States, especially when ten times this number of Cherokee warriors are between this garrison and the white population.

It is time for our Government to act, and act wisely, or there will be another Seminole business of the most destructive kind. This shows, conclusively, that the line of posts should be located within the borders of the State, where the white as well as the red men could be protected.

The Government under treaty stipulation is bound to protect the Indian located here against the wild Indians, and the cavalry are the proper troops to give this protection. Let them be stationed in the Indian country, and at all times they will be ready to move with rapidity to any given point, should any difficulty occur.

Yours, with respect.

Army and Navy Chronicle 4 (April 27, 1837): 238


The steam-boat Revenue arrived at this place, on the 28th ult., bringing into their new country 466 Cherokees, a part of whom landed a few miles above Fort Smith, with a view to settle in that part of the nation; the remainder of them, about 300 in number, landed at this place. They have, since their removal, received money from the officers of the government, in lieu of subsistence for one year, which the government of the U.S. is required to give them, on arriving in their new country. They are all in good health, and apparent good spirits, and have, for the most part, removed to positions back from the river, which they have located with a view to a permanent residence.

The steam-boat Revenue, after landing the Cherokees, proceeded up the river, and is now lying at or near Webber’s Falls, about forty miles above this place-the river being too low for her to ascend higher up. The river is, however, sufficiently high for boats that can reach Fort Smith, to ascend that far up. The steamer Tecumseh, which grounded last fall, a few miles below this place, is still aground, and is six or eight feet above the surface of the water of the river. That boat grounded last fall, in descending from Fort Gibson, during a considerable rise in the river, by running on a sand island, at some distance from the channel, where there was 15 or 15 feet water at the time. The Lady Byron passed up to Fort Gibson, and back, more than a week after that boat had grounded, and while the river was still falling. The Harp, DeKalb, Mount Pleasant, and Revenue, have also, all passed up above this place and back, except the Revenue, which is still above and waiting for a rise sufficient to take her to Fort Gibson. Boats arriving at Fort Smith, bound to Fort Coffee, may be confident of being able to ascend at least that high up, there being no material shoal between the two places.

This is given for the information of boats that may be bound to this place, with public property.

Arkansas Gazette, April 18, 1837


FORT COFFEE, April 4, 1837.—The steamboat Revenue arrived at this place on the 28th, ult. bringing into their new country 466 Cherokees, a part of whom landed a few miles above Fort Smith, with a view to settle in that part of the nation; the remainder of them, about 300 in number, landed at this place. They have, since their removal, received money from the officers of the Government, in lieu of subsistence for one year, which the Government of the United States is required to give them, on arriving in their new country. They are all in good health and apparent good spirits, and have, for the most part, removed to positions back from the river, which they have located with a view to a permanent residence.

Army and Navy Chronicle 4 (May 11, 1837): 300


Fort Smith, 16th April, 1837.

To Capt. R.D.C. Collins, U.S.A., and Dis. Agent.

Severe indisposition, which confined me to my bed for 14 days, prevented me (as I had intended to do before this time) from announcing to you the safe arrival of the detachment of 468 Cherokee Indians, under my charge, within the limits of the Cherokee nation, west, on the 27th ult. When they came in view of the “Canaan of their hopes,” they hailed it with loud cheers, and passed the line with deep expressions of joy. 275 of the number were landed 2 miles above Fort Smith, the residue opposite Fort Coffee, both according to their wishes, it being their desire to settle in the country adjacent to these points. Not a single change occurred between the points of embarkation and debarkation, and in fact the health and condition of the detachment was better than when it started. The great success and safety which attended the arrival of the detachment will be calculated to give a favorable impulse to Cherokee emigration, yet in its incipient state, and will have much effect in doing away a prejudice against water transportation which was excited in the minds of the eastern Cherokees in consequence of the disastrous results from cholera in 1834. While at Fort Coffee, the transaction of business connected with my duties necessarily threw me upon the hospitality of Captain Stuart, the commander of the post. Of his politeness and attentions to me I cannot express myself too gratefully. From Lieut. McKavat, who is a man of business, and a highly promising young officer, I received much service, for which my warmest thanks are due him.

With high respect and esteem, your ob’t serv’t,

JOHN S. YOUNG, Comd’g Agent, Cherokee Removal.

Arkansas Gazette, May 16, 1837


Emigrating Cherokees-The following information respecting the removal to the west of a portion of the Cherokee Indians is taken from the Jonesborro, Tenn Sentinel, of the 19th April:

“A party of 460 Cherokee Indians, among whom was the distinguished Chief, John Ridge, passed Tuscumbia, Ala., on the 16th ult., on the way to their new homes beyond the Mississippi. The Alabamian, printed at Tuscumbia says ‘the deportment of these Indians was perfectly correct, and their appearance indicated much comfort.’

Arkansas Gazette, May 23, 1837



Emigrating Cherokees - The Steamboat Smelter arrived here on Wednesday last, having on board 175 emigrating Cherokees, under the charge of Lt. Edward Deas, USA.  The Steamboat Little Rock has been employed to take the emigrants to Fort Smith and left on Thursday.

Arkansas Advocate, April 16, 1838


Cherokee Emigrants.-The steam-boat Smelter came up on Wednesday last, with about 250 Cherokee emigrants, in charge of Lieut. Deas, U.S.A. They were transferred to the steam-boat Little Rock on the following day, and have proceeded up. Four or five thousand more emigrants, we understand, may be expected
from the same nation, during the season.

Arkansas Gazette, April 18, 1838



Maj. Gen. Scott has called upon Tennessee for one regiment of ten companies, and a battalion of five companies, both of infantry, to serve on foot in removing the Cherokee Indians. In compliance with this requisition, Gov. Cannon has issued his order to the Major Gens. Of the several divisions in this State, to detach from their respective commands, by volunteering or draft, the number required in the following proportion: From the st division seven companies, including such companies as may have been received by Col. Lindsay since the 15th day of March last—from the 2d and 3d divisions three companies each,–and from the 4th division two companies. Each company is to be composed of one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign to be paid as second lieutenant), four sergeants, four corporals, two musicians and sixty privates. Terms of service three months unless sooner

We cannot doubt for a moment but that the full number will be made up, without resorting to a draught—The service will be in every respect an agreeable one, to those who have a fondness for military life. The country in which the troops will have to operate is proverbial for its good health and the beauty and variety of scenery, and the length of service not such as to become tedious.

Memphis Enquirer, May 5, 1838



The Adjutant General has received official information from major General Trousdale (of this division,) of the organization of a company of volunteers for the Cherokee service, in Sumner country.

We learn from a gentleman from Gallatin that this company was promptly made up on the receipt of the Executive order in a single day. It will be under the command of Capt Saunders.—Whig

A force of 7,000 men, to be placed at the command of General Scott for the removal of the Cherokees during the month of May, will be composed of the following portions of the militia and regular army—Tennessee two Regiments of 740 men each, Georgia two
Regiments, Alabama two Regiments, North Carolina two Regiments, and Regulars 2,000.

Memphis Enquirer, May 12, 1838


A friend has favored us with a view of a letter from this distinguished Indian patriot, who has so long upheld the cause of his country against oppressions of the most harassing and desolating description. We have been permitted to make the following extracts:

“The dark cloud and threatening storm, which, for some time past, have been gathering over my native land, seem now to be full charged and on the eve of exploding. In this awful crisis, we can but resign our destiny into the hands of Him ‘who directs the storm and rides upon the whirlwind.’

How peculiarly mysterious is the will of Providence, in the fate of mortal men! In reflecting upon my own career in public life, my mind is imperceptibly drawn into scenes I have encountered, and the perils which I have escaped; ;and in this reviewing the scenes of my humble career, I have been compelled to ponder the more extended fate of nations and to contemplate a mighty people, once on the pinnacle of glory, and now degraded from its place, and sinking to oblivion; while I behold another in splendor and renown, which was but lately unknown or insignificant—These things make me wonder at the workings of Omnipotent God; but while I am lost in amazement, and troubled beyond the art of language to express, I bow and adore! * * * * * * * *When obeying the will of my people, I have been grossly charged by others, with controlling that will—when I advised the observance of patience and forbearance, under the reliance on the faith of treaties, with the hope that the United States would be just, I have been unblushingly accused of holding out false hopes to the Cherokee people, and of betraying the confidence they reposed in me!—Even public functionaries of the United States, have stooped to brand me with charges such as these!

The writer of the paragraphs we have quoted, is the Indian against whom all the power of our government has been so long arrayed. This is the person it has been declared must be broken down!—Broken down because he will not betray his country.—New York News

Memphis Enquirer, May 12, 1838


THE CHEROKEES—Gen. Scott has arrived at Calhoun, and assumed the command of the troops raised to remove the Cherokee Indians. The General Order issued to the army, and an address promulgated amongst the Indians, by Gen. S., breathe a spirit of kindness and humanity towards these unfortunate people, while at the same time they evince a firmness of determination in executing the duty assigned him. It is much to be hoped that the judicious course of Gen. S. may avert the effusion of blood. His address to the Cherokees is as follows:

“Major General Scott of the United States Army sends to the Cherokee people remaining in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, this


Cherokees! The president of the United States has sent me with a powerful army, to cause you, in obedience to the treaty of 1836, to join that part of your people who are already established in prosperity on the other side of the Mississippi. Unhappily, the two years which were allowed for the purpose, you have suffered to pas away without following, and without making any preparations to follow, and now, or by the time that this solemn address shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in haste, but, I hope, without disorder. I have no power, by granting a further delay to correct the errors that you have committed. The full moon of May is already on the wane, and before another shall have passed away, every Cherokee man, woman and child, in those States, must be in motion to join their brethren in the far West.

This is no sudden determination n the part of the President, whom you and I must now obey. By the treaty, the emigration was to have been completed on or before the 13d of this month, and the President has constantly kept you warned, during the two years allowed, through all his officers and agents in this country, that the treaty would be enforced.

I am come to carry out that determination. My troops already occupy many positions in the country that you are to abandon, and thousands, and thousands are approaching from every quarter to render resistance and escape alike hopeless. All those troops, regular and militia, are your friends—Receive them and confide in them as such. Obey them when they tell you that you can remain no longer in this country. Soldiers are as kind hearted as brave, and the desire of every one of us is to execute our painful duty in mercy. We are commanded by the President to act towards you in that spirit, and such is also the wish of the whole people of America

Chief, head-men, and warriors! Will you, then, by resistance, compel me to resort to arms? God forbid! Or will you, by flight, seek to hide yourselves in mountains and forests, and thus oblige us to hunt you down? Remember that, in pursuit, it may be impossible to avoid conflicts. The blood of the white man, or the blood of the red man, may be spilt, and if spilt, however accidentally, it may be impossible for the discreet and humane among you, or among us, to prevent a general war and carnage.—Think of this my Cherokee brethren! I am an old warrior, and I have been present at many a scene of slaughter; but spare me, I beseech you, the horror of witnessing the destruction of the Cherokees.

Do not, I invite you, even wait for the close approach of the troops; but make such preparations for emigration as you can, and hasten to this place, to Ross’ Landing, or to Gunter’s Landing, where you all will be received in kindness by officers selected for the purpose. You will find food for all, and clothing for the destitute, at either of those places, and thence at your ease, and in comfort, be transported to your new homes according to the terms of the treaty.

This is the address of a warrior to warriors. May his entreaties be kindly received, and may the God of both, prosper the Americans and the Cherokees, and preserve them long in peace and friendship with each other.

Winfield Scott.”

Memphis Enquirer, June 2, 1838


THE CHEROKEES.— The Secretary of War has addressed a communication to Jno. Ross, and other head chiefs of the Cherokee Nation, in reply to one addressed by them to the President, seeking certain modifications in the execution of the treaty of 1836, The Secretary’s communication is characterized by a liberal and humane feeling towards these unfortunate people, and makes every concession to their petition which could be made without an infraction of the provisions of the Treaty. It is pretty well settled that the Indians will not be hurried off by the strong arm of military power, and that the greatest possible amity
will be exercised toward them. They are to have the choice of being removed by agents of their own appointment or by those of the Government. They are informed, however, that the removal of the entire tribe must be completed within two years.

Memphis Enquirer, June 9, 1838


By a gentleman direct from Ross’ Landing, we learn that about 1000 Cherokees have embarked for their destination west, and may be expected here in a few days. —N. Alabamian

Republican Banner, June 13, 1838


Emigrating Indians - The Steamboat Smelter arrived here on Friday last with 750 Cherokee Indians on board. In consequence of the river being too low a stage for her to proceed up, she landed them on the opposite side of the river, and departed for another load. We learn by those concerned in the removal of them, that little difficulty is encountered by them in their removal.

Arkansas Times & Advocate, July 9, 1838.


Emigrating Cherokees.-A party of 720 Cherokee Indians, under charge of Lieut. Whiteley, U. S. A. arrived here on Saturday last, on the s. b. Smelter, on their way to the West, and encamped on the north bank of the river, about half a mile above town, the water being too low for that boat to proceed, where they are now waiting for conveyance to Fort Gibson.

Arkansas Gazette, July 11, 1838



The Knoxville Register of the 18th inst. has the following:  “We understand from Capt. James Morrow, late of the Army, that nearly all the Cherokees, to the number of thirteen or fourteen thousand, have been collected by Gen. Scott, and are stationed at the Agency, Chattanooga, and a point between Red Clay and Cleveland, where they will be kept until the 1st of September, unless before that time they may wish to be taken to their new country west of the Mississippi.

Republican Banner, July 23, 1838


Cherokee Emigrants.-We understand that the s.b. Smelter, is 60 or 70 miles below, with seven or eight hundred Cherokee Indians on board. The s.b. Tecumseh went down on Monday to bring them up, the water being too low for the Smelter to ascend any higher.

Arkansas Gazette, July 25, 1838


The Cherokees.-Gen. Scott, in a letter to the Governor of Tennessee, states that the removal of the Cherokees has been suspended, until the first of September. They will remain encamped, until that time, at the Eastern Agency, and at Ross’s and Gunter’s Landings, in Alabama. About 3000 started for the west between the 1st and 17th June, before the suspension of removal was determined on., and we presume they may be looked for in Arkansas in a short time.

Arkansas Gazette, July 25, 1838


McMinnville, July 21, 1838


The whole of the volunteers that have been on service in the Cherokee Nation, from this State, have been discharged by order of Gen. SCOTT. Those from Middle Tennessee and the Western District, have passed through this place on their return home. – Col. YOAKUM passed thro’ on Sunday last; we are indebted to him for the following memorandum.

“There are now in the Cherokee Nation about 12,000 Indians—eight thousand at the agency—fifteen hundred at a camp near Cleveland, and twenty-five hundred at Ross’ Landing. John Ross reached home on Thursday morning (18th inst.) No Indians will be removed until Sept. They will not then go willingly, they are now subsisted by the Government. They do not remain near their respective depots, but around it, within three or four miles. They will not occupy the houses built for them, but camp in the open air. Their health is good.”

Republican Banner, July 26, 1838


Cherokee Emigrants.-Between 700 and 800 Cherokee Indians arrived here, on Wednesday evening last, and were landed about a mile above town, on the opposite bank-the river being too low to proceed farther by water. Teams have since been provided, and they are about resuming their journey by land. The summer (or bowel) complaint, we understand, is prevailing among them to a considerable extent, particularly among the children, and a good many deaths have occurred.

Arkansas Gazette, August 1, 1838


Ross’ Landing July 26,

Up to the time our paper goes to press we have received no news of the termination of the conference between Gen. Scott and John Ross. It is supposed that an understanding will be brought about, which will give Ross an interest in, if not the whole removal of the Cherokees. We learn that many of the Indians are opposed to any arrangement being made with Ross—rather preferring to be removed by the whites for what reasons we are unable to divines.—Gaz

Republican Banner, August 1, 1838



Scott and the Cherokees.— From a conversation with an intelligent gentleman directly from the Cherokee country, we learn that all apprehension of difficulty or disaster from that quarter is now entirely removed— that one-fourth of the Cherokees, or about four thousand in numbers, have already been forwarded to their future residence in the west, and that the residue of the nation, almost to a man, are now quietly encamped under the protection of the United States troops, at convenient places for removal, amply and comfortably provided for; and will be conveyed to their place of destination as soon as the heat of the season will permit. Thus a great and fearful object, though seemingly one of dire necessity, will soon be accomplished, and probably without the loss of a single life.

If any thing can atone for the violation of national faith—if any thing can palliate the injustice of removing, by force of arms, and unoffending, and, comparatively, a civilized people, from their native homes to a distant and barbarous region, it is to be found, partly in the compensation offered by the removing power, but mostly in the watchful solicitude, and guarding humanity by which the act was accompanied. No laurel which Scott has acquired, will live so long or bloom so freshly round his brow, as that which he has gathered in the bloodless fields of the Cherokee country. He has, in the discharge of the ungrateful duty imposed upon him, gained by his vigilance, humanity, and address, immortal honor.

The heroism of the sword belongs to many— to none more emphatically than to Scott: but a courageous, enlightened, and self-denying humanity, is a higher attribute, and belongs to but few. Happily for the Cherokees, and happily, too, for the honor of his country, in the character of Scott they have been found united.— New York American.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (August 2, 1838): 75.



We learn from the Hamilton Gazette, that the conference between the Cherokee Council and Genl. Scott has resulted in an arrangement by which the transportation of the Indians has been entrusted to the Chiefs of the nation, who are to receive $65 per head for the removal. The Indians are to be subsisted by the Government until they commence their journey, from which time the Chiefs are to furnish all the subsistence and means of transportation. They are to commence the removal on the 1st September in detachments of one thousand, to follow each other after intervals of a few days. By the 20th October it is thought all will be on the way. The Indians, it is said, are highly
pleased with the arrangement.

Republican Banner, August 15, 1838


Extract from a letter from the Cherokee Country.

“The Cherokees are a sober, quiet and orderly people. On Sunday last I was still at Fort Cass. At the surrounding camps religious exercises were strictly observed. The gospel was proclaimed by full-blooded Cherokees in their native language—the hold sacrament was administered, and three were baptized. Every thing was conducted in a manner so earnest and solemn as to cause the white man to blush. The preachers referred to the present condition of their people, exhorting them to use no violence against their oppressors; but to submit all things to an overruling Providence. A portion of the Testament and some hymns have been translated into the Cherokee tongue! and had not the Georgians destroyed their printing press, the Bible might at this day be read in the Cherokee language.”

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (September 13, 1838): 168.


GENERAL SCOTT.— We publish with great pleasure the following just and noble tribute to General SCOTT, from one who knows him well.— Richmond Enquirer.

Extract of a letter from Washington

“The manner in which this gallant officer has acquitted himself within the last year upon our Canada frontier and lately among the Cherokees, has excited the universal admiration and gratitude of the whole nation. Owing to his great popularity to the north— his thorough knowledge of the laws of his own country, as well as those which govern nations, united to his discretion — his great tact and experience, has saved the country from a ruinous war with Great Britain. And by his masterly skill and energy among the Cherokees, united to his noble generosity and humanity, he has not only effected what every body supposed could not be done without the most heart-rending scenes of butchery and bloodshed, but he has effected it by obtaining the esteem and confidence of the poor Cherokees themselves. They look upon him as a benefactor and friend, and one who has saved them from entire destruction.

“All the Cherokees were collected from emigration without bloodshed or violence — and all would have been on their way to the west before the middle of July, had not humanity induced General Scott to stop the movement until the first of September. Three thousand had been sent off in the first half of June by the Superintendent, before the General took upon himself the responsibility of stopping the emigration from feelings which must do everlasting honor to this heart.

“An approval of his course had been sent on by the War Department before his report, giving information that he had stopped the emigration, had reached the seat of Government.

“In the early part of January last, the President asked Congress for enlarged powers, to enable him so maintain our neutral obligations to England, that is, to tranquillize the Canadian frontiers.

“Before the bill passed Congress, General Scott had finished the work, and effected all its objects. These, too, he effected by flying from one end of the frontier to the other in the dead of winter, and during the severest and coldest period of it.

“He returns to Washington, and is immediately ordered to the Cherokee nation, to take charge of the very difficult and hazardous task to his own fame of removing those savages from their native land. Some of this best friends regretted, most sincerely, that he had been ordered to this service; and knowing the disposition of the world to cavil and complain without cause, had great apprehensions that he would lose a portion of the popularity he had acquired by his distinguished success on the Canadian frontier. But behold the manner in which this last work has been performed! There is so much of noble generosity of character about Scott, independent of his skill and bravery as a soldier, that his life has really been one of romantic beauty and interest. You recollect his conduct when on his way to take command of the army engaged in the Black Hawk war. The corps he had with him were all stricken down with the cholera before he joined General Atkinson. What was his conduct? Did he leave them to their fate, and fly to the army of the gallant and accomplished Atkinson, his warm personal friend, in order that he might snatch from him the laurels for which he had toiled so long, and which he was just then on the point of winning? No: He clung to his sick soldiers dying all around him with the dreadful pestilence, and exerted himself day and night to save them from the grave, to the imminent hazard of his life. He could have taken command of the army — it was his right. But behold his magnanimity! In this scene of General Scott’s life, he shines more brilliantly, in my estimation, than in the most glorious battle he ever fought — I will not except his “elegant battle at Chippewa,” as it has been called, where two perfectly disciplined armies met upon a plain in the open day, on the 5th of July, 1814, and under a bright summer’s sun, took a fair field fight, aided by all the discipline and skill that the science of war could give them. Scott whipped his enemy off the field fairly, although his army was inferior in numbers. Nor will I except his bloody battle of Niagara, in which he had three horses killed under him, and where he was most dreadfully wounded himself, after having made several charges upon the enemy, which, for courage and desperation, the British officers themselves acknowledged never was surpassed! In this battle one-half of Scott’s command was either killed or wounded!!”

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (October 4, 1838): 220.


Steamboat Platte, near Boonville, September 10th, 1838.

I had the honor, in the last month to notify your Excellency of the invitation given by the Cherokees to the Chiefs and principal Braves of the Indian nations, inhabiting the country near our western frontier north of Red river, (excepting the Osages and Kansas,) to
attend a great Council to be holden about the 11th of the present month, at the Cherokee Council House, on the waters of Arkansas.

Having intimated to the War Department my intention to visit the council, I deemed it advisable first to ascertain whether the chiefs of the nations west of the State of Missouri would, or would not attend.

I have now the satisfaction to announce to your Excellency the fact that two of the most respectable of these nations, namely, the Delawares and Shawnees, have positively refused to comply with the invitation of the Cherokees to attend the council; and that these nations have assigned for their non-attendance the very prudent reason that the Cherokees, in their invitation had failed to explain to the nations invited, the object of the intended council. It was therefore inferred by the Delawares and Shawnees that the nation calling the council had some sinister motive in this artful concealment, such as might give just causes of offence to the United States. They had therefore unanimously determined not to attend “ the great council.”

Lieut. Colonel Mason reports to me that he had not been able to ascertain whether the Chiefs or Braves on any of the nations west or northwest of the State of Missouri had consented to attend; but he was under the impression that most of them would follow the praiseworthy example of the Delawares and Shawnees, and not attend the council. Such a determination would effectually prostrate any hostile schemes which the Mexican party of the Cherokees may have had in view against our frontier.

Believing the conduct of these friendly Indians on this occasion, will operate as a salutary rebuke upon the restless and intriguing part of the Cherokee nation, and their old friends, the faithless part of the Creeks and Seminoleans — a rebuke well calculated to restrain, effectually, their spirit of intrigue and hostility, and deeming the moral effect of such a rebuke coming from their red neighbors, to be altogether better than if it had come from me, or from any other officer of the Government, I have determined not to pay so much respect to the “great council” as to make it the visit which I intended.

Brigadier General Arbuckle, the commanding General of the 2d Department of this Division of the Army, is stationed near the spot where the council is to be held; and having been for some years past on duty near the Southern Indians, is well acquainted with the character of their chiefs, and will not fail to inform himself of their designs and keep them in check. I expect soon to receive his report of their conduct in the great council, and should it contain any thing particularly interesting to the State of Missouri, I will lose no time in sending you a copy.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major General U.S. Army, commanding.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (October 4, 1838): 221


From the Hamilton Gazette. CHEROKEE EMIGRATION. The Hairs, Busyheads, Hixes, and Banjes detachments, consisting of one thousand each, are on the road to their new homes. Foreman’s detachment will start from Candy’s Creek on next Monday. Brown’s and Taylor’s detachments recently encamped near this place, have rendezvoused at Vann’s preparatory to their departure in the course of next week. There remains four other detachments, which it is thought will get off by the 9th.

We are informed that the health and condition of the Indians is much improved from the circumstance of the whooping cough and measles having passed through them, and the cessation of the summer complaints by the approach of the fall season.

Republican Banner [Nashville, TN] Tuesday October 9, 1838


CHEROKEE EMIGRATION. — The Nashville Whig of the 24th ult. says, there seems to be but little doubt that General Scott’s arrangement with John Ross will be carried into complete operation, notwithstanding the clamor raised against Ross and his friends by speculators and others interested in the removal of the Indians under Government contract. On the 29th ult. two parties of 1,000 or 1,200 each started by land, under, the Ross contract, but were compelled to halt a Blythe’s ferry on the Tennessee, to wait for rain, the drought being so great as to endanger the safety of the emigrants.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (October 11, 1838): 236


THE INDIANS. — A very intelligent and observant gentleman who has just visited several tribes of Indians, informs us that he believes that Gen. Gaines and others have misapprehended the intention of the Cherokees in inviting the various tribes to attend their council. Our informant states that they are by no means anxious to have collision with the whites, and that he thinks their main object was to induce all the tribes near our borders to move beyond the reach of our people. They are of opinion that their proximity to the States has a most injurious effect upon them: that it breaks the spirit of the warrior; brings upon them intemperance; and for these reasons they are said to have some idea of removing to places beyond our reach. They have found out, that they cannot contend against the Americans, and they say if they are to be engaged in wars, they would rather contend against men whose customs and manners are similar to their own. If the Cherokees resolve to remove, our informant thinks it is possible they will be joined by the Kansas and other nations, who will make some league of mutual protection and defense against any new enemies they may encounter. If these really be their objects, no one would regret it; and the good wishes of all would attend them in their journeying to the Southwest. — St. Louis Bulletin.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (October 25, 1838): 269.


FROM THE CHEROKEE COUNTRY. — Letters received inNorfolk from Athens, Tennessee, the present head quarters of Gen. Scott, dates Oct. 3d, state that the extensive drought had prevented the emigration of the Indians as contemplated, the rivers being low, and there not being water enough to sustain the Indians and their cattle. The emigration was thus retarded one month, but at our advices, showers of rain had fallen, and one thousand Indians were to have departed on the 2d for the west. At short intervals parties of 1,000 each would follow suit, and it is probable that at this time all the Indians are on their way westward, except the decrepit and sick, who will remain until the rivers become navigable.

Great praise is due to Gen. Scott for the patience and discretion displayed by him throughout the whole of this troublesome affair, and it is to his prudent foresight and prompt action that the country is exempt from a worse than Florida war.

We understand that the Indians are anxious to depart, and will move the alacrity, in spite of underhanded measures designed to work upon their feelings and render them dissatisfied and mutinous. — Beacon.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 7 (October 25, 1838): 269


: The Nashville Whig of the 23d ult. says: “The first detachment of 980 Cherokees, passed through this city yesterday on their way to the West; and another detachment may be looked for to-day or to-morrow.”

Batesville News, November 8, 1838


Hamilton, Nov. 1–THE CHEROKEES. We visited, on last Wednesday, Taylor’s detachment of Indians stationed near Vann’s. There were about 900 enrolled, and others continually coming in. The detachment was to commence crossing the river to-day, and was expected to be on the other side and read to take up the line of march by the first of next week. The health of the Indians, was very good, and as little disorder prevailed as could be expected under the circumstances. Drs. Wm. I and George Morrow are the Physicians to the detachment.

We learned that there were but two other detachments remaining and they were expected to start simultaneously with Taylors. John Ross and family were on the Eve of starting. Ross expected to travel in company with the last detachments, for some distance, then hasten on to receive the other detachments, by the time they reached their new homes. — Hamilton Gaz.

Republican Banner [Nashville, TN] November 9, 1838.


THE CHEROKEES. The last detachment of the emigrating Cherokees, numbering 1,700 or 1,800 persons, is now at Mill Creek, about four miles from this city. Winter is approaching so rapidly that some of the detachments will be compelled to halt far short of their ultimate destination. A point upon the Ohio, convenient to navigation, will probably be selected for their winter quarters. When the navigation becomes good in the spring, they can easily be
transported by water to their future homes.


Republican Banner [Nashville, TN] Dec 1, 1838



The last detachments of the Cherokee Indians passed through this place on Sunday. They were in number about eighteen hundred. It is apprehended that they will suffer intensely from the cold, ere they reach their new homes, particularly if they prosecute their journey by land during the winter. It has been suggested that they will probably pitch their tents in the neighborhood of the Ohio River and wait for spring.

Republican Banner [Nashville, Tennessee], Dec. 4, 1838


Smithville, Dec. 10th, 1838.

Emigrating Indians.-I am informed that there are about 1250 emigrating Indians now on their way to the “far west.” Last night they camped on Fourche Dumas. It is expected they will pass through Batesville about one week from this time. From Batesville, they intend going up White river to Fort Gibson. W. B.

Batesville News, December 13, 1838


Emigrating Cherokees.–A party of between 7 and 800 Cherokees arrived opposite this place, a few days since, where they have remained encamped. We understand they proceed on their way to the west to-morrow.

Arkansas Advocate, December 19, 1838


Smithville, Dec. 13, 1838.

Dear Jordan-

About twelve hundred Indians passed through this place yesterday, many of whom appeared very respectable. The whole company appear to be well clothed, and comfortably fixed for travelling. I am informed that they are very peaceable, and commit no depredations upon any property in the country through which they pass. They have upwards of one hundred wagons employed in transporting them; their horses are the finest that I have ever seen in such a collection. The company consumes about one hundred and fifty bushels of corn per day.

It is stated that they have the measles and whooping-cough among them, and that there is an average of four deaths per day. They will pass through Batesville in a few days.

I have no news of importance to send you-nothing out of the ordinary course of things has transpired in this place, since I last wrote you.
W. B.

Batesville News, December 20, 1838



On the 15th inst., a detachment of the Cherokee Indians passed near Batesville, Independence co., Ark., on their way to their new home in the “far west.” Many of them came through the town to get their carriages repaired, horses shod, &c. &c.

The following are the principal officers among them: John Benge, Conductor; Geo. Lowry, Assistant, do.; Dr. W. P. Rawles, of Gallatin, Ten., Surgeon, and Physician; W. S. Coody, contractor.

They left Gunter’s Landing, on Tennessee River, about 25 miles above Huntsville, Ala., the 10th of Oct.; since which time, owing to their exposure to the inclemency of the weather, and many of them being destitute of shoes, and other necessary articles of clothing, about 50 of them have died.

Doctor Rawles stands high in their estimation, as a friend to the Indians, and but few men are better qualified for the station he now occupies among them. He expects to accompany them all the way, and that he will not set out for home until about the 1st of January.

In the years of 1826-27, the writer of this brief notice labored among those Indians, as a Missionary; and truly, he found them to be an interesting people, ripe for the Gospel. He taught a mission school five days in the week, and preached on Saturdays and Sundays. Many were converted to the Christian faith, and for five months at a time, such was the exemplary piety of those who had professed religion, and such was the influence of the Gospel upon those who did not openly profess it, that he never saw a drunken man, nor heard an oath sworn, nor heard of a quarrel or fight in the neighborhood of the mission; neither did he ever hear the report of a gun, or an axe, during the above length of time, in the neighborhood, on the Sabbath day.

Several other missionaries, of different denominations, were laboring with and for them, in different parts of the Nation, at the same time.–Our success exceeded our most sanguine expectations. Thousands of them gave every necessary evidence of converting grace, and sometimes, scores professed religion at one meeting; and, unlike many others, they were not deterred by the distance of a few miles, from attending the preaching of the Gospel. If they could have regular preaching within ten or twelve miles of them, they felt that they were highly favored. Many times they were seen, from the hoary headed sire and matron, down to little boys and girls, wading through the mud and swamps for miles, to hear what the Great Spirit would say to them, through the instrumentality of the missionary.

Many large and flourishing societies, and schools were gotten up among them. They had a Printing Press of their own, from which a weekly paper, called “The Cherokee Pheonix,” was issued for some years, and edited by a native Cherokee. They also had the great part, if not the whole, of the New Testament translated into their own language. Indeed, no aboriginal tribe of Indians in North America, were tending faster toward civilization, and christianity, than the Cherokee.

But in the difficulties between them and the Georgians, and the General Government, the Georgians, I am credibly informed, destroyed their press; and the turbulence of the times had the unhappy tendency to break up their schools, dissolve their societies, and produce a state of general confusion and distress; so that many who had professed faith in Christ, measured back their steps to earth again. Many others, however, still hold on their way, and say, “they seek a home in heaven.” May the Great Disposer of events overrule every thing for their good, and may they be prosperous and happy.

O Jesus the Cherokees save,

And bring them at last to thy rest;

And when they shall leave the cold grave,

May they then be found with the blest.

G. W. Morris

Batesville, 18th Dec. 1838

Batesville News, December 20, 1838



The Cherokees –A correspondent of the Batesville News, says, under date of

Smithville, Lawrence Co., Dec. 13, 1838.

About twelve hundred Indians passed through this place yesterday, many of whom appeared very respectable. The whole company appear to be well clothed, and comfortably fixed for travelling. I am informed that they are very peaceable, and commit no depredations upon any property in the country through which they pass. They have upwards of one hundred wagons employed in transporting them; their horses are the finest I have ever seen in such a collection. The company consumes about one hundred and fifty bushels of corn per day.

It is stated that they have the measles and whooping-cough among them, and there is an average of four deaths per day.”

Arkansas Gazette, January 2, 1839


INDIAN MORTALITY. — Dr. Buller, one of the physicians of the emigrating Cherokees, computes that 2,000 out of 16,000, or one-eighth of the whole number, have died since they left their houses, and began to encamp for emigration in June last. — New
Orleans Bee

Army and Navy Chronicle, 8 (January 3, 1839): 12.


The Cherokees.–The steam boat Victoria arrived here on Saturday last, having on board 228 Cherokees, the last of the nation to be removed from the east of the Mississippi. They are mostly those who had been prevented by sickness from emigrating by land, with the main body of the nation. Some few are still scattered in the mountains of North Carolina, resisting all persuasions to join their brethren in their exodus from their fatherland. Among those on board the Victoria were John Ross and his
family. Mr. Ross’ wife, we regret to state, died shortly before reaching Little Rock, and was buried in the cemetery of this city.

Arkansas Gazette, February 6, 1839


Four detachments of the emigrating Cherokees have, within a few days, passed through our city, and seven others are behind, and are expected to pass in a week or two. They average about a thousand each. Of the third party, our brother Evan Jones, who has been eighteen years a missionary in the nation, is conductor; and the fourth is under the direction of the celebrated Dta-ske-ge-de-hee, known among us as Bushyhead. In the two parties they direct, we learn there are upwards of five hundred Baptists.

During two or three days, that their business detained them in the vicinity of this city, we have had the pleasure of some intercourse with these and others of our Cherokee brethren; and more lovely and excellent Christians we have never seen. On Monday evening last,
the 5th of November, several of them were with us, at the monthly concert of prayer for missions. It was expected that the meeting would be addressed by Oganaya (Peter,) Ga-ne-tuh (John Wickliffe,) and the Chief, Sut-tu-a-gee, all in Cherokee, and interpreted by Dsa-gee. Some of these brethren, however, were sick, and others were detained by other causes, but their places were well supplied. We had a very crowded house. The services were commenced by singing a hymn in Cherokee, by brethren Jones, (who, by the way, is called by the Indians Ga-wo-hee-lo-ose-keh,) Dta-ske-ge-de-hee, Gha-nune-tdah-cla-gee (Going on the hill,) and Aht-zthee. After prayer, and another hymn, we were addressed by Ga-wo-he-lo-ose-keh, and Dta-ske-ge-de-hee, in English, and, in a very interesting manner, by Aht-zthee in Cherokee, interpreted by br. Bushyhead; and the services closed in the usual form. The effect was thrilling, and the people, though we did not ask a collection, spontaneously came up, and contributed to the Baptist mission among the Cherokees.

Last night, (the 7th,) br. Jones and br. Bushyhead were again with us. Two other Indian brethren, whose names we did not write down, and cannot remember, were expected, but the rain, which had been falling all day, in the evening poured down in torrents, and they did not come into the city. Our congregation was much larger than we expected. Br. Bushyhead
addressed us in English, after prayer and a hymn in Cherokee, on the subject of missions. After pointing out the scripture authorityand obligations to the holy work, he told us that he could very well remember when his nation knew nothing of Jesus Christ. He detailed to us some particulars in relation to their religious opinions, and method of spending their time, their habits, and domestic manners, and contrasted them with the present condition and character of his people, and thus illustrated the happy effects already produced among them by the gospel. He told us he recollected most distinctly the first time he ever heard the name of the Savior. He recounted to us some particulars of his conversion and that of his father and mother, and gave a short account of the effects of his own, and the preaching of Oganaya, and others, among his countrymen, and especially of the glorious revival that prevailed among them in their camps this summer, during which himself and Ga-ne-tuh and others had baptized over a hundred and seventy, upwards of fifty of whom were baptized on one occasion. He adverted to the opposition to missions waged by some Tennessee Baptists, and presented himself and hundreds of his brethren as living instances of the blessing of God upon missionary labors. He closed by stating that it was now seen that Cherokees could be Christians; commending his nation particularly, and the Indians generally to the prayers of the Lord’s people, and beseeching them still to sustain the preaching of the gospel among them. He sat down in tears.

Br. Jones followed in a very eloquent address on the same subject, adding some interesting observations about the translation of the bible into Cherokee, in the letter invented by See-qua-yah (G. Guess,) at present in progress by himself and br. Bushyhead. The effect
produced will not soon be erased from our mind, and we trust the recollection of the numerous instances recited of God’s goodness and mercy to our red brethren, will add fervor to many a prayer, and zeal to many an effort, for the salvation of the noble-hearted Indian.

Baptist Missionary Magazine, 19 (March 1839), 64-65, reprinted from the Nashville, Tennessee, monthly, The Baptist.


Gen. Wool, accompanied by Lieut. Macomb, as assistant, passed up the Mississippi on the 7th inst., on his way to Fort Gibson, having already inspected the posts on Red river.

A new military post has been established on the Illinois river, in the Cherokee nation, about sixty miles north of Fort Gibson, and has been named, by order of the Secretary of War, “Fort Wayne.” It is at present garrisoned by E company, 4th infantry, under command of Lieut. M. C. M. Hammond. The nearest post office, we believe, is Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 8 (April 25, 1839): 266.


CHEROKEE INDIANS. — We understand that a sword has lately been presented to Lieutenant Edward Deas, of the U. S. Army, by some of the Cherokee Indians, as a testimony of their gratitude for his kind attention to their comfort, while he was superintendent in their removal of the West of the Mississippi last winter. This circumstance is alike honorable to that officer, and to the race who have too often met with far different treatment. May they be happy and prosperous in their new homes. — New York Gazette.

Army and Navy Chronicle, 8 (May 16, 1839): 316

Updated 5.25.2010