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Sequoyah Research Center

Journal of B.B. Cannon — Cherokee Removal, 1837

B. B. Cannon’s Journal of Occurrences with a Party of Cherokee Emigrants. October 1837

A Journal of occurrences in conformity with the Revised Regulations No 5. Paragraph 8. kept by B. B. Cannon, Conductor of a Party of Emigrating Cherokee Indians, put in his charge, at the Cherokee Agency East, by Genl. N. Smith, Superintendent of Cherokee removals, on the 13th day of October 1837.

Oct. 13th, 1837.

Sent the wagons to the Indian encampment and commenced loading, in the evening.

Oct. 14th, 1837.

Completed loading the wagons and crossed the Highwassee river at Calhoun, encamped, at 5 o’c. P.M.

Oct. 15th, 1837.

Marched the Party at 8 o”c. A.M. halted and encamped at Spring Creek, at 11 o’c A.M. where Genl. Smith mustered the Party, which consumed the remainder of the day, 5 miles to day.

Oct. 16th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted and encamped at Kelly’s ferry on
Tennessee river, at 4 o’c. P.M.  Issued corn & fodder,
Corn meal & bacon, 14 miles to day.

Oct. 17th, 1837.

Commenced ferrying the Tennessee river at 8 o’c. A.M., having been
detained until the sun dispelled the fog, every thing being in
readiness to commence at day light, completed ferrying at 4 o’c.
P.M. and reached little [p. 2] Richland creek at 8 o’c. P.M..,
where  the Party had been directed to halt and encamp, Issued
corn & fodder, 7 miles to day.

Oct. 18th, 1837.

Marched at 7 ½ o’c. A.M., one of the provision wagons oversat,
detained a half hour, no damage done, ascended Wallens ridge, (the
ascent 2 miles) halted at Ragsdale’s at 1 ½ o’c. P.M., encamped
and issued corn & fodder, corn-meal & bacon, 10 miles
further to water, all wearied getting up the mountain, 5 miles
today.

Oct. 19th, 1837.

Marched at 7 ½ o’c. A. M. descended the mountain, halted at 2
o’c. P.M., at Sequachee river near Mr. Springs, Issued corn &
fodder, 11 ½ miles to day.

Oct. 20th, 1837.

Marched at 6 ½ o’c. A.M., ascended the Cumberland mountain,
halted at Mr. Flemings, ¾ past 3 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued
corn & fodder, corn meal & Bacon, 14 ½ miles to day.

Oct. 21st, 1837.

Marched at 7 ½ o’c. A.M., descended the mountain, halted at
Collins river, 4 1/r o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn &
fodder, the Indians appear fatigued this evening.  13 miles
today—road extremely rough.

Oct. 22nd, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M. passed through McMinnville, halted at Mr.
Britts ½ past 12 o’c. M., encamped and issued corn & fodder,
corn meal & Bacon, Sugar [p. 3] and coffee to the waggoners
& Interpreters, no water for 12 miles ahead, procured a quantity
of corn meal and bacon to day.  ##  7 ½ miles to day.

Oct. 23rd, 1837.

Marched at 6 ½ o’c. A.M., Capt. Prigmore badly hurt by a wagon
horse attempting to run away, halted at Stone river near Woodbury,
Te. ½ past 4 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, 20
miles to day.

Oct. 24th, 1837.

Marched at 7 ½ o’c. A. M., halted at Mr. Yearwoods, 4 o’c.
P.M., rained last night and to day, Issued corn & fodder, corn
meal and bacon, 15 miles to day.

Oct. 25th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., buried Andrew’s child at ½ past 9
o’c. A.M., passed through Murfreesborough, halted at Overall’s
creek, 4 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn and fodder, 14 miles
to day.

Oct. 26th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., passed through three turnpike Gates,
halted at Mr. Harris, 3 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn &
fodder, corn meal & bacon, 16 ½ miles to day.

Oct. 27th, 1837.

Marched at 7 ½ o’c. A.M., passed through two Turn-


##  I would remark here that all supplies, both of forage
and subsistence, were purchased, and Pikages, toll and ferriages
contracted for on the way west by a contracting agent, and paid for
on my request by Doct. Reynolds, the [continued at the bottom of
page 4]


[p. 4] pike gates, and crossed the Cumberland river on the
Nashville toll bridge, at Nashville, halted at Mr. Putnams ½ past 3
o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, Isaac Walker and
[sic] emigrant belonging to the Party, overtook us.  Mr. L. A.
Kincannon, contracting agent, left us, and returned home, having, on
the way, near McMinnville signified his intention, verbally, to do
so, assigning as the reason the delicate situation of his health, 13
miles to day.

Oct. 28th, 1837.

Rested for the purpose of washing clothes, repairing wagons, and
shoeing horses.  Reese, Starr and others of the emigrants
visited Genl. Jackson who was at Nashville, Issued corn &
fodder, corn-meal and bacon, Assigned Mr. E. S. Curry to supply the
place of Mr. Kincannon.

Oct. 29th, 1837.

Marched at 8 ½ o’c. A.M., halted at Long creek ½ past 2 o’c.
P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, 13 ½ miles to day.

Oct. 30th, 1837.

Marched at 7 ½ o’c A.M., halted at Little red river ½ past 5
o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, corn-meal &
Bacon, 18 ½ miles to day.

Oct. 31st, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted at Graves, Ken. 3 o’c. P.M.,
Issued corn & fodder, 16 miles to day.


Disbursing Agent for the Party.


[p. 5]

Nov. 1st, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c., A.M., buried Ducks child, passed throug [sic]
Hopkinsville, Ken, halted at Mr. Northerns ½ past 5 o’c. P.M. 
Encamped & issued corn & fodder, Flour and bacon, 19 miles
to day.

Nov. 2nd, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M. and halted one mile in advance of Mr.
Mitchersons, 3 o’o. P.M., encamped and issued corn and fodder.

Nov. 3rd, 1837.

David Timpson and Pheasant, emigrants belonging to the party, came
up last night in the stage, having been heretofore enrolled, and
mustered, marched at 8 o’c. A.M., passed thro’ Princeton, Ken.,
halted and encamped near Mr. Barnetts, at ½ past 4 o’c. P.M. 
Issued corn & fodder, Flour & bacon, 17 miles to day.

Nov. 4th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted and encamped at Threlkelds branch,
4 o’c, P.M., Issued corn & fodder, 15 miles to day.

Nov. 5th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., passed thro’ Salem, Ken., halted and
encamped at another Mr. Threlkelds branch at 4 o’c. P.M., Issued
corn & fodder, corn meal, a small quantity of flour, and bacon,
13 ½ miles to day.

Nov. 6th, 1837.

Marched at 7 o’c. A.M., arrived at Berry’s ferry (Golconda
opposite on the Ohio river) 9 o’c. A.M., every thing in readiness
to commence ferrying, but [p. 6]

Prevented on account of the extreme high winds and consequent
roughness of the river, which continued the remainder of the day,
encamped in the evening, Issued corn & fodder, 5 ½ miles to
day.

Nov. 7th, 1837.

Commenced ferrying at ½ past 5 o’c. A.M., moved the Party as
it crossed one mile out and encamped.  Completed crossing 4
o’c. P.M., all safely, Issued corn & fodder, corn meal &
bacon, 1 mile to day.

Nov. 8th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., Mr. Reese & myself remained behind,
and buried a child of Seabolts, overtook the Party, halted and
encamped at Big Bay creek, 4 o’c. P.M., Issued corn & fodder,
(James Starr & wife, left this morning with two carry-alls to
take care of, and bring on three of their children, who were too
sick to travel—with instructions to overtake the Party as soon as
possible without endangering the lives of their children.)—15
miles to day.

Nov. 9th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c., A.M., halted and encamped at Cash creek, ½
past 4 o’c. P.M., Issued corn & fodder, corn meal & Bacon,
15 miles to day.

Nov. 10th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., were detained 2 hours on the way making a
bridge across a small creek, halted at Cypress creek, 4 o’c.,
P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, & salt, 14 miles to
day. [p. 7]

Nov. 11th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c, A.M., passed thro’ Jonesboro’ Ill., halted
and encamped at Clear creek, in the Mississippi river bottom, ½
past 3 o’c. P. M., Issued corn & fodder, corn meal &
bacon—13 miles to day, issued sugar & coffee to the wagoners,
& interpreters.

Nov. 12th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., arrived at Mississippi river, 10 o’c.
A.M., Commenced ferrying, at 11 o’c. A. M., directed the party to
move a short distance as they crossed the river, and encamp, Issued
corn & fodder, Starr came up, the health of his children but
little better, Richard Timberlake and George Ross, overtook us and
enrolled, attached themselves to Starrs family.

Nov. 13th, 1837.

Continued ferrying from 7 o’c. until 10 o’c. A.M., when the wind
arose and checked our progress, 3 o’c. P.M., resumed and made our
trip, suspended at 5 o’c. P.M., Issued corn & fodder, corn
meal & bacon, buried another of Duck’s children to day.

Nov. 14th, 1837.

Crossed the residue of the Party, Marched at 10 o’c. A. M., halted
and encamped at Mr. William’s, Issued corn & fodder, sickness
prevailing, 5 miles to day.

Nov. 15th, 1837.

Rested for the purpose of washing &c., Issued corn and fodder,
corn meal and bacon.

Nov. 16th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., left Reese, Starr and fam- [p. 8] ilies
on account of sickness in their families, also James Taylor
(Reese’s son in law) and family, Taylor himself being very sick,
with instructions to overtake the Party, passed thro’ Jackson,
Mo., halted & encamped at widow Roberts on the road via
Farmington &c., Issued corn only, no fodder to be had, 17 miles
to day.

Nov. 17th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., halted at White Water creek 4 o’c.
P.M., Issued corn & fodder, corn meal and beef, 13 miles to day.

Nov. 18th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted and encamped at Mr. Morand’s 5
o’c. P.M., Issued corn & fodder, Flour & bacon, 16 miles
to day.

Nov. 19th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted and encamped ½ past 4 o’c. P.M.,
at Wolf creek, Issued corn & fodder, 14 miles to day.

Nov. 20th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., passed thro’ Farmington, Mo., halted at
St. Francis river, 4 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn &
fodder, Flour & beef, 15 miles to day.

Nov. 21st, 1837.

A considerable number drunk last night obtained the liquor at
Farmington yesterday, had to get out of bed about midnight to quell
the disorder, a refusal by several to march this morning, alledging
[sic] that they would wait for Starr & Reese to come up at that
place, Marched at 8 o’c., A. M. in defiance of threats and
attempts to intimidate, none remained behind, [p. 9] passed through
Caledonia, halted at Mr. Jacksons, encamped and issued corn &
fodder, beef and Bacon, mostly bacon, 14 miles to day.

Nov. 22nd 1837.

Marched 8 ½ o’c. A.M., pass through the lead mines (or Courtois
diggings), halted at Scotts, 4 o’c. P.M., issued corn, fodder, and
corn meal, 13 miles to day.

Nov. 23rd, 1837.

Rested for the purpose of repairing wagons, shoeing horses, washing
&c., Starr, Reese, and Taylor came up, the health of their
families in some degree improved, Issued corn & fodder, and
beef, weather very cold.

Nov. 24th, 1837.

Marched at 8 ½ o’c. A.M., Considerable sickness prevailing,
halted at Huzza creek, 4 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn &
fodder, 12 miles to day.

Nov. 25th, 1837.

Doct. Townsend, officially advised a suspension of our march, in
consequence of the severe indisposition of several families, for a
time sufficient for the employment of such remedial agents as their
respective cases might require.  I accordingly directed the
Party to remain in camp and make the best possible arrangement for
the sick, In the evening issued corn & fodder, flour and beef.

Nov. 26th, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness continuing and increasing, Issued corn
& fodder, beef & corn meal. [p. 10]

Nov. 27th, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness continuing to increase, Issued corn &
fodder, Bacon & corn meal.

Nov. 28th, 1837.

Moved the Detachment two miles further to a Spring and School-house,
obtained permission for as many of the sick to occupy the
school-house as could do so, a much better situation for an
encampment than on the creek, sickness increasing, Issued corn &
fodder.

Nov. 29th, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness still increasing, buried Corn Tassels
child to day, Issued corn & fodder.

Nov. 30th, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness continuing, Issued corn and fodder.

December 1st, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness abating, Issued cor and fodder, Bacon
& corn meal, Buried Oolanheta’s child to day.

Decr. 2nd, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness abating, Issued corn & fodder, Beef
& corn meal.

Decr. 3rd, 1837.

Remained in camp, sickness abating, Issued corn & fodder.

Decr. 4th, 1837.

Marched at 9 o’c. A.M., Buried George Killian, [p. 11] and left
Mr. Wells to bury a waggoner, (black boy) who died this morning,
scarcely room in the wagons for the sick, halted at Mr. Davis, 12
past 4 o.c. P.M., had to move down the creek a mile off the road, to
get wood, Issued corn & fodder and corn meal, 11 miles to day.

Decr. 5th, 1837.

Marched 9 o’c. A.M., left two waggoners (black boys) at Mr. Davis
sick, this morning, halted at the Merrimack river, ½ past 3 o’c.
P.M., Encamped and issued corn and fodder, corn meal and beef, 10
miles to day.

Decr. 6th, 1837.

Marched at 9 o’c. A.M., passed Masseys Iron works, halted at Mr.
Jones’ ½ past 3 o’c. P. M., encamped and issued corn and
fodder, 12 miles to day.

Decr. 7th, 1837.

Marched at 8 ½ o’c., A.M., Reese’s team ran away, broke his
wagon and Starrs carry-all, left him and family to get his wagon
mended, at 17 miles, and to overtake if possible, halted at Mr.
Bates son, 5 o’c., P.M., encamped and issued corn and fodder,
corn-meal & bacon, 20 miles to day.

Decr. 8th, 1837.

Buried Nancy Bigbears Grand Child, marched at 9 o’c. A.M., halted
at Piney a small river, ½ past 3 o’c. P.M., rained all day,
encamped and issued corn only, no fodder to be had, several drunk,
11 miles to day. [p. 12]

December the 9th, 1837.

Marched at 9 o’c. A.M., Mayfields wagon broke down at about a mile
left him to get it mended and overtake, halted at Waynesville, Mo. 4
o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, beef & corn
meal, weather extremely cold, 12 ½ miles to day.

Decr. 10th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted at the Gasconade river 4 o’c.
P.M., Issued corn & fodder.  14 miles to day.

Decr. 11th, 1837.

Marched at ½ past 8 o’c. A. M., halted at Sumner’s 4 o’c.
P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder.  15 miles to day.

Decr. 12th, 1837.

Marched at 9 o’c. A.M., halted one mile in advance of Mr. Parkes
at a branch, 4 o’c. P. M., encamped and issued corn & fodder,
corn meal, beef and a small quantity of bacon.  14 miles to
day.

Decr. 13th, 1837.

Marched at 8 ½ o’c. A. M., halted at a branch near Mr.
Eddington’s, 4 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder,
Reese & Mayfield came up, 13 ½ miles today.

Decr. 14th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., halted at James fork of White river, near
the road but which [p. 13] does not cross the road, 3 o’c. P. M.,
Mr. Wells taken sick, Issued corn meal, corn & fodder, 15 ½
miles to day.

Decr. 15th, 1837.

Joseph Starrs wife had a child last night.  Marched at 8 ½
o’c. A. M., halted at Mr. Danforths, 1 ½ P. M., waggoners having
horses shod until late at night, encamped & issued corn &
fodder & beef.  10 ½ miles to day.

Decr. 16th, 1837.

Issued sugar & coffee to the waggoners & Interpreters this
morning, Marched at 9 o’c. A. M., passed through Springfield Mo.,
halted at Mr. Clicks, 4 o’c. P. M., encamped and issued corn &
fodder and corn-meal.  12 miles to day. (left Mr. Wells)

Decr. 17th, 1837.

Snowed last night, Buried Eleges wife and Chas. Timberlakes son
(Smoker), Marched at 9 o’c. A. M., halted at Mr. Dyes 3 o’c
P.M., extremely cold weather, sickness prevailing to a considerable
extent, all very much fatigued, encamped and issued corn &
fodder, & beef.  10 miles to day.

Decr. 18th, 1837.

Detained on account of sickness, Doct. Townsend sent back to
Springfield for medicines, buried Dreadful Waters this evening,
Issued corn and fodder & corn meal.   [p. 14]

Decr. 19th, 1837.

Detained to day also on account of sickness, cold intense, Issued
corn & fodder and beef.

Decr. 20th, 1837.

Marched at 8 ½ o’c. A. M., halted at Mr. Allens ½ past 3 o’c.
P. M., encamped, and issued corn & fodder & corn meal. 
15 miles to day.

Decr. 21st, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., halted at Lockes on Flat creek, 12 past 3
o’c. P. M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, & beef. 
15 miles to day.

Decr. 22nd, 1837.

Buried Goddards Grand child, Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., halted at
McMurtrees, 3 o’c. P.M., encamped and issued corn & fodder and
corn-meal.  15 miles to day.

Decr. 23rd, 1837.

Buried Rainfrogs daughter (Lucy Redstick’s child).  Marched
at 8 o’c. A. M. halted at Reddix, 3 o’c. P. M., encamped and
issued corn & fodder & beef.  16 miles to day.

Decr. 24th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., halted at the X hollows, had to leave the
road ¾ of a mile to get water, 3 o’c. P. M., Issued corn &
fodder, Pork and corn meal.  15 miles to day.

Decr. 25th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A. M., took the right hand [p. 15] road to Cane
hill, at Fitzgeralds, halted a half mile in advance of Mr.
Cunninghams at a branch, 3 o’c. P. M., Issued corn & fodder
and salt Pork.  15 ½ miles to day.

Decr. 26th, 1837.

Marched at 8 o’c. A.M., halted at James Coulters on Cane hill,
Ark. ½ past 3 o’c P. M., encamped and issued corn meal, corn
& fodder, 16 ½ miles to day.

Decr. 27th, 1837.

Buried Alsey Timberlake, Daughter of Chas Timberlake, Marched at 8
o’c. A. M., halted at Mr. Beans, in the Cherokee nation west, at
½ past 2 o’c. P. M., encamped and issued corn & fodder, Fresh
pork & some beef.  12 miles to day.

Decr. 28th, 1837.

The Party refused to go further, but at the same time pledged
themselves to remain together until the remuster was made by the
proper officer, for whom I immediately sent an express to Fort
Gibson, they alleged at the same time that the refusal was in
consequence of the sickness now prevailing and that only.

Doct. Reynolds Disbursing agent for the Party dismissed the wagons
from further service, Buried another child of Chas Timberlakes, and
one which was born (untimely) [p. 16] yesterday of which no other
account than this is taken, Jesse Half Breeds wife had a child last
night, issued Pork, corn meal and flour, corn & fodder for to
day.

Lieut. Van Horne arrived late this evening, having missed the
express on the way.

Decr. 29th, 1837.

Remustered the Party, Issued a small quantity of corn meal &
Pork yet on hand.

Decr. 30th, 1837.

Completed the Rolls of Remuster, turned over the Party to Lieut. Van
Horne, and dismissed my assistants.

Respectfully submitted B. B. Cannon

Source: [National Archives Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Letters Received, Cherokee Emigration, 1837, C-553, filed in Special Case 249]

Updated 12.17.2009