How a tiny, “insignificant” Dot can “change a course” of history as it was known!
(A Dot in Dautzenlein lingo is a person, place, date, or event. Dautzenlein means “connecting the dots and lines”.)
Researchers are tasked with observing and revisiting information to discover more connections and other possibilities.
So often historians hear: “We really don’t have any significant information or relevant history handed down through our family.” or “All we have is an old letter or photo.” To anyone who has historical documents, writings, maps, sketches, or photographs – please be aware that even the smallest thing can hold the biggest clue!
Here’s a true story about how extraordinary a mundane statement can be to a researcher.
In an appendix of John Latty’s book, Carrying off the Cherokee, there is a note about a soldier’s complaint that he got piles (hemorrhoids) while serving in the militia in June of 1838. Standing alone, this certainly adds some color to the drab palette of military records but that note dramatically adds a technicolor scene to our Dautzenlein research into the Trail of Tears as it relates to Fort Buffington.
Vogt-Dautzenlein has held that the Cherokee Trail of Tears from Fort Buffington to Fort Wool at New Echota took a different route than that proposed by the National Park Service and Trail of Tears Association, as shown on their maps and written in their descriptions.
This hypothesis was not taken very seriously as there was no known supporting evidence. Vogt-Dautzenlein has now connected the dots, with evidence, from Fort Buffington to Donaldson’s Ferry and then to Waleska (see our earlier post and book) and NOW to Pine Log Town northwest of Waleska.
Thanks to this short “hemorrhoid” reference, a Fort Buffington solder, James Thrasher, is placed at Pine Log Town, about June 1, 1838. Since the Cherokee and their guards left Fort Buffington sometime between May 30 and June 2, it follows that Thrasher was probably on his way with the Cherokee to Fort Wool and that the course of the Trail ran through Pine Log Town after stopping near Waleska on the first night. The dots all connect!
In the grand scheme of things this does not alter the rotation of the earth on its axis but even seemingly inconsequential things can help connect some dots toward a fuller understanding of the Removal in North Georgia.
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