Trail of Tears Routes from Fort Buffington and Sixes to Fort Wool

The question recently came up:  What routes did The Cherokee take from Fort Buffington and Sixes Encampment as they started on the Trail of Tears?  We put together several references and now have a good view of how they traveled according to the National Park Service and another possibility.

Trail of Tears Routes from Fort Buffington and Sixes Encampment

The NPS suggests that the Fort Buffington Cherokee traveled west on old Alabama Road to Donaldson’s Ferry on the Etowah, north of Cherokee Court House / Etowah / Canton @ Land Lot 167/14/2.

Once across the Etowah, they would have traveled west on a road (that was layed out in 1834/35) and followed an early trail called Warford’s Trail (Wofford’s Trail) that went to Wofford’s Cross Roads.

The Trail would have turned southwest to join up with the road that ran from Downings Ferry to Cassville.

Two trails, sometimes called Upper and Lower Sweetwater, join at Laffingal and then head west, then northwest to Cassville. In 1838, Lower Sweetwater was part of the old Alabama Road, sometimes called Downing’s Ferry Road, as it continued west of Canton, across the Etowah at Downing’s Ferry and on to Laffingal and points west.

From Cassville the Trail ran for awhile on the road “from Cassville to Coosawattee” and then branched, just north of the South Fork of Two Run Creek, northwest to Adairsville and on to Calhoun and Fort Wool near New Town / New Echota .

The Sixes Cherokee crossed the Etowah at Brookes Ferry on Land Lot 216/15/2. This was north of Sixes mines, now the Bridgemill area. This route would have given the Cherokee one last look at the Sixes Village with the large Town House at its center as the trail climbed out of the river lands and up to old Alabama Road / Downing’s Ferry Rd on the same route to Cassville.

Dautzenlein Connections also point to an alternative possibility that Fort Buffington Cherokees and Sixes Cherokees took different routes to Fort Wool.

The Sixes Cherokees probably took the route above, starting at Brooke’s Ferry and following Downing’s Ferry / Alabama Road west to Ft. Wool.

The Buffington Cherokee may have taken a different, more northerly route from Donaldson’s Ferry, at Canton, northwest thorough what is now Waleska, on to Pine Log, and up to Ft. Wool. We’ve coined this the “140 Route” as it generally follows Georgia Route 140 from Martin’s Ferry, a gateway into the Cherokee Nation on the Chattahoochee River, up to Canton and all the way to Adairsville near Calhoun. Court documents from 1836 mention this “road from Canton to New Town” and its proximity to L. W. Reinhardt’s.

More research is needed to definitively map the routes but these are the two possibilities that are the most probable.

Note: See later post with Update about this!

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Victoria Harbor Marina – Victoria Landing – Lovingood’s Bridge – Historical Connections

Victoria Harbor Marina is a busy place on the shore of Lake Allatoona. How did it get its name?

The name Victoria comes from the name of a town or community that used to exist about a mile up the road from the marina at the crossroad. The town was located on what was then called Lovingood Road which went down to Lovingood’s Bridge and across the Etowah River.This road is now called Victoria Landing Dr.

The Etowah River is the main river that forms Lake Allatoona. Lovingood’s Bridge spanned the river almost straight out from the restaurant at the marina. Lovingood’s Bridge was mentioned often in Civil War dispatches as it was one of the few bridges across the river at that time and was used by both Union and Confederate forces during Sherman’s march through the area..

Samuel Lovingood, Jr owned the bridge, ferry, and mill near here. Samuel came to the area in the 1850’s. After the bridge was washed away in a flood, Lovingood operated a ferry at this location. The place where the ferry came to the shore was called a “landing”. The one here was called Lovingood or Victoria Landing.

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The Little River Marina – Cherokee Mills – Historical Connections

Many people who know of Little River Marina on Lake Allatoona in Cherokee County, Georgia have no idea about the amazing history of that very spot and the region around it.

To most it looks like an everyday section along the shores of Lake Allatoona. Who would suspect that they are standing on a spot where a Civil War skirmish took place, or that Cherokee crossed the Little River here on their way along the Trail of Tears, or that ancient Indians lived here before it became part of the Cherokee Nation?

Would one know that one of the earliest mills in the area, one that provided flour for the gold miners up the road at Sixes and Cherokee Mines, was located just a few hundred feet down river from the present bridge? McConnell’s Mill, later called Cherokee Mills, was located just beyond the docks behind Little River Grill.

There is so much history to be discovered in this area. Get details and stories here.

 

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Trail of Tears: The Cherokee Removal

The Trail of Tears and the Removal of the Cherokee is a thread that is tightly woven throughout much of the history of Georgia. Northwest Georgia was formed directly from the lands of the original Cherokee Nation.

The term, “Trail of Tears”, has come to have several meanings. Most specifically, the Trail could be defined as the actual routes that displaced Native Americans traveled in order to get to the new reservations in Oklahoma. This is the definition we will be addressing in this post.

The term has also been used to include the whole series of events that led up to and culminated with the forced displacement of the Native American tribes of the southeastern United States during the 1830’s. We will use the term “Removal” when addressing this broader view of this historical period.

The sad details, events, and politics leading up to and surrounding the Removal have been subjects of much writing and debate.  Few people, then or now, believe that this chapter of our history was handled well. It was a most confusing, heartbreaking time and perhaps one of the darkest periods of American history.

We invite anyone unfamiliar with the Removal to spend some time reading about it and forming one’s own opinions about what happened and how it happened. Spend time viewing the events and elements of the Removal from each viewpoint, that of the Native American and that of the European American.

As much of our research and documentation centers in this area of the country, the subject of the Trail of Tears comes up often. There is an effort to designate the actual Trail and place historical markers along the way.

Where did the Trail start?

Technically it could be said to have started at the doorstep of each displaced person or family. It started in May of 1838, when small and large groups were forcibly gathered and led along existing roads and trails to centralized locations which were the Removal forts or encampments, set up to act as collection and departure points. Each fort or encampment had provision packets of blankets and food for those who were not otherwise prepared for the journey west to the “new” lands.

In Cherokee County, Georgia, the research for two of our books: The Hidden History of Lake Allatoona and The Curious Disappearance or Fort Buffington turned up some interesting information concerning the Trail. There were two Removal camps here: Fort Buffington, and the encampment or cantonment at Sixes. Removal camps were set up to be responsible for approximately a ten mile radius from each fort. There were relatively few roads and trails in the area at that time.

While we do not yet know the exact location of either camp, we can narrow their locations to within a mile or less and we do have maps and court records that indicate where the roads ran. With these sources at hand we can trace the routes that were available at that time.

By dautzenleining (connecting the dots) we can use the roads, fords, ferries, maps, and documentation to locate convergences and divergences of these elements and determine areas of high probability for routes and locations.

We know the locations of the ferries used to transport the Cherokee and soldiers across the main rivers here in Cherokee County. These ferries and the roads funneling to them could then be viewed as starting points in common for many along the Trail of the Tears.

 

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