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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