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Trail of Tears

Bridgeport Alabama

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”  George Santayana 1863

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A brief history…

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for the voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma.  May of 1838 marked the deadline for voluntary native removal.  The military was prepared to use force and did so under the command of General Winfield Scott.  General Scott ordered the round-up and removal of over 17,000 Cherokees who refused to leave.  So began the Cherokee “Trail of Tears,” one of the darkest episodes in relations between the United States and Native Americans.

The process was swift and brutal.  Detachments of  soldiers arrived at every Cherokee house and drove men, women, and children out of their homes with only the clothes on their backs.  They were placed in concentration camps where conditions were horrendous.  Food and supplies were limited and disease was rampant.  Many perished.

By late June of 1838, the upper Tennessee River had become too low for navigation due to a drought.  The  U.S. government hired wagonmaster J.C.S. Hood to transport 1,070  Native Americans by foot and wagon from Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee to what is now Waterloo, Alabama – about 230 miles. Much of the journey followed what is now U.S. Highway 72.

Upon reaching Waterloo, the survivors were in despicable condition.  Migration had to be  suspended until the river was high enough for navigation.  Many died in Waterloo and others escaped into the hills.  Many area residents can trace their native American ancestry to those who fled.

As many as 4,000 deaths occurred because of this forced removal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes.

In the end, members of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations suffered the same fate as the Cherokees.

Join us as we honor those  from the past who traveled this Trail of Tears.  Let us learn from this mistake, accept each other as we are, and walk together in peace.

The Bridgeport Trail of Tears Committee

is committed to raise awareness and money to support the Trail of Tears history in and around Bridgeport area.

Bridgeport played an important part of both the River Route and the forced overland route of the Trail of Tears.   From May 23, 1830 the deadline and start of the U. S. Government round-up of all the Cherokee Tribe that had not moved west with the tribe that signed the Treaty of New Echota and moved with the 600 Cherokee that followed John Ridge and Elias Boudinot also known as Buck Waite left this area and followed what is now Highway 64 from Chattanooga to Oklahoma.  This Trail of Tears Route is known as the Traitor Route or the Bell Route.  The people that signed the Treat of New Echota sold out the over 17,000 Cherokee that followed Chief John Ross and created a hostile environment with in the Cherokee Tribe.   This caused the people that followed Chief John Ross to execute Ridge and Boudinot when they were forced to move to the Reservation in Oklahoma in 1839.

Bridgeport was where over 5,000 Cherokee were forced to remove by flat boats down the Tennessee River to Oklahoma.  When the Tennessee River got too low to travel by flatboats, due to a drought in June of 1838 and the U. S. Government decided to relocate 1,070 Cherokee west to Waterloo, Alabama to be taken the rest of the way by steam boat to Oklahoma.  This group of 1,070 Indians were forced to march from Ross’ Landing in Chattanooga through Bridgeport to Waterloo, Alabama and then on by boat to Oklahoma.

The overland march was harsh when the Cherokee arrived in Waterloo they were all in miserable condition.  Bridgeport where they passed through and camped out very near here.



Jerry Shadow Wolf Davis    Founder of the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride ®©

An Annual September Festival

Come join us in Bridgeport Alabama as we kick of the Ride with fun and festivities!

Details about event vendors can be here ….

Trail of Tears Vendor Rules 

All vendors must check in at Vendor Booth Information tent located at the entrance to the booth dred located beside the back of the Library building

Vendor space will be 10x 10space, which can accommodate a 10 x 10 tent. Vendors are responsible for setup and clean up. Vendors must supply their own equipment (examples: tent, chairs, tables, cooler, etc.

Vendors will only be listed as either a craft vendor or food vendor. You will NOT be allowed to sell both products in your assigned booth area. Due to CDC COVID19 guidelines

Booth areas are limited on space you may be allowed to drive on site or close proximity to unload. Please unload all your merchandise and park your vehicle behind your assigned booth. Please be considerate to all other vendors and make sure you do not interfere with someone elses set up

Tents must be weighted down on each leg, prior to opening ceremony which will start promptly at 3:30 pm CST. NO STAKES ARE ALLOWED

Your booth assignment with the name of your business and booth number will be displayed on a sign in the corner of your 10x 10booth area

Each Vendor booth will bel distanced apart by 6 foot, please maintain that established marked distance

Vendors should find their assigned area and be completely set-up by 2:00 pm CST. Motorcycles should be arriving by 3:00pm CST

Due to safety reasons, vendors who arrive after the start of the event, may forfeit preassigned booth location and be assigned an alternate location. If a location within the vendor area can be located, safely

Amplified sound in the vendor booth area is strictly prohibited

There will be signage inside the booth area indicating it will be a SMOKE FREE AREA. Please do not allow smoking by anyone in your assigned area

There will posted Entrance and Exit signage

Electric outlets are available but limited.

Vendor Booth Sign-UP 

Bridgeport Trail of Tears Event Downtown Bridgeport, Alabama 

Friday, September 17, 2021 

Craft Vendor: _____________________________

Food Vendor: _____________________________

Vendor Name: ___________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________

City/State/ Zip code ____________________________

Phone# _______________________

Type of Booth (Describe items to be sold)

Type of Booth (Describe items to be sold) : __________________________________________________________________________________________

Vendors will only be listed as either craft vendor or food vendor. You will NOT be allowed to sell both products in your assigned booth area

Electric outlets are available, but limited

Booths are assigned according to product. All Food vendors are assigned to a particular area. All Craft vendors are assigned to a particular area. Booth fees are to be paid at time of registration

Food Vendors: $ 100.00 

Craft Vendors: $ 50.00 

Each additional space needed is an additional $ 25.00 

Trail of Tears opening ceremony is at 3:00 pm CST. All event vendors your booth needs to be completely set up by 2:00 pm CST

For more information contact Melissa Roper at (256) 709-0929. 

Schedule for the Night

Starting the night we have Keith Cooper Band with Justing Cooper and Shawn Rudder from 3:30-5

5-5:30 we will have DJ music

5:30- 6:00 is the Welcoming Ceremony

6:00-8:00 the band “Legacy” will be playing

8:30-10:00 Scott Collier with the “Midnight Special” Band will be playing

Finally, fireworks will happen at 10:00!


Scott Collier is a veteran of the Nashville music scene, having performed nightly for almost two decades in some of Nashville’s top venues, and has played a leading role in shaping live music in Nashville. Scott has performed his brand of high energy country music all over the world, has played legendary venues such at the Ryman Auditorium, and has performed with country music legends such as Travis Tritt, Randy Houser, Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Gibbons, and Montgomery Gentry, just to name a few. Scott’s band, the Midnight Special, features a stellar lineup of acclaimed Nashville musicians, including keys player Will Doughty from legendary rock band Poison, and veteran Nashville musicians Stephen Kelly Hunt on guitar, Jeb Shelton on bass guitar, and Lynn Brown on drums. Scott and his band currently perform nightly in Nashville’s most premier music venues, including Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk and Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

There will be pottery and jewelry for the kids! 

Come remember with us!