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Randall Gibson 256-608-9542

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 ….

Come remember with us!