The Trail of Tears

The Creeks and Chickasaws, like the Cherokees, had been moving westward for several years, but the great removal often referred to as "The Trail of Tears" took place from the early to the mid 1830s. This was under Andrew Jackson's administration. John Ross -- his Indian name was White Swan -- was the very capable and intelligent Chief of the Cherokees during these times and when he saw his people had to go, he pleaded with the President to be lenient with them that they might move in an orderly manner; however, the government paid little, if any, attention to his request and they were all assembled and the U.S. Army was assigned the duty of escorting them to their new land.

There were different routes taken in this removal. Some of them were crossed at or near Arkansas Post and followed a road up the Arkansas River westward, but at least one large assembly was moved through what is now Marion County.

This route was the Old Military Road which was constructed sometime between 1830 and 1835 or at least this section of it was. It meandered north from Jackson port on the White River to a crossing of the White River at a ferry which had been established in early times. It was referred to in the beginning as Talbert's Ferry, later Mooney's Landing, and in more recent times as Denton Is Ferry. It cannot be ascertained if Mooney's Landing and the ferries were located in the same place; but, if not, they were very near. This road crossed what is now the Lyle Wood farm which borders White River on the west and meandered on westward up Fallen Ash Creek taking the people on in the direction of the desolate country west of the Arkansas border.

While it is not known for certain, facts indicate that John Ross accompanied this large assemblage that traveled the Military Road through Marion County.

It appears that the Indians who occupied our area and had not already moved on were leaving at this time. Some were reluctant to leave but it seems by the late 1830s they were in new homes in a new territory.

Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.