Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Blythe Ferry

Marker ID:  
Location: on Blythe Ferry, Birchwood TN
County: Meigs
Coordinates: N 35° 24.564    W 085° 0.514
  35.4094    -85.00856666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


One of the worst acts of "man's inhumanity" took place when an entire race of peoples were driven from their lands in 1838. It was here at Blythe Ferry that approx. 9000 Cherokees and Creeks camped while waiting to cross the Tennessee River on their forced removal. They had been held captive in stockades a few miles back. Many books have been written on the heart-wrenching description of what is now called, "The Trail of Tears". Butrick's journal describes their condition in the camps as "very much like brute animals - lieing down on the naked ground exposed to wind and rain - like droves of hogs. "Butrick also states "But not only the Cherokees - the dear Creeks and Seminoles have fallen by the same means" fictitious treaties". He speaks of "Nanny as a slave" so this shows the diversity among the detachments. A mental picture of what happened here at Blythe Ferry can be drawn from these excerpts. Oct. 16th 1838 - 10 O'Clock AM "we have only succeeded in getting some twenty waggons across the river - proprietors of the Ferry - are determined to retard all exertions" J. Powell. The last detachment crossed Nov. 12th, 1838 "I reached Blythe's Ferry on Saturday Nov. 10 - found the great body of Mr. (Peter) Hildebrand's detachment of emigrating Cherokees quietly encamped - about twelve waggons had crossed - at dawn four boats were put in requisition and continued - until dusk - close of the day about sixty one waggons - across - this morning before 12 O'Clock eighteen waggons and all the people were over." To Winfield Scott. This park is dedicated in memory to these peoples. May it serve as a touchstone for future generations.

Erected by Alabama-Tennessee Trail of Tears Corridor Committee.