Days Gone By - stories from the past

The Native Americans felt they had no other choice in the 1830s and 1840s

In the summer of 1830, Jackson urged the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek to sign individual treaties accepting removal from their homelands. The Cherokees refused to attend a meeting in Nashville that Jackson proposed. The other tribes signed off on Jackson’s terms.1 Many Native-Americans began to voluntarily emigrate to western lands.


No other choice

Seeing no other choice for them, many Native-Americans began to voluntarily move to western lands. In November 1841, the Indian Bureau reported that “the Choctaw tribe was already in motion, and it was estimated that about 5,000 would emigrate before winter.”2 The Chickasaws followed closed behind while the Creeks and Cherokees resisted.

Slow Progress Of Voluntary Indian Removal

Despite all efforts by the federal government, few Native-Americans, except for the Choctaws, voluntarily moved to the new land in the early 1830s. A report from the office of Indian affairs for 1836 summarizes the status of Indian emigration. The number of Indians who had emigrated to their allotted lands in the west by 1837 were:3

  • Quapaws—476
  • Creeks—20,437
  • Seminoles—407
  • Cherokees—7,911
  • Creeks—20,437
  • Choctaws—15,000
  • Chickasaws—549
  • Appalachicolas—265
  • Kickapoos—588
  • Delawares—1,272
  • Weas—222
  • Plankeshaws—162
  • Peorias and Kaskaskias—132
  • Pottawotomies of Indiana—53
  • Chippewas, Ottawas, Pottawotomies—2,191
  • Senecas from Sandusky—251
  • Senecas and Shawnees—211

Owed money to Indian Traders

“One of the principal obstructing causes assigned for the delay in the removal was the influence of Indian traders who exercised a great power over the Indians, who were usually in debt to these traders. The annuities were often paid almost directly from the government agents to the traders.”4

In 1834, persecution of the Cherokees by white settlers took place as bands of armed men invaded their land and forcibly took horses and cattle. Owners who resisted were assaulted. The Cherokees were divided on the point of emigration.

John Walker, a man of superior education and influence among the Cherokees, advocated for emigration. He was assassinated on his return trip home from a Council meeting. “This was the first of a long series of killings that resulted from the feuds of the Cherokees growing out of the question of emigration.”5


2A History of the State of Oklahoma, Volume 1, by Luther B. Hill, Lewis Printing Co., 1910

3A History of the State of Oklahoma, Volume 1, by Luther B. Hill, Lewis Printing Co., 1910

4A History of the State of Oklahoma, Volume 1, by Luther B. Hill, Lewis Printing Co., 1910

5A History of the State of Oklahoma, Volume 1, by Luther B. Hill, Lewis Printing Co., 1910

Read this and other stories in ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS: Removal 

Also available as Ebook


About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. This link isn’t working for me.

    1. It should be working now. Thanks

    2. David Crockett was the only congressman from Tennessee to vote against the forced removal and he was not relected to congress. He went to Texas and yall know the rest of the story

  2. Too bad the actual records don’t align with modern perception.

    The woods are thick and roads were nil. What trail did each group take? Exactly?

  3. Poor people, see big brother was a peace of shit then & ain’t changed a bit. I,m rite, u wrong. I believe in America & the people. But big brother at the wheel it don’t matter witch side. Big brother is a piece of crap. They say same law for all, bull shit a poor man don’t stand a chance with big brother.

  4. US should honor the treaty or return all lost land Supreme Court should rule on this

  5. The popular folklore differs entirely from Federal Law.

    The falsified pretense remains.

    1. Joyce Pierce Fitzgerald Us. We weren’t alive

    2. Judy Stockman she’s speaking more on humanity as a whole, rather than to specific individuals alive today.

  6. The ones who are still on reservations here in the USA. We stole everything from them, murdered and they are still mistreated. Everyone should go out West and see how they are still living in. It is terrible.

    1. Linda Stone Thrower
      I also have some American Indian heritage.
      Sorry, but the Indians lost the wars.

    2. Sonny Albright my great grandmother was Cherokee.

  7. A prime example of how greed can make otherwise good people do evil things

  8. Much like today. Economy over equity.

  9. All men are inherently evil. Not just certain people.

  10. Not trying to down play the plight of Native Americans but I will add these statistics
    Native American gaming industry is worth $100 Billion
    According to the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, Native Americans own 2% of the land which holds 20% of our country’s coal, oil, & gas reserves. A $1.5 Trillion industry for them.
    We might want to know what the Native American Council’s are doing for the over 5 Million Native Americans, 78% which live outside of the Reservations, are doing for their own people with these profits. My Great Grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee so don’t come at me with that “paleface” nonsense.

    1. Larry Morrison my Grandmother’s Grandmother was full blood Cherokee also

  11. An ancestor of my Native American friend led their people out of Alabama on the Trail of Tears.

  12. Trail of Tears…??

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