Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  Historic Site or Trail

Cherokee Removal Memorial Park at Historic Blythe Ferry

 
Visitor Center and History Wall
Routes Ampitheater
Wildife Shelter overlooking Hiwassee Island
Handicaped Ramp to Wildlife Overlook
Trail of Tears Bike Riders at Blythe Ferry Boat Ramp.
Sandnill Cranes
Typical History Wall Section
Osprey Nest
Bald Eagle
Native American Dancers
 

 

Cherokee Removal Memorial Park is a multipurpose facility dedicated to those that died and those that cried in what has become known as the "Trail of Tears". Today we are champions of human rights and oppose the practice of ethnic cleansing. However, we have a chapter in our history involving the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from the southeastern US to make land available for white settlement. The park is intended to interpret and educate the public about the forced removal of the Cherokees from their ancestral land as well as inform them about the unique wildlife in the area, and provide recreational opportunities. The Park is located at the mouth of the Hiwassee River where it joins the Tennessee River which has been a significant cross road for development of Indian culture for centuries. The project is a partnership between: Meigs County TN, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, National Park Service and Friends of the Cherokee a non-profit organization. The National Park Service identified Blythe Ferry as a major site for interpretation on the National Trail of Tears and developed a comprehensive conceptual plan for the Park. The Park is a work in progress. The following describes the existing facilities and future plans to be developed as funds are available.

PARK FACILITIES & ACTIVITES

BYTHE FERRY - William Blyth was granted authorization to operate a ferry 1809 at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers. During the Cherokee Removal nine of the thirteen detachment under the supervision of Chief Ross exited their ancestral land at Blythe Ferry which was located in the northwest corner of the Cherokee Nation. Water levels were very low due to a severe drought forcing some of them to camp there for up to six weeks waiting to cross the Tennessee River into an uncertain future. William Blythe went west with his Cherokee wife. A ferry continued to operate at the site until 1994 when the highway 60 bridge was built. Currently the ferry ramp is used for boat launching and fishing. Future plans include a combination fishing pier and boat dock as well as picnic tables and a shoreline nature trail.

VISITOR CENTER & PAVED PARKING AREA - These are multipurpose facilities to accommodate park visitors as well as serving as a community center. The Visitor Center includes: office space, restrooms, an interpretive area, library, meeting room and a utility room. The primary purpose of the library is to assist visitors in tracing their Cherokee Ancestry it also serves a library for: Native American History, The Trail of Tears Documentation, Local Archeology, Local History and Area Wildlife. Future plans include a small gift shop area selling media related to Cherokee culture and the Trail of Tears, crafts, memorabilia, and snacks.

HISTORY WALL - The History Wall describes: early culture and history how: they evolved from hunter-gatherers to a literate and highly civilized culture with a government similar to ours, they were pressured to give up their land resulting in an illegitimate treaty which they never recognized, they were rounded up and placed in stockades under deplorable conditions in which many died, how disastrous attempts by the Army to move them failed, and how they agreed to self removal.

MEMORIAL WALL - The names of 2535 Head of Household from the 1835 Census(Henderson Roll) of the Cherokee Nation taken to identify those to be removed are to appear on the Memorial Wall as well as the number of household members. About 4,200 of the 16,542 Cherokees identified perished as a result of the Cherokee Removal in 1838. This is the closest thing to a headstone they will have. The Memorial is intended to humanize them. They were not wild savages, but were at least as civilized as most that replaced them. According to the 1835 Census they were: farmers, mechanics, weavers, spinners and business men. Many were literate in Cherokee and/or English. Detailed design of the Memorial Wall is underway and construction is expected to begin as soon as 20 percent of the projected cost is secured

REMOVAL ROUTES AMPITHEATER - The water and land routes taken by the emigrating Cherokees are depicted on the sunken floor of an outside amphitheater that can be used for presentations and other functions.

HIWASSEE WILDLIFE REFUGE - The Park and Hiwassee Island are located in the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge on land leased from the Tennessee Valley Authority(TVA) by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency(TWRA). TWRA has provided a Wildlife Viewing Shelter in the Park on the knoll overlooking Hiwassee Island. They have successfully established a resident population of American Bald Eagles in the area. TWRA plaints grain crops on the island and nearby shore to support migrating waterfowl. In the late fall or early winter they sponsor Crain Days so the public can observe thousands of migrating Sandhill Hill Cranes and a few endangered Whooping Cranes. Over a hundred species of birds and other wildlife can be seen in the area.

HIWASSEE ISLAND(JOLLY’S ISLAND) - Early Hamilton, Mississippi, Dallas, Creek and Cherokee cultures have occupied the island for hundreds of years. The Desoto Expedition visited the island in 1540. TVA sponsored extensive archeological investigation of the island in the 1940’s before filling Chickamauga Reservoir which reduced the size of the island by one-half.

As a young man Sam Houston lived on the island and was adopted by Chief John Jolly who named him The Raven. He became a Remarkable American. He served as a: teacher, lawyer, Congressman, Governor of Tennessee, the General that won Texas independence, President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of Texas and U.S. Senator. After he resigned as Tennessee Governor he went to Arkansas to live with Chief Jolly before going to Texas. Chief Jolly was a leader of the Old Settlers that emigrated to Arkansas after the Cherokees ceded land north of the Hiwassee River.

HIWASSEE GARRISON SITE - After the treated that ceded Cherokee land north of the Hiwassee River the Hiwassee Garrison was established across the Tennessee River from Hiwassee Island to protect Cherokee land from white intrusion. Return Jonathan Meigs first established his Cherokee Agency there which he later moved up the Hiwassee River to Agency Creek then to Charleston. He was the Cherokee Agent leading up to the Removal and Meigs County bears his name. He is buried in the Hiwassee Garrison cemetery.

CIVIL WAR - During the Civil War a company of Union troops were stationed at the mouth of the Hiwassee River to guard grain supplies stored on Hiwassee Island. A skirmish occurred in the area on November 13, 1863 during an artillery duel.

ACTIVITES - In addition to accommodation of visitors, organized tours and Trail of Tears motorcycles and bicycles riders. Other activities include: Elementary School Trail of Tears educational program, Native American Concerts, Crain Days, workshops and meetings of organizations related to Trail of Tears and Native American activities. The general public also uses walking trails, boating and fishing facilities. Local civic and recreational organizations utilize the meeting the facilities.

 

GET YOUR NATIONAL PARK PASPORT STAMPED

Hours Open: Park is open during daylight hours. Visitor Center open: 10AM-4PM Th,Fr.Sa & 1-5PM Sunday

Time Period Represented: Prehistoric to Present

Seasons Open: Year around

Visitor Fees: None

 ADA Accessibility Notes

All facilities accessable.

 Pet Friendly Notes

Pets allowed outside under owners control.

For More Information, Contact:

Cherokee Removal Memorial Park

CherokeeRemoval.org
6800 Blyth Ferry Lane, Birchwood, TN 37308
423 339 2769
 

Eileen Carter wrote on June 06, 2014: This was such a wonderful place. Thank you to the sweet woman working there today. She let us see everything even though we got there almost at closing. The artifacts and information is so interesting. Especially for my daughter who will be going into 4th grade this year and they focus on this alot. Definitely a great place to visit off the beaten path.

Linda Moss Mines wrote on October 16, 2013: A huge THANK YOU for Greg Vital for his personal interest in honoring the history of this site. What a wonderful community memorial and educational venue.

Rodrigo Flores wrote on January 23, 2013: I live in Northern Mexico and we had our own tribes that with tie died off, some migrated others migrated from the US I am interested in trying to learn their way of life to try to revive their customs and understand their cosmovision and stone paintings and way of living! Need a contact person to do some talk fb: Rodrigo Flores (Texas)Picture at the beach! from: Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico

Linda Neal Reising wrote on March 23, 2012: I am descended from the Blythes, and I was both thrilled and touched to visit the home of my ancestors.

d. a. Grooms wrote on December 08, 2011: Cannot wait to visit this phenomenally historic area!! Have been to surrounding areas but never heard of this worthwhile area. There are many other historical, most important Cherokee settlements & events in this area & the Smokies & N Ga & N.SC areas. Thanks for this information.

Chef Pascale Deighan wrote on July 24, 2011: I feel so fortunate to live just few minutes from the Park. I love sharing the beautiful panoramic view and bird watching with my visiting friends. We love the peace and serenity the park offers. We love it so much that we made the habit of keeping the grounds clean.Thank you. Chef Pascale Deighan

Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic Society.

Latitude: 35.398688100
Longitude: -85.002701300
Elevation: 720 FT (219 M)
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