Brainerd Mission Cemetery

Brainerd Mission Cemetery is located in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, adjacent to the 5700 block of Brainerd Road. A mission journal notes the first burial taking place on January 11, 1818. The cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized as an official stop on the National Park Service Trail of Tears.
The history of the cemetery began in 1817 when the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions established a mission on 25 acres near the northwest boundary of the Cherokee Nation across the creek from a large Cherokee settlement known as 'Chickamaugah' Town. The missionaries were tasked with establishing relations with the Cherokee to prepare them to integrate peaceably with the westward movement of the white settlers. Brainerd quickly became the leading mission in the Cherokee Nation, boasting 44 male students and 31e females within the first year. The mission grounds featured a schoolhouse, mission house, gristmill, sawmill, orchard, barn, dormitories, farm fields, and a cemetery. The missionaries, with the aid of the United States government, erected and maintained forty buildings, serving hundreds of students in the twenty-one years before the removal of the Indians. The mission closed its doors as hundreds of Cherokee from John Bell’s detachment were removed in 1838 on the Trail of Tears. A one-acre cemetery on what would have been the southwest portion of the complex is now the only visible landmark evidence that the prosperous Brainerd Mission existed.


Latitude: 35.01006 Longitude: -85.2128148 Elevation: 680 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Bettie Purcell

Time Period Represented


Hours Open

Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Visitor Fees

No Fee; Participation release required of groups

Seasons Open


ADA Accessibility Notes

Uneven yerrain

Pet Friendly Notes

No pets allowed


Stopped on a Saturday afternoon around 1, everything was locked up. There was no way to get inside. Extremely disappointing!

Julie Hawes, 10/17/2015

Julie - we apologize for the inconvenience. We are working on finding exact visiting hours for the Brainerd Mission Cemetery. We will have the website updated as soon as we have correct information.

Administrator, 10/27/2015

Treasured, my 3rd Great Grandfather was Ard Hoyt and have so enjoyed learning about him and the visit to the cemetery was an experience I will always remember.

Sally Elmer-Hatfield, 5/22/2019

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