Friday, August 19, 2016

FL Road Trip - Trail Of Tears Hopkinsville, KY

This is a series of places we visited along a road trip to Florida to handle some family issues.  As always, the road just invites me to explore "something else", and that is what we did during our one week trip.
In Hopkinsville, KY, I stopped at a small park that commemorates the Trail of Tears.  This was an actual camp for the trail, a shipping destination at a farm for military food and supplies.  The camp was used for two years, as the trail was, 1838 and 1839.

This was a long trek, a forced removal across 5000 miles from the southern Appalachians to set aside land in present day Oklahoma.  The Cherokees fought for their land with the US Supreme Court ruling their land was theirs, but lost the land to Congress.  Rounded up forcibly by the US Calvary in 1838, many Cherokees were held in forts until driven west across the land with only the clothes on their backs.  It is called Trail of Tears because of the pain and sorrow of the ousted people.
Now there is a log cabin here, moved from nearby, that holds native American artifacts and art.  A ranger stays at the site during business hours who helps explain the story.  The ranger there this day is quite the talker, and after listening for 20 minutes to her interesting stories, I had to leave.

At the site are buried 2 of the Cherokee chieftains, or leaders who died en route to Oklahoma; White Path, a peace chief from Georgia, and Fly Smith, a tribal leader.  I took photos of the grave sites at the property edge.  About 1000 of the 16,000 Cherokees driven west died en route.

The small park is peaceful, with a short trail around the creek and signage about the ordeal.  To find it, in Kentucky, exit I-24 at exit 81A and follow north easterly to Highway 41.  Exit here and follow to the left to Skyline Drive. Turn right here and follow to the end, going straight where you cross into a parking lot, then into the park.

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