An Overland Journey to the West

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AN OVERLAND JOURNEY TO THE WEST
(October – December 1837)
by B. B. Cannon, Conductor

The Original is in the National Archives, Office of Indian Affairs, “Cherokee Emigration”  C-553 – “Special File 249″ Transcribed and edited by:  E. Raymond Evans Published in the Cherokee Journals ” The Removal of the Cherokees”.

Transcribed by:  Jackie Smith
Note from JS.. I have transcribed this exactly as written.. Notice he uses Caps whenever he wishes (g).. Next Installment will begin with Nov. 1st.. gets more interesting and more names are mentioned.. more sickness starts setting in. I have read and been told, that the bacon was actually more fat-back.. Indians were use to a more lean and vegetable diet.  And clean running water.  Cherokees were very accustomed to water many times a day, bathing, healing as well as drinking.  Most of the emigrants left with very little or no personal
belongings. Few clothes and some with no shoes. (his word and spelling is left intact) Italic words have been added to provide a general track of this trip.


Journal kept by B. B. Cannon, Conductor of a party of Emigrating Cherokee Indians, put in his charge at the Cherokee Agency East, by Gen. N. Smith, Superintendent of Cherokee Removals, on the 13th day of October, 1837.

Oct. 13, 1837
Sent waggons to the Indian encampment and commenced loading in the evening.
Oct. 14, 1837
Completed loading the waggons and crossed the Highwassie River at Calhoun, encamped at 5:00 P.M. (Calhoun is a town in McMinn County TN)
Oct. 15, 1837
Marched the party at 8 O’C A.M. halted and encamped at Spring Creek at 11:O’C A.M. where Genl. Smith mustered the party, which consumed the remainder of the day.  5 miles today.
Oct. 16, 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M., halted and encamped at Kelly’s ferry on the Tennessee river at 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn and fodder, corn meal & bacon. 14 miles today. (Kelly’s Ferry was near Jasper, Marion County TN)
Oct. 17, 1837
Commenced ferrying the Tennessee river at 8 O’C A.M., after having been detained until the sun dispelled the fog – every thing being in readiness to commence at day light.  completed ferrying at 4 O’C P.M. and reached little Richland creek at 8 O’C P.M. where the party had been directed to halt and encamp.  Issued corn & fodder.  7 miles today.
Oct. 18, 1837
Marched at 71/2 O’C A.M. One of the provision waggons oversat, detained a half hour.  No damage done.  Ascended Wallens ridge, (the ascent 2 miles) halted at Ragsdale’s 1 1/2 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder – corn meal & bacon.  10 miles further to water, all wearied getting up the mountain.  5 miles today.
Oct. 19, 1837
Marched at 7 1/2 O’CA.M. descended from the mountain, halted at 2 O’C P.M. at Sequachee river near Mr. Springs.  Issued corn & fodder.  11 1/2 miles today.
Oct. 20, 1837
Marched at 6 O’C A.M. ascended the Cumberland Mountain, halted at M. Flemings, 3/4 past 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, corn meal & Bacon.  14 1/2 miles today.

Oct. 21, 1837
Marched at 7 1/2 O’C A.M. descended the mountain, halted at Collins river, 4 1/4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, the Indians appear fatigued this evening.  13 miles today – road extremely rough.
Oct. 22, 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. passed through McMinnville, halted at Mr. Booths 1/2 past 12 O’C M encamped and issued corn & fodder, corn meal & Bacon, Sugar and coffee to the Waggoners and Interpreters.  No water for 12 miles ahead.  Procured a quantity of corn meal and bacon today.  7 1/2 miles today. ( I would like to remark here that all supplies, both of forage and subsistance, were purchased contracted for on the way west by a contracting agent, and paid for on my request by Doct. Reynolds, the Disbursing Agent for the Party.) (McMinnville, Warren County TN)
Oct. 23rd 1837
Marched at 6 1/2 O’C A.M. Capt. Prigmore badly hurt by a waggon horse attempting to run away.  Halted at Stones river near Woodbury  – 1/2 past 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder.  20 miles today. (Woodbury, Cannon County TN)
Oct. 24th 1837
Marched at 7 1/2 O’C A.M. halted at Mr. Yearwoods 4 O’C P.M. rained last night and today.  Issued corn & fodder, corn meal and bacon. 15 miles today.
Oct. 25th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. buried Andrew’s child at 1/2 past 9 O’C A.M. passed through Murfreesborough, halted at Overall’s creek, 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder.  14 miles today. (Murfreesboro, Rutherford County TN)
Oct. 26th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. passed through tree turnpike Gates, halted at Mr. Harris 3 O’C P.M. encamped ant issued corn and fodder, corn meal and bacon.  16 1/2 miles today.
Oct. 27th 1837
Marched at 7 1/2 O’C A.M. passed through two Turnpike gates, and crossed the Cumberland river on the Nashville toll bridge at Nashville, halted at Mr. Putnams 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder.  Isaac Walker and emigrant belonging to the Party, over took us – Mr. L. A. Kincannon, contracting agent, left us and returned home, having on the way, near McMinnville, signified his intentions,verbally, to do so, assigning as the reason the delicate situation of his health.  – 13 miles today. (Nashville, Davidson County TH)
Oct. 28th 1837
Rested for the purpose of washing clothes, repairing waggons, and shoeing horses – Reese, Starr and others of the emigrants visited Genl. Jackson who was at Nashville.  Issued corn & fodder, corn meal and bacon.  Assigned Mr. E. S. Curry to supply the place of Mr. Kincannon.
Oct. 29th 1837
Marched at 8 1/2 O’C A. M. halted at Long creek 1/2 past 2 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder – 13 1/2 miles today.
Oct. 30th 1837
Marched at 7 1/2 O’C A.M., halted at Little red river 1/2 past 5 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, corn meal & Bacon.  18 1/2 miles today.
Oct. 31st 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at Graves, Ken (tucky) 3 O’C P.M. issued corn & fodder.  16 miles today. (Mayfield, Graves County KY, County Seat)

Nov. 1st. 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. burried Ducks child, passed through Hopkinsville Ken.(tucky) halted at Mr. Northerns 1/2 past 5 O’C P.M.. Encamped & issued corn & fodder, Flour and bacon.  19 miles today. (Hopkinsville, Christian County KY)
Nov. 2nd 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. and halted one mile in advance of Mr. Mitchelersons.  3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder.
Nov. 3rd 1837
David Simpson and Pheasant, emigrants belonging to the party, came up last night in the stage, having been heretofore enrolled and mustered, Marched at 8 O’C A.M. passed throu’ Princeton, Ken. halted and encamped near Mr. Barnetts, at 1/2 past 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder, flour and bacon.  17 miles today. (Princeton, Caldwell County KY)
Nov. 4th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. encamped at Threlkelds branch, 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder. 15 miles today.
Nov 5th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. passed thro’ Salem, Ken.  Halted and encamped at another Mr. Threlkelds branch 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn and fodder, a small quantity of flour, and bacon  13 1/2 miles today. (Salem, Livingston County KY)
Nov. 6th 1837
Marched at 7 O’C A.M. Arrived at Berry’s ferry (Golconda opposite the Ohio river) 9 O’C A.M. every thing in readiness to commence ferrying, but prevented on account of the extreme high winds and consequent roughness of the river, which continued the remainder of the day, encamped in the evening. Issued corn & fodder. 5 1/2 miles today. (Golconda, Pope County IL)
Nov. 7th 1837
Commenced ferrying at 1/2 past 5 O’C A.M. Moved the party as it crossed one mile out and encamped completed crossing 4O’C P.M.  All safely.  Issued corn & fodder, corn meal & bacon.  1 mile today.
Nov. 8th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. Mr. Reese and myself remained behind and burried a child of Seabolts.  Overtook the party, halted and encamped at Big Bay creek, 4 O’C P.M.  Issued corn & fodder (James Starr & wife, left this morning with two carry-alls to take care of and bring on three of their children, who were too sick to travel – with instructions to overtake the party as soon as possible without endangering the lives of their children) – 15 miles today.
Nov 9th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted and encamped at Cash Creek, 1/2 past 4 O’C P.M. Issue corn & fodder, corn meal & Bacon.  15 miles today.
Nov. 10th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A. M. were detained 2 hours on the way making a bridge across a small creek, halted at Cypress creek, 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder & salt.  14 miles today.
Nov. 11th 1837
Marched at 9 O’C A.M. passed thro’ Jonesboro, ILL.  Halted and encamped at Clear Creek in the Mississippi river bottom 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. – 13 miles today.  issued sugar & coffee to the waggoners and interpreters. (Jonesboro, Union County IL)
Nov. 12th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. arrived at Mississippi river 10 O’C A.M. commenced ferrying at 11 O’C A.M. directed party to move a short distance as they crossed the river, and encamped.  Issued corn & fodder.  Starr came up, the health of his children but little better.  Richard Timberlake and George Ross overtook us and enrolled, attached themselves to the Starr family.
Nov. 13th 1837
Continued ferrying from 7 O’C until 10 O’C A.M. when the wind arose and checked our progress.  3 O’C P.M. resumed and made our trip.  Suspended at 5 O’C P.M.  Issued corn & fodder, corn meal & bacon, burried another of Ducks children today.
Nov. 14th 1837
Crossed the residue of the Party.  Marched at 10 O’C A.M. halted and encamped at Mr. Williams.  Issued corn & fodder.  sickness prevailing.  5 miles today.
Nov. 15th 1837
Rested for the purpose of washing, & tc.  Issued corn and fodder, corn meal and bacon.
Nov. 16th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. left Reese, Starr and families on account of sickness in their families, also James Taylor (Reese’s son-in-law) and family.  Taylor himself being very sick, with instructions to overtake the party.  Passed thro’ Jackson, Mo. halted & encamped at Widow Roberts on the road via Farmington & Issued corn only no fodder to be had. 17 miles today.(Jackson, Cape Girardeau County MO)

Nov. 17th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at white Water creek 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder, corn meal and beef.  13 miles today
Nov. 18th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted and encamped at Mr. Morand’s 5 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder, flour & bacon.  16 miles today.
Nov. 19th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted and encamped 1/2 past 4 O’C P.M. at Wolf Creek. Issued corn & fodder. 14 miles today.
Nov 20th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. passed thro’ Farmington, Mo. halted at St. Francis river, 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, Flour & beef. 15 miles today. (Farmington, St. Francois MO)
Nov 21st 1837
A considerable number drunk last night – obtained the liquor at Farmington yesterday, had to get out of bed about midnight to quell the disorder.  A refusal by several to march this morning, alledging that they would wait for Starr & Reese to come up at that place.  Marched at 8 O’C A.M. in defiance of threats and attempts to intimidate, none remained behind, passed through Caledonia halted at Mr. Jackson’s encamped and issued corn & fodder, beef & Bacon mostly bacon.  14 miles today.
Nov 22 1837
Marched at 8 1/2 O’C A.M. pass through the lead mines (or Courtois diggings) halted at Scott’s, 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder and corn meal.  13 miles today. (Courtois Diggings, Washington County MO)
Nov 23rd 1837
rested for the purpose of repairing waggons shoeing horses, washing, & tc. Starr, Reese and Taylor came up the health of their families in some degree improve.  Issued corn & fodder, and beef. Weather very cold.
Nov 24th 1837
Marched at 8 1/2 O’C A.M. Considerable sickness prevailing, halted at Huzza Creek, 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder.  12 miles today.
Nov 25th 1837
Doct.. Townsend, officially, advised a suspension of our march, in consequence of the severe indisposition of several families, for a time sufficient for the employment of such remedial agents as their cases might require.  I accordingly directed the Party to remain in camp and make the best possible arrangement for the sick.  In the evening issued corn & fodder, flour and beef.
Nov 26th 1837
Remain in camp. sickness continuing and increasing.  Issued corn & fodder, beef & corn meal.
Nov 27th 1837
Remained in camp.  sickness continuing to increase.  Issued corn & fodder, Bacon & corn meal.
Nov. 28th 1837
Moved the Detachment two miles further to a Spring and Schoolhouse.  Obtained permission for as many of the sick to occupy the school house as could do so.  A much better situation for an encampment than on the Creek.  sickness increasing.  Issued corn & fodder.
Nov 29th 1837
Remained in camp.  Sickness still increasing. Buried Corn Tassle’s child today.  Issued corn & fodder.
Nov. 30th 1837
Remained in camp.  sickness continuing.  Issued corn & fodder.
Dec. 1st 1837
Remained in camp. Sickness abating. Issued corn & fodder, Bacon & corn meal. buried Oolanheta’s child today.
Dec. 2nd 1837
Remained in camp.  Sickness abating.  Issued corn & fodder, Beef & corn meal.
Dec. 3rd 1837
Remained in camp.  Sickness abating.  Issued corn & fodder.
Dec. 4th 1837
Marched at 9 O’C A.M. Buried George Killion, and left Mr. Wells to bury a  waggoner (black boy) who died this morning.  Scarcely room on the waggons for the sick. halted at Mr. Davis, 1/2 past 4 O’C P.M. had to move down the creek a mile off the road, to get wood.  Issued corn & fodder and corn meal.  11 miles today.
Dec. 5th 1837
Marched at 9 O’C A.M. left two waggoners (black boys) at Mr. Davis sick, this morning.  Halted at the Merrimack river, 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. Encamped and issued corn and fodder, corn meal and beef.  10 miles today.
Dec. 6th 1837
Marched at 9 O’C A.M. passed Masseys Iron Works.  Halted at Mr. Jones’ 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder. 12 miles today.
Dec. 7th 1837
Marched at 8 1/2 O’C A.M. Reese’s team ran away, broke his waggon and Starr’s carry-all. left him and family to get his waggon mended, at 17 miles – and to overtake if possible.  Halted at  Mr. Baterson, 5 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder, corn meal & bacon.  20 miles today.
Dec. 8th 1837
Buried Nancy Big Bear’s grandchild.  Marched at 9 O’C A.M. Halted at Piney, a small river, 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M.  Rained all day, encamped and issued corn only no fodder to be had.  Several drunk.  11 miles today (Piney, Pulaski County MO)
Dec. 9th 1837
Marched at 9 O’C A.M. Mayfield’s waggon broke down at about a mile – left him to get it mended and overtake, halted at Waynesville, Mo. 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, beef & corn meal.  Weather extremely cold.  12 1/2 miles today. (Waynesville, Pulaski County MO)
Dec. 10th 1837
Marched at 1/2 past 8 O’C A.M. halted at the Gasconade river at 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder.  14 miles today.

Dec. 11th 1837
Marched at 1/2 past 8 O’C A.M. halted at Summer’s 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder.  15 miles today.
Dec. 12th 1837
Marched at 9 O’C A.M. halted one mile in advance of Mr. Parke’s at a branch, 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, corn meal beef and a small quantity of bacon.  14 miles today.
Dec. 13th 1837
Marched at 81/2 O’C A.M. halted at a branch near Mr. Eddington’s 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder.  Reese and Mayfield came up.  13 1/2 miles today.
Dec. 14th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at James fork of White river, near the road but which does not cross the road, 3 O’C P.M. Mr. Wells taken sick.  Issued corn & fodder and corn meal.  15 1/2 miles today.
Dec. 15 th1837
Joseph’s Srarr’s wife had a child last night.  Marched at 8 1/2 O’C A.M.halted at Mr. Danforth’s at 2 O’C P.M.  Waggoners having horses shod until late at night.  encamped & issued corn & fodder & beef.  10 1/2 miles today.
Dec. 16th 1837
Issued sugar and coffee to the Waggoners & Interpreters this morning.  Marched at 9 O’C A.M. passed through Springfield, Mo. halted at Mr. Clicks’s 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder and corn meal.  12 miles today. (left Mr. Wells) (Springfield, Greene County MO)
Dec 17th 1737
Snowed last night. buried Ellege’s wife and Charles Timberlake’s son (Smoker). Marched at 9 O’C A.M. halted at Mr. Dye’s 3 O’C P.M. extremely cold weather, sickness prevailing to a considerable extent.  All very much fatigued, encamped and issued corn & fodder & beef.  10 miles today.
Dec 18th 1837
Detained on account of sickness. Doct. Townsend sent back to Springfield for medicine – buried Dreadful Waters this evening.  Issued corn & fodder & corn meal.
Dec. 19th 1837
Detained today also on account of sickness, cold intense.  Issued corn & fodder and beef.
Dec. 20th 1837
Marched at 8 1/2 O’C a.M. halted at Mr. Allen’s 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder & corn meal.  15 miles today.
Dec. 21st 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at Lockes on Flat Creek, 1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder & beef.  15 miles today.
Dec. 22nd 1837
Burried Goddard’s Grand child.  Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at McMurtee’s, 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder and corn meal.  15 miles today.
Dec 23rd 1837
Buried Rainfrog’s daughter ( Lucy Redstick’s child).  Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at Reddix, 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder & beef. 10 miles today.
Dec. 24th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at the X hollows, had to leave the road 3/4 of a mile to get water, 3 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder, Pork and corn meal.  15 miles today.
Dec. 25th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. took the right road to Cane Hill,  at Fitzgeralds halted a half mile in advance of Mr. Cunningham’s at a branch, 3 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder and salt Pork.  15 1/2 miles today.
Dec. 26th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C. halted at James Coulter’s on Cane Hill, Ark.  1/2 past 3 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn meal corn & fodder.  16 1/2 miles today. (Cane Hill, Washington County AR)
Dec. 27th 1837
Buried Alsey Timberlake Daughter of Charles Timberlake.  Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at Mr. Beans, in the Cherokee Nation West, at 1/2 past 2 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, fresh Pork and some beef.  12 miles today.
Dec. 28th 1837
The Party refused to go further, but at the same time pledged themselves to remain together until re-muster was made by the proper officer for whom I immediately sent an express to Ft. Gibson.  They alledged at the same time that the refusal was in consequence of the sickness now prevailing – and that only.  Doct. Reynolds, Disbursing agent for the Party,  dismissed the waggons from further service.  Buried another child of Chas. Timberlake, and one which was born (untimely) yesterday of which no other account is taken.  Jesse HalfBreed’s wife had a child last night.  Issued Pork corn meal and flour, corn & fodder for today. Lieut. Van Horn arrived late this evening – having missed the express on the way. (Fort Gibson, Muskogee County OK)
Dec. 29th 1837
Re-mustered the Party.  Issued a small quanty of corn meal & pork yet on hand.
Dec. 30th 1837
Completed the Rolls of Remuster, turned over the Party to Lieut. Van Horn, and dismissed my assistant.

Respectfully submitted
B. B. Cannon
Conductor

 




MLA Source Citation:

Add after new site opens. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 21 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/an-overland-journey-to-the-west.htm - Last updated on Dec 4th, 2012


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