Signs of the times

Monday, January 9, 2012
Sam Barnett, left, and Patrick Johnson, employees with the city of New Madrid, tighten the bolts for the new Trail of Tears markers along the riverfront at New Madrid. The forced relocation of members of the Cherokee tribe in 1838 was by land and by water with New Madrid one of the sites along the water route. (Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)

New signs mark Trail of Tears' water route

"I have no more land. I am driven away from home, driven up the red waters, let us all go, let us all die together and somewhere upon the banks we will be there." -- Sin-e-cha's Song, heard on removal boats along the Trail of Tears

NEW MADRID - On a day in 1838, the residents of New Madrid may have heard those words drifting up from the waters of the Mississippi River. As the steamboat made its way down river it pulled long flatboats filled with members of the Cherokee Indian tribes, lamenting their eviction from their homelands and relocation to a new, strange territory.

Due to the hazards of river travel, crowded conditions aboard the boats and the rapid spread of diseases, many of the Indians on board died. Their travels - both by river and later by land - became known as the Trail of Tears.

The National Park Service has placed two signs about the Trail of Tears along the riverfront at New Madrid. The signs detail the water route taken by some members of the Cherokee which would have taken them by New Madrid in 1838. (Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)

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