I am a Cherokee* born in Oklahoma and came to Chattanooga in 1965. I noticed Indian names for places and use of Cherokee in the names of towns, counties, business and sports teams. I thought that was strange since there were no Indians here. That is when I learned about the Trail Of Tears. I had not been taught anything about it and it was not common knowledge in Chattanooga. I started researching Cherokee history and my own genealogy. I published some books and a news letter, Cherokee Blood, to help others find their roots. It became my goal in the early 1980ís to have a memorial with the names of the families removed so they and what happened here would not be forgotten. I became friends with Shirley Lawrence who was researching her Cherokee ancestry. When our husbands retired we both moved to Meigs County and became involved with Tourism Board Chairman Gloria Schouggins.
Shirley Lawrence, Gloria Schouggins, Shirley Hoskins
at the January 23, 1998 ground breaking and dedication
The idea of a Cherokee Removal Memorial found support since the county; was named for the Cherokee Agent, and was the location of Blythe Ferry where most of the Cherokee departed from their homeland. Through the tireless efforts of Shirley and Gloria and with help from; Congressman Zack Wamp, Meigs County, TVA, STDD, and TWRA. Cherokee Removal Memorial Park has become a reality.
* My 3rd great grandfather was Capitan John Spears, a full blood, who was wounded in the Battle of Horseshoe Shoe Bend in 1812. He also served as interpreter for the Cherokee Agent, Jonathan Meigs. His son, Joseph, and granddaughter Annie, my great grandmother, was on the Trail of Tears at the age of eleven. Her father Joseph Spears was chosen by lot to kill John Ridge for his role in the 1835 Treaty.HOME DIRECTIONS PREFACE MEMORIAL PARK HISTORY ROUTES SYLLABARY CENSUS NEWS WILDLIFE ORGANIZATION PARTNERS CONTRIBUTORS LINKS