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Blythe Ferry


Despite the organization and efficiency of the crossings at Blythe's Ferry, the Cherokee felt a profound loss. Elijah Hicks (1838), who led his detachment across the river on Nov. 4, wrote, "We are now about to take our final leave and kind farewell to our native land the country that the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving the Country that gave us birth."

In 1809, Cherokee William Blythe gained authorization to operate a ferry at the confluence of the Tennessee and Hiwassee Rivers. In 1819, Blythe renounced his allegiance to the Cherokee Nation and he and his son received a 640-acre reservation, which included the Blythe homestead and the ferry. Blythe’s Ferry transported nine Cherokee detachments, totaling about 10,000 people, across the Tennessee River from September through November, 1838 as part of the northern route of the Trail of Tears.

Cherokee Removal Memorial Park is open year-round and free to the public. Visitors are able to visit the park anytime, however should one want to see the visitors center, it is only open Wednesday - Friday from 10:00 am- 5:00 pm. A boardwalk leads to a wildlife overlook shelter on top of the bluff offering spectacular views of the river and Jolly’s Island. A granite wall dedicated to those that passed through the Trail of Tears flows throughout the park.