Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears (HM29I1)

Location: Murphy, NC 28906 Cherokee County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 3.677', W 83° 56.795'

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The Valley Towns Baptist Mission

In 1838, the United States government deported more than 16,000 Cherokee Indian people from their homeland in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, and sent them to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Thousands of Cherokee perished during the forced relocation, which has become known as the Trail of Tears. This tragic episode of our history was a result of the 1832 Indian Removal Act, an official government policy to purge native nations from the eastern United States.

Immediately northwest of this marker is the site of the Valley Towns Baptist Mission (1820-1836), a boarding school that became a center for Cherokee scholarship and political activism. The mission, with its model farm, gristmill, and blacksmith shop, provided Cherokee students vocational as well as academic training. After initial failures with English-only instruction, mission teachers adopted the Cherokee language for classroom use, and Valley Towns became the most popular and successful Protestant mission in the Cherokee Nation. Valley Towns housed as many as 50 students at once, and hundreds of Cherokee scholars attended the mission school during its 16-year tenure. The mission trained future Cherokee leaders such as Peter Oganaya, John Wickliff, and James Wafford, men who led political resistance to the New Echota Treaty, the agreement that

eventually resulted in the Cherokee removal along the Trail of Tears.

An 1837 appraisal of the mission property includes a "Hew'd log house part framed 18-60 ft. 2 stories" as well as the old mission building, a "Hew'd log house 22-50 2 stories high all the floors of plank two brick chimneys."

The 1819 plans for the mission hall were much more ambitious than the 22 feet by 40 feet "hew'd log house" actually constructed in 1820.

Evan B. Jones (1788-1873), Baptist missionary and Cherokee advocate, was the teacher and pastor at Valley Towns Mission (1821-1836). Jones, along with Cherokee preachers such as Jesse Bushyhead, Peter Oganaya, and John Wickliff, established the Baptist church as the primary denomination among Chirstianized Cherokees. In 1836, the U.S. Army expelled him from Valley Towns for aiding Cherokee efforts against removal. Jones traveled the Trail of Tears as assistant conductor in Situwakee's detachment. In Oklahoma, he helped reestablish and expand the Baptist churches that had moved from the old Nation.
HM NumberHM29I1
Placed ByNorth Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, July 19th, 2018 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 231279 N 3883810
Decimal Degrees35.06128333, -83.94658333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 3.677', W 83° 56.795'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 3' 40.62" N, 83° 56' 47.7" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)828
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4840 US-64, Murphy NC 28906, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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