Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - WhitePath

Burial in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Trail of Tears Commemorative Park

From the plaque above -

Chief Whitepath served with Chief John Ross on the six person Management Committee for Cherokee Removal and Subsistence, arranging for ration stops along the "Trail of Tears".

Cherokee Memorial Park in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, was one of the sites. The first party to arrive in Hopkinsville was led by Elijah Hicks, and included Chief Whitepath, the famous Cherokee war chief, and Fly Smith, a Cherokee clan leader. The Hicks party had been the second group to leave the Rattlesnake Springs stockade area on October 4, 1838 with Whitepath heading the column, but by the time they reached the Cumberland River they had already passed the first group under John Benge who had departed on October 1.

Chief Whitepath, a member of the Cherokee National Council, was a full-blood who had resisted the "new ways of the mixed bloods" with their "talking papers" (treaties). President Andrew Jackson had honored him with a watch for his bravery in 1814 when he, Junaluska, and Going Snake had led 600 Cherokees in a successful flanking attack against 1000 barricaded Creeks. As a result, General Jackson recorded a great victory in the Shawnee-Creek War at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

Both Fly Smith and the 75 year old Whitepath had been seriously ill since their group had left Nashville, and they arrived in Hopkinsville on an army wagon. Within several hours they expired and were buried near the Cherokee camp on Little River. As late as the 1930s many unidentified limestone markers indicated the final resting place of Cherokees from many groups who passed through during the 1838-9 winter. Only four markers remain today including those of Whitepath and Fly Smith.

copyright 2010, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

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