Belmont and the Trail of Tears
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member trailhound1
N 36° 45.958 W 088° 07.438
16S E 399686 N 4069499
Quick Description: The John Benge detachment, with some 1100 Cherokee heading west toward Indian Territory, arrived at this spot in mid-November 1838.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 10/3/2016 7:35:45 PM
Waymark Code: WMT6H7
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Bernd das Brot Team
Views: 5

Long Description:
After departing Ft. Payne, Alabama, Capt. Benge's detachment continued to Gunter's Landing and made their first crossing of the Tennessee River. They traveled south and west of the route taken by the detachments using what is designated "The Northern Land Route." Their second crossing of the Tennessee River was at Reynolds Ferry and through what is today the Nathan Bedford Forrest Memorial State Park. They then continued through Paris, Tennessee and Clinton, Kentucky. They then continued to what is today Columbus-Belmont State Park where they crossed the Mississippi River.

Since the early 1820s a Mississippi River ferry had been operating between the present-day Columbus community and the site of Belmont, Missouri.
Capt. Benge's detachment arrived in Columbus in mid-November of 1838 and awaited transport across the Mississippi River by ferry to Belmont, Missouri. Given the large size of the group, however, participants doubtless spent several days in and around the ferry landing and camped both along the road and in a large semicircle surrounding the landing.

After crossing into Missouri they traveled in a northwesterly direction to just south of Cape Girardeau where they turned in a westerly direction until they intersected the "Old Spanish Road" sometimes called "The Old Southwest Trail." This route was marked by the Spanish from St. Louis to Texas in the early 1800s. They followed this road south to the Current River where they crossed into Arkansas at a place today called "Indian Ford."

In Arkansas they crossed the Fouche Dumas river at Columbia Crossing, the Eleven Point River at Blacks Ferry and the Spring River at Miller's Ford. The Arkansas Gazette tells of them camping at Smithville in Lawrence County, December 12 and being in Batesville (Poke Bayou) for Wagon repairs, December 15, 1838.

Here they intersected "The Jacksonport Road." President Jackson had secured funding in 1831-32 to extend this road from Jacksonport on the White River to Van Buren "to remove Indians to the west." They would follow this road to Fayetteville where they would turn due west into Indian Territory. The writings of W.B. Flippin, who as a teenager observed their passage, document their crossing of the White River just upstream from the present day town of Cotter.

Actual numbers are difficult to obtain. The number of Cherokee departing with the Benge Detachment varies according to various sources of information available and range between 1079 to 1200. The other information is fairly consistent with 1132 arriving in Indian Territory, 33 deaths and 3 births. Some of the other detachments have a category for "desertions"; however, there is no listing for deserters in the Benge records. When all is summed up, this detachment had one of the lowest attrition rates.
Routes: Benge Route

Additional Coordinates: Not Listed

Address if available: Not listed

Additional Information: Not listed

Marker Website: Not listed

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