The Trail of Tears Few Have Ever Known
When most people think of the Trail of Tears, they think of Tennessee or Georgia any of the southern states. Many may not know that it passed through Illinois. Yet during 1838-1839 part of the eastern band of the Cherokee nation traveled through the southern part of that state, my own family likely among them. My ancestor came from a family that, like many who resented being forced to surrender their ancestral homeland, sneaked away and changed their name to avoid having to move to Indian territory(modern Oklahoma). My family settled just south of the route the Cherokee took in Illinois, settling in what is now Massac County. My ancestor was named Julia. Possibly to keep the government off her trail, she changed her name once after she married, even going as far to create a later date and place for her marriage(1863, in Sebastian County, Arkansas). For a while this confused me when trying to trace back the family tree. Then it occurred to me that there never was a marriage in Arkansas. It was a red herring. She married in 1857 in Massac County. Tracing Cherokee ancestors is a very tedious and frustrating process, especially when they changed their names for whatever reasons they had to. In some cases, the answers people seek will likely never be answered.