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Re: Ila Chastain's Book
Posted by: Tom Walls (ID *****4324) Date: January 18, 2008 at 10:33:25
In Reply to: Ila Chastain's Book by Lola of 65

Insightful, as usual, but I'd like to make one comment. Regarding this passage

"On page 2 of the book, she stated, "William and Susan, with two small daughters, traveled to McDonald County Missouri in late 1850 or before February 1851......." Further on the same page, she states, "Folklore tells us William, with his young wife and two toddlers, left Tennessee on that dreaded "Trail of Tears," with a ten wagon caravan......" She cites the source of the information as "folklore." I venture to say that when history is compared to folklore, the folklore usually comes up short. History records for us that the Trail of Tears actually took place more than a decade earlier, in 1838-39. Since William and Susan were born in 1827 and 1828, they were both children themselves at the time. With that being the case, it automatically follows that they couldn't possibly have traveled the Trail of Tears as a married couple with children. Considering the dates, they couldn't have traveled the Trail of Tears at all."

In my own family research I repeatedly came upon the assertion "They came on the Trail of Tears". I came to learn that the storied route from Tennessee to Arkansas was itself referred to as the "Trail of Tears". Therefore family lore -- especially among those people with family connections to the displaced southeastern indian community -- often includes those words. Let me also add that there was a significant migration of people with Catawba tribe heritage that left the east for Indian Territory in the late 1840s early 1850s.


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