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In 1981 Uncle Billy Rex Hilton wrote "The Cherokees of the Ozarks".
In this small but powerfully-packed book Uncle Bill gives Historical Background, Movements into the West, The First Cherokee Census, Cherokees Taken Captive, The "Trail of Tears", Facts and Legend of Cherokee Gold in the Ozarks, Sample Cherokee Words, Cherokee medicine, and tracing Your Cherokee Heritage!

The Trail of Tears

If you are the owner of this photo, please tell us so we can give you credit!  Thank you in advance!


During the years of actively searching for our Hannah (Lu Dawn's gr gr gr grandmother), we believed then as we do now in her Native American Cherokee Heritage!
On the back of Uncle Bill's book there is found:
'About the Author'
When reading this page my beliefs deepen and are held closely to my heart when I consider Hannah's, Jane's, and Polly's Native American Heritage!


About the Author
Born 6 September 1924 in a log house on Bull Creek, deep in the Ozark Mountains of Christian County, Missouri.
As a young boy he learned to make a bow and fashion the arrows that he needed to fish the clear waters of Bull Creek.
By the age of nine, he understood the magic of mother birds, he soon learned, when he left the nest area, they could fix their own broken wings.
By the age of ten, he could trap and tan the hide of a groundhog into shoe laces.
By the age of eleven, he knew why the honey bee arose from the flower, circled once then flew away.
About the things that he had seen and did not understand, he questioned his elders.
When seventeen years of age, he joined the United States Marines for adventure and sailed away into Waorld War II.  The Marines kept him entertained for the next twenty-five years.  Always, with each opportunity, he returned to the land of his birth and asked more questions.
Woven within these pages are the answers.


Lu Dawn writes: I have always wondered how my maternal grandfather
came about his name - James Ross Hilton.
Polly, his mother, being of Cherokee heritage, most likely named James Ross after John Ross! And that is the legend I leave for my children and grandchildren!
Now, I have since discovered that Polly's mother Hannah had a son she named James Ross and that he may have been the one that was shot & killed taken a load of supplies to the Union Army at the age of 17.  Most likely Hannah named her son James Ross in the same manner!
Uncle Bill writes on page 15:
'John ROSS, the great long lived Cherokee Chief became a legend in his own time.  For his time in history he was very well educated and reflected dignity and intelligence in the councils of the day.  These qualities are probably the reason he reigned so long as Chief before, during, and after the removal of the Cherokees to Oklahoma.
Immediately prior to the removal of the Cherokees to the Oklahoma territory, the Cherokees themselves had appointed John ROSS to the additional office of Superintendent of the removal operation.
The federal government was anxious to plcate the unhappy Indians and governmental agents quickly ratified this appointment.  John and his wife Quatie, traveled over the "Trail of Tears" with the last group of Cherokees being forced to remove to the west.
They suffered the same hardships as all the other Indians.  Infact the hardships suffered along the route cost Quatie her life.
This loss of his beloved wife did not break his spirit and he continued to lead his people for manymore years.  He favored the Union during the Civil War.  His braves however, remembered the "Trail of Tears" and marched to the drum beat of the Confederacy.'


On pages 13 & 14 Uncle Bill writes:
As the various wagon trains of the Cherokee entered the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas, the Indians were quick to notice that the hills, valleys, and rivers were not unlike the lands of their birth.  The rains and snow came down.  poor visability and hostile attitudes did not help the conductors on the "Trail of Tears".
Many Cherokee families escaped with each opportunity.  They moved into the isolated valleys of the Ozarks and planted their roots. 
Their tribal ties were broken.
They would adapt to the ways of the white man.  The early day white settlers to the Ozarks would borrow from the culture of the Cherokees.
Seven months and 4,000 Cherokee graves later, the "Trail of Tears" came to a close as the last wagons rolled into Oklahoma in late April, 1839.
*Some writers say that John ROSS and his wife came by private barge as far as Little Rock, Arkansas, joining the last wagon train passing by to the North of Little Rock.  One writer says that they came West with the first wagons over the "Trail of Tears" traveling by way of Springfield, Missouri.  This author believes that they traveled with the last group, with Quatie being buried near Conway, Arkansas."


Again on page 13, Uncle Bill writes of John ROSS:
'John ROSS and his wife Quatie, a full-blood Cherokee, traveled with the last group*, and they came through Little Rock.  They endured the same hardships as all the other Cherokees.  While encamped to the north of Little Rock and near the present Conway, Arkansas, a large blizzard blew in upon them during the night.
The following day Quatie heard of a small Indian girl who had come down with pneumonia.  Quatie, being the Christian and compasionate lady that she was, responded to the case, and she gave her only blanket to the child for added warmth.  After hours of assistance to the family, Quatie came down with pneumonia and within three days she died.  Quatie is buried in a shallow, unmarked grave near Conway.
The little girl recovered and lived a very useful life.  No doubt, someday, a group of latter day lady patriots will honor the memory of this great lady of the Cherokees. 
I am rather certain that as future history books are written, more enlightened writers will give her the coverage that she so much deserves.'


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Never give the chase!  Continue forward!  The rewards will be quite satisfying Indeed!  TAHOE!

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May 2007