The following passage is included in the book, Zion on the Mississippi. I find it very interesting. It tells of a seemingly insignificant event taking place during the trip up the Mississippi aboard the steamboat Knickerbocker.
“The last day of the week, January 26, found the immigrants at New Madrid, Missouri, and one more day brought them to the mouth of the Ohio River. Two days later, near Hamburg, Illinois, it was necessary to halt for repairs, because the barge had sprung a leak from bumping into some obstruction in the water.” Zion on the Mississippi, p. 213
The reference given for this passage is Rev. Gotthold Loeber’s diary for January 30th. It should also be pointed out that in Memphis, the Knickerbocker began towing a barge up the river.
Hamburg, Illinois can no longer be found on a map, but it was once a named place along the east banks of the Mississippi just north of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. For a time, it was a place which ferried people across the river.
A ferry was once operating there known as Wilbourn’s Ferry. This is significant because, at the end of January in 1839, another important event in American history was taking place at this location. This was one of the places where Cherokee Indians were transported across the Mississippi River on their forced exodus which has gone down in history known as the Trail of Tears.
The removal of Indians from the southeastern part of the United States is certainly not one of America’s proudest moments. It was a tragedy. Many, many Indians died on this arduous journey from their homes in the east to what was to become their new homes in the Oklahoma Territory. The ones who survived had to endure incredible hardships.
We find descriptions of the Trail of Tears from many sources. Here is a description of the winter of 1838-1839.
The winter of 1838 was bitter cold mixed with rain and snow in southern Illinois. The days and weeks spent in crossing southern Illinois were the most brutal for the Cherokee Nation. Many landowners would not allow the Cherokee to camp on their land or cut firewood for warmth and hot food. Only adding to the Cherokee’s misery, the Mississippiwas frozen solid far out from the river bank and in the center were blocks of ice as big as houses. As the water flowed, the huge ice blocks crashed down the current, rear on edge and crash down with mightyshocks. This fearful noise went on day and night for a month as the Cherokee watched the mighty Mississippi in awed wonder as they waited to cross into Missouri.
I found this description of what might have been seen at the ferry in Hamburg.
The used three ferries to cross the river, Green’s Upper and Lower Ferries, and Littletons Old Ferry also known as Wilbourn’s Ferry was located at Hamburg Landing. All were either flatboat current powered or perhaps horse powered. Flatboat ferries were attached to a rope strung across the river-the boat was rowed or pulled across the river using a windlass. Horse-powered ferries consisted of flat-bottomed scows with paddle wheels attached to treadmills powered by horses or mules.
Rev. Daniel Buttrick wrote this journal entry on January 25, 1839. He was part of the Trail of Tears.
“At this place a sand bar in the middle extends, probably half across the bed of the river….therefore it is like two rivers, crossed by two ferries, that is, two sets of boats, one conveying passengers to the bar, and one from it.”
“We fixed our tent on the bank of the Great River, one of the wonders of creation. Soon after we arrived, our attention was arrested by the passing of a large beautiful & grand steamboat. Neither my dear wife, nor myself had ever seen one before…”
4 thoughts on “Intersecting Exoduses”
The Trail of Tears is likely the most cruel and senseless action our government has ever done. Greed, manifest destiny and Satan himself created this tragedy.
Even today, unenlightened politicians seek to steal and cheat the First Americans out of the bounty of their hard work and smarts. The current governor of Oklahoma recently tried to put his sticky fingers
into the Cherokee bank accounts.
Cherokee Community Values is the closest I have ever seen of a culture modeled after Biblical Values.
Reblogged this on and commented:
I do not have the time to research a new story today. We are sneaking up on the 6th anniversary for this blog. The first post was published on January 30, 2016. I thought about re-blogging that first post, but it only had 132 words and didn’t include much information. Instead, I found this post from January 27, 2017. It’s one of my favorites, and was written pretty close to today’s date.
This is an excellent post. Fortunately, these two dire “Tales of Tears” have moved into today as two rich thriving cultures: the great Cherokee Nation and the LCMS.