African American Lives
Analyzing the Evidence
The Science and the Investigators
Who am I? A Genealogy Guide
Sharing Stories
For Educators
About the Series

Sharing Stories
One Families Story: Read a story matching the term you chose:
STORYTELLER: My grandmother told me this story LOCATION: Alabama YEAR TOOK PLACE: 1830s
TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN: Native American Cherokee HOW HEARD: Family legend

My grandmother told me a story about either her grandmother or great-grandmother who, with her two brothers were hidden in a cave by slaves because their lives were in danger because they were Native American. They were being forced off their land. The slaves knew where the cave was because it was used to hide when they needed to. I believe it was probably during the late 1830's when the Trail of Tears took place--when the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole were forced to move west to Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma). I'm not sure if it's the same ancestor or not, but I was also told that one day, my grandmother's grandmother as a little girl, was sent with her brothers to buy a bag of sugar from the trading post. Sugar was a precious commodity back in then and I assume it must have been for a very special occasion. On their way back home, some mean men on horseback, who hated Indians, ripped the the bag of sugar from great-great-grandmother's hands and cut it opened with a knife and spilled it on the ground. I believe that it was my great-great-great-grandmother who was hidden in the cave, because she would have been 9 yrs old during the time of the Trail of Tears, and she did have 2 brothers and I learned that there are a lot of caves in Alabama. But unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any written evidence of this story I was told. It doesn't mean it never happened, but just that there isn't any written records of this story. I was told that something happened to great-great-great-grandmother's parents and another family took her and her brothers in, but I haven't found evidence of this. I think, the mother died and the father remarried and they moved west to east Texas. My aunt as a child had learned of the Trail of Tears from school and came home and asked my great-grandmother if our family was on the Trail of Tears. She answered and said "No hon, we had our own Trail of Tears".

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