The tuscumbia, courtland and decatur Railroad

Not many people are aware that some Cherokees who were removed through north Alabama and on to Arkansas were transported along one of the earliest railroads in order to bypass the Muscle Shoals. The route of the railroad was along or near portions the old Indian trail that followed along the south bank of the river.  The railroad was built for commercial purposes before it was used three times transporting Cherokee Indians around the Shoals.

“Founders of the Tuscumbia, Courtland, & Decatur Railroad probably never had any idea that their railroad would be important in the history of the Cherokee people from the southeastern United States. In reading the Minute Book the most important issues on their minds were securing land for the railroad track, constructing the railroad, buying steam locomotives that worked, selling stocks and finding funds to pay for the railroad, dealing with law suits, and having the route from Tuscumbia Landing to Decatur connect with a railroad from Memphis to Charleston with side connections to towns along the way.”  Gail King

The chronology of the removal parties who traveled on the train will be divided into two time periods. Chapter Five will discuss in detail the first party traveling on the train in March 1837 and Chapter Six will discuss the two forced removal parties who traveled on the train in June 1838. Journals and muster rolls were included whenever and wherever they could be located. The entire report is linked by chapter below the introduction here.