I am proud to say that although only a small percentage, my bloodline includes the Cherokee tribe. Through the United States Censuses, I’ve been able to track my ancestors back to Illinois, Missouri, and Georgia, before being forced to Oklahoma. Recently, my 11-year old son completed a history project and paper about Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and how the Cherokee nation was forced to relinquish its lands east of the Mississippi River and migrate to present-day Oklahoma. This resulted in the “Trail of Tears,” because of its devastating and deathly results. Over 4,000 of the 15,000 Cherokee people marched from their homes died from hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march, basically with nothing on their backs.
This background all leads to the legend of the Cherokee Rose, which I now have growing along the fence in my back yard. See below for the story of the Cherokee Rose.
In 1838, when the Cherokee began their march on the Trail of Tears, the mothers of the Cherokee were grieving and crying so much, that they were unable to help their children survive the devastating journey. The elders prayed for a sign that would lift the mother’s spirits to give them strength. The next day a beautiful rose began to grow where each of the mother’s tears fell. The rose’s petals are white, symbolic for their tears, a gold stamen center represents the gold taken from Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem represent the seven Cherokee clans. The wild Cherokee Rose grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma today.