Melinda Cherry Childress

Click here to see full photo that this picture was made from

The Trail of Tears

In 1838, the United States government forcibly removed more than 16,000 Cherokee Indian people from their homelands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, and sent them to Indian Territory (known today as Oklahoma). The impact to the Cherokee people was devastating. Hundreds of Cherokee died during their trip west, and thousands more perished from the consequences of relocation.
I believe many more were left on the trail, thought to be dying or young ones hidden among kindly white settlers along the way. Scattered like seeds in the wind.

Melinda's Story

When the Cherokee were removed from their lands in what became known as the Trail of Tears. Their long, hard journey led them through Princeton, Kentucky. A young girl was among the troup of Cherokee people. She was too sick to continue on the journey, and was left behind, they thought she was dying. The soldiers were trying to keep the people moving and they forced her family to go on. Prodded by the soldiers they left her with a promise to return for her as soon as possible. Joseph and Mary Cherry of Caldwell County told her parents that they would care for her until their return and if she died they would give her a decent burial.
The young Cherokee Indian girl survived and later married Richard Childress on Feb. 2, 1842 in Caldwell Co., Ky. and together they raised a family.

In Sept 1999 while visiting with Verble Childress Whittington, my Great Aunt, she related this story to me about her grandmother Melinda Cherry Childress.

For many years, maybe from fear of being taken to Oklahoma or embarassement of being known as an Indian, Melinda's heritage was not spoken of.
In most census records she is listed as being born in Ky. When the 1900 Caldwell Co., Ky. census was taken, Melinda's son James Thomas Childress stated his mother was born in Tennessee.

As a child growing up we were told the story of Melinda and our Native American Heritage. There was just never a need to "prove" it to anyone. Later in my life, getting into genealogy I realized the importance of proving your information. For years I have searched for any type of record to prove Melinda was Cherokee but to this date have found nothing. I only have the family stories, that are known to each branch of Melinda's descendant families and the knowing in my spirit. I would love to find something just to be able to go forward with my research and locate my Native American family but I may have to be satisfied just with the knowledge of my own heart that the story is true.
If you have more information on Melinda or have a similar story about some one in your family please contact me.

Richard and Melinda Childress had nine known children:
Do you have a picture of one of the other children, if so I would love to have it on here.

# 1 Nancy Jane Childress b. abt 1847 d. bef. Dec. 1886
md. Dec. 22, 1864 Caldwell Co., Ky. William Fielding Stewart b. 1834 d. 1866
md. 2nd Feb. 7, 1872 Benjamin Franklin Etheridge b. abt. 1851

# 2 Mary Ellen Childress b. abt. 1850

# 3 George Franklin Childress b. Jan. 12, 1852 d. Feb. 21, 1942
md. May 23, 1877 Caldwell Co., Kentucky
Sarah M. Scott b. March 27, 1862 d. Jan. 6, 1941

# 4 Harriet F. Childress b. abt 1855 d. Feb. 12, 1894
md. Dec. 9, 1873 Caldwell Co., Kentucky
Francis Marion P'Pool b. abt. 1848

# 5 Pernecia Ann Childress b. June 16, 1857 d. Jan. 31, 1945
md. May 27, 1879 Caldwell Co., Kentucky
Ezeckiel Taylor Merrick b. Nov. 1845 d. June 10, 1904
Click here to see photo

# 6 James Thomas Childress b. Nov. 29, 1859 d. Oct. 4, 1949
md. Oct. 23, 1879 Caldwell Co., Kentucky
LanDona Elizabeth Boaz b. April 4, 1864 d. Jan. 31, 1918
Click here to see photo

# 7 Martha Childress b. Dec. 20, 1861 d. Feb. 17, 1864

# 8 Lucy Bell Childress b. Nov. 1866 d. 1914
md. March 15, 1885 Montgomery Co., Tennessee
James William Oliver b. April 1866 d. March 9, 1926

# 9 Henry L. Childress b. abt. 1868

Other Links:

The Trail of Tears
Cherokee Removal Forts
Trail of Tears Map through Caldwell Co., Ky.
Butrick's Diary
Cherokee Nation
More on the Trail of Tears from the Kentucky Explorer
Poem- Along The Trail by Joe Scraper, Jr.

Back to Caldwell Co., Ky. Cemeteries