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The Trail of Tears as Told by Johnny Cash - pt 1

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Uploaded on Nov 10, 2008

Removal of the Cherokees
Birthday Story of Private John G. Burnett, Captain Abraham McClellan's Company, 2nd

Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted Infantry, Cherokee Indian Removal, 1838-39.
Children:
This is my birthday, December 11, 1890, I am eighty years old today. I was born at Kings Iron
Works in Sulllivan County, Tennessee, December the 11th, 1810. I grew into manhood fishing
in Beaver Creek and roaming through the forest hunting the deer and the wild boar and the
timber wolf. Often spending weeks at a time in the solitary wilderness with no companions but
my rifle, hunting knife, and a small hatchet that I carried in my belt in all of my wilderness
wanderings.
On these long hunting trips I met and became acquainted with many of the Cherokee Indians,
hunting with them by day and sleeping around their camp fires by night. I learned to speak their
language, and they taught me the arts of trailing and building traps and snares. On one of my
long hunts in the fall of 1829, I found a young Cherokee who had been shot by a roving band
of hunters and who had eluded his pursuers and concealed himself under a shelving rock.
Weak from loss of blood, the poor creature was unable to walk and almost famished for water. I
carried him to a spring, bathed and bandaged the bullet wound, and built a shelter out of bark
peeled from a dead chestnut tree. I nursed and protected him feeding him on chestnuts and
toasted deer meat. When he was able to travel I accompanied him to the home of his people and
remained so long that I was given up for lost. By this time I had become an expert rifleman and
fairly good archer and a good trapper and spent most of my time in the forest in quest of game.

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