Ada — School is almost over and it’s time for swimming, running around in flip-flops and hanging out with friends. But hey, how about a good summertime read by the pool? The Ada News will feature serial stories for kids this summer in Tuesdays and Thursdays editions to encourage youngsters to keep reading.
A new serial story for young readers will begin appearing next week in The Ada News. “They Cried on the Trail” is a bi-weekly chapter story that follows two Cherokee Indian children as they struggle to make it to Oklahoma in 1838 on what would become known as the Trail of Tears. It will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from May 27-June 19.
The historical fiction story is provided exclusively to Oklahoma newspapers by the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation. The eight-chapter serial tells the fictional story of John Whitefeather and his parents’ six-month trek on foot after being forced to leave their home in Georgia. They find a new friend, Sally, during their 1,000 mile ourney to Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Tahlequah, in Cherokee, means “the place where they stopped.”
The Cherokee, like many tribes that originally lived in the southeastern part of the United States, came under increasing pressure in the 1830s by white settlers moving onto their traditional lands. Their lands were seized, they were rounded up with little more than the clothes on their backs and force-marched from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina to Oklahoma Territory. In 1838-39, a terrible drought was followed by an even more terrible winter in which the Mississippi River froze over at their crossing point in southern Illinois. Thousands of Cherokee died on the Trail of Tears, many of them from starvation and exposure to the elements.
The names of the children in this serial story are fictional and not based on any real family. Written by Carolyn Estes of the Oologah Lake Leader, the serial stories are short novels published as individual chapters in the newspaper.