Graduate Student - Blessing or Curse: The Effect of Indian Removal on Cherokee Missionaries

Sarah Barnes' Graduate Student Thesis

The Indian Removal impacted the work of missionaries to the Cherokees. Barnes argues that removal had a direct impact on the future of missions to the Cherokees by focusing on two missionaries whose reactions to removal produced starkly different results. Samuel Worcester, a Presbyterian missionary from the American Board of Commissioner for Foreign Missions, fought for the rights of the Cherokees in the Supreme Court case, Worcester v. Georgia. With this defeat, he and his missionary board abandoned resistance to removal, and he quickly relocated to Indian Territory. He never regained his former stature with the Cherokees for abandoning their cause. Evan Jones, a Baptist under the Baptist Board for Foreign Missions took a different approach. In opposition to his board, he aided the Cherokees in creating petitions and filing legal grievances against the fraudulent treaty which eventually required them to relocate. But unlike Worcester, Jones stood by the Cherokees throughout their struggles and oversaw one contigent along the Trail of Tears. For his faithfulness, Jones won the respect and trust of the tribe.