Visitors to our area will soon discover new signs identifying the Andrew Ross Home, along with the Willstown Mission Cemetery and old Fort Payne Cabin site, as official components of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The congressionally designated trail commemorates the tragic history of the 1838 removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral homelands to territory in the west.
Located just off the intersection of 45th Street and Godfrey Avenue NE, the Andrew Ross home is privately owned by Dr. Stephen Brewer. The present structure retains intact portions of the original home built in 1821 by Cherokee leader Andrew Ross and his wife, Susannah (Susan) Lowery Ross, who was the daughter of Assistant Principal Chief George Lowery. Long thought to be the home of Daniel Ross, Andrew’s father, recent research has revealed the home’s true origins. In addition to the home, which had an impressive second story balcony across the front, the property included stables, numerous outbuildings, farmlands, orchards and pastures.
A brother of Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross, Andrew was a judge on the Cherokee Supreme Court. As a member of the Ridge Party — the group who lobbied to cede all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi and voluntarily emigrate to the Western territory, Andrew was in direct opposition to his brother John’s anti-removal stance.
The other two certified properties are owned by Landmarks of DeKalb County. They are Willstown Mission Cemetery located off Godfrey Avenue on 38th Street NE, which is open to the public, and the old Fort Payne Cabin site, located at the end of 4th Street SE, which is undergoing continued research and development — access to the Cabin Site is by appointment only. National Park Service signs should be in place at these two sites by May, 2010. For further information, contact Landmarks at (256) 845-6888 or send email to: Landmarks.