Staff File Photo / The Brainerd Mission Cemetery is all that remains of the Brainerd Mission founded in 1816. It is located off Brainerd Road adjacent to Eastgate Town Center.

The story of the courageous missionaries and educators who founded the Brainerd Mission in 1816 will be presented by Ripple Productions Thursday, Nov. 7, in Founders Hall at the Collegedale Commons.

A concert version of "The Trail was a Circle" will begin at 7 p.m., directed by author Daisy Pratt. Musical direction will be under Dr. Jim Burns, Lee University professor who composed the lyrics and music.

This drama of the founding of the mission and the subsequent removal of the Cherokee is documented in the book by late naturalist Robert Sparks Walker, "Torchlights to the Cherokees," which was published in 1931 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Walker used original handwritten letters and journals to document his story, which are now found in the Harvard-Andover Theological Library at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If you go

* What: “The Trail was a Circle”

* Where: Collegedale Commons, 4950 Swinyar Drive

* When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7

* Admission: Free, donations accepted

* For more information: 423-553-7178

While many have heard of the Trail of Tears, few know that two missionaries were beaten and imprisoned for their stand against the Cherokee removal. From their prison in Georgia, they wrote asking Chief Justice John Marshall to expose this unlawful removal act. In addition, Davy Crockett traveled to Washington, D.C., to personally confront Andrew Jackson. Yet the removal act remained. Organizers of this production add that it is also little-known that the Cherokees were accompanied by missionaries from Brainerd Mission and other locations to Tahlequah in Cherokee County, Oklahoma.

This historical project was launched by retired educators and librarians with start-up help from local theatrical group Ripple Productions, the historic Trail of Tears site, Audubon Society of Chattanooga and others who are passionate that the Brainerd Mission be remembered.

Thursday, only the Brainerd Mission Cemetery remains, located adjacent to Eastgate Town Center, 5700 Brainerd Road. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Brainerd Mission Cemetery is owned, operated and maintained by the five Chattanooga chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and one chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

There is no admission to see "The Trail was a Circle," but donations will be accepted. For more information: 423-553-7178.


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