In the late fall of 1838, a group of over 1000 passed through Benton, Henry and Weakley counties–one part of a large scale forced migration known as the Trail of Tears. This particular group was led by Capt. John Benge, a Cherokee sub-chief, and was known as the Benge Detachment. Beginning in DeKalb County, AL and consisting of 959 Cherokee Indians, 144 black slaves, 60 wagons and 480 horses, the detachment made their way into Paris. They continued through Henry County toward the Little Zion community of Weakley County, then through Palmersville and headed toward Kentucky.
The group reached their destination in Oklahoma in January of 1839. Thirty-three deaths occurred during the trek; two of those being were buried in Weakley County.
For the past two years, Henry County Historian David Webb has worked with the National Park Service to obtain signs marking this historic trail. Henry County has received their signs and will likely have a dedication ceremony in the spring. It is the goal of Dr. Webb to have signage from Fort Payne, Alabama all across the trail in Tennessee. Signage is already in place at the Kentucky line.
Palmersville Historical Society has committed to this project and is currently working with the National Park Service to obtain the signage for marking the trail which passed through Palmersville.
The signs are provided by the Park Service, but posts, bolts, etc. and the installation itself will have to be provided locally.