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The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Ballard Creek Roadbed
Reference Number R_A_13000702
State Oklahoma
County Adair
Town Westville
Street Address Address Restricted
Multiple Property Submission Name Historic and Historical Archaeological Resources of the Trail of Tears
Status Listed 9/9/2013
Link to full file
The Ballard Creek Roadbed is the remnant of a nineteenth century wagon road along Ballard Creek in-Adair County, Oklahoma. It is associated with the arrival and resettlement of the Cherokees in today's Oklahoma at the end of their Trail of Tears. It linked an important location in the new Cherokee Nation with supply sources and services in northwestern Arkansas. In early 1839 some Cherokee immigrating parties completing the Trail of Tears disbanded near today's Westville, Oklahoma about two miles from the roadbed. Food stores intended to sustain them their first year in the Indian Territory were delivered to a supply depot there they called Breadtown. Baptist Mission was soon founded nearby, and beginning in 1841 missionary Evan Jones and Cherokee minister Jesse Bushyhead made it a center for Cherokee Christian evangelism, church organization, education, and publishing. The wagon road along Ballard Creek connected the Baptist Mission settlement to supply sources in Silvia (Cincinnati), Arkansas and beyond. However, the Baptist Mission settlement was destroyed in 1862 during the Civil War. It was not rebuilt, and the need for the wagon road along Ballard Creek diminished as the mission moved to another location. Consequently, the period of significance for the Ballard Creek Roadbed is 1839 to 1862. It is significant at the state level under Criterion A because it is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history. The areas of significance under Criterion A are Transportation and Ethnic Heritage, specifically Native American, in this case, Cherokee. The Ballard Creek Roadbed is significant at the state level under Criterion D for Archeology in the Historic Aboriginal subcategory. It has the potential, given its location near the disbandment site of Cherokee detachments, the Breadtown depot, and Baptist Mission, to yield information about the Trail of Tears and its aftermath for the Cherokee people who used it as they settled, traded, worshiped, and educated their children nearby.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria