History of the Fort at Fort Payne, AL - DeKalb County
Located at the east end of 4th Street SE in Fort
Payne, Alabama, The Fort Payne Cabin Historic Site is
currently under development and will be open to the
public by appointment only in September of 2013.
1837, federal troops arrived in Wills Valley to establish a
fort for the purpose of removing the Cherokee from the area.
The cabin site is part of local property seized by the
military for Fort Payne, one of over 20 removal forts
established in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Research indicates the cabin belonged to a Cherokee,
Spirit/John Huss, and was built circa 1825. Military
documents show that Cantonment Payne existed in the fall of
1837, became Fort Payne by December 1837, and was a major
emigrating depot by summer of 1838. The majority of
Cherokees who were forced by the military to leave their
homes in Alabama left from Fort Payne. A detachment led by a
Cherokee, John Benge, departed the fort for Indian Territory
in October of 1838 and the fort was closed soon after. The
only Trail of Tears detachment originating in Alabama, the
first 38 miles of the Benge Route from the fort to Lake
Guntersville have been identified and marked. Although the
fort was used for only about a year, the cabin continued in
use until the mid 1940s. Today a chimney, the cabin
foundation, a nearby stacked stone well and evidence of a
road bed remain. The Cabin Historic Site is one of four
sites in Fort Payne certified by the National Park Service
as original components of the Trail of Tears National
To learn more about the Fort Payne Cabin Historic Site
Landmarks of Dekalb site.