More than seventy places, spanning nine states, have been recognized by the National Park Service as certified sites on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. This number grows on a regular basis as landowners of property with a verified, direct association with the Trail or managers of interpretive facilities located near the Trail partner with the National Park Service’s National Trails Intermountain Region to certify their sites, thus agreeing to help protect, preserve, and interpret Trail resources. One of these certified sites is the Crider Tavern Complex, located on private property off the Old Mexico Road in Fredonia, Kentucky.
In 1836, Jacob B. Crider, a native of Pittsylvania, Virginia, purchased 200 acres of land in present-day Caldwell County, Kentucky, and established a homestead, complete with a hand-hewn log tavern (now covered in a brick veneer), corncrib, and likely a number of additional outbuildings. He shared this homestead with his wife, Orpha. Although the two had eleven children together, only four survived to adulthood. Crider’s log tavern and corncrib remain extant today, along with the Crider-Wyatt family cemetery, which was established in 1839 with the burial of Jacob and Orpha’s 4 ½-year-old son, Jasper. Another cemetery, known locally as the Brooks Cemetery and established in 1831, is also located on the property. From 1837 to 1839, twelve detachments totaling approximately 12,000 Cherokee took what is now known as the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory, passing by the Crider property on their journey. A son of Jacob B. Crider, Jacob Ewing Crider, later recalled that his father sold the government agents supplies for the Cherokee while they were on their journey.
In order to better understand the history of this site and its preservation needs, the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP) partnered with the National Trails Intermountain Region to complete a Historic Structure Report (HSR) for the property, focusing primarily on the hand-hewn log corncrib, which is now housed underneath a modern barn. CHP graduate research assistants Tiffany Momon and Noel Harris, along with CHP director Dr. Carroll Van West and I, were charged with completing the HSR for this historic site. The final HSR is available to read here.