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Brainerd Mission Cemetery

Historic Site or District
Outside the Walls of Brainerd Mission Cemetery – Bettie Purcell

ADA Accessibility Notes

Uneven yerrain

Brainerd Mission Cemetery is located in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, adjacent to the 5700 block of Brainerd Road. A mission journal notes the first burial taking place on January 11, 1818. The cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized as an official stop on the National Park Service Trail of Tears.
The history of the cemetery began in 1817 when the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions established a mission on 25 acres near the northwest boundary of the Cherokee Nation across the creek from a large Cherokee settlement known as 'Chickamaugah' Town. The missionaries were tasked with establishing relations with the Cherokee to prepare them to integrate peaceably with the westward movement of the white settlers. Brainerd quickly became the leading mission in the Cherokee Nation, boasting 44 male students and 31e females within the first year. The mission grounds featured a schoolhouse, mission house, gristmill, sawmill, orchard, barn, dormitories, farm fields, and a cemetery. The missionaries, with the aid of the United States government, erected and maintained forty buildings, serving hundreds of students in the twenty-one years before the removal of the Indians. The mission closed its doors as hundreds of Cherokee from John Bell’s detachment were removed in 1838 on the Trail of Tears. A one-acre cemetery on what would have been the southwest portion of the complex is now the only visible landmark evidence that the prosperous Brainerd Mission existed.

Pet Friendly Notes

No pets allowed

Time Period Represented



Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Seasons Open



Visitor Fees

No Fee; Participation release required of groups

Nearby Places