The Dancy-Polk House, originally built for Colonel William Francis Dancy in 1829, is one of the oldest standing structures in Decatur, and was present at the time of the Trail of Tears. William Francis Dancy later moved to St. Mary’s Parrish, Louisiana and sold the home to Mr. Jonas Wood.
Wood’s daughter, Lavinia, married Mr. Thomas Gilchrist Polk, a cousin of President James K. Polk, and resided in the house with their three daughters. Dancy-Polk House is located on the northwest corner of Railroad and Church Street and was situated so that it faced where the Cherokee were being loaded along the track the next morning for removal to Tuscumbia.
It is not known whether Mr. or Mrs. Polk kept journals, or any sort of written record about the events of the Trail of Tears that would provide context to Decatur at the time of removal.