Site Map

Trail Map:

Welcome to the Trail Map for the Missouri Chapter of the National Trail of Tears Association.

This is not a site map.  It is an overlay of a road plat from the 1820s in a modern GIS.
This image is not a trail map. It is an overlay of a road plat from the 1820s in a modern GIS.

More maps are in the works!

An Act of Congress

In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which required the various Indian tribes in today’s southeastern United States to give up their lands in exchange for federal territory which was located west of the Mississippi River. Most Indians fiercely resisted this policy, but as the 1830s wore on, most of the major tribes – the Choctaws, Muscogee Creeks, Seminoles, and Chickasaws – agreed to be relocated to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. 

This website represents a collaboration of many individuals who believe it is important to increase awareness, document the events, and share resources about the people who experienced the Trail of Tears within the State of Missouri. No one site cis authoritative, nor can it speak for the people involved. The goal of this effort is to share the information as we collect it so these events may never be forgotten. We also want others might benefit from our work. – Dr. William Ambrose, Jefferson City, Missouri, 2022

3D Diorama Along the Trail of Tears

By William Ambrose

On the western side of the state of Missouri, the Trail of Tears is generally the Springfield to St. Louis Road.  The General Land Office (GLO) surveyors, those earliest government surveyors who surveyed the unsettled frontier lands ahead of any land sales, were required to draw the existing roads on the township plats beginning at about the time they surveyed the western half of Missouri.  The Springfield to St. Louis Road was pre-historic – it was a trace on the ground from Springfield to St. Louis used by Native Americans for travel for trade and hunting long before Americans arrived in the state.  The GLOs were the building blocks of President Jefferson’s rectilinear survey system, known as the Public Land Survey System, created by the Land Ordinance of 1785, a federal law. The system was laid out in 6-mile-by-6-mile squares, each square being known by its north-south “Township” number and its east-west “Range” number. 


By William Ambrose

From 1837 to 1839, the Federal Government forcibly removed 17,000 Cherokees from their centuries-old homelands in Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and Alabama.  The Cherokee families were rounded up at gunpoint by Federal troops, held prisoner in detention camps, divided up into detachments of about 1000 people, and then forced to walk the 1000 miles to “Indian Territory,” now Oklahoma. Approximately 4000 died during that process. 

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