The Missouri Trail of Tears Team is a diverse group of volunteers, professionals, and organizations all working towards the common goal of telling the truth of the Trail of Tears events in Missouri. Please consider joining the team in whatever way you feel you can best contribute.

Missouri ToTA Board of Directors 2022-2023

Missouri Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association

  • Denise Dowling – President
  • Rocky Miller – Past President
  • Larry Hightower – Vice President
  • Dr. Bill Ambrose – Secretary and National Board Representative
  • Brick Autry – Treasurer
  • Mark Spangler – Director
  • Larry Brown – Director
  • Galen Gritts – Director
  • Deloris Gray-Wood – National Board Representative

Organizations on the Trail of Tears Team

Volunteers are an Important Part of our Trail of Tears Team

  • Mark Spangler – Volunteer & Former Museum Curator, Lebanon, Laclede County Library
  • Eva Dunn – Southeast Missouri

State Trail of Tears Association Chapters

Other Links

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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