mon·o·graph – noun: monograph; plural noun: monograph – 1. a detailed written study of a single specialized subject or an aspect of it. “a series of monographs on music in late medieval and Renaissance cities”

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Cave Spring on a State Road Survey

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The new road followed an ancient path, first used first by Native Americans before European settlement, then by Indian traders and fur trappers, in very early frontier history, and then by this earliest commercial and post road. Today, an Interstate highway takes its course across the Ozarks. This ancient path remained lost to history for over a 100 years. And with it, a place called “Cave Spring” in Laclede County, Missouri.

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Cherokee Ozarks at the Snelson-Brinker Cabin

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The first human occupation on the North American Continent was by distant ancestors of today’s Native Americans, including the Cherokee Indians. Lifeways included being hunter-gatherers. The first human occupation of the Midwest occurred at the end of the Pleistocene. As…

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Journal of B.B. Cannon

By Lt. B.B. Cannon (US Army)

Decr. 7th, 1837. Marched at 8 ½ o’c., A.M., Reese’s team ran away, broke his wagon and Starrs carry-all, left him and family to get his wagon mended, at 17 miles, and to overtake if possible, halted at Mr. Bates son, 5 o’c., P.M., encamped and issued corn and fodder, corn-meal & bacon, 20 miles to day...

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Dr. Morrow’s Incredible Story

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

To better understand the subject of this vignette, a biography of our subject’s grandfather is essential. Grandpa George was a true patriot. George Doherty fought the Shawnee at Point Pleasant in 1774, a battle that is considered by some to be the first in our War of Independence…

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H.E. Davis Avoids the Trail of Death, Pt. 1

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Henry Erwin Davis and his wife Mary moved to Crawford County in about 1830. He was born in Virginia in 1793; she in Kentucky in 1814. They were staunch Presbyterians, likely of Scot-Irish ancestry. Their fortuitous heritage was useful to both match wits with the northern border edge…

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H.E. Davis Avoids the Trail of Death, Pt. 2

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Was it just good luck or fate that put the Cherokees at Mr. Davis’s homestead? Likely neither! Research has found that Mr. Davis knew the Brickey family – not just a little. Crawford County Circuit Court records disclose the frequent jury duty service assigned to the extensive Brickey…

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Final Pleas of the Cherokees

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The Cherokee Chiefs and a thousand Cherokees were at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River. The shoals region is near present Elizabethton in far eastern Tennessee, even east of the Cumberland Gap. The chiefs, in council, were there to sell Kentucky to Richard Henderson and…

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Harrisons on Big Piney

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

As early as 1816, the short-leaf virgin pineries in the upper reaches of the Big Piney Creek watershed were being harvested, cut in to plank lumber, and rafted to St. Louis for the busy building industry. Within a year or so, the James Harrison family had settled at the mouth of the…

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James B. Harrison at the Little Piney

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The Osage and other Native Americans before them had many rhythms to their lives. These rhythms were patterned like their beliefs, based in balance, not in conflict. For the Osage all the important features of life existed in duality. Earth and sky, male and female, peace and war…

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How to Build a Trail of Tears Vignette

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The Trail of Tears epic trek by the Cherokee Nation across the 24 counties of the Missouri Ozarks has been largely ignored by Trail of Tears researchers and writers. The truth of the Trail in Missouri is hard to find, buried under early-settlement political economics–national and local…

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Judge the Quality of the Soil by the Type of Tree

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

In the Geological Survey of the State of Missouri (1855-1871) in the chapter about Maries County, written by G.C. Broadhead, and in the other chapters of the book by different authors, the discussion of the evaluation of fertility of soils always starts with where in the landscape the…

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Stone Age Cherokee

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Daniel Boone, the wilderness explorer, found it necessary in 1799 to move again. Settlement had crowded in around him in Kentucky, so he loaded up his family and headed for Spanish territory across the Mississippi River to the lands that became Missouri. It was the back country…

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The Trail of Tears Followed a New Missouri Road

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

On February 3, 1837, in the first session of the Ninth General Assembly of the State of Missouri, an act was passed to create a new state road. The title of the law was, “An Act to establish a State Road from Ste. Genevieve to Caledonia, and from Caledonia to Courtois Mines.” The laws…

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The Trail of Tears from Farmington to Caledonia

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The Trail of Tears Association is the congressionally mandated civilian partner to the National Park Service to pursue the goals and purposes of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, which was added to the National Trails System in 1987…

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The Cherokee Saw This on the Trail of Tears

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Farming practices come and go across wide swaths of the landscape across the temporal plain. Crops that you commonly see today may have either not existed just a few years ago or may not have been successful in those locations because of several factors. Some things that might…

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The Glimpse

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Computers are tremendously fast at solving problems that can be “fitted” to a mathematical algorithm – much faster than the human brain. Beyond that limited superiority, the human brain is far better. In language use, creative thinking, and pattern recognition, the homo sapiens’…

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William Lunsford Story

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The Federal Government’s 1830’s policy for encouraging rapid settlement and economic development of the frontier regions was leveraged on liberal public land sales law and ready availability of money for loans. 1820 Federal Law reduced the minimum per acre purchase price…

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Colonel Miles Hicks Vernon

By Mark Spangler

Involved personally in both the Cherokee round-up and overland removal on the northern route. Vernon is described by Stephen Foreman in a letter from June 15, 1838 stating: “. . . all the families in the neighborhood of Candy’s Creek were removed from our own humble dwellings, to this place from which I now write you. There is no fort here, but there is a company of volunteers stationed at this place with a Mr. Vernon at their head, as Capt. There are about three hundred Cherokees now collected here...

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From Cook Settlement

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The Cannon Detachment, 366 Cherokees, departed Chattanooga on August 4, 1837, following well-established roads aimed westward toward Indian Territory.  All those states laying east of the Mississippi River through which the trail went, having been in the United States of America and with well-established roads of commerce for many years, had established infrastructure and road-side mercantile locations facilitating over-land travel.  That all changed after crossing the Mississippi River.  Missouri had only been a state since 1821, a territory since 1812, and a possession of the United States since 1803… 

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Charles-Alexandre Lesueur in Missouri: 1826

By Walter A. Schroeder, June 2003

A Geological Summary of the Journal of the Voyage of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur from Harmony, Indiana to Southern Missouri in 1826. The area traversed by Lesueur on his trip to Missouri in 1826 included the geologic extremes of the Mississippi Embayment, a deep structural basin still experiencing major earthquakes, and the Ozark structural dome where some of the oldest rocks of the United States are exposed. The Ozark dome, the goal of Lesueur’s journey, is one of the richest metalliferous regions of the United States…

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From Farmington to Caledonia

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Dear Dr. Norris,

The Trail of Tears Association is the congressionally mandated civilian partner to the National Park Service to pursue the goals and purposes of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, which was added to the National Trails System in 1987.  Several years of funded study which had begun at that time culminated in the National Map of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail being published in 1993.  Many changes and refinements of that initial map have been made since 1993 across the reach of the map which have added accuracy to the location of the actual trail in other states

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Trail of Broken Promises

by Rocky Miller

The systematic taking of Cherokee lands and forced evacuation of the Cherokee Nation from the Carolinas, Alabama, and Georgia is an example of the United States’ unfair treatment of Indians and land hunger.

The Cherokees made their home in the hills of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama. It was thought to be the loveliest region east of the Mississippi River. In an 1825 statement to the War Department, Thomas L. McKenney describes the Cherokee lands as follows:

“The country is well watered; abundant springs of pure water are found in every part; a range of majestic and lofty mountains stretch themselves across it. The northern part is hilly and mountainous; in the southern and western parts there are extensive and fertile plains, covered partly with tall trees, through which beautiful streams of water glide.”1

Thomas L. McKenney

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A Reckless Falsehood

By the Southern Advocate Newspaper – Jackson, Missouri, May 4, 1838

The country to which they are going is bounded by Barry County, Missouri, on the east; and by the Quapaw and Seneca settlements on the south. These Indian neighbors are as far advanced in civilization as the Cherokees, and a much better people. The Osages reside northwesterly and west of the country of this band of the Cherokees. The Creek nation, which has emigrated and settled between the Neosho and the Verdigris (Rivers), reside south and southwest of the country which is given to the memorializing and complaining band of the Cherokees. The country which the National Gazette pronounces sickly, is as salubrious as the city of Philadelphia, and more fertile than any part of Pennsylvania...

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Letter from Chief John Ross to Unnamed Physician

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

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Mark Winnett Dent at Bismarck

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Mark Dent was born in Maryland in 1777.  He moved as a very young child with his family to Virginia.  According to family records, he came to the trans-Mississippi West region in 1803, the area being under French ownership at that time.  Following mining roads to the inland from St. Genevieve, he found and settled on the first rich dolomite plain beyond the mining region on the north-west side of the St. Francois Mountains, the location being near the contemporary town of Bismarck shown at the large blue arrow on the map...

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Rediscovering the Trail of Tears

By Chris Dunn

Our entire way of life today was touched by how we mapped most of the nation’s land west of the Appalachians. During the Antebellum period, the United States launched its most ambitious national program since the Revolution: the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), which employed thousands of rough men working in small teams under harsh conditions. The PLSS organized the western expanse into townships of approximately 36 square miles, then subdivided those townships into one-square-mile divisions known as sections. This effort allowed the new nation to raise much- needed revenue through the sale of these newly mapped western territories...

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Osage Village

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

In the 1820’s a thriving village and post office were established near Osage Creek in what would later be Courtois Township, Crawford County, Mo. The village was named Osage after the beautiful stream that flowed near-by. This village was located on land owned by James Sanders, a native of Ky. who had moved to Mo, in the early 1800’s. He first settled in Washington County, Mo. After receiving numerous land grants, he and his family moved to Crawford Co. His first land grant, in 1828, was an eighty acre tract on which he established his home...

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1838 Cherokee Memorial

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The removal treaty between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, the Treaty of New Echota, was negotiated and signed by certain unelected tribal members and eager, unscrupulous government representatives on December 29, 1835.  After two months of debate in the United States Senate, the treaty was ratified on March 1, 1836, with the thinnest margin — only one vote more than the two-thirds required.  On May 23, 1836, President Andrew Jackson signed the treaty into law.  One of the provisions of the removal treaty was that the Cherokee had two years from the date it became effective to remove to their assigned new home west of the Mississippi River and the states – the clock had started!

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James Evans West of Caledonia

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

On November 21, 1837, Cannon recorded that the detachment “passed through Caledonia, halted at Mr. Jackson’s, encamped and issued corn & fodder, beef and bacon, mostly bacon, 14 miles today.”  We have been unable to identify this Mr. Jackson or any land he may have owned.  Probate records indicate that he was related to the Evans family.  We believe that he was likely renting land from James S. Evans, the most important landowner in that area.  And, as Cannon’s invoices record, Cannon purchased from James S. Evans “405 lbs. of bacon for subsistence of a detachment of Cherokees at 10 cents per pound” that day…

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The Trask Boys

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Marvin Trask owned over half of the 640-acre township due west of the detachment’s six-day sickness camp at Silas Brickey’s spring and schoolhouse.  As early as 1827, Marvin Trask owned a large acreage in and around Section 23 of T38-N, R3-W, 4 miles further down the Huzzah Creek.  Trask was paid $0.10 per pound for “526 pounds of bacon for the subsistence of the teamsters belonging to a detachment of Cherokees” on Nov. 29, 1837.  The community that had developed beginning in 1824 by Peter Brickey and in 1828 with James Sanders, was settled quickly by the large Brickey family… 

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Zeno T. Blanks

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Shadrach Blanks was born in Charlotte County, Virginia in 1760.  Charlotte County was the second political entity to declare independence from Great Britain; the county was replete with citizens like its own Patrick Henry.  The Revolutionary War to the west, in Kentucky and Tennessee, had been primarily against the Indians — Cherokees to the south and Shawnee to the north

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Josiah Christeson at Waynesville

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

The “Reports of the Geological Survey of the State of Missouri, 1855 – 1871” states that, in Pulaski County, “The richest soils are found in the valleys of the principal streams, including the Robideaux; throughout all (the streams’) meanderings we find the excellent farms and farm sites, capable of supporting a dense agricultural population.”  Coursing south to north through the center of the south one-half of Pulaski County, the Robideaux Creek meanders across 4 townships before adding the effluent from the famous spring by the same name.  From the Robideaux Spring, it is just a little over 2 miles to the creek’s mouth into the Gasconade River.  The town of Waynesville is located just north of the spring and east of the one-half ellipse formed by the creek in response to the tall bluffs and fertile bottom land confining it from the west. 

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Westin Arthur Goodspeed, 1852 – 1926

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Westin Arthur Goodspeed, 1852 – 1926, recognized a need for preserving and sharing general histories of various states, regions, and counties.  He was a successful Nashville, Tennessee publisher seeking more material that would be of interest to a broad audience to put into print and sell.  He developed a basic template for his series of state, region, and county histories that included general history, geography, settlement patterns, early political development, economics, and other topics including Native American history.  He set a new standard in describing the Native American local history by avoiding common previously used derogatory references

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Settlement and Pioneer History

By Westin Arthur Goodspeed

If numerous mounds all over the valleys of Pulaski County were positive proof of settlement of that ancient people known as Mound Builders within her borders, it could be safely said that her territory was once densely populous.  Mound remains, however, do not always indicate such a condition.  The facts are that these mounds were very thick, and clearly defined as artificial, and also indicated great age, even as early as 1829, when Elisha Christeson and his family came, although most of them are now leveled by a half century of plowing

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Cyrus Colley on the Springfield to STL Road

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Certainly, the Trail of Tears in Missouri did not follow established roads, did it?  All the images you’ve seen depicting the Cherokees on their forced removal don’t show them traveling on a road, do they? No, you don’t picture the detachments moving down a road in an organized line like a wagon train in the “Old West.”  Our mental images of the Trail of Tears have been trained to see an onslaught of Indians moving across landscapes broadly, as in this painting. 

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Evan Jones at Little Prairie

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Evan Jones was born in Wales in 1788.  At an early age he was apprenticed to a linen-draper, to learn that trade.  Married in 1808, he pursued more formal education in the classics, hoping that teaching or tutoring would better provide for his growing family.  Those potentials failed, so he returned to his linen trade until 1821, when he and his family emigrated to America.  A teacher at heart, he responded to a job opening from the Baptist Foreign Mission Board for a family to go into the heart of the Cherokee Nation at a newly established “missionary seminary” to teach.

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Lt. B.B. Cannon, Near Marshfield

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

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Cannon Detachment Across the Ozark Highlands

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Lt. B.B. Cannon successfully led his detachment of 366 Cherokees out of their homeland in the East to the Mississippi River crossing near Jackson, Missouri, during the fall of 1837.  Then he masterly conquered the most difficult terrain by finding the 4 oasis in the Meramec River Hills Region from Hazel Creek to the Massey Iron Works at the Meramec Spring.  Upon achieving the intersection of the Road to Massey Iron Works with the Springfield to St. Louis Road on Big Prairie in present-day Phelps County,…

Jesse Bushyhead – Early Cherokee Baptist

By Dr. William “Bill” Ambrose

Jesse Bushyhead was born in December of 1804 into a middle-class Cherokee family on Mouse Creek near Cleveland, Tennessee.  His ancestry has not been proven, but it is clear that he was of mixed blood – part white and part Cherokee.  Growing up in that environment, he became fluent in English and Cherokee, skills that proved very important later in his life.  Jesse married Eliza Wilkeson in 1822 or 23 – she also of mixed ancestry, but her mother was a full-blood Cherokee.  Eliza’s half-sister was the wife of future Cherokee Chief John Ross.  Across multiple close and distant….

Cave Spring, Missouri

By Larry Hightower

It Started with the Roundups: I believe that the Trail of Tears journeys did not begin with a detachment or end with the arrival of the last group. For many, it began with roundups. Perhaps, with their final looks back to what had been their homes, they saw an inferno, or perhaps they saw settlers rushing in to claim the homes and everything they had been forced to leave behind. For those who survived the journey, there must have been inconsolable grief for the beloved who did not survive

Farmington as Viewed by Lesueur in 1826

Today’s Farmington is at the center of the rich agricultural band of alfisol on the limestone plain which attracted the earliest American farmers to this region before 1800, and continues to meet the needs of today’s area agriculturalist. This area is just a small portion of the greater fertile Farmington Plain which is the eastern portion of the second band of land type outward from the mountains’ center. It is composed of fertile limestone soils beyond the mineral and metal rich inner band laying adjacent to the igneous St. Francis Mountains’ elevated center. Study the following illustration to visualize the topography. Farmington is seen at the Blue Arrow...

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