By | March 29, 2024

With Many Years of Funding by the Missouri Humanities, The Missouri Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association Presents the Missouri Story of the Trail of Tears Website: motrailoftears.com

The on-line interactive, multi-layered map of the Northern Route of the Trail of Tears is complete across the state with significant additions to relate historical Trail of Tears events at their locations with new interpretive information.  There are now over 40 original interpretive monographs on the website.  New GIS technologies have been applied to both the on-line map and monographs.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) protocols have been applied to the monographs, along with other website enhancements to increase its attraction and penetration on the internet platform. 

A 3D view of the area near the Snelson-Brinker cabin along the northern route.

Aggressive additions of links to the website material to other related sites have been added.  Missouri Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association activities, including membership information, is now on the website as a communication and recruitment tool.  This website brings the Missouri story of the Trail of Tears to a new level of interest and appreciation by Missouri’s citizens.  Missouri Speaker’s Bureau presentations based on the same new information that is on the website have been well received at 6 locations across the state throughout 2022-2023.  Four more Missouri Speaker’s Bureau presentations are planned for 2024.  

http://MoTrailofTears.com success measures are primarily website attendance numbers.  Measurement of that attendance is followed our team based on Google activity data. We use Google Analytics and have employed search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

This website has become increasingly popular over the last year.  It is now the third ranked site when one Googles “Missouri Trail of Tears.” The top two sites are the National Park Service Trail of Tears sight and the Trail of Tears State Park in Missouri. When we first started the website, it ranked in the low 90s. This could be confirmed by searching from within an incognito browser.

A highly exaggerated 3D terrain image with a GLO and competing route comparison overlay.

The Trail of Tears is one of 20 National Historic Trails in America. Missouri has the most miles of the Trail, 600, of any of the nine states it passes through. The story of the Trail in Missouri seems to have had a discount applied to it, perhaps because the Cherokee did not live in the state – they just passed through.  But the 13,000 Cherokee on the Trail of Tears through Missouri were certainly affected by the landscape and the people of the state, and vice-versa.  With funding from Missouri Humanities Council grants, many of these interactions have been researched and are now being illuminated on the website and have been archived in searchable digital format.  The Trail of Tears was certainly a tragedy; the Missouri story of the Trail has that element, but also now a very caring story of humanitarian support.

This chapter and the national association continue to look for ways to increase membership, especially youth, in an effort to fulfill the goal of stewardship of this important National Historic Trail.  This website includes a blog post, and visitors are encouraged to post a blog or interact or comment about the website content in several ways. A recent e-mail blast encouraged multiple new members to sign up for the website. Several of these new members are interested in contributing their own writings, maps, and photos.

Georectified GLOs spanning the Northern Route.

Ninety three (93) General Land Office plats have been obtained and georectified for use in the GIS.  The entire northern route now has been fully GLO’ed.  The GIS has also been migrated from the ArcMap platform to the ArcPro platform.  ArcPro allows the GIS to generate more complex 3D maps and more easily handle the increased volume of GIS data now in this project.  Additionally, 146 family map screen clips have been captured, with the majority of those having been georectified into the GIS. They allow researchers to find the original property owners along the Trail. Fourteen (14) geophysical data layers have also been added to the GIS under this grant. As a result of moving to ArcPro, we can now create 3D renderings of Trail sites and routes.

We maintain 214 gigabytes of freely downloadable data. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1E_9VLGQmNcCn_3jxBDIYAVKTCzjn9j9U?usp=sharing 

We also maintain two cloud archives of all the Mo Trail of Tears data files totaling 1 terabyte.

This project of bringing to the public new discoveries about the Trail of Tears in Missouri with more than a terabyte of newly archived digital data is challenging.  Stewardship of this Trail story involves breaking new ground with digital technologies for storage and rendition of the presentations for the public. This nearly 200-year-old statewide story seems best told through detailed snippets of the previously untold humanitarian efforts of Missouri’s earliest settler-farmers’ interactions with the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears in Missouri.  The 40-plus original “Monographs” contained in the “Library” on the website are working examples of these snippets.

Using an old-school paper project progress map.

If you have any suggestions, comments, or critiques please email Chris.Dunn@GeoVelo.com

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