The Independent Journal
3 November 1988

The "Trail of Tears" is a name given by the Cherokee people of a trek being commemorated this year [1988], memorializing the sad period in American history in the winter of 1838-39 when the Cherokees were forcibly removed from their homelands in eastern Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas to reservations near what is now Tahlequah, Oklahoma.   More than 16,000 Cherokees, accompanied by Army escorts, made the trek in waggon, horseback and on foot, and an estimated 4,000 of them died on the route.

As many as 13 seperate contingents made the nearly 900-mile march, following a line of settlements, in order to buy food and provisions on the route.   Although a basic "corridor" delineated the route, separate contingents often followed slightly varying road routes enroute from Tennessee to Oklahoma.  A federally - designated Trail of Tears National Trail was set by the U.S. Department of the Interior two years ago [1986], following a route in Missouri from Cape Girardeau through Fredericktown, Farmington, Flat River [now called Park Hills] to Potosi, and then on to Steelville, Rolla, Lebanon, Springfield and on out of Missouri.


Trailoftearswagon.JPG (29502 bytes)The current Wagon Train representing basically members of American trail-riders organizations, was organized in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, last summer.  Wagons representing each state on the route were expected to follow the full route, while local and area riders were being invited to join the Train by traveling several days, week, etc., as their time permitted.

In Washington County, the 1988 Wagon Train members retraced several of the points passed by the original Trail of Tears and it's alternate routes.   An account of one contingent, for example, mentioned traveling through Caledonia, the Webster Road, a camp at the Seabourne farm, and on through Webster (Palmer) to Meramec Springs.  Other accounts mention other parties passing through Potosi, then one of the area's major settlements.  One account mentioned a "stately church" (The 1832 Old Presbyterian Church on Breton street, still standing) viewed on the trail, and buying provisions for the trail in Potosi in Milams' Store ( The building presently known as the Lucas Apartments on South Missouri Street in Potosi.)

After their trek through Washington County over the weekend and early this week, the modern day contingent was scheduled to be met by Crawford County hosts at Berryman Wednesday afternoon, and then have successive campsites in Crawford County and at Steelville, with the following weekend lay-over at Meramec Springs.

The train left Red Clay, Tennessee, on September 17, and from reports, has varied in size from as few as four or five wagons in the early going, to as many as 20 wagons and additional outriders.  Support in the Missouri route from Fredericktown to Potosi was expected to swell the ranks with a number of additional local wagons and riders, alghough the number of "long-haul" participants was expscted to remain relatively small as the Train passes through and continues on out of the area.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the camps at any site along the way, giving encouragement on the Train as it continues its way to its eventual final destination in Talequah, Oklahoma where it is exspected to arrive about December 3.

The original newspaper article was quite lengthy & the above was only a portion of it.  The complete article can be found on the front page of the Independent Journal & continued on page 9A.  Many, many additional pictures can be found through out the November 3rd, 1988 edition of the newspaper.


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Signs like this mark "The Trail of Tears" route through Washington County.

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Monument on Mill St. on the east side of Hwy. 21 at north edge of Caledonia, Washington County, Missouri Photographed: 21 Oct. 2002
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For daily details of B.B. Cannon's contingent in 1837 through
St. Francois & Washington Counties, Missouri click here

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Background Music: "Dances With Wolves"


The Trail of Tears in Southeast Missouri

Trail Of Tears State Park




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