An event marking the Trail of Tears through includes a portion of Texas County is planned for 1 p.m. Oct. 11 at Centerville, where a public retracement of the historic event is planned.
This event commemorates the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee removal and a public unveiling of official national historic trail signs, marking the longest signed segment to date of original historic route. The dedication and unveiling will be held at the Assembly of God Multipurpose Building at 2244 Highways 21 and 72 in Reynolds County.
Participating in the event will be partners and officials from the Cherokee Nation, Trail of Tears Association, Reynolds County, Missouri Department of Natural Resources – Division of State Parks, Missouri State Historic Preservation Office, The Doe Run Co. and Mark Twain National Forest.
Aaron Mahr, NPS superintendent of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, will unveil the new signs on this 31-mile stretch of the trail. The 31 miles in Iron and Reynolds counties follow a portion of the historic Hildebrand Route on the Trail of Tears. The unveiling event celebrates the continuing effort by the NPS and its partners to preserve and develop the national historic trail for increased public awareness and use.
In 1838 the Cherokee where forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee to Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokees traveled across the states of Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas by foot, horse, wagon or steamboat.
The newly signed historic route was taken by Cherokee detachment leader Peter Hildebrand. In Missouri they camped in the Upper Arcadia Valley near what is today Fort Davidson State Historic Site. Hildebrand headed west on the ridge roads, fording at the Big Piney River at Boiling Springs in Texas County. The detachment passed through Wright County, crossing the creek at Old Astoria. Too sick to travel, they camped a month at Camp Branch, in the valley on Missouri’s Gasconade River. They arrived at Woodall Farm, March 25, 1839, in Indian Territory.
The Trail of Tears in Missouri goes through or touches land in the counties of Barry, Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Christian, Crawford, Dent, Greene, Iron, Laclede, Madison, Ozark, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Saint Francois, Scott, Stone, Texas, Wayne, Webster, Wright, and Washington. Missouri has three removal land routes used by Cherokee: the Northern Route, the Hildebrand Route and the Benge Route.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail is one of seven national historic trails in Missouri. Congress designated the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail as a part of the National Trails System in 1987. The NPS is the federal agency responsible for the administration of the national historic trail in partnership with others. The NPS partners with landowners and managers to help preserve and develop the national historic trail and has a certification program for historic trail sites and segments. Certified sites in Missouri on the Northern Route include the Trail of Tears State Park, Jackson; Snelson-Brinker House, Steelville; Maramec Spring, St. James; Roubidoux Spring at Waynesville; Star City Ranch, Barry County; and on the River Route includes one campsite at New Madrid on the Mississippi River.