Trail of Tears
In 1837 and 1838, Southeast Missouri pioneers witnessed a tragic part of our nation’s history. Thirteen times, through three different routes, the removal of the Cherokee from the eastern US was accomplished by passing through our area on trails that could barely accommodate the wagons, horses and thousands of people that made this Trail of Tears march.
Rations on the Trail
Each day the detachment leaders tried to issue rations of food for the people and fodder for the animals. Some days were good. Some were not. As can be seen by the following excerpts from the journal kept by B. B. Cannon, Conductor of a party of Emigrating Cherokee Indians, put in his charge at the Cherokee Agency East, by Gen. N. Smith, Superintendent of Cherokee Removals, on the 13th day of October, 1837..
Nov. 16th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. left Reese, Starr and families on account of sickness in their families, also James Taylor (Reese’s son-in-law) and family. Taylor himself being very sick, with instructions to overtake the party. Passed thro’ Jackson, Mo. halted & encamped at Widow Roberts on the road via Farmington &Issued corn only no fodder to be had. 17 miles today.
Nov. 17th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted at white Water creek 4 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder, corn meal and beef. 13 miles today.
Nov. 18th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted and encamped at Mr. Morand’s 5 O’C P.M. Issued corn & fodder, flour bacon. 16 miles today.
Nov. 19th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. halted and encamped 1/2 past 4 O’C P.M. at Wolf Creek. Issued corn & fodder. 14 miles today.
Nov 20th 1837
Marched at 8 O’C A.M. passed thro’ Farmington, Mo. halted at St. Francis river, 4 O’C P.M. encamped and issued corn & fodder, Flour & beef. 15 miles today.
Southern Route through Arkansas
Food rationing consisted of a handful of boiled corn, one turnip, and two cups of heated water per day.