Driving the Ozarks, stopping at points of interest

I have been a little surprised by the terrain here. At least in this southern area of Missouri it is more hilly than I expected. Not as mountainous as West Virginia but certainly more hilly than Ohio. Also I’ve noticed off in the distance there are patches of what appears to be flat, open, grass land and then areas of forest. I assume at one time the trees were cleared to farm. Now maybe it is used for grazing cattle and horses. It is definitely not planted in crops. I am posting views from my drive here just to give you a flavor of the area. It really is very pretty. Some of these were taken when I was on I-44 and others were on parallel US or Missouri state routes.

I stopped in the town of Waynesville, Missouri to see a monument memorializing the Trail of Tears. It is at a place along the Roubidoux River where, on December 9, 1837, 350 Cherokee rested for the night. These men, women and children were being forcibly removed from their ancestral lands by the US government. They rested for a night and then moved on toward their new homes in “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma. This was among the first group of native Americans that were forced to make this journey.

Between 1837 and 1839 the US government forced 16,000 Cherokee; 21,000 Muscogee (Creek); 9,000 Choctaw; 6,000 Chickasaw and 4,000 Seminole to leave their homes and move to land no settlers wanted in Oklahoma. These peoples had already experienced years of torment, including theft and murder, by settlers in the east while American militia men merely watched. Many had previously died from European diseases they had no immunity to: whooping cough, measles, small pox, typhus and tuberculosis. To avoid the heat of the summer they were moved in the fall but then suffered torrential rains, mud and finally cold. They were mostly penniless and had to rely on the meager rations provided daily by their escorts. Many died from the journey. This heartbreaking journey is known as the Trail of Tears.

I stopped to see the “World’s Largest Rocking Chair on Route 66.”

I also stopped outside Hartville, Missouri at an information kiosk explaining the Civil War Battle of Hartville that occurred on January 11, 1863. On January 8 Confederates had attacked Springfield, Missouri and then headed east toward Hartville. Union forces from around the Hartville area had been ordered west to aid Springfield. They encountered each other just outside Hartville. The Union troops were inexperienced and outnumbered by over two Confederates for every one Union troop. The Union fought valiantly but eventually retreated toward Lebanon, Missouri. The losses for the Confederates were only 4% but they lost 15 experienced officers which severely impacted their effectiveness west of the Mississippi. The Union lost 7 troops and 64 were wounded.

The Confederates had come north to attack Springfield in an effort to get Union troops that were occupying northern Arkansas to follow them north and abandon their positions in Arkansas. In this goal they were successful but ultimately at a very high cost.