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Waynesville Cherokee Encampment

at the Roubidoux Spring 


Receives Certification from the National Park Service

 The City of Waynesville and the Downtown Beautification Committee applied for, and received, certification as a site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and in October of 2006, a Certification Ceremony was held in Laughlin Park, on the banks of the Roubidoux Creek.  The National Park Service was represented by Aaron Mahr, who presented the certificate, and the Missouri Trail of Tears Association was represented by Deloris Wood.




   During the fall of 1837 and the winter of 1838-39, bands of starving Cherokee Indians made their way across southern Missouri into the Indian Territory.  The history of the Trail of Tears is documented in several diaries of the time period.   Dr. W. I. Morrow's diary of 1837,  the Journal of Rev. Daniel S. Butrick from 1839 and the most well-known of the diaries,  the B. B. Cannon Journal, from October 13, 1837 to December 30, 1837, contain references to the Roubidoux Encampment and the city of Waynesville.

Excerpt from the Cannon Journal:

                Dec. 6, 1837:  March 9 o'c A. M. passed Massey's Iron Works, halted at Mr. Jones' 1/2 past 3 o'c P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder. 12 miles today.

                Dec. 7, 1837:  Marched at 8 o'c A. M.  Reese's team ran away, broke his waggon and Starr's carry all, left him and family to get his waggon mended,  at 17  miles and to overtake if possible. halted at Mr. Bates's son 5 o'c P. M. encamped and issued corn and fodder, corn-meal and bacon. 20 miles today.

                Dec. 8, 1837:  Buried Nancy Bigbear's Grand child.  Marched at 9 o'c A. M. halted at Piney, a small river 1/2 past 3 o'c. P. M. rained all day, encamped and issued corn only, no fodder to be had. several drunk.  11 miles today.

                Dec. 9, 1837:  Marched at 9 o'c A. M. Mayfield's waggon broke down at about a mile.  left him to get it mended and overtake.  halted at Waynesville, Mo,      4 o'c P.M. encamped and issued corn and fodder, beef and corn meal.  Weather extremely cold.  12 1/2 miles today.

                Dec. 10, 1837:  Marched at 8 o'c A. M. halted at the Gasconade river 4 o'c P. M.  Issued corn and fodder. 14 miles today.

Excerpt from the Butrick Journal:

            March 12, 1839:  We travelled about 12 miles to a settlement called Port Royal (believed to be Waynesville by researchers), on the banks of a beautiful stream, named Rubedoo.  Here we had a delightful place, on the bank of the river, convenient to wood and water.  We employed our kind Nancy, a black woman to wash, and dried our clothes in the evening by the fire.

                March 13, 1839:  We proceeded 12 miles, to a handsome river called Gasconade, having passed over a most barren country.

                March 14, 1839:  We travelled to the west branch of the Gasconade, not quite as large as the first, where we stayed last night.

Excerpt from the Morrow Diary:

            March 4, 1839:  Clear and cold (Bates in Pulaski Co. Waynesville the county seat)  Jas Harrison 2 miles below Bates a mean man - will not let any person connected with the emigration stay with him 4th March, traveled to Harrisons on Big Piney, very cold - distance 10 miles.

                March 5, 1839:  traveled 12 miles to Waynesville on Roberdeou Creek, a branch of the Gasconade - clear and pleasant day stayed with Col. Swinks - a genteel man and pretty wife and quiet familiar.

                March 6, 1839:  The detachmt made a late start, the morning warm, wind from the south, look out for rain - traveled 14 miles to the Gasconade River at Stark's through a barren and sterile country, the day continued pleasant - Sydney Roberts in this neighborhood.

                March 7, 1839:  Fine morning, made an early start, reached our encampment at Beans on the Osage Fork against 10 clk (distance 10 miles) still a barren country.  Beans a mean house.



The City of Waynesville, Missouri, is located in Pulaski County, Missouri, and is home to Fort Leonard Wood.  Historic Route 66 winds its way through downtown Waynesville, and the area near the Roubidoux Spring in Waynesville's Laughlin Park was used as a Cherokee encampment during the 1837-1839 Trail of Tears march.