Why One Man Built a Memorial to the Trail of Tears in Missouri
Have you ever had an event in your life so affect you that it changed the trajectory of your journey and sent you off into a new adventure? That happened to a Missouri man who had one singular moment affect him so deeply, he built a memorial to the Trail of Tears in Missouri.
If you're not familiar with the Trail of Tears, it was a trek where tribes of Native Americans were relocated in the mid-1800's. It was a sad and tragic journey for those peoples with many perishing along the way. There were multiple routes, but the northernmost one went through southern Missouri.
Larry Baggett was a Missouri man who owned property along the Trail of Tears. According to Legends of America, Larry and his wife bought their property near Jerome, Missouri with the intention of turning it into a campground. Sadly, Larry's wife passed away before that could become a reality.
Larry's life changed one day when he said that he was visited by what he described as a very old Cherokee. The old man told Larry that his property was blocking the Trail of Tears and one stone wall in particular was "blocking the spirits traveling this route".
Larry Baggett was so moved by the visitor that he built stairs up and down the stone wall out of respect to the "spirits" mentioned by the Cherokee man. He also built a memorial park to the Trail of Tears.
Larry Baggett passed away in 2003 and his Trail of Tears memorial fell into a terrible state of disrepair. A few years ago, the property was purchased by new owners who even had a big ceremony to celebrate the reopening of Larry's park.
It is now known as the Trail of Tears Memorial and Herbal Garden. Based on what I've seen on their Facebook page, there is recent work still being done to make sure upkeep is done on this special place that was birthed when Larry Baggett's life changed forever due to the visit from a Cherokee.