Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Near Cedar Creek

Ozarks explorer Henry Schoolcraft and companion Levi Pettibone camped near this location in the early winter of 1818. Schoolcraft had hoped to find a local guide to assist them through the area but was unsuccessful. Hungry and cold, Schoolcraft and Pettibone had also been warned of potential danger from the Osage Indians who had hunting camps in the area.

Thursday, December 10th, 1818

On first striking White River, at M'Gary's, we endeavoured to procure a guide to conduct us on our route, but were unsuccessful; being disappointed in our application here also, we took directions for reaching the hunters' camps at Beaver Creek, and left Coker's about noon. He refused taking pay for our entertainment. After travelling eight miles in a north-west course, which carried us across a hilly barren tract, extending eastwardly from the river, we encamped before dark, under a ledge of shelving lime-stone rock, the atmosphere portending a storm.

The weather begins to assume a wintery character; this is the first day we have been troubled with cold fingers.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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Funding for the Schoolcraft Journey project on Unlock the Ozarks has been provided by the Missouri Humanities Council.