Early Travel Route - Pilot Grove, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 52.537 W 092° 54.740
15S E 507604 N 4302977
Quick Description: The trail Indians used, then pioneers, then the railroad....
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 11/1/2019 6:50:18 AM
Waymark Code: WM11JEF
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member coisos
Views: 1

Long Description:

County of marker: Cooper County
Location of marker: 1st St. & Roe St., Katy Trail State Park Trailhead, Pilot Grove
Marker erected: 2010
Marker erected by: Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Marker Text:

Early Travel Route
The Katy Railroad was not the first to use this route from Boonville to Sedalia. Founders named this place Pilot Grove in 1820 because a local grove of trees "piloted" travelers along the divide between the Lamine River and Petite Saline Creek. To the northeast was a path to the Missouri River, and in the other direction, the Osage villages in southwest Missouri.

This Osage trail grew busier after 1821 when the route connected toe growing settlement of Franklin and the newly built Harmony Mission near the Osage villages. In 1825, however, a treaty moved the Osage to Kansas, and they left their villages in Missouri. Soon after, the Boonville-Georgetown Trail passed through Pilot Grove. Before the railroads made Sedalia the transportation hub of Pettis County, Georgetown served as Pettis County sat from 1837 to 1865.

During the Civil War, this was also the route of Union Gen. Nathaniel Lyon and 2,400 troops during their march southwest in July 1861, after taking Boonville from the Confederates. On Aug. 10, Lyon's troops engaged a force twice as large, led by Gen. Sterling Price, at the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield. During the Confederate victory, Lyon was killed - the first Union general killed in the Civil War.

The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway built its first line from Sedalia to Fort Scott, Kan., then turned toward Boonville and the Missouri River. Tracklayers reached Pilot Grove on May 18, 1873.

It's no coincidence that travelers from past to present shared the same route. Partly it was the inertia of using a way that was known and well-used. But mainly routes became established because of ease of travel. Rather than hacking through thick forest or crossing stream after stream, travelers preferred to move along ridgelines, preferably (in this part of Missouri) on open stretches of Prairie where visibility was good. A water supply along the route was essential, too.


Photo Caption: "The August 1861 Battle of Wilson's Creek was the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi.

Who placed it?: Missouri Department of Natural Resources

When was it placed?: 2010

Who is honored?: All who passed this way on the trail and route eventually used by the railroad

Website about the Monument: [Web Link]

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freezer54 visited Early Travel Route - Pilot Grove, MO 5/2/2021 freezer54 visited it