Ellington, MO man treks 200-year-old Ozark Trail

Following the path of MO history

ELLINGTON, MO (KFVS) - Imagine taking a step back in history two hundred years ago. What would Missouri be like?

Rick Mansfield, of Ellington Missouri, is spending the winter revisiting the trail of one of Missouri’s earliest explorers - Henry Schoolcraft.

Two hundred years ago, Schoolcraft blazed a trail from Potosi, Missouri through what is now Springfield and on into Arkansas.

Schoolcraft was an early explorer and geologist who spent three months walking 900 miles into the Ozark wilderness.

“I'm doing this in great part, to bring recognition to an explorer who should be as widely known as DeSoto or Columbus,” he said. “It's part of our history. It is especially part of the Ozark history. Some of the sights that he was able to see over the next 900 miles and 90 days had never been seen by Euro-Americans. He was the first Euro-American, white American to see mammoth springs and maybe the first to see Smallin Civil Cave.”

Mansfield is staying as close to the actual path followed by Schoolcraft as he can.

He says many things have changed in 200 year but some of the trees and rivers remain the same. He has also run into the dependents of early settlers who met Schoolcraft when he made the trek.

Web Extra: Ancient Path to the Ozarks

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