f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

House built for riverman at Trail of Tears site

Posted Monday, January 10, 2011, at 7:30 AM

Southeast Missourian April 20, 1956

House, 106 Years Old, Occupies Historic Site in Proposed Park

Some of the lore attached to the proposed site of Trail of Tears Park is pinpointed in the above photograph made by The Missourian photographer.

The house, which is 106 years old, overlooks the Mississippi River at a point where the Cherokee Indians, on their forced march to Oklahoma around 1840, crossed the river.

Less than 200 yards downstream is the site of Moccasin Springs and the Greens Ferry landing; the point where a ferry propelled by a horse was the only means of crossing the river in that area.

Owned by Golliher

The house itself, now owned by Grover Golliher of Cape Girardeau and no longer occupied, was built in 1850 by Jessie Liles, a carpenter, for Capt. Williams, a steamboat skipper. Much hewn timer was used in its construction. Facing the river, it commands a wide view. In front of it are four of the largest boxwoods in the district. A mile above the aged structure is Vancill Hollow and Vancill Point, location of the Vancill store, which thrived during the Civil War. The owner, Sam Vancill, local history has it, was a Southern sympathizer, as were most people in the community, and it is said that he ferried many of the Confederate soldiers over the river on a barge. The barge was eventually sunk by Union forces, but made of cypress its hulk is still visible at low stages of the river. Legend has it that money he had was buried in Vancill Hollow.

A half mile farther north is Sublett Hollow, site of a whisky distillery which flourished in an early day. "It is a matter of legend, too, that a barrel of this fine product is also buried in this hollow.

Moccasin Springs, so named from the springs which are still visible when the river is at a stage of 15 feet or lower, was a thriving community from 1850 to 1900. The last post office and store, owned by the late C.M. Golliher, was discontinued in 1910.


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  • I recognize that barn and the pear tree next to it. Grover Golliher was a friend of our family and we gathered the pears from that tree many times. Thanks for posting these old pics. They bring back so many childhood memories.

    -- Posted by darlajune on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 8:55 AM
  • So, what became of the house - was it taken down when the park opened?

    -- Posted by jacksonjazzman on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 12:36 PM
    Fred Lynch
    From the Feb. 1, 1958 Southeast Missourian:

    "All the farm buildings in the park, some seven in all plus a few outbuildings, will be razed during the clearing program.

    Much of the park will be left in its original wild state to preserve its natural beauty."

  • While searching for something else this evening, I found a note that on Feb. 24, 1966, "State Park Board acquires second half-interest in 52-acre tract in Trail of Tears State park; land had been scheduled for sale to construction company for use as a quarry."

    Looks like the State stepped in just in time.

    -- Posted by ksteinhoff on Tue, Jan 11, 2011, at 12:09 AM