Milton Rafferty

Smallin Cave
Scott Harvey / KSMU

Standing under a tin-roof pavilion in rural Christian County, several historians and I watch closely as Dr. Milton Rafferty thumbs through a series of topographic maps. Laid out over a picnic table, the retired emeritus professor of geography at Missouri State University is retracing the steps of the famous explorer whose geologic survey helped map much of the Ozarks.

“Well we’re looking at Schoolcraft’s destination when he came out to find the lead mines which were near present day Springfield. And he’s at the mouth of Pearson Creek on the James River,” Rafferty explains.