Drive west from Nixa, Missouri, on Highway 14, and right before crossing the James River you will encounter one of the earliest settlements in Southwest Missouri: Delaware Town.
Delaware Town was named for the Lenape or Delaware tribe, who were relocated to the west of the Mississippi River in 1817 as part of treaty negotiations in exchange for tribal lands in what is today Ohio.
Traditionally the James River valley had been part of the hunting grounds of the powerful Osage Nation, who ceded all land claims to the United States in an 1808 treaty which was negotiated by William Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame.
By the early 1820s, the Lenape had moved from Ohio to along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers to the James.
Accompanying them was Joseph Philibert from Kaskaskia, Illinois, and William Gillis, who was employed by the Ste. Genevieve fur-trading firm of Menard and Valle.
Ste. Genevieve is considered by many historians as the first permanent European settlement west of the Mississippi, part of the Illinois Country, or Upper Louisiana.