Trail Of Death Journey

Journal notes walking the "Trail of Death" tracing the Potawatomi Indians forced removal from Indiana to Kansas in 1838. This blog is in process of being re-ordered and moved to

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Location: Marion, Indiana, United States

Professor Emeritus


May-June 2006 Trail of Death Journey
In 1838 Americans were moving west and wanted the fertile land of Northern Indiana. The problem: the Potawatomi Indians were in the way and owned the land by treaty. Through a series of deals and decisions the State of Indiana initiated the “removal” of nearly a thousand Potawatomi 660 miles to Kansas. It is called the “trail of Death” because almost daily as they crossed Indiana and Illinois children and old folk died.

The famous chief Menominie who had refused to cave in and give up his land to the state was known as the “Potawatomi preacher” insisting on twice daily Christian worship and total abstinence from alcohol. A young Catholic Priest, Father Petit accompanied the tribe on the journey and kept a careful diary as did the commander of the troops.

Keith Drury, religion professor at Indiana Wesleyan University is walking this 660 mile route as he writes the book, “Meditations for Christians along the Trail of Death.” The book will integrate two areas—the history of the event and religion, reflecting on events in 1838 from a religious (particularly Christian) perspective. The walk will begin near May 1, 2006 and for the year before this walk Keith Drury has been researching the history of the journey.

More resources will appear on this site one he takes the walk and the book as well will be available here. Until then his email address is and you might also get captivated by this story by reading some of the resources available on the web:

Tentative schedule of 2006 Drury walk
First week of May (RED)
Second week of May (PINK)
Third week of May (LIGHT GREEN)
Last week of May (BLUE)
First week of June (YELLOW)
Second week of June (GREEN)
Third week of June (BLACK)

Want to join me?
If you are a friend or student and you might like to join me on a few days or a week of this trip let me know by writing or (once the trip has started) call my cell phone at 765-618-0990 and leave a message; I’ll check messages every evening


Blogger ::athada:: said...

I'm taking May term, so thinking about hitchhiking out there to join for a day on the first weekend.

Would I able to call en route and get your coordinates?

11:21 AM  
Blogger Keith.Drury said...

you bet adam... jst call my cell any day or evening-and we'll set up a meet and you an join me...I'd enjoy walking with ya' --coach d

6:48 AM  
Blogger derek bethay said...

I recently did a little studying on the founding of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Beginning in 1790 President George Washington sent the first of three military expeditions to establish a fort near the Miami Indian village of Kekionga which was located on the banks of the Maumee river near the headwaters of where the St. Joseph's & St. Mary's Rivers meet to form the Maumee.

This was a crucial trade route for the newly formed United States to control in order to control trade in the area as well as to keep at bay any British encroachment.

The first two expeditions were routed by the Miami Indians under the leadership of Chief Little Turtle. The second expedition in 1791, under the command of Major General Arthur St. Clair, was so utterly defeated that it is still considered the greatest defeat in the history of the U.S. Army.

It wasn't until the third expedition in 1794, led by Revolutionary War hero General "Mad" Anthony Wayne that the United States was victorious in defeating the Miami Indians and establishing a military fort (Fort Wayne) near Kekionga.

Today, on the north side of the Allen County Courthouse in downtown Fort Wayne below the inscription "...government of the people, by the people, for the people..." sit the stone busts of both Little Turtle and Tecumseh (Shawnee Chief who died at the hands of the U.S. Army).

I find it sad that someone attempted to honor these men, their people and their culture in such a hypocritical way.

Much attention is given to the fight for freedom against slavery and for civil rights in this country and rightly so. But I think one of the greatest atrocities in the history of our nation is the dealings of our forefathers toward the Native Americans. The U.S. never made a treaty with the Native Americans that it didn't later break.

I wish more attention would be given to this great injustice so that the American people would know, and understand that our country was not only founded with the blood of our own patriots who fought against the British but also with the blood of Native Americans who fought against our encroachment upon their homeland. I hope that your travels and book will do just that!

7:52 PM  
Blogger Shirley Willard said...

Hello - how did you spend the rainy night? We thought about you this morning, wondered if you found shelter? Bill & I drove to Logansport last night looking for you about 6:30 p.m. May 1. We enjoyed meeting you and eating with you at the Evergreen Cafe at noon. Good luck on your journey. I hope no big dogs chase you!
Shirley & Bill Willard, Rochester IN

6:11 AM  

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