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


Day 23 Near Decatur --239 miles
Sept. 26, 1838; May 17, 2006

The Indians traveled 14 miles today down the river and camped just outside of Decatur. The doctors were still sick so no official report was made on sickness but the journal-writer says “the sick appear to be somewhat recruited.” A child died after dark this day.

AS FOR ME my party of three walked a “double day” today—covering both their party’s journey the day before (to the Sangamon Crossing) then walking their next day’s route almost to Decatur. I got to see my first funnel cloud today—I have lived in the Midwest since 1972 and have hoped to see one some day—today I got my wish. It never touched down but made for an impressive spiral in the sky. Finding an abandoned railroad grade we pitched out tents longways and looked forward to a break in Decatur in the morning. We took turned listening to the repeated tornado warnings on our little radio until finally the warnings were lifted and we fell asleep more bothered by the eight railroad trains passing on the occupied tracks 20 feet from us than the tornado warnings--though several times though the night we did think of the idea that "a tornado sounds like a freight train roaring in."


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