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 3 --to Logansport
(May 2, 2006; Sept 6, 1838)

The journal of the party is a mere paragraph for today, though the group walked 17 miles into Logansport and the Wabash River. The only entry of note was that nine Indians who had been left sick on the first night caught up to the party. Logansport was a major town and in some ways the jumping off point for the journey west. It was Tipton’s town (he is buried here) and so far the Indians headed for Kansas had headed east then south. Here they would turn west.

Also here they would leave the “Michigan Road” which was constructed just eight years before the Pottawatomie forced removal. It was Indiana’s pride of the day—a road connecting the Ohio River at Madison to Michigan at Michigan City. It was built on Pottawatomie land purchased by treaty which the government turned around and sold parcels to white settlers to pay for the road’s construction. It was in this decade also—the 1830’s—that Indiana saw the National Road or Cumberland Road (Present US40) enter Indiana eventually forming a cross with the Michigan road in Indianapolis.

AS FOR ME I faced less rain today and had a straightaway walk into town too with no stores on the route except my cup of coffee and microwave sausage and egg sandwich at the Fulton gas station. A border collie took a liking to me today and was determined to follow me to Kansas. I scolded him, shouted at him, threw sticks and stones at him to get him to go back home but he refused. He looked at me with his brown eyes saying, “I know you really want a partner for this trip—and if I need to follow you a stones throw behind I shall do so—I love you, you know.” What’s a guy to do? I found bigger stones, but he only followed just beyond my distance and watched my lobs as if it were a game. His irritating trait was to walk right down the middle of route 25 playing chicken with the coming 18 wheelers then sauntering off the road just in the nick of time (and after the trucks had burned off a quarter inch of their brake linings). It is funny, I noticed that cars and trucks automatically slow down when there is a dog nearby—even off the road. It was interesting, I could tell the moment a trick would spy the dog in the grass.., they’d leave off their accelerator and start to coast. Those “I brake for animals” bumper stickers must be working. Apparently there are no “I brake for walkers” stickers for I found the traffic considerably slower for the ten miles the dog insisted on accompanying me. Perhaps he had seen my Internet post and just forgot to call me? Who knows, but after one pickup truck almost went careening into the ditch to avoid killing “my” dog I had enough. I took him to the next house and asked the owner to tie him up for an hour then let him loose so he’d go home. (I do not intend to treat human companions so harshly, I promise).

The rain lifted today for the most part. But blisters arrived—on my right foot. The right foot is especially hard for road walkers. I walk facing the traffic and the road is “crowned” meaning my right foot is effectively about a quarter inch “longer” then my left foot, which throws everything off and causes considerable stress on road-walkers. I took two long breaks today to dry out my feet, hoping the blisters would evaporate (they didn’t) so I limped the last 5 miles into Logansport.

But I was faced by a real treat in Logansport that lifted my spirits far above blister-level. Brook Sayer a 2003 graduate of IWU is pastor of a church directly on the route—beside the Eel river just before it flows into the Wabash. Actually he lives about 100 or so yards from the actual site of the camp here. Brook and I went out for a steak dinner at Ponderosa and we returned to the all-you-can-eat buffet at least 17 times. His wife Jill is a nurse and comes home after one of her 12 hour shifts. We stopped by the Postr office and I collected my mail—from Josh Jackson, Megan Iazeolla, Beth Lahni, And Sharon—THANKS!!! I forwarded any mail coming in the next few days “down the line” so I’ll get it later—I’m ahead of “schedule” so far, but my blisters will take care of that soon enough! After sleeping next to Clara and James last night in the Fulton cemetery, tonight I get to sleep on a real bed all alone. Ahhhhhh….what luxury, I’m almost forgetting the burning blisters as I type this sitting on my bed-for-the-night.

The Pottawatomie spent four nights here in Logansport—but that’s another story, for now I am going to bed in a BED.


Blogger Art Bonebrake said...

Just got done reading about your trip in the Rochester paper. I wish I had a job that would allow me too make that trip. Sounds like a great journey. Good Luck and, keep your feet dry!

6:05 AM  
Blogger Kathy Drury said...

WOW Dad-- ahead of schedule even in the rain and with blisters. I am impressed. Sleeping in a cemetary...hmmm...interesting. Is that a first?

stay well!

5:30 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

I was worried that you would encounter nasty weather. It's raining again today in Illinois, so there's probably more to come... I've met Shirley and Bill. How nice it must have been to spend some time with them. You are in my thoughts.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Keith.Drury said...

Art: Yeah I hear ya'--for what it is worth I did not ahve summers off until I was 51 years old... ;-)

Kethy: Yep, the rain actually speeds up the time often--who wants to sit long and rest in the rain? The blisters are another matter though... As for the cemetary, no done that before...

Nikki, Thanks for the note... today was now I('m getting payback maybe ;-)

12:31 PM  

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