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 32 McKee’s Creek (Perry, IL) Mile 348
Oct. 5, 1838 May 24, 2006

The entry for October 5 is one of the shortest entries of the trip. It only says, “Left encampment opposite Naples at 8 o’clock and reached at a little after 12 our present encampment, at McKee’s creek, twelve miles from the Illinois river. We were forced to-day to leave the road and travel a considerable distance to find water—even such as it is—standing in ponds—the streams are nearly all dry. Subsistence, beef and flour. Forage of a good character.”

That’s it. Nothing more. Just the location of the campsite, assessement of forage and food, and the perennial complaint about water. ON any long trek there are many days that have no stand-out event. This one too. At least there were no deaths on this day.

AS FOR ME, once I left the river I walked on what the locals call ‘John Deere road” with only four vehicles passing me all afternoon. The fourth was a Schwans Ice Cream truck and I half-in-jest flagged it down with an ice-cream-cone pantomime. Glancing over my shoulder I saw the truck’s brake lights go on, then turn around in a lane down the road and come back to open up the store for me. I purchased a pint of raspberry-chocolate ice cream and ate all 1100 calories of my supper walking toward the now-setting sun.

In Perry I found Darin and Nikki Mountain who have been faithfully flowing my journey on this blog and have written to every mail drop. Darin’s great-great grandmother was Potawatomi but kept it wuiet until the family unearthed the evidence in pictures and family memorabilia years later. Darin makes gigantic radio transmitters sold mostly overseas and Nikki is a junior high school teacyher with the energy you’d expect from someone who is successful at that task. The Mountains gathered together a delightful collection of folk all involved in setting the Potawatomi monument here in Perry and we had a sweet evening of discussion. A reporter for the local newspaper, a retired school teacher joined in and took notes as we talked. I spent the night in the Mountain’s pop-up camper which avoided my packing up a soaked tent the next morning since there was a huge pop up thundershower in the night.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tuesday would work great!
I'll get ahold of you this weekend.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bid you good luck on the rest of your trip.
Not to rain on your parade, but in the beginning, I anticipated a bit more of a sharing of what hardships the Indians endured, to have to walk, find food, shelter, deal with the others that were taking their land, and the spiritual aspects that you'd be thinking along the way, etc.
Not much depth here, especially from a teacher.
Alas, seems like an opportunity to get some attention? Have fun ; )

3:19 PM  
Blogger Keith.Drury said...

Thanks Anon for the rain comments. For now I "do what I can do" at the end of an exhausting day. I've recently actually considered giving up this blog there are not that many comments ever and I'm often just too weary too write creatively at the end of a day. In gaining these feelings of weariness the Potawatomi have lost the energy to write of the pain etc. with much descriptive imagination. It would be easier to describe it from an air conditioned house than out here in the sultry humid heat where it happened. Easier to write of it, but I would only be playing imagination games, not experiencing part of the walk. (PS--I sought no attention on this trip, have contacted no media outlets, and tried to do my own thing quietly--they found me.)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

I am sure there are easier and less painful ways for a person to get attention...those who know you, Coach, do not question your motives. Hang in there!

10:58 AM  
Blogger David Drury said...

With a last name like "Mountain" they were sure to become great friends of yours... :-)


9:17 AM  

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