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

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Day 49 Grand River (Brunswick MO) –Mile 514

Oct. 22, 1838

After passing through Keatsville the party walked 15 miles to the Grand River just before it flowed into the Missouri River where a ferry ran. They were at the river by 2PM and began immediately ferrying the Indians across and had all Indians and many wagons across by dark. They were now in the broad flood plain of the Missouri-Grand Rivers. They camped immediately across the river intending to bring across the rest of the wagons in the morning.

AS FOR ME, I walked early in anticipation of visiting the James Pecan Farm about a dozen miles west of Keatsville but alas when I arrived they were closed. This part of Missouri is considered to be “Old Dixie.” Southerners settled here after the war of 1812 and made tobacco the number one crop along with great pecan orchards in this area. In October when the pecans are ripe it is a booming area with several on-the-road shops open. Today they were all closed as I headed into Brunswick where the Indians crossed the Grand River.

Brunswick was not closed, just busy. Everyone was busy about their work and I seemed to be an intrusion. I had entertained the thought of a hotel night, having heard there was one in Brunswick in the original house of the city’s founder (same person as Keytesville). When I approached the small hotel the presumed owner was on the front porch wildly tearing away at a 2-liter bottle with a Bowie knife turning it into shreds. :”A recycler” I thought to myself approving this behavior, thinking even more positively about stopping over. I stood and watched him work as he furiously tearing into tiny shreds the bottle. Then with a quick glance my way he stood up, turned around and flung his 12” Bowie knife with all his might at the side wall of the porch where it stuck deeply into the wood. I noted that it had struck right in the center of a human outline marked no the wall. I moved on.

Brunswick people were a busy people. Too busy for me at least. I’ve noted there are two ways of saying, “May I help you?” One is a sincere offer of help. The other says the same words with the subtext saying “Yes---what do you want—I’m busy here so hurry up and tell me so I can return to my work.” It is this second way I heard the question in Brunswick. Nobody was mean or harsh—just busy and I was an interruption. At first I attributed it to an isolated instance when encountering this sort of response at the Casey’s general store and the dime store and gas station But I met the same sort of response at the grocery store, and even in the library were two women were shelving books and made it clear I was unwelcome today: “We’re really not open this week.” I sighed and left and they returned busily to their work I walked to the edge of town where a newly renovated B&B was located but I walked right on past—no reason to stay longer in this busy town. Perhaps it was just me. Or maybe they only treat walker this way and usually they go out of their way to make customers feel welcomed. Or, maybe this only happens on Thursdays, but for me I just moved on.

I pitched my tent under a large water tower in the country beside the road. In most Midwestern towns a water tower indicates a town. In this part of Missouri it could be in the middle of the country since they are committed to provide rural water service to almost every farm. Tomorrow I shall get to Carrolton and there is a motel there-I'll sleep inside tomorrow night maybe.


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