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 52 Snowdens – Mile 561
October 25, 1838

Today’s march was probably the longest mileage to date—perhaps 25 miles but we don’t know for sure since it was the first day in the journal that the mileage was not listed –just “an unusually long journey” and the campsite was “near Richmond.” . The marker is located in Lexington but the markers are placed at sites where permission can be gained and almost always refer to the camp as “near here.” It was probably south of Richmond.

From tomorrow’s journal we know they made it to the Missouri river in two hours (again for the second day in a row the journal does not list the miles. The party so far has been traveling at 2 ½ mph (or occasionally as fast as 3mph) which means they must have camped on a circle within six miles of the Missouri River crossing at Lexington—perhaps somewhere around present day Henretta where a permanent water source (Willow Creek) passes through. We know they camped near “Snowden’s farm” so research yet to be done may show exactly where this land is and how close to Richmond it was actually located.

Perhaps it was the furor over the Mormons that made them forget listing the mileage. Soon after camping a delegate from nearby Richmond came to Polke to request he join them with his soldiers to protect Richmond who was expecting an attack from the Mormons that night. Polke declined explaining he had a federal assignment he could not abandon—removing the Indians to Kansas.

AS FOR ME I walked from Carrolton in two days reversing my sometime double-days of the Indians by halving their long day. The journey took me across billiard-table flat bottomlands of the Missouri. I camped at an abandoned farmhouse. IN fact for more than 20 miles there was only one actual farm where I could ask for water—the rest have been abandoned, perhaps bought up by huge agribusiness enterprises who make their millions on federal subsidies purportedly protecting the family farm. For me it made for plentiful campsites under the remaining trees, but space sources of water. I walked by thousands of acres of Fritos, Karo Syrup, and Corn Flakes. Overnight a great storm moved in dumping four inches of rain on my tiny tarp-tent but I stayed dry though dampish.


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