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 60 N. Fk. Blue River--Mile 636
November 2, 1838

Even though the day was rainy-miserable they set out anyway today. Polke was anxious to get there. So were the Indians in general, so they moved in spite of the rainy conditions. Once they started moving the rain did not stop--it increased. In an hour they crossed out of the "states" and into Kansas--so called, "Indian Territory. "

As soon as the party crossed into Kansas "civilization" disappeared. Roads were gone. And it was raining. The rain would have it hard to follow the "trace" of the wagons ahead. They were traveling on the open roadless prairie now. At noon a large portion of the party on horseback lost the "trace" of the wagons in front of them and wandered about for four hours on the prairies trying to find the trace of the wagon's wheels. There were more than 300 horses so this must have been a soggy mess. Finally they found the trace again and caught up to the wagons. They camped at the North Fork of the Blue River--their third campsite on one or another forks of this river. The journal-writer then records "having traveled a distance (it was computed) of twenty-five miles." This is one of the rare instances where the Jesse Douglas, the scribe, uses the term "it was computed" to refer to miles. Perhaps this figure includes some of the wandering to find the trace and Douglas was not with that group? We do not know, but it is an unusual phrase this day and probably means something. This 25-mile figure probably ioncluded the getting lost wandering and may have been the miles of the last group into camp--the lost group. They left this morning at 8 AM and record coming into camp at 3PM--a total of seven hours travel. Their usual 2 1/2 MPH rate would get them 17-18 miles assuming the rain did not slow them down. If they equaled the best-time-even of 3MPH the seven hours could have gotten them 21 miles, thus 25 mile figure likely includes the wandering miles. The cumualative miles figure above uses the actual miles from the last camp which is 12.

AS FOR ME I walked down the state line road until my time ran out then turned west and walked into Overland Park, Kansas and slept beside a creek behind a Cineplex 16 movie theater. Zoning is so strict here that they must have set-asides for natural areas because I chased away several deer while setting up my tarp-tent. Having walked the miles of another "double day" I dropped off asleep by eight rising at five and went along searching for coffee--and I was quickly rewarded.

Walking into Olatha Kansas I found MidAmerica Nazarene University where the Librarian was delighted to let me post these reports and is even trying to arrange my travel to the airport. Checked out the story that ran last night on KMBC here:

I'M TAKING A WEEK OFF NOW. I had originally hoped I could finish this journey today before flying to Washington state to meet my wife, Sharon who is there waiting for me to have a vacation with her. But alas, I plodded too slowly across central Missouri so I still have 2-3 days remaining. Thus I shall take a short beak and be back again walking on Sat. June 24 and posting my final two days (and the "rest of the story section" after that. I've been thinking for the last two weeks about how I want to end this journey. I have an idea and I'm going to think about it more over the next week before doing the final leg. Stay tuned, I'm going to meet Sharon now...


Blogger Ken Schenck said...

Nice piece on the Kansas City news!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Ken Schenck said...

I have to laugh at KMBC--I immediately thought of Kentucky Mountain Bible College!

11:40 AM  
Blogger Kathy Drury said...

To view the ABC Kansas City report see this link:

Great dad!

11:56 AM  
Blogger Nate said...


Amazing news piece man - I am so glad that you did this. It's amazing how God is using through this journey.


10:40 AM  
Blogger PT said...


It has been great reading your blogs, enjoy your week with your wife.

12:14 PM  
Blogger JohnLDrury said...

looking forward to your last leg, as well as your ending ceremony

4:49 PM  

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