Near Rochester in Fulton County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Father Petit and the Potawatomi ‘Trail of Death’
—Indiana to Kansas, September 4 - November 4, 1838 —
The Potawatomi “Trail of Death” had started at Menominee’s village south of Plymouth, down the Michigan Road (Old Hwy. 31), through Rochester on Main Street, through Logansport, and along the north side of the Wabash River to cross into Illinois at Danville. He baptized the dying children, among them newly born “who with their first step passed from earthly exile to the heavenly sojourn,” according to one of his letters, which were published by the Indiana Historical Society in 1941.
After placing the Potawatomi in the spiritual hands of Jesuit Father Christian Hoecken at the the Sugar Creek Mission in Kansas on Nov. 4, 1838, Father Petit again fell sick with fever and painful open sores. On Jan. 2 he started by horseback back to Indiana, accompanied by Abram Burnett (Nan-Wesh-Mah), a full-blood Potawatomi friend, but again was taken ill. With three open sores draining his strength, he rode from Jefferson City in an open wagon, the roads rough and rain frequent. He reached the Jesuit seminary at St. Louis University on January 15. The fathers gave him all the medical attention and care they could, but he grew weaker and weaker. Father John A. Elet, then rector-president of St. Louis University, later wrote that he placed a crucifix
Father Petit died in the Jesuit seminary building at 9th and Washington Streets and was buried in the old cemetery at 7th Street and St. Charles Ave. In 1856 the cemetery was moved to make way for downtown St. Louis. At that time, Father Edward Sorin, founder of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind., came and took Father Petit’s body back to Indiana. Father Petit’s remains rest under the Log Chapel at the University of Notre Dame.
“In name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. If it should please God to send me death, I accept it in all love and submission to his amiable Providence and I hope that his mercy will have pity on me at the last moment. I commend myself to Mary now and at the hour of my death,”
From Father Petit’s will, written Aug. 17, 1837, at Vincennes, Indiana.
Erected 1997 by Fulton County Historical Society’s Indian Awareness Center, Rochester, IN by Howard Kline, Florissant, Mo. and Tom Hamilton, Leesburg, Ind.
Marker series. This marker is Potawatomi - Trail of Death marker series.
Location. 41° 6.558′ N, 86° 14.456′ W. Marker is near Rochester, Indiana, in Fulton County. Marker is on U.S. 31 south of County Route W 375 N, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located at the South end (and in front) of - - the Fulton County Museum building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 37 E. 375 N. Rochester, Indiana, Rochester IN 46975, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fulton County War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); William Polke House (within shouting distance of this marker); Michigan Road (approx. 1.1 miles away); Site of Indian Village Chippewa-Nung (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Underground Railroad (approx. 3.3 miles away); W. W. I War Memorial (approx. 3.3 miles away); Revolutionary War Memorial (approx. 3.3 miles away); Fulton County Courthouses (approx. 3.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Rochester.
More about this marker. These plaques placed in 1997 by Fulton County Historical Society’s Indian Awareness Center, Rochester, Indiana; by Howard Kline, Florissant, Mo.,
in memory of his Potawatomi grandfather Adam Black Fox; and by Tom Hamilton, Leesburg, Ind., who designed
Sketch of Fr. Petit. Adapted from an 1837 George Winter painting, courtesy Mrs. Cable Bail, Lafayette, Ind.
Also see . . .
1. "Fulton County Museum" : :. (Courtesy of Official Web-Site "Potawatomi - Trail of Death Association" Shirley Willard / Rochester, Indiana.) This article has photos of the marker and other details.
2. History and More Items:. This Official Web-site of the "Potawatomi Trail of Death Association" (Shirley Willard / Rochester, Indiana) is the center of activity and information - with many excellent links.
3. Another - Trail of Death map::. Also, some facts of things that happened along the way of travel.
4. Eye-witness Journals, Letters, & Newspaper Items::. (Courtesy:: Mr. Foley) - A good Secondary Source location for a number of other reports.
5. Annual - - "Trail of Courage" - Living History Festival::. Courtesy the official web-site of the "Fulton County Historical Society is a view of the now "Trail of Courage" Living History Festival reflecting on the past "Trail of Death".
6. Video - -> "Trail of Courage 2010" ::. Courtesy "The Rochester Sentinel" "Sentinel Cam" (rochsent.com) web-site -> is a fine view of the 2010 "Trail of Courage - Living History Festival".
7. Video - - "The Potawatomi Trail of Death" ::. Courtesy youtube.com :: An insightful and well done video ! !
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Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,039 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.