Near Centerville in Linn County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
[Potawatomi] Trail of Death
The removal of the Potawatomi Indians from northern Indiana to Kansas took place Sept. - Nov. 1838. Nearly 900 Indians were rounded up by soldiers and marched at gun point for 61 days. So many died on the way and were buried by the roadside that it is called the Trail of Death.
The First Week
Thursday 30th Aug. - Monday 3rd Sept. Twin Lakes, Plymouth Indiana. Gen. John Tipton captured Menominee's village, closed Father Petit's chapel, send squads of soldiers in all directions to bring in & enroll Indians. Preparation for journey. Loaded wagons. Put 3 chiefs in jail wagon: Menominee, Black Wolf & Pepinawa.
Tuesday 4th Sept. 21 miles, camped at Chippeway (Tippecanoe River & Michigan Road) in Fulton County. Left at Twin Lakes Chief San-Ga-Na & family of 13 because sick. 20 Indians escaped & took 2 horses. Roads choked with dust. 286 horses, 26 wagons.
Wednesday 5th Sept. 9 miles (through Rochester, a line of Indians a mile long, sympathetic white settlers gave them hoe-cakes to take on trip. Little boy - 6 year old Billy Ward - followed his Indian friends mile south of Rochester, wanting to go along,
Thursday 6th Sept. - Sunday 9th Sept. 17 miles, Logansport, Ind, 49 of those left at Chippeway caught up. 4 children died. Mass conducted on Sunday by Father Petit. Physicians report 300 cases of sickness so medical hospital erected (at site of Memorial Hospital today).
These plaques are in memory of Ralph E. Miller (1930-1955) by his wife Jane
The 2nd Week
Monday 10th Sept. 10mi., followed Wabash River to Winnemac's old village. Left 21 sick behind. A child & a man died.
Tuesday 11th Sept. 17mi., Pleasant Run, near where pretty prairie & Tyler Road meet. Forage for horses expensive.
Wednesday 12th Sept. 15mi., Battle Ground, Ind. Forded Tippecanoe River. $5470 of dry goods, blankets, calicoes distributed to Indians. Very old mother of We-Wiss-Sa died, appeared to over 100.
Thursday 13th Sept. 18mi., Sanford Cox & others rode out from Lafayette to see the Indians passing by, wrote sad description. Camped near LaGrange, Ind. Drs. Ritchie & son report 106 cases of sickness (probably malaria & typhoid).
Friday 14th Sept. 18mi., near Williamsport, Ind. Sick wagons getting crowded. 2 deaths this evening.
Sunday 16th Sep. 15mi., crossed state line at noon, camped at Danville, Ill. Left 7 persons in camp, 1 a woman about to give birth. Whole country afflicted with sickness. 4 whites died in town. Father Petit arrived, got chiefs out of jail wagon, baptized dying babies.
The 3rd Week
Monday 17th - Wednesday 19th Sept. 6mi., Sandusky's Point, Illinois. Remained in camp due to illness. The sick left behind yesterday caught up, had new baby. 3 children & 2 adults died. A child was born. Dr. Jerolaman assisted by Dr. James Buell of Williamsport.
Thursday 20th Sept. 10mi., Davis' Point most volunteers discharged, 16 retained. 3 deaths. Gen. Tipton left, Wm. Polke is now in charge.
Friday 21st. Sept. 12mi., Sidney, Ill. Chief Muk-Kose & a child died.
Saturday 22nd Sept. 16mi., Sidoris' Grove. Heavy rain, exceedingly cold. A wagoner discharged for drunkenness. 2 intoxicated Indians locked up.
Sunday 23rd Sept. 15mi., Pyatt's Point on Sangamon River. Father Petit performed service before journey started. A child died early this morning. 29 sick persons left in camp.
The 4th Week
Monday 24th - Tuesday 25th Sept. 15mi., Sangamon Crossing in Illinois. 2 children
Wednesday 26th Sept. 14mi., Decatur, Ill. The physician is sick. A child died after dark.
Thursday 27th Sept. 14mi., Long Point, Ill. Indian men procuring so much game that rations not needed, camp is full of venison.
Friday 28th Sept. 18mi., crossed Sangamon River. Polke promised Indians tobacco after going through Springfield tomorrow if they present a good appearance. Chief I-O-Wek in charge of clean up. Forage is plentiful. 2 children died during the night.
Saturday 29th Sept. 17mi., McCoy's Mills. Indians dressed up to pass through Springfield Ill. Camped at stream with little water.
Sunday 30th Sept. 6mi., Island Grove. A child died. A dragoon soldier dismissed for intoxication.
The 5th Week
Monday 1st Oct. 17mi., Jacksonville, Ill. A child fell from wagon & was crushed by wheels, will probably die. Late at night the camp was complimented by serenade from Jacksonville band.
Tuesday 2nd Oct. 16mi. Marched into Jacksonville town square where presents of tobacco & pipes given to Indians by citizens. Band played & escorted Indians. Camped at Exeter.
Wednesday 3rd - Thursday 4th Oct. 9mi., Naples, Ill. Spent 9 hours fording Illinois River. Able to wash clothes & make mocassins, 2 children died.
Saturday 6th Oct. 18mi., barren encampment we named Hobson's Choice. Beef & potatoes issued to Indians tonight. A child died this evening. Rain, cooler.
Sunday 7th Oct. 12mi., Mill Creek in Illinois. A child died.
The 6th Week
Monday 8th - Wednesday 10th Oct. 7mi., Quincy, Illinois. Steam ferry across river, entered Missouri. 3 children died. Permission granted to remain in camp each succeeding Sabbath for devotional services. (Attended mass at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Quincy.)
Thursday 11th Oct. 13mi., pleasant spring near Palmyra, Mo. A woman died.
Friday 12th Oct. 13mi., Lee's Creek. 2 or 3 Indians drunk & under guard.
Saturday 13th - Sunday 14th Oct. 17mi., Clinton, Mo. Chiefs I-O-Wek & Ash-Kum arguing about Gen. Morgan's resigning. Judge Police appointed to conduct Indians on to Kansas. Windy & dusty.
The 7th Week
Monday 15th Oct. 12 mi., Paris, Mo. Chiefs demanded Dr. Jerolaman be dismissed, so he was retained for officers only. Beef, corn, potatoes, hay distributed.
Tuesday 16th Oct. 18 mi., Burkhart's Encampment. Water scarce. Health still improving.
Wednesday 17th - Thursday 18th Oct. 13mi., Huntsville, Mo. Snow & rain. Remained in camp. Straw for beds.
Saturday 20th - Sunday 21st oct. 11mi., Grand Chariton River near Keatsville (Keytesville), Mo. Worship services. Apples & cider given to Indians.
The 8th Week
Monday 22nd - Tuesday 23rd Oct. 25mi., Thomas's Encampment. Crossed Grand River.
Wednesday 24th Oct. 12mi., Carrollton, Mo. Distributed shoes to Indians. Intense cold on prairies. Talk is of troubles between Mormons & citizens of Upper Missouri.
Thursday 25th Oct. Camped near Snowden's Farm. Town of Richmond's request for assistance against possible attack by Mormons was turned down.
Friday 26th - Saturday 27th Oct. Ferried Missouri River at Lexiton, Mo. Much excitement over bloodshed, house burning, etc. 8mi. Little Schuy Creek.
Sunday 28th Oct. Remained in camp. Ash-Kum & I-O-Wek disagree, made inquiries about annuities: Judge Police told what he knew. A child died tonight.
The 9th Week
Monday 29th Oct. 10mi., Prairie Creek. Capt. Hull came with 23 Indians left at Logansport & Tippecanoe. Subsistence: flour, cornmeal, beef, pork, game of every kind.
Tuesday 30th Oct. 14mi., Blue Ridge. Warm day, pleasant journey.
Wednesday 31st Oct. 10mi., camped 2mi. south of Independence, Mo., Many Indians much intoxicated.
Thursday 1st Nov. Indians
Friday 2nd Nov. Lost trace, travelled 25mi. but are only 12mi. from last camp. Now at Oak Grove, North Fork of Blue River just across Kansas state line.
Saturday 3rd Nov. Reached settlement of Wea Indians on Bull Creek & camped by Bulltown, Kansas.
Sunday 4th Nov. Arrive at Pottawattomie Creek, end of our destination. 20mi. Indians greeted by other Indians. Mr. Davis, Indian Agent, absent.
The 10th Week
Monday 5th Nov. Pe-Pish-Kay said "We have now arrived at our journey's end. The government must now be satisfied. We have been taken from homes affording us plenty, and brought to a desert - a wilderness - and are now to be scattered and left as the husbandman scatters his seed." Indians asked Police, their friend, to stay with them & he said he would. An old man died.
Tuesday 6th Nov. Police left, promised to return. Sick Indian family left at Bulltown caught up, 2 had died.
Wednesday 7th - Saturday 10th Nov. Police had paid off teamsters & officers.
Total miles travelled: 618. Total deaths: 39. End of diary written by Jesse C. Douglas, Enrolling Agent
Scale of Distances
From Logansport to Quincy...339 miles
From Quincy to Independence....213 miles
From Independence to Pottawattomie Creek, Western Territory....66 miles
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Native Americans • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Potawatomi Trail of Death series list. A significant historical date for this entry is September 16, 1838.
Location. 38° 14.323′ N, 94° 56.647′ W. Marker is near Centerville, Kansas, in Linn County. Marker is on the grounds of St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park, off 1525th Road, about four miles ENE of Centerville. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Centerville KS 66014, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named [Potawatomi] Trail of Death (a few steps from this marker); Kanza Indian Site? (within shouting distance of this marker); Blacksmith Shop (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Mary's Mission (about 700 feet away); St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial and Historical Park (about 700 feet away); Potawatomi Burial Ground (approx. ¼ mile away); Father Petit and the Potawatomi 'Trail of Death' (approx. ¼ mile away); Potawatomi "Trail of Death" march & death of Fr. Petit (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Centerville.
Also see . . .
1. Potawatomi Trail of Death. (Submitted on December 6, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Potawatomi Trail of Death. (Submitted on December 6, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park, KS. (Submitted on December 6, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 6, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 893 times since then and 142 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on December 7, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.