In 1838 Americans were moving west and wanted the fertile land of Northern Indiana.  The problem: the Potawatomi Indians were in the way and owned the land by treaty.  Through a series of shady deals and decisions the government initiated the “removal” of nearly a thousand Potawatomi 660 miles to Kansas.  It is called the “trail of Death” because almost daily as they crossed Indiana and Illinois children and old folk died.

  The famous chief Menominee who had refused to cave in and give up his land to the state was known as the “Potawatomi preacher” insisting on twice daily Christian worship and total abstinence from alcohol. A young Catholic Priest, Father Petit accompanied the tribe on the journey and kept a careful diary as did the commander of the troops.  




Keith Drury, religion professor at Indiana Wesleyan University walked the entire 660 mile route and kept a journal as he walked of his adventures. The book integrates the history of the event and his reflections on religion weaving the events of 1838 with his own experiences walking for two months in May and June of 2006.  It is an exciting read!




Other resources on the “Trail of Death.”

Shirley Willard’s TOD association pages and maps—Wonderful source!

Fulton Co. Hist soc. TOD pages _--Great!

The official Journal of the detail assigned to remove the Indians

Primary sources list http://www.usd116.org/mfoley/trail/trail.html 

Indiana State Library sources http://www.statelib.lib.in.us/www/isl/indiana/potawatomi.html

Macro-history of the entire tribe of Potawatomi  http://www.tolatsga.org/pota.html