Potawatomi Trail of Death Diary

The locations of each camp site were recorded in the diary or journal written by Jesse C. Douglas, “scribe” or secretary to William Polke, federal conductor on the emigration which was really a forced removal. The wording of the diary here has been edited [and annotated in brackets] by Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historical Society, Rochester, Indiana. The original diary is found on microfilm in the National Archives. The diary was published in the Indiana Magazine of History in 1925. It was reprinted (and errors were corrected) in Potawatomi Trail of Death - 1838 Removal from Indiana to Kansas in 2003, published by Indian Awareness Center of Fulton County Historical Society, 37 E 375 N, Rochester IN 46975. This book also contains Father Petit’s letters and baptismal records, muster rolls, letters by John Tipton, pictures by George Winter, biographies of William Polke and St. Philippine Duchesne, family histories of Potawatomi who had ancestors on the Trail of death, maps, index and bibliography. Containing 448 pages, the book sells for $40 plus $6 shipping and handling.

        Each historical marker plaque along the Trail of Death is unique to the situations surrounding each stop. The plaque tells about the location of the camp, how many died there, the distance traveled, etc. - all from the original Trail of Death diary written by Jesse C. Douglas in 1838. Brackets indicate details added by Shirley Willard from other sources, such as Father Petit’s letters, John Tipton’s letters or the George Winter book.

Potawatomi Trail of Death Route & Marker Pictures

< Previous Home Next >
This page updated Jan 16, 2017.