Potawatomi "Trail of Death"

Potawatomi "Trail of Death" (HMNQG)

Location: Rochester, IN 46975 Fulton County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 3.918', W 86° 12.945'

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Indiana to Kansas, September 4 - November 4, 1838

On September 5, 1838, nearly 850 Potawatomi Indians marched single file through Rochester on the forced removal from Indiana to Western Territory (Kansas). Three chiefs were transported in a jail wagon: Menominee, Black Wolf, and Pepinewa. There were 286 horses and 26 wagons. Included were many Indians from Fulton County: Chief Wamego and people from his village, Chieftess Mas-saw, I-o-wa, and Pawk-shuk, son of deceased Chief Aubbeenaubbee.
The first night they camped at Chippeway on the Tippecanoe River. The next morning 51 Indians were left there due to sickness and lack of a way to transport them. The second night they camped at Mud Creek six miles south of Rochester, where the first death occurred, a child. Wagons were sent back to Chippeway to bring the sick.
While marching through Rochester, the Indians formed a line a mile long. Sympathetic white settlers gave them hoe-cakes for the trip. A little boy, nine-year-old Billy Ward, followed his Indian friends, wanting to go along, but his mother caught up with him a mile south of Rochester and took him home.
Water was scarce, roads choked with dust. Over 40 deaths were recorded on the trek to Kansas. Father Benjamin Petit, who accompanied them, died before he could return to Indiana. His body was later brought back for burial at Notre Dame in South Bend. The conductor was William Polke, Fulton County's first white settler. He and Father Petit tried to help the Indians, but typhoid was killing the white people too in the villages they passed, and there was no medicine. They arrived at what is now Osawatomie, Kans. On Nov. 4, taking 61 days to travel 660 miles.

[ This monument erected in 1995 by Fulton County Historical Society's Indian Awareness Center; by descendants of Che-shaw-gen, who was on the Trail of Death; and by the family of William O. Wamego, who helped re-enact the Trail of Death on its 150th anniversary in 1988 by riding in a horse-drawn jail wagon through Rochester. ]
Series This marker is part of the Potawatomi - Trail of Death series
Year Placed1995
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 3:44pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 565891 N 4546302
Decimal Degrees41.06530000, -86.21575000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 3.918', W 86° 12.945'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 3' 55.08" N, 86° 12' 56.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)574
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 849-899 Main St, Rochester IN 46975, US
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