End of the Trail

Monday 5th Nov. [Osawatomie, Kansas - end of the trail]

The day was consumed making settlements with the officers. During the afternoon a considerable number of the Indians, assembled at Head Quarters, and expressed a desire to be heard in a speech. Pe-Pish-kay rose and in a substance 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.” The Agent, Mr. Davis, they knew not, and his absence would not afford them an opportunity of deciding what they might expect from him. The Indians did not think such treatment of a character with that promised them in their treaties. They hoped Judge Polke, their friend, would remain with them and see that justice should be rendered. Judge Polke informed them that considering their request too important to be disregarded, he would return from Independence, whither it was necessary he should go to attest the settlements of the emigration, and remain with them until Mr. Davis’s return. He would leave his son (Mr. B. C. Polke) who would in company with them visit and select such localities in the country as might please them. They returned for answer that they would reply in the morning. The Council then broke up. Quite an old man died after coming into camp last night. Beef and corn were delivered to the Indians in the afternoon. During the evening a wagon belonging to and owned by Andrew Fuller, a Pottawattomie, containing 6 Indians, came into camp. They had traveled from Michigan with the intentions of becoming citizens of the Western Territory, and borne their expenses for the whole route. They came without any instructions from the Agent at Logansport.

Tuesday 6th Novr. We were early preparing to move on our return - the officers and wagoners generally expressing much anxiety to hasten their return (to Indiana). The Indians assembled again, and after a repetition of the requests and arguments of yesterday, informed the Conductor that they were wiling he should leave them but they should expect his return. In the meantime they hope that Judge Polke would interest himself in their affairs. They had confidence in him and hoped he would not abuse it. Immediately we left our encampment and proceeded on our return. Much feeling was manifested at our departure. On our way we passed a wagon containing 2 dead persons. A sick family of Indians had been left at Bull-town - 2 of the sick had died. They reached the camp of the Indians before night. We arrived at our encampment of Saturday last at 3 o’clock. Tomorrow we shall proceed to Westpoint.

Wednesday 7th - Saturday 10th Nov. Polke and his employees traveled back to McLean’s Grove (25 miles) and Westpoint, Missouri (9 miles). Polke paid off teamsters & officers. The diarist’s last entry: Tomorrow we set out for home, every thing having resulted as well and as happily as could have been anticipated by the most sanguine. [Editor’s note - how could he write that, knowing of all the suffering and death? There was sickness that ran rampant among all, Indian and non-Indian. Days in which they could not travel due to illness. It sounds as if he expected some “losses” and that they were of no consequence but were to be expected??]

I believe the foregoing Journal to be correct in every thing pertaining to distances, localities, etc. etc. J. C. Douglass, Enrolling Agent.

(Note: Later Jesse C. Douglass became editor of the Logansport Telegraph, the newspaper in Logansport, Indiana.)

Total miles traveled: 660.
Total deaths: 39
(This does not include those who died in groups that dropped out to wait for sick Potawatomi to get well. The real total is 42.)

Scale of Distances 
 From Plymouth to Logansport40 miles
 From Logansport to Quincy339 miles
 From Quincy to Independence213 miles
 From Independence to Pottawattomie Creek,
Western Territory (became Kansas in 1861)
66 miles

The original text of the diary stated that the total number of miles traveled was 618. However, the Plymouth to Logansport leg of the journey was not listed. The above chart shows the correct mileage, which is 658 or 660 miles.

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This page updated May 30, 2006.