Sometimes you stumble across the coolest places when you’re rambling … I’ve been seeing signs marking the “Trail of Death”, but I didn’t know what it was all about. Then, on a ride, I came across the St. Philippine Duchesne Shrine in Linn County, Kansas, memorializing the Catholic Mission that was built to serve the Potawattomie Indians who’d been evicted from their homelands in Indiana and forced to march to Kansas on what became known as the “Potawatomi Trail of Death” because so many died along the way.
The shrine and park is a very interesting place, but totally unexpected; I had no idea it existed. But I’m glad to have found it!
I stumbled onto this sign in rural Linn County, Kansas and it brought me up short. I’m pretty familiar with all of the state parks and historic sites in the area, but I’d never heard of this one. Oh well, let’s check it out!
This is the entrance to the St. Philippine Duchesne Shrine, designed to look like a frontier fort.
This entrance sign explains that this site was once home to the St. Mary’s Mission (Sugar Creek Mission) from 1839 to 1849, and was at the end of the Potawatomie Trail of Death.
These signs explain the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death.
This sign tells the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death, the first week, starting at Plymouth, Indiana.
This sign tells the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death, the second week, to the Illinois state line.
This sign tells the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death, the third and fourth weeks, through Springfield, Illinois.
This sign tells the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death, the fifth and sixth weeks, across the Mississippi River and into Missouri.
This sign tells the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death, the seventh and eighth weeks, through Lexington, Missouri.
This sign tells the story behind the Potawatomie Trail of Death, the ninth and tenth weeks, into Kansas and to their journey’s end.
This is a rough map of the Potawatomie Trail of Death, from Indiana to Kansas, September 14, 1838 to November 5, 1938, a total of 618 miles over 61 days.
This is a depiction of Rose Philippine Duchesne, a Catholic nun who ministered to the Potawatomi Indians at the Sugar Creek Mission. She was canonized as a saint in 1988, the only one connected to Kansas!
There’s a great nature trail at the St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park, winding through some huge rocks.
Here’s me in front of one of the large rock formations – love this pic!
This sign marks the Fort Scott and California Road, used by settlers going to Fort Scott, Kansas, where groups headed to California and New Mexico were escorted by the U.S. Calvary. This is the only section of the road to still exist.