Armed conflict between Mormons and Missourians was not the only tragedies recorded in the frontier region of Northwest Missouri during 1838. Today a plaque dedicated on the original campsite in Richmond, MO, is a reminder of the “Trail of Death” march from Indiana to Osawatomi, KS, forced upon the Potawatomi Indians. (reprinted from the Lawson Review)

The “Trail of Death” started in 1838 when 850 Potawatomi Indians were rounded up and marched at gun point from their Indiana homeland. Many walked the 660 miles from Twin Lakes, IN, to Osawatomie, KS, a journey that took two months. More than 40 died, mostly children, of typhoid fever and from the stress of the forced march.

The trek involved 48 stops where the march halted to camp for one night or more, according to the official journal kept by a government agent. Eight stops were made in the journey across North Missouri — at Palmyra, Paris, Huntsville, Keytesville, Carrollton, Richmond, Lexington and Independence.

The campsite at Richmond was on the grounds of what is now the Richmond High School at the junction of Hwy 13 and Hwy 24, formerly known as the Snowden Farm. It is currently marked by a large rock bearing the plaque, just across the street from a McDonald’s restaurant. The original marker was a project of Eagle Scout Joe Davis, who acquired the funds and established the marker. The Friends of the Ray County Museum supported this historic preservation project and completed the fundraising effort for the marker with their donation.

This marker is on Fifth Street or MO-224 along the Missouri River in Wellington, MO, revealing the route of the Potawatomi “Trail of Death” March, 1838. The Indians camped at Wellington in Lafayette County, where an infant died. The forced march originated in Indiana and ended in Kansas.