Overland Park installs markers to note crossing of Potawatomi Trail of Death

Photo via city of Overland Park.
Photo via city of Overland Park.

Motorists in southern Johnson County may notice a new set of markers recently installed to commemorate the route of the forced march of the Potawatomi tribe in the 1830s that left 41 people dead.

In 1838, a band of 859 Potawatomi left their home in north central Indiana after a militia of one hundred men surrounded them on orders from the governor of the state. The militia then began the forced relocation of the Potawatomi to a designated reservation in eastern Kansas near present-day Osawatomie.

The march began in early September 1838 and lasted more than two months. Over the course of the 660 mile journey, 41 tribe members, most of them children, died, and others were left behind after falling too ill to continue. At points, the militia held the tribe members at gunpoint, forcing them to continue.

The new markers, on Nall south of 137th Street; on Lamar at 143rd Street; on Metcalf south of 143rd Street; near Antioch at 151st Street; on Switzer south of 151st Street; and near Quivira at 159th Street; denote the passage of the trail followed by the tribe and militia members as they made their way through Johnson County near the end of the journey.

Johnson County has installed similar markers in other parts of the county as well.