"ALONG THE OREGON TRAIL; THE SUSAN HAIL GRAVE" Top 5 Page for this destination Nebraska Off The Beaten Path Tip by Rich62
Nebraska Off The Beaten Path: 30 reviews and 42 photos
This lonely spot is perhaps my favorite place in Nebraska. In the distance, where giant cornstalks now grow, the wagons once rolled on to Oregon. And on the northern horizon, a line of trees marks the Platte River. Just beyond that, traffic zooms by on the modern Oregon Trail, Interstate 80.
Susan and her husband Richard were headed for California, but in June of 1852 Susan perished here, probably from Asiatic Cholera. The tombstone says "legend has it" that she died from drinking water poisoned by the Indians. It was handy then to blame the Native Americans for your troubles, but Indians were not in the habit of poisoning water.
Leaving their six children in the care of an aunt, Richard returned to Missouri and had a proper tombstone made, then brought it back to this spot. Vandals later detroyed that stone, but it has been replaced.
For years the story ended here and Richard disappeared into the mists of history. But recently more information has surfaced. Now we know the correct family name is actually "Haile", with an "e". Richard apparently caught up with the slow-moving wagon train and went on to the Napa Valley of California. He farmed and engaged in lumbering, and he would be elected to the California state legislature three times. He remarried and had four more children. Richard Haile died in 1890 after a long and productive life. We do not know if he ever got back to visit the grave of his first wife.
Directions to the grave: On Interstate 80 in south-central Nebraska, take the Shelton Exit (# 291) and go south on the paved road for 5.3 miles. It zigs & zags east & south, but stay on the paved road for 5.3 miles. You will see The Susan Hail historical marker on the east side of the road; Immediately south of it is a gravel road called 70th St. Take it to the east for perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 mile; you will see the grave on a small hill on the north side of the road.
It would be nice if you left some flowers.
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