Trail of Death caravan planned for 170th anniversary

And you are invited to come along!!

By Shirley Willard, Rochester, Indiana

Can you believe 5 years have gone by since our Trail of Death caravan in 2003? Yes, the Trail of Death

Commemorative Caravan will travel again September 22-28, 2008. This will be the fifth caravan since 1988 which marked the 150th anniversary of the 1838 Trail of Death, the forced removal of the Potawatomi from north central Indiana to eastern Kansas. This year 2008 will be the 170th anniversary.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation member and president of the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association, George Godfrey (Bergeron-Bazhaw family) is the overall coordinator of this year's event. He is being assisted by Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian, Rochester, Indiana. They will be joined by others to guide the caravan along the route, starting at Twin Lakes west of Plymouth, Indiana, and ending at the Sugar Creek Mission near Osawatomie, Kansas.

If you are interested in traveling on the caravan, call or email either George Godfrey at 217-636-8120 Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Shirley Willard at 574-223-2352 Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It would be good to email both of them to help insure that your correspondence gets through.

Immediately prior to the caravan, all are invited to attend the Trail of Courage Living History Festival

Sept. 20-21 at the Fulton County Historical Society Museum grounds on US 31 and Tippecanoe River four miles north of Rochester, Indiana. The Trail of Courage is an event that you will want to attend. The special honored Potawatomi family this year will be Gary Wiskigeamatyuk, descendant of Abram Burnett, who was on the 1838 Trail of Death. This big living-history festival features historic camps, participants in pre-1840 clothing, trade goods of everything needed for life on the frontier, demonstrations of traditional crafts such as spinning and blacksmithing, pioneer music and dance on two stages, Indian dances, foods cooked over wood fires, muzzleloader shooting contests, colonial children's games, and much more. It is so big you cannot see it all in one day!

Then on Monday morning Sept. 22 at 8 a.m. we will meet at Fulton County Museum to get organized and then drive as a caravan to Chief Menominee statue southwest of Plymouth. There we will have a ceremony like we did in previous years, with George Schricker, Plymouth, Ind., singing the song he wrote about "Menominee, the Man Who Would Not Sign." We will start traveling about 10 a.m. on the actual route of the 1838 Trail of Death. View the Trail of Death route at GPS locations are also given in the web site, so you can follow the route with a GPS, TomTom or Streetfinder. You can also print out pages from the web site to take with you.

You are welcome to travel with the caravan for half a day, join us at any point, or go all the way. Feel free to join the caravan at any time because you may not have time to drive the entire distance. To locate the caravan on a given day, simply call 217-502-9340, which is George Godfrey's cell phone. Please be sure to bring a CB radio because we talk back and forth between vehicles and tell about upcoming Trail of Death campsite historical markers and other history and stories as recalled by members of the caravan. You may get lost from the group or make a wrong turn if you do not have a CB radio, so please borrow or buy one. They are inexpensive at Wal-Mart and other stores.

Consider car pooling for the 2008 Trail of Death Caravan because of the high cost of fuel.

Each individual will be responsible for making and paying for accommodations and any meals that will not be provided along the way. Persons wishing to camp may do so. Check the camping facilities along the Trail of Death at the places of the over-night stops. Unfortunately, some campgrounds we used in previous caravans no longer exist. Some towns allow overnight camping in their town parks.

It took us the first 15 years to get historical markers erected at each campsite every 15 to 20 miles. There are now over 70 markers, all paid for with donations at no expense to taxpayers.

This year the Potawatomi Trail of Death Assn. has a new goal: to erect historic highway signs at every turn on the route so that hikers, bikers and motorists can follow the Trail of Death and find the historical markers. The signs are similar to the Lewis & Clark Trail signs. The Potawatomi Trail of Death logo was designed by David Thomas Anderson, Seattle, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The signs cost $50 each and arrows are $7.50 each. Your donation will be welcomed.

This year's caravan will be a spiritual journey and a time for inward reflection. It will become a historical reminder of what many Potawatomi ancestors suffered when forcibly removed from their homes in northern Indiana in 1838. Historians, Potawatomi, and all interested persons are welcome to travel the Trail of Death with the caravan.

Itinerary for Trail of Death caravan 2008

Subject to change. More will be added as the time approaches.

Sept. 22
Monday 8 a.m. Fulton County Museum; 9 a.m. Chief Menominee Statue; approximately

3- 4 p.m. visit Wabash & Erie Canal Center at Delphi; spend night at Lafayette, Indiana.

Sept. 23
Tuesday, Visit Old State Capital plaza in Springfield. Evening meeting at George

Godfrey's house at Athens, spend night at Springfield, Ill.

Sept. 24
Wednesday, Mass at St. Mary's Church in Quincy, Community supper at Quinsippi

Island, spend night at Quincy, Ill.

Sept. 25
Thursday, Visit Josephine Gander farm at 9 a.m. Supper 6 p.m. in Moberly Library,

provided by Huntsville Historical Society. Spend night at Moberly, Mo.

Sept. 26 Friday, Visit Jackson County Museum. Spend night at Independence, Mo.

Sept. 27 Saturday, Visit Sugar Creek Mission in rural Linn County, Kan. , then on to Lawrence,

Kansas. Jamison Bear (Osage from Lawrence, former Haskell faculty member, and good friend) said that his wife and sister-in-law will prepare a supper (fry bread, dumplings, will be traditional and GOOD!) for us when we get to Lawrence.

Sept. 28 Sunday, Farewell to all at Lawrence, Kansas.

This registration form in also on

Potawatomi Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan Registration

Sept. 22-28, 2008

Potawatomi Trail of Death Assn.

Fulton County Historical Society

37 E 375 N, Rochester IN 46975 Phone 574-223-4436

I plan to travel with the Trail of Death caravan on the following days (circle dates)

Sept. 22-28 - the whole 660 mile trip from Indiana to Kansas.

Sept. 22 Mon. from Chief Menominee statue to Lafayette IN

Sept. 23 Tue. from Lafayette IN to Springfield IL

Sept. 24 Wed. from Springfield to Quincy IL

Sept. 25 Thurs. from Quincy IL to Moberly MO

Sept. 26 Fri. from Moberly to Independence MO

Sept. 27 Sat. from Independence MO to Sugar Creek KS, then on to Lawrence, KS for supper.

Sept. 28 Sun. Farewell at Lawrence, Kansas.

Name __________________________________________________________________

Persons traveling with me _________________________________________________

Address ________________________________________________________________

City, state, zip ___________________________________________________________

Telephone - home ________- __________________-____________________________

Cell phone - area code __________-_____________- ___________________________

Email __________________________________________________________________

I am enclosing $20 per person or $30 per family (all living in one household) who will be traveling on the caravan. This is to help cover postage and expenses to set this trip up.

Amount enclosed: $ ________________ Make check to PTDA, c/o Fulton Co. Hist. Soc., 37 E 375 N, Rochester IN 46975.

I give my permission for FCHS to use any pictures of me and my outfit on the FCHS and PTDA web pages or to be published in newspapers and newsletters,

Liability Waiver: I waive and release the Fulton County Historical Society, the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association, and its agents, representatives, committees and members from any and all claims or rights to damages for injuries or losses suffered by myself and/or members of my family, directly or indirectly while participating in the Trail of Courage Living History Festival, the Potawatomi Trail of Death Caravan, and all its activities.

Signature __________________________________________________ Date____________________

Spouse's signature ___________________________________________ Date____________________

This must be dated to be a legal signature!

Motels for 2008 Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan

You must call and make your own reservations at each motel. Ask for whatever discounts you are eligible for.

September 22 Monday
Lafayette, Indiana - Super 8 Motel, 4301 SR 26,

phone 765-447-5551

September 23 Tuesday
Springfield, Illinois - Super 8 Motel, 1330 S Dirksen Parkway,

phone 217-528-8889

September 24 Wednesday Quincy, Illnois - Super 8 Motel, 224 N 36th St.,

phone 217-228-8808

September 25 Thursday
Moberly, Missouri - Super 8 Motel, 300 Hwy 24 E,

phone 660-263-8862

September 26 Friday
Independence, Missouri- Super 8 Motel, 4032 S Lynn Court Dr.,

phone 816-833-1888

September 27 Saturday
Lawrence, Kansas - Super 8 Motel, 515 McDonald Dr.,

phone 785-842-5721.