September 24, 2003

Monticello to Exeter, Illinois (100 miles)

Visited 10 Trail of Death markers: Sangamon River Crossing, Decatur, Niantic, two at Springfield, Riddle Hill, Island Grove, two at Jacksonville, Exeter. Thelma Tuggle and friends brought us breakfast at the campgrounds. Sister Joan Sullivan met us and placed a pink rose at the Trail of Death marker in Decatur. Cindy Smith, the mother of the Boy Scout who placed the marker in Niantic, greeted us and said he is in college. Illinois PBS TV video- taped us at Springfield's Old Capitol Plaza. We ate lunch at the Holy Land restaurant by the Old Capitol building. New Salem Methodist Church served us refreshments when we visited the Trail of Death marker at Riddle Hill. The Jacksonville High School band serenaded the caravan at the town square as the town band did in 1838. In Exeter Roger Lovelace and George Knisely families had supper for the caravan in Lovelace's house. An evening campfire was held in Exeter town park. We presented them with a plaque in appreciation for having a hog roast for our caravans of 1988, 1993, and 1998. Remember the $20 given us by the waitresses at Independence, Ind.? We gave it to Roger to help pay for the supper they served us because he is out of work.

"Trail of Death Caravan across Illinois" (2003)
Shirley Willard