2015 TRAIL OF COURAGE
|Fulton County Historical Society
Located in North Central Indiana
|Sept. 19-20, 2015
Saturday - open 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
Sunday - open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults - $7, Ages 6-11 -
$3, Bus students - $3,
Ages 5 and under - free
No dogs or animals allowed, except
to assist handicapped.
|Special thanks to our 2014 Sponsors
for the Trail of Courage Sept. 20-21, 2014
stage programs matching funds for the Indiana Arts Commison grant.
FCHS will receive $3,414 grant that has be matched by local funds.
The photo shows George Godfrey in his red shirt,
which he made himself for the Indian dances at the
Trail of Courage. The shirt and the rest of his regalia
is copied from a George Winter painting in the 1830s.
Godfrey’s nickname is “Red Shirt.” You can easily
pick him out in photos of the Grand Opening of the
National Museum of the American Indian and various
| Boursaw of Kansas will be honored
Potawatomi at Trail of Courage
By Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian
Jon Boursaw, Topeka, Kansas, will be the honored Potawatomi
family at the 2014 Trail of Courage. His third great grandfather
was Daniel Bourassa, who with his wife Theotia Pisange and
seven children were on the 1838 Trail of Death.
Research reveals the first name recorded on the muster roll for
the 1838 Trail of Death was Daniel Bourassa. The family had a
total of nine persons, 2 males and one female under age 10, 4
males between 10 and under 25, one male and one female
between 25 and under 50. The oldest category obviously included
Daniel and his wife.
Daniel’s ancestry is known back to Rene Bourassa 1688-1778 in
Michilimakinac, Mich. His son was also named Rene II, born 1718
in LaPrairie, Canada, and died 1792 in Detroit, Michigan. Rene II’s
son Daniel Bourassa, born 1752 Mackinac, Mich., married
Marguerite Bertrand, and died after 1840. Their son was Daniel
Daniel II and Theotia lived on the Yellow River in Marshall County
in Menominee’s village. They had a total of 13 children but the
other eight were grown up. Daniel was an agent for the American
Fur Company. He is buried at Sugar Creek, Kansas, as are his
wife, five sons, four grandchildren and a daughter –in-law.
Their oldest son, Joseph Napoleon Bourassa, was born in 1810
near Chicago and died in 1877 near Rossville, Kansas. Joseph
was educated at Carey Mission School in Niles, Mich., Choctaw
Academy in Kentucky and Hamilton College (now Colgate
University) in New York. He was known as Bourassa the
Interpreter. He relocated to Osage Reservation Kansas with the
1837 removal conducted by George Profitt. He was accompanied
by Queh-Mee, her mother and chiefs Kee-wau-nay and Nas-waw-
kay. Joseph marred Memetekosike (Mah Nees) in 1838 in a
ceremony conducted by Father Petit. They had one son and were
Joseph moved to Kansas River Reservation in 1846. He married
Mary Nadeau in 1854 and had nine children. Their second son,
Anthony, was Jon’s great grandfather, born in Uniontown, Kansas
in 1856. Anthony changed the spelling of their surname to
Boursaw after his father at age 62 married 18 year old Elizabeth
Anthony in 1873. Anthony married Julie Ogee in Silver Lake,
Kansas, in 1876. Julie was the daughter of Louis Ogee, also a
Potawatomi, who operated ferries across the Kansas River on the
Oregon Trail from 1840s to 1870s and had a farm of more than
Anthony and Julie homesteaded in Shawnee County east of
Topeka and raised nine children. Anthony was a farmer. Julie and
the first six children received allotments on the Potawatomi
Reservation in Oklahoma. They sold the Oklahoma land and
stayed in Kansas.
Their seventh child was Louis Leo Boursaw. He married Pearl
Reynolds in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1908. Pearl was a native of
Chicago. Louis originally was a farmer, then had a trucking
operation, a lumber mill, sold firewood, and finally owned and
operated a dance hall for over 25 years. They had one son, Lyman
E. Boursaw Sr., born 1910, married Grace Helen Delk in 1928,
and had three children: Lois, Lyman Jr., and Jon, born 1939.
Jon Boursaw graduated from Highland Park High School and
Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He was commissioned
a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force and served for 24 1/2 years,
retiring as a Colonel. Then he worked for two major health care
management organization for 13 years. He returned to Topeka in
1999 where he served as Executive Director for the Prairie Band
Potawatomi Nation for 6 ½ years. In 2006 he became the Director
of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center in
Shawnee, Ok. Finally retiring in 2008, he and wife Peggy returned
to Topeka. In June 2013 he was elected as one of 16 Legislative
Representatives for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. He represents
District 4, which is the state of Kansas, with 2,600 CPN members
residing in Kansas.
Jon and Peggy have two children: Jon Andrew (married Christina
Miller and has three children), and Kristen Marie (married Todd
Benvenuto and has one son).
Jon traveled with the Trail of Death commemorative caravan in
2008 and 2013. At the end of the 2013 caravan at Sugar Creek,
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback presented a proclamation with
an apology to the Potawatomi for the Trail of Death.
I have long felt deeply that the state of Indiana should apologize
for the Trail of Death. That terrible forced removal that cost the
lives of 42 Potawatomi, mostly children and elderly, was ordered
by Indiana Governor David Wallace in 1838. Therefore I felt it fitting
that the Indiana Governor Pence issue an apology for the Trail of
Death for the Indiana Bicentennial of 2016. Although he does not
use the word apology, I feel this is a step toward recognizing this
sad part of our history and its aftermath. I still hope to get the
Indiana government to apologize by 2016. I give programs all over
Indiana and I know because I ask, and the people attending all
feel that Indiana did not do right by its Native peoples.
Alan Guebert, syndicated columnist of Farm & Food File, supports
this, writing to me, “I hope the Indiana government will be big
enough to stand up to set the record straight, something we all
must do in our own conscience and in the eyes of our Maker.”
The proclamation Governor Pence issued declares Sept. 20,
2014, as Potawatomi Trail of Death Remembrance Day. It will be
presented to Jon Boursaw and other Potawatomi, including
George Godfrey, Sister Virginia Pearl, Bob Pearl and Janet Pearl,
Susan Campbell, and Tracy Locke at 10 a.m. at the Trail of
Courage Sept. 20.
Memorial to Chief White Eagle that stands in front
of the Fulton Co. Hist. Society Museum. Tipi was
made by Fred Oden and honors Chief White
Eagle, Tom Hamilton, Bill Wamego and Leon
Kenny "Lone Eagle, Chief White Eagle
and Bobbie Bear.
Chief White Eagle.
Experience the excitement of Frontier Indiana
at the Trail of Courage Sept. 20-21, 2014
Experience the excitement and adventure of Frontier Indiana at the 39th annual Trail of
Courage Living History Festival Sept. 20-21 at Rochester, Indiana. It’s a place where history
comes alive, where you can trace the very footsteps of history, and have a good time doing it.
Frontier Indiana comes alive with foods cooked over wood fires, period music and dance,
traditional crafts, historic camps and trading, canoe rides on the river, and much more. It is
produced by the Fulton County Historical Society. This event combines genealogy of the
Potawatomi Indians and the settlers who lived in Fulton County and northern Indiana in the
early 1800s with rendezvous events, music and dance on two stages, canoe rides on the
The Trail of Courage will be held at the FCHS grounds four miles north of Rochester on US 31
and Tippecanoe River. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children (6 through 11), and free
ages 5 and under. Hours are Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year the honored Potawatomi is Jon Boursaw, Topeka, Kansas; whose ancestor was
Joseph Napoleon Bourassa, whose picture will be on the badge for participants. Sister Virginia
Pearl, Concordia, Kansas; will tell about her family on the Trail of Death. Dr. George Godfrey,
Athens, Ill. will tell history of Potawatomi ancestors. All are Citizen Potawatomi and had
ancestors on the Trail of Death. They will tell about their family and exciting history. Godfrey
has published two books about his great great grandmother Josette Watchekee, and one
about his great grandfather John “Bat” Baptiste Bergeron called “The Indian Marble,” which he
will offer for sale. These books are also available at the museum gift shop. Also Susan
Campbell, Citizen Potawtomi, has published a book about Chief White Eagle which she will
The public is invited to join in the Indian dances 2 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., which are held in an arena
outlined by teepees. The drum will be the Indiana Hawk Band Shadow Sept. Drum led by
Denny “Blue Fox”Setnor, Hamlet. Head dancers will be Candy Larrew, South Bend, and
Jeremy Flook, Rochester. George Godfrey, Athens, Illinois, of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation,
will act as emcee. He has been dancing at the Trail of Courage since 1988.
The Trail of Courage includes historic encampments representing the French & Indian War,
Voyageurs, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Western Fur Trade, Plains Indians teepees, and
Woodland Indian wigwams. A re-created Miami Village includes wigwams and lifeways
demonstrations, such as making cattail mats.
Another re-creation is of Chippeway Village, which had the first trading post, post office and
village in Fulton County in 1832. William Polke was the first postmaster in Fulton County and
helped write Indiana’s first constitution in 1816. State Archivist, Jim Corridan, will give talk about
William Polke. Food purveyors and traditional craftsmen set up in wooden booths. Craftsmen
also sell pre-1840 trade goods from blankets and in historic merchant tents, offering a variety
of items from clothing and jewelry to knives and candles, everything needed to live in frontier
Canoe rides, muzzle loading shooting and tomahawk throwing contests, and a Mountain Man
Tug of War add to the frontier activities.
Two stages with frontier music and dance present programs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Since the early 1980s FCHS has received grants from the
Indiana Arts Commission/ National Endowment for the Arts to help pay for musicians and
dancers. This year they include River Valley Colonials Fife & Drum Corp, Aztec dancers,
Shakin' Hammers String Band, Mark and Liza Woolever, Chuck Molenda – Ben Franklin,
Common Stock Entertainments, Genot Picor will give a first person presentation of Father Petit
who accompanied the Potawatomi on the Trail of Death in 1838, Trois Buffon – voyageur
music and dance, Indian dancers and drum.
This year’s grant is for $3,414 which is half of the approximately $8,000 cost of the
performers. Donations to match the grant are required by the Indiana Arts Commission and
can be mailed to FCHS, 37 E 375 N, Rochester, IN 46975.
Many volunteers provide programs such as Frontier Frolic dance called by Allison Edwards,
78th Frasier Pipe & Drum Corps of Culver Academy, Nan Edwards and Margo Moore’s dogs
pulling travois, Marsha Glassburn - Indian storytelling, Shirley Needham – red-tailed and red
shoulder hawks; Frontier Fashion Show, and Riddle School dancers, Mark Gropp – bagpipes.
Both Catholic and Protestant worship services are held at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Father Denny
Kinderman, Chicago, has been coming to celebrate Mass for over 10 years at the Hillside
Amphitheater. Darlene DeHaai, Twelve Mile, will lead the Protestant service at the Chippeway
Pioneer foods are cooked over wood fires. Visitors can feast on buffalo burgers, apple
dumplings, chicken and noodles, barbecue, ham and beans, vegetable stew, chips cooked in
big iron kettles, turkey legs, Indian tacos and fry bread, corn on the cob, apple sausage, and
more, including ice cream, one of George Washington's favorite treats. Local clubs cook and
serve these historic foods to fund their projects: Rotary, Kappa Delta Phi,
American Cherokee Confederacy, Knights of Columbus, Richland Township Assn; and Kroger
Relay for Life Team; and Fulton County Historical Society.
Jackson and family, Rochester, do the barbecue and sweet potato pie, and also exhibit a
frontier African-American house. Mark Gropp family brings homemade fudge. Many people
come to the festival just for the delicious food!
The grounds are handicapped accessible. Free tram rides are available to bring people from
the museum and Living History Village at the north end of the grounds. The museum and
village are open with hosts and free admission.
Volunteers can earn free admission to the Trail of Courage by working half a day. To volunteer
or for more information, call the museum at 574-223-4436. Free parking is provided on FCHS
grounds. Plenty of free
benches are available to sit and rest. For further details: www.fultoncountyhistory.org
The primary purpose of the Trail of Courage is to educate the public, to preserve and promote
an accurate picture of life in frontier Indiana, as well as other areas and time periods of North
American history. The festival is based on local history, before the Potawatomi Indians were
marched west on the forced removal known as the Trail of Death. The Potawatomi were
marched down Rochester’s Main Street Sept. 5, 1838, on their way to Kansas, a journey of
660 miles that took them 10 weeks and cost them 42 lives. Since 1976 this festival has
honored the American Indians and shown life before the removal when this was still Potawatomi
Governor Pence issues Proclamation recognizing
Potawatomi Trail of Death
Governor Mike Pence has issued a proclamation recognizing the special and historic
significance of the Potawatomi trail and the enriching culture of the Potawatomi and
proclaiming September 20, 2014, as POTAWATOMI TRAIL OF DEATH REMEMBRANCE DAY.
This is at the request of Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian, Rochester, Indiana, who has
spent 40 years making the general public understand the sad and deeply regrettable part of
Indiana and national history – the forced removal in 1838 of the Potawatomi from Indiana to
Kansas, a trail of 660 miles in which 42 died. This is the best documented removal of Native
American Indians from their lands, recorded by Father Benjamin Petit, artist George Winter,
John Tipton papers, 1838 diary, and more. The Potawatomi signed 40 treaties, more than any
other tribe. Willard formed committees in 26 counties, which have erected nearly 80 historical
markers in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas, and over 150 historic highway signs.
Willard was president of Fulton County Historical Society 1971-2001. When Willard retired in
2001, she was honored with Sagamore of the Wabash from the Governor and Dorothy Riker
Award for Innovation in the Field of History from Indiana Historical Society. In 2003 she and
Potawtomi co-authors published a 440- page book of original sources about the Trail of Death.
In 2005 she and county historical societies in four states founded the Potawatomi Trail of
Death Association, which is a branch of the Fulton County Historical Society. She partnered
with George Godfrey of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in 1988 to organize a commemorative
caravan to discover and travel the original route, a trek they and interested persons and
Potawatomi have traveled every five years since, the last caravan being September 2013.
Indiana Historical Society president and CEO, John Herbst wrote a letter of support, stating
“Last fall Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued a proclamation acknowledging on behalf of
the state to the Potawatomi tribe the injustices and tragic circumstances of the Trail of Death.”
Brownback’s proclamation included an apology.
Herbst continued, “In addition to Governor Brownback’s proclamation of 2013, there are many
precedents for elected officials to recognize past actions which history has shown were clearly
wrong. It is never too late to seek such acknowledgment upon which true reconciliation is
based. As we begin to celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial of Statehood, it is a highly appropriated
time to officially go on record about the Trail of Death.”
Pence’s Proclamation will be presented by Tim Harman, State Representative, to the
Potawatomi at the Trail of Courage Living History Festival at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20. Accepting will
be several members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma, including Jon Boursaw,
Topeka, Kansas; George Godfrey, Athens, Illinois; Sister Virginia Pearl, Concordia, Kansas;
Bob and Janet Pearl, Parma Heights, Ohio, Susan Campbell, Hawaii, Tracy Locke, Lafayette,
Indiana, and others.
Jon Boursaw is a descendant of Daniel Bourassa who with his wife and seven children were on
the 1838 Trail of Death. The Pearls are descendants of Teresa Slavin, a little girl on the Trail
of Death. Each year the Trail of Courage Living History Festival honors a different Potawatomi
family that had ancestors on the Trail of Death or signed treaties in Indiana. Other Potawatomi
bands had some members who had ancestors on the Trail of Death including Prairie Band of
Kansas, Forest Band of Wisconsin, and Pokagon Band of Michigan. After the removal some
Potawatomi scattered and their descendants are also found in other tribes today. One was Jim
Thorpe, World’s Greatest Athlete, whose great- grandmother was on the Trail of Death but Jim
was a member of Sac and Fox.
The 39th annual Trail of Courage Living History Festival is produced by the Fulton County
Historical Society, located four miles north of Rochester on US 31 and Tippecanoe River. The
festival portrays frontier Indiana with foods cooked over wood fires, historic camps and re-
enactors, two stages with period music and dance, Indian dances 2 to 3 p.m., traditional crafts
and trading, canoe rides, and more. It runs Sept. 20-21, opening at 10 a.m. both days, closing
at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission charged (Admission $7 adults, $3
children age 6-11, free for children 5 and under. Students on buses $3.) For more information
contact 574-223-4436 or www.fultoncountyhistory.org or www.potawatomi-tda.org.
The Proclamation states:
WHEREAS, in 1838 Governor David Wallace appointed General John Tipton to round up the
Potawatomi, whose principal village was that of Chief Menominee at Twin Lakes in Marshall
County, and deport them to Western Territory. General Tipton called 100 volunteer militia to
capture the village and then sent squads of militia in all directions to bring in only Potawatomi
from a radius of approximately 50 miles of Plymouth, including parts of Cass, Elkhart, Fulton,
Kosciusko, LaPorte, Miami, Pulaski, Starke, St. Joseph and possibly more counties, eventually
bringing in 859 Potawatomi Indians; and
WHEREAS, the Potawatomi men were held captive in the log chapel at Twin Lakes until the
morning of September 4, 1838, when the removal march began, and the Potawatomi were
marched at gunpoint down Rochester’s Main Street September 5, 1838, said removal suffering
42 deaths, hence the name Trail of Death, and
WHEREAS, in 1976 for the nation’s Bicentennial, Rochester Boy Scout troop no. 285 erected
a historical marker at Mud Creek to commemorate the first death and Governor Otis Bowen
gave the dedication speech for said marker at Mud Creek, calling it a Trail of Courage, and
WHEREAS, the Potawatomi have remained committed to the protection of this great land by
continuing to serve honorably in the United States Armed Forces, with Native American Indians
having served at a higher percentage than any other ethnic group; and
WHEREAS, the legislatures of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas passed resolutions in
1994-1996, declaring the Trail of Death a Regional Historic Trail, and since then historical
markers and highway signs have been erected at each campsite, marking the roads taken; and
WHEREAS, the state of Indiana recognizes the special and historic significance of the trail and
the enriching culture of the Potawatomi;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Michael R. Pence, Governor of the State of Indiana, do hereby proclaim
September 20, 2014 as
POTAWATOMI TRAIL OF DEATH REMEMBRANCE DAY
in the State of Indiana, and invite all citizens to duly note this occasion.
In Testimony Whereof, I hereto set my hand and cause to be affixed the Great Seal of State.
Done at the City of Indianapolis, the 14th day of August in the year of our Lord 2014 and the
Independence of the United States 238.
BY THE GOVERNOR: signed Michael R. Pence
Photo caption: Susan Campbell is flying from Hawaii
especially for the Trail of Courage. She is wearing a
Happy coat, copied from Japanese. Susan is a member
of the Citizen Potawatomi.
| Chief White Eagle autobiography published
A man who died in 2011 has a new autobiography published, thanks to the
efforts of Susan Campbell, who met him at the Trail of Courage and interviewed
him several times. She lives in Hawaii, so I helped out by taping his memories
and mailing them to her.
Basil Heath, aka Chief White Eagle, was often told that he should write a book
about his life and adventures. Beginning in 2005 when he was in his late 80s I
recorded many of his memories on a tape recorder. We sat at his kitchen table,
he in his usual chair, his wife Bobbie at the other end, and me in the middle. Bill
and I would sometimes take a pizza and eat lunch with them, and then out would
come the tape recorder.
He made notes of what he wanted to say. As everyone who ever had the
privilege of hearing one of his programs recalls, he was a wonderful speaker
with a deep “radio voice.” During his long career, he had been a soldier,
welder, movie actor, television personality, and a historian. He loved history
and loved to tell the stories of what he had seen and done. He also loved to tell
Indian lore and history, repeating things he had learned from his grandfather,
and recounting stories he had read in books.
He was born in 1917 to a Mohawk-Cayuga woman and an English soldier. We
don’t know exactly why he chose to hide the fact that his father was British in his
later life, but he preferred to avoid telling his family relations. He liked to have
some mystery in his life, like the old-time movie stars.
We met Baz and Bobbie in 1984. They retired and moved to Fulton County.
He dedicated the new Trail of Courage land in 1985. He planted a Great Peace
Tree in 1988 at the Trail of Courage. He gave programs at the Trail of Courage
and other events.
His stories include meeting the Kennedy kids, John, Bobby and Kathleen, in
England, serving in the British Army in England and Africa, and the battles and
destruction he witnessed in London during World War II. His descriptions are
so vivid, you could see it all in your mind as he told his stories. He also told
about a trip to Germany as the guest of the Prince of Bavaria, and their
wedding in Chicago in which he did the Indian wedding ceremony.
Baz was nearly killed 29 times and he described many of them, such as being
shot at in war, knocked into a ditch by a speeding car, sliding off a snowy road,
Susan Campbell, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, interviewed
Chief White Eagle in 1998 and 2008, and promised to write his book. She and
husband Eric retired to Hawaii. I sent the tapes to her and she typed them.
Then Baz got sick and died in 2011. Meanwhile Susan continued to work on the
book, researching to verify and amplify the dates and facts, writing and rewriting
to get his voice just right. She organized the book into chapters to make the text
flow more smoothly, with assistance from her daughter Rhian.
Last month Susan excitedly emailed me that the book was done and being
published. It came out August 15 .
I got a copy of the Chief White Eagle book on Monday and read it all before
going to bed that night, could not put it down. It is great, just like he is talking to
me. I could hear his voice. Susan did a terrific job on organizing, researching
and filling in the missing pieces.
From Manhattan to Hollywood – The Stories of Chief White Eagle by Susan
J. Campbell. This amazing book reads just like Baz was talking to you. It has
soft cover, 205 pages, index, end-notes, black and white photos. It is for sale at
the Fulton County Museum. Local sales benefit the Potawatomi Trail of Death
Assn. To order a copy, send check for $18 plus $5 shipping and handling to
PTDA, Fulton Co. Hist. Soc., 37 E 375 N, Rochester IN 46975.
Susan Campbell and Bobbie Bear will be at the Trail of Courage to
sell and autograph the books Sept. 20-21.
We would like to hear from the public on what you think good or bad. Is there something
that we need to change or improve on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you. Melinda Clinger, Museum Director