2014 TRAIL OF COURAGE
|Fulton County Historical Society
Located in North Central Indiana
|Sept. 20-21, 2014
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 - $2,
Ages 5 and under - free
No dogs or animals allowed, except
to assist handicapped.
Experience the excitement of Frontier Indiana
at the Trail of Courage Sept. 21-22, 2013
Experience the excitement and adventure of Frontier Indiana at the 38th annual Trail of Courage Living
History Festival Sept. 21-22 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, historic canoe landing and fur trade skit on the Tippecanoe River.
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 will be artist David Anderson & mother Peggy King Anderson, Kirkland,
Washington. They are descended from John Anderson who was 13 at the time of the Trail of Death
Also bringing history of their Potawatomi ancestors will be Sister Virginia Pearl, c.s.j., Concordia, Kansas,
and Dr. George Godfrey, Athens, Ill. Both 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, which he will offer for sale.
The public is invited to join in the Indian dances 2 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., which are held in an arena encircled by
teepees. The drum will be Winter Hawk Drum led by Fred Flury, Walkerton. Head dancers will be Carol
Miiller, Logansport, and Jeremy Flook, Rochester. George Godfrey, Athens, Illinois, member 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
Another re-creation is of Chippeway Village, which had the first trading post, post office and village in Fulton
County in 1832. 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 days.
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 – Chief Tecumseh, Indian dancers and drum.
This year’s grant was for $3,658 which is half of the approx. $7,000 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 Shirley Willard, 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.
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, and Fulton County Historical
Society. Beverly 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
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
Every five years the Potawatomi Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan travels from Indiana to Kansas. It
will be Sept. 23-29, 2013. Registration form and schedule and list of motels if found on www.potawatomi-
tda.org It ends with Mass and lunch at the St. Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park in Linn County, Kansas,
Sept. 29. Interested persons are welcome to travel with the group a half day or all the way.
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
|Special thanks to our 2013 Sponsors
for the Trail of Courage Sept. 21-22, 2013
stage programs matching funds for the Indiana Arts Commison grant.
FCHS will receive $3,658 grant that has be matched by local funds.
BOB & CAROL BRIDGE
AMERICAN LEGION POST #36
DR. DAVID BARTS
GOOD TO GO
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
|George Godfrey writes family history, will bring to
Trail of Courage
By Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian
Many people hope to publish a book when they retire, thinking
they will then have time to do the
research and writing. George Godfrey, Athens, Illinois, has done
just that. He is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and
had ancestors on the forced removals from Indiana and
neighboring states to west of the Mississippi River per the Indian
Removal Act of 1830.
George’s father was Victor E. Godfrey, an Indian Agent, and his
mother, Helen Bergeron, was a Potawatomi. George and his
brothers grew up on various reservations, and he graduated from
high school in Aberdeen, South Dakota. George got his PhD in
entomology from Cornell University. His CB handle is “Bug
I met George in 1988. He had written a letter to HowNiKan, his
tribal newspaper. He stated that he crossed the Trail of Death
every day on his way to work in Champaign, Illinois, and he
thought something should be done to commemorate it and the
people who died on the 660 mile trek from Indiana to Kansas.
I wrote to him, saying I live at the beginning of the Trail of Death
and agree that something should be planned for the 150th
anniversary. I formed a committee here and George got a
committee together in Illinois. We have been partners ever since,
organizing the caravans, finding people to research each county
and erect historical markers, and getting the Potawatomi informed
and invited. The Potawatomi Trail of Death Association was then
founded in 2005 to perpetuate the archives and look after the 80+
historical markers. PTDA is a branch of the Fulton County
We had 12 Potawatomi on the first Trail of Death Commemorative
Caravan in 1988. It turned out to be a spiritual journey, and we
decided to go again every five years and to erect historical
markers at each camp site every 15 to 20 miles, per the 1838
And so we did. On the caravan in 1993, George slept in the back
of his pick-up truck which he called “Warrior,” and he has funny
stories to tell about the sleeping dog that forced him to move. In
1992 he married Patricia Wasson. From 1993 to 2001 he taught at
Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kansas.
From 2001 to 2005 George worked for the US Department of
Agriculture helping Tribal colleges and universities develop their
teaching and research programs in the agricultural sciences. He
and Pat lived in Maryland at that time. Bill and I visited them and
got to see the new National Museum of the American Indian, and
the memorials for World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam.
When George retired in 2005, he and Pat bought one and a half
wooded acres near Springfield, Illinois, and built a new house. Bill
and I visit them every year. George and Pat stay with us during the
Trail of Courage each year.
This year George published two books about his great great
grandmother, Josette Watchekee. One book is the historical
research with footnotes and references: Watchekee (Overseer)
Walking in Two Cultures. The other, Once a Grass Widow:
Watchekee’s Destiny, is a historical novel with imagined
conversations and happenings, but true to the actual events that
took place in her life. Both books sell for $14.95 (includes
mailing), and can be purchased by sending a check (payable to
George Godfrey) to Nishnabek Publications, 24108 Burr Oaks
Lane, Athens, IL 62613.
Forty-four families of Potawatomi moved from Kansas to the
Citizen Potawatomi Reservation in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in
1872. Among them were the Andersons and the Bergerons.
George’s grandfather, William O. Bergeron, was in the group. The
Andersons are ancestors of the honored Potawatomi family this
year. They will be represented by Peggy King Anderson, whose
son drew the logo for the Potawatomi Trail of Death Assn.
George Godfrey has been dancing at the Trail of Courage since
1988. He will be the emcee again this year. He will also give a
historical talk on the stage each day and offer his book for sale at
the Potawatomi Trail of Death Assn. booth. He is president of the
PTDA. He will tell about his books and have them for sale at the
Trail of Courage Sept. 20-21 at Fulton County Historical Society,
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.