Scott County, Illinois
Exeter, Illinois

Go west on Old 36 until it catches Merritt Road; turn west on Merritt Road and go through Merritt. When the road crosses the Scott County line, it becomes CR 1. Continue west on CR 1 to Exeter. It is about 10 miles. Go through Exeter and at the west end there is Exeter Park on the north (right) side of the road. The Trail of Death marker is at the entrance to the park.

Tuesday 2nd Octr. [Traveled 16 miles from Jacksonville to Exeter, Illinois.]

[After leaving Jacksonville, diary continues:] We continued our journey and at 3 o’clock reached our present encampment about 16 miles from Jacksonville. The day was excessively warm and the dust very afflicting, added to which water was scarcely to be found on the route. Provisions and forage we find in considerable quantities without difficulty. Camped at Exeter.

Exeter, Illinois - Exeter Park. GPS N-3943251 W-9030034.

Located in Exeter Park. Erected by Mayor Roger Lovelace and Exeter people in 1993. (Photo by Larry Prichard, Lynn, Indiana, on Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan, 2003.)

Exeter, Illinois - Exeter Park. GPS N-3943251 W-9030034.

Pictured above: Mary Ann Dockrey Harty, Sister Virginia Pearl, George Knisley Bluffs, Illinois - helped erect marker in 1993, Pat Dockrey, Bob Pearl, Shirley Willard. Back row: Tom Hamilton and Bill Willard. All are Citizen Potawatomi Nation members except for Knisley and the Willards. (Photo by Larry Prichard, Lynn, Indiana, on Trail of Death Commemorative Caravan, 2003.)

Exeter is a tiny town (population less than 100) with a very big heart. When the Trail of Death Commemorative Caravans came there in 1988, 1993 and 1998, Exeter had a big hog roast and invited all the people from miles around. Father Georges Mathieu, the Potawatomi priest traveling with the caravan, had Mass in the Exeter “Old Calaboose” jail, which serves as a town meeting hall. In 1993 the year of the terrible floods, some of the caravan vehicles had to be pulled out of the park by Mayor Roger Lovelace on his tractor. The park flooded the next day. In 2003 Lovelace and his wife and the Knisleys hosted the caravan to a supper in Lovelace’s garage. Afterward the group sat in a big circle around a bonfire in the park and took turns telling stories.

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This page updated May 12, 2006.