The Illinois Chapter Trail of Tears Association and Steve and Lisa Thompson will host a meeting at the Bridges Wayside Store that stands today on the Thompson’s property located on Ill. Rt. 146, approximately three miles west of Ill. Rt. 37, in Johnson County.
A program about the old store structure and the Trail of Tears will be presented for the public at the site. The program will begin at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 27.
Several thousand native Americans, the largest group being Cherokee, were forced from their home lands in the eastern states to Oklahoma Territory in 1838-1839.
As they passed through Southern Illinois that winter, the weather conditions were harsh and took a terrible toll on these people as they walked west. Many of them died during their journey.
The trip across the country became known as the Trail of Tears. In Illinois, this path crossed Pope, Johnson, and Union counties.
Along the route of travel stood the Bridges Wayside Store, where they purchased food and suppplies.
Long before, and after the Trail of Tears, settlers who lived in the area around the Bridges Store traded there.
Today, this log structure remains as possibly the only structure in Illinois that the Cherokee had contact with as they walked across Illinois.
The April 27th program is an opportunity to view the remains of this historic structure and learn more about it and the Trail of Tears.
The Bridges Wayside Store on the Thompson’s property is located at 6980 Illinois State Route 146 West.
Plan now to attend.
Dress appropriately for the weather as the program is outside, and bring a lawn chair. Refreshments will be available.
For more information about the meeting or the Illinois Chapter Trail of Tears Association, call 618-833-8216.