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Songs and Stories
     October 3, 2019      #5D-276 SsK
Watchekee, a native American woman born in Illinois and raised in this region, is the namesake of Watseka. This portrait may have been taken about 1863, when she returned for a short visit to Kankakee and Iroquois counties. On Monday, a mural commissioned by The Kiwanis Club of Watseka will be unvei

Mural honoring Watseka's namesake to be

Mural en honor al homónimo de Watseka

Daily Journal staff report

In many ways, the Potawatomi, a native American people who populated the Great Plains, upper Mississippi River and western Great Lakes in previous centuries, put this region on the map.

In fact, Watseka is named after one of its most notable figures.

The city will recognize its link to the past at noon Monday, when a mural of Watchekee, also known as Watseka, will be unveiled in a ceremony at The First Trust & Savings Bank parking lot on Walnut Street.

The mural has been commissioned by The Kiwanis Club of Watseka.

Watchekee was a Potawatomi Native American woman, born in Illinois, and named for the heroine of a Potawatomi legend. Watchekee’s second husband was the French explorer and merchant Noel LeVasseur, who came to the area in the early 1800s and played a key role in its development.

The guest speaker at Monday’s dedication will be George Godfrey, the great-great-grandson of Watchekee. Godfrey, noted for his long academic career, will present information on the woman for which Watseka is named.

Godfrey has written two books about Watchekee, “Watchekee (Overseer) Walking in Two Cultures,” and “Once a Grass Widow: Watchekee’s Destiny.”

He also wrote a historical fictional book based on the life of his great-grandfather and Watchekee’s son, John Baptiste Bergeron. It is titled “The Indian Marble.”

Lunch will be available for purchase during the ceremony, as the Spring Creek BBQ food truck will be on site.

The public is welcome to attend.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

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