Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 25: Land of Lincoln

Sugar Creek Township, Indiana to Clark Center, Illinois. 16.1 miles/353.2 total

Monday, October 19, 2009

[I've been without a computer for a few days, again--had to take it back in for problems with some uploads after the replacement of the hard drive last week. It's Wednesday, October 21 as I write this. I can't seem to get out of Terre Haute. It's like that movie, Ground Hog Day. I first went to Terre Haute last Tuesday, the 13th, to get the computer checked out and visit the library to catch up on blogging. I was staying in Brazil then, some miles east of Terre Haute. The next day I walked from Brazil into the east end of Terre Haute. The day after that I walked to west of West Terre Haute. That evening I went home, and came back on Sunday evening, through Terre Haute again. Then on Monday I took the computer to Terre Haute, and on Tuesday I went back to pick it up. Finally, this morning, I took it back in (this time it was a 40 mile drive from where I started today's walk) for one last adjustment. To add another movie reference to the mix, I feel like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part 3, when he said, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

I do wish to acknowledge the guys at Computers Plus--Ryan, Trey, and Jonathan--who were very helpful and patient, and know their stuff. If you ever need your computer fixed in Terre Haute, go there.]

It's noon Eastern Time, 11:00 a.m. Central. I am departing from the closed fireworks store in Sugar Creek Township, Indiana, heading for Clark Center, Illinois.

I'll only be in Indiana for about 1.5 more miles. I could just as easily have stayed in Indiana and continued south into Kentucky, but I like the idea of going into new states when I can. Also, I have some connections with Illinois. Some of my ancestors lived in the southern part of the state for a generation or two, before they went south into Arkansas and Louisiana. Also, my father and uncle were both born in Illinois, albeit far upstate, in Chicago and Rockford, respectively. So Illinois seems like a decent place and I look forward to spending a little time here.

Since I'm almost out of Indiana, let's do some stats. I walked199.4 miles in Indiana. I entered the state on September 28 and walked for 13 full days here. I averaged almost 15.5 miles per day walking in Indiana. That’s an average I need to increase if I want to get to New Orleans before Christmas.

Roadkill recap. The turtles have it by quite a bit because of the big West Terre Haute dieoff. A total of 91 turtles, 52 raccoons, 22 birds, 20 possums, 10 snakes, 6 squirrels, 5 skunks, 4 frogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 dogs, 2 mice, and one each of salamander, groundhog, deer, and toad, not to mention dozens of things I couldn't identify.

I was offered 15 rides--more than one a day. I picked up $2.35 in change from the roadside.

I wish to say, by way of valediction to Indiana, that I found the people to be generous in tossing money out their windows for me to find. Also, they were friendly and willing to help wherever I went.

It’s official. At 11:29 a.m. Central Daylight Time (I am now permanently out of Eastern Time). I enter Illinois with no fanfare. Just a sign that says State Line. Over on the interstate there's a more elaborate sign that says, "Welcome to Illinois, The Land of Lincoln, From the People of the State of Illinois." Very nice, with a friendly yet formal sound. Senatus Populusque Illini.

I’ll tell you what there is a lot of in Illinois—corn and soybeans. Surprise surprise. I'm back on U.S. 40, which had merged with the interstate for a few miles. Signs indicate that U.S. 40, also known as the National Road, is a road that Lincoln walked. I assume that was in the 1820s when he was young, walking with his family from Indiana. So U.S. 40 was probably a well-established path even before the Europeans came. And when the Americans drove the Indians out of Indiana they took them along this road on the way to Oklahoma.

This is Clark County, named for George Rogers Clark, of Lewis and Clark fame. On a spur off U.S. 40, the first place I come to with a name is called Livingston. Perhaps 10 or 12 houses altogether, and not to be confused with a larger place of the same name on the other side of the state.

At a little over 9 miles I enter the City of Marshall, with a population of 3800. The city has banners hanging from the lightposts saying "Marshall, Where Lincoln Walked." The town was founded by a guy named Archer in the 1830s. The Archer House is still standing. It was a hotel along the old stagecoach road, where Lincoln and Grover Cleveland and other notables stayed.

The Clark County Courthouse stands on Archer Street between 5th and 6th. It’s two stories high topped with a bell tower and a clock. Less imposing that some of the Indiana courthouses. Built or at least remodeled in 1903. It has hardwood floors inside that creak, reminding me of the dime store in Drayton Plains. No rotunda in the lobby, just a plain high ceiling. And a painting of Abraham Lincoln and a client he defended in Clark County in 1850, a one-armed man named William Davis, who was charged with manslaughter, convicted, and sentenced to three years. So Abe didn't get his client off. That trial seems to be Marshall’s main claim to fame. And it suggests a trend in Illinois--Lincoln slept here, Lincoln worked here, Lincoln took a dump here, etc.

There was another historical incident worth mentioning. During the Civil War, in 1863, a group of Copperheads (northern Democrats who opposed the Civil War) sought to protect some deserters from the Union army. The deserters were rounded up and tried at the courthouse and found not guilty by a sympathetic judge, resulting in the army being sent in from Indiana. The judge was arrested, but later acquitted.

The novelist James Jones (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, et al.) lived here during the 1950s.

Walking through the west side of Marshall I crunch through maple leaves on the sidewalk on this brilliantly sunny day. The street is lined with early 20th century frame houses, set back far from the road. Altogether a pleasant town, with little going on.

My destination is the village of Clark Center, where the motor home is waiting alongside a cemetery, on a narrow road that runs parallel to U.S. 40. I won’t be examining the cemetery today, because I want to get to the computer store in Terre Haute before they close.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can come and visit our creaky floors anytime. Randy recently screwed about 1000 screws (honestly, this is true, it was 970 or more) into the floors of one of our bedrooms to remove the squeaks. It's still crooked but it does not squeak.