The creek runs between the towns of Cherry and DePue. It's formal name is Negro Creek.
But one man says it's often referred to using racial slurs like the "N" word.
"The tipping point for me was when I heard it mentioned once in the village hall," said Phillip Mol of DePue.
Mol wants to have the creek's name changed. He said, "The word 'negro,' it's time for it to go."
He started a Facebook page called "Let's rename Negro Creek." So far, nearly 200 people are supporting it.
Mol's plan is to submit a name change application with the U.S. Geological Survey.
"I believe it's time for the area to move into the 21st century, and part of that is getting this old slur off the maps," he said.
Mol's efforts are not winning over everyone, though. Chad Errio of Seatonville started a Facebook page called "Leave Negro Creak Alone."
"It's a name. It's not a view of what people around here believe," he said.
The creek is named after Bureau County's first black settlers. Many of them were slave families.
Land records show they started arriving in the 1820's.
As far as Bureau County leaders can tell, the creek's name was not meant to be racist or malicious.
Errio said, "We're proud of our history here with the Underground Railroad."
He said changing the creek's name would be like rewriting history. Instead, he wants the creek's history, both the good and the bad, to be embraced.
"We wouldn't be who we are without our history. You can't change what happened. You can only learn from it. And if you try to bury the past, you're bound to make the same mistakes," Errio said.
As for Mol, he's open to a compromise that also embraces history.
But he said he'd still like to see the name changed.
"As time goes on, that use of the phrase "N" word creek will diminish, especially if it's removed," he said.
A meeting on the issue is scheduled for February 11 at 3 p.m. at the DePue United Church of Christ.
Mol also plans on asking the Bureau County Board to pass a resolution supporting his effort.