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Midwest / Illinois

One of the most fascinating stories of underground railroad activity in U.S. history is now undergoing intense research. New Philadelphia, Illinois was founded in 1836 by Frank McWorter, a former slave from Kentucky. He purchased he and his wife's freedeom, and eventually 15 family members, while also incorporating the first black-founded town in U.S. history. I have found connections between New Philadelphia and Quincy, IL, which was a hotbed of UGRR activity in which doctors, ministers, newspaper editors, businessmen, free blacks, and other locals devised one of the most intricate plans of escape our nation has ever seen. In the middle of many exciting stories that grabbed the nation's attention, there are also connections to Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Joseph Smith. Abe Lincoln may have visited New Philadelphia as a young little-known lawyer in Pike County, and a young Twain was growing up only a few miles away. More to come, New Philly will soon be well-known. Later days, Heather

Submitted By:

Heather Bangert, Illinois,