Kimzey Crossing, formerly known as Locust Hill, was the home of Benajah Guernsey Roots, civil engineer, educator, agriculturist and abolitionist, who moved from Connecticut to Illinois in 1837. Initially settling in Shaweentown, Roots soon relocated to a 1200-acre farm south of Tamaroa, where he built a five-room log cabin, began Locust Hill Academy, and, according to family tradition, began aiding runaway slaves. The current 12-room mansion was built along the Shawneetown to St. Louis trail between 1854 and 1856. Benajah G. Roots' documented involvement in Underground Railroad activity stems from his physical and protracted intervention in the case of freedom-seeker Jim Gray in October, 1859, as Roots sought through legal redress to prevent Gray's kidnapping by slave catchers. Roots presented testimony regarding the Gray incident as a defense witness in the Chicago trial of John Hossack in February, 1860. B. G. Roots' participation in the Gray incident tends to lend credence to oft repeated family tradition that Roots was active in the Underground Railroad and that his Locust Hill property served as a station (both the original log-cabin, no longer extant, the 1850s mansion), and as a small post-Emancipation settlement and burial ground for former freedom seekers. Unfortunately, extensive twentieth century alterations to the property's landscape, buildings and structures have destroyed these purported hiding places and habitations.
Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.
Location: 7883 Kimzey Road, Address, Tamaroa, 62888
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Mark R. and Lisa M. Stanton
Location Type: Site
Freedom Seekers: Jim Gray
UGRR Operatives: Benajah Guernsey Roots