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Delavan Underground Railroad Conductor Recognition
September 6 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
Beginning sometime in the late 1840s and continuing throughout the Civil War, an estimated 800 enslaved individuals passed through Tazewell County on a pathway to freedom in Canada, thanks to a secretive network of citizen volunteers, which today is nationally recognized as the Underground Railroad
Here in Illinois, while a Free State with laws that did not allow slavery within the state, strong laws against harboring runaway slaves or assisting in any way existed. The minimum fine for harboring slaves was $1000 and a minimum six months in jail. Additionally, hired bounty hunters worked within the state to capture and either return or, in most cases, resell individuals into slavery in St Louis.
In Tazewell County, the main pathway of the Underground Railroad entered at Delavan and continued through Tremont to Morton and then around Washington to Metamora.
To recognize the heroic efforts of Delavan area residents who aided their escape, we will gather September 6 at Prairie Rest Cemetery to honor Delavan area residents Daniel Cheever, Dr. Daniel Cheever, George Teftt, and William Brown. As soon as casting is completed, a metal Freedom Train Conductor grave marker (see graphic) will be placed at each of their graves.
In addition to recognizing the Underground Railroad Conductor, the Delavan Community Historical Society’s The Lincoln Mile will be re-dedicated. The mile is a trail around Delavan of ten sites that have an attachment to the 16th president. Lincoln rode through Delavan many times when he was a circuit lawyer in the early to mid-1800s. Each stop on the mile is marked by a wooden Lincoln head silhouette atop a post.
This event is free and open to the public. Brochures for the re-dedicated The Lincoln Mile will be available.
After the conclusion of the cemetery event, the Delavan Community Historical Society will be having an open house at their 1840’s Colony House located at the corner of 5th & Linden Streets (stop #10 of The Lincoln Mile). Live music will be presented.
Lawn chairs for the cemetery and the Colony House music are recommended.