Some 19th Century Illinoisans still have a record as convicted abolitionists. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon wants to change that. People in Quincy have contacted her office to try to clear the name of Dr. Richard Eells, a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Simon says there must be more stories out there, as they are the sort which are passed through the generations and not otherwise recorded, as the Railroad “started off with great secrecy; which was known only by hanging certain quilt patterns on a laundry line to indicate which way to go to seek freedom.”
In Eells’ case, Quincy-area historians preserve his home.
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While slavery has been against the law in Illinois since 1824, it was still illegal after that to harbor or assist runaway slaves. Eells was convicted in 1843.