Underground Railroad In McDonough County

The Illinois leg of the Underground Railroad ran directly through McDonough County.

Prior to the Civil War, enslaved people in the United States sought their independence by fleeing northward to freedom in Canada. Although the routes taken by freedom seekers varied and stretched across the United States, there was one documented route traversing McDonough County that was part of the Quincy Line of the Underground Railroad. Freedom seekers made their way to this are of Illinois from Quincy on the banks of the Mississippi River and across from the pro-slavery state of Missouri.

As they pursued freedom, abolitionists assisted in transporting freedom seekers through McDonough County via Station No. 3 of the Quincy Line, which included the rural homes of the Allison and the Blazer families. Stations on the Quincy Line leading out of Quincy northward included Mendon (Adams County), Plymouth (Hancock/McDonough County) and Macomb that eventually lead to Galesburg (Knox County) and further north to freedom. This path was utilized in the transportation of more than 200 freedom seekers.

Through the efforts of Visit Unforgettable Forgottonia, the U.S. National Park Service officially recognized the Allison Family Homesite as a part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. “This program honors, preserves and promotes the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people worldwide. Through its mission, the Network to Freedom helps to advance the idea that all human beings embrace the right to self-determination and freedom from oppression.”

Many of the Allison and Blazer families’ graves can found in Macomb‘s historic Oakwood Cemetery and the county’s Camp Creek Cemetery.

Read the full text of D.N. Blazer‘s “The History of the Underground Railroad of McDonough County, Illinois