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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

Re: [IL] Early African Americans

Bearnut2,

Thank you!

Did you make your post in about 2003.

Edward Coles, 2nd Governor of Illinois, inherited part of his father's plantation in Virginia and 23 slaves from the plantation. He sold his part of the plantation to one of his brothers. He brought the slaves to the Ohio River and told them they were free to go on their own or free to travel with him to Illinois. He took those that stayed with him to Madison County, Illinois in the spring of 1819. Coles gave the head of each family 160 acres.

One of the freed slave families was Ralph Crawford, his wife, Kate, and their children, Betsey, Thomas, Mary, and Wiiliam. Crawford's brother, Robert Crawford, and sister, Polly Crawford, a woman named Nancy Gaines, and a man named Thomas Cobb were also in the party. Ralph had journeyed with Coles to Illinois on an earlier trip.

Ralph Crawford, Nancy Gaines, and Thomas Cobb were dead by 1825. Ralph Crawford's brother, Robert, later married Kate, Ralph’s widow. Robert Crawford bought Edward Coles' farm in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Free blacks lived in Illinois in the 1700s and 1800s. A good number were kidnapped and taken south where they were sold back into slavery. Illinois had an agreement that allowed slaves to be used as labor in the state. This was especially true in the salt mines.

Ed Adams


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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