Illinois Underground Railroad
Illinois Underground Railroad

In Northeastern Illinois and Chicago

3,000 to 4,500 freedom seekers passed through northeastern Illinois from the 1820s through 1861.  Of those traveling through Chicago, many came to Chicago and went by ship to Detroit and Canada,some traveled by train from Chicago after 1852, and a significant number left Chicago overland first south through the Calumet region and then east through northwest Indiana and onto Michigan.  Others traveled from La Salle and Livingston Counties to the southwest into Will and Cook Counties, and then onto NW Indiana and Michigan.  A relatively small number traveled through what are now the western and northern suburbs.


MY WORK  --                                                                            

The Underground Railroad South of Chicago - 2019

To the River:  The Remarkable Journey of Caroline Quarlls, a Freedom  

      Seeker on the Underground Railroad - 2019

      (co-authored with Kimberly Simmons)

Onward to Chicago:  Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad

      in Northeastern Illinois - 2023


Papers and presentations at the annual symposium of the Illinois State Historical Society:   

2006 -- "The UGRR South of Chicago"

2007 -- "Chicago and the UGRR"                                                                   

2010 -- "Freedom Seekers in Illinois"     

2023 --  "Reframing the Stories, Freedom Seekers and the UGRR in Illinois"                                                                  

July, 2010 -- presented “Freedom Seekers in Illinois” at the annual   

      National Park Service Network to Freedom conference in 


July, 2014 -- presented "Women Freedom Seekers and Chicago"  at the    

       annual National Park Service Network to Freedom conference in  



Principal researcher and author of successful applications for on the National Park Service Network to Freedom listing of significant Underground Railroad sites for:  Crete Congregational Church and Cemetery, I & M Canal Administration Building in Lockport, and the Jon and Aagje Ton Farm Site on the Little Calumet River.