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My Flanders, Hargrave & McClain Families of Illinois

Slavery in Illinois

Flanders Pioneers of Aneroid Sask. Canada
My Flanders Ancestors
History of Illinois
The Beginning~The Search For Clues
~The Hargrave & Flanders Connection~
Descendants of Sarah Hargrave & Charles G. Flanders
Descendants of John 1. Hargrave
Flanders~Hill Census Information
My Hargrave Ancestors
Descendants of Nicholas Purcell
Bill of the Personal Property & Probate Files of the Estate of Geo B. Hargrave
Revolutionary War Pension Application ~ Abner Flanders
"The Old Slave House" Hickory Hill, Illinois
Slavery in Illinois
Music in Equality
Favorite Family Photos
Family Photos ~ Page 2
~I Remember Mama~
This Page is Dedicated to Our Daughter Shelly Lee Gillihan
Family Profiles
Flanders Obituary Page
Equality Village Cemetery ~Family Tombstone Photos~
~Mama's Obituary~
Family Burials In Illinois
My McClain Family
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) Author
Family Documents Page 1
~Family Documents Page 2~
~Honoring Our Flanders Who Served ~
Honoring Our Hargraves Who Served
McClain Civil War Veterans From Illinois
Family & Friends That I Have Found
The Later Generations

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grand-children are once more slaves.
—D. H. Lawrence

In 1720, Pierre Duque, commandant at Kaskaskia, wrote from the 17-year – old town,” a hundred Negroes would be marvelous for this settlement.” This is the first mention of using African slaves in the Illinois country (Eckberg, 145) and so that begins the history of African American slavery in Illinois. It would last for years under French, British and American rule. Slaves in Illinois were freed by a Process called “gradual emancipation”. It did not end until Illinois Finally ratified a free Constitution in 1848.

Off Site Link ~ Jon Musgrave's Illinois History

Everything I've learned about Illinois, I've learned from Jon's web sites, he is amazing!


Choisser V. Hargrave, 1836—indentures were illegal unless made in strict compliance with the law (Metzger, 76). For instance, if servants were not registered or indentured within 30 days after coming to Illinois, they were declare.

Barney Hargrave, a black who apparently took his name from Willis Hargrave 68, to whom he was indentured August 15, 1818, had been brought into Illinois before 1816. Willis Hargrave was one of the five original lessors 69 of the United States Salines, and used Barney in the operation of the salt works. But Hargrave transferred Barney to one A. G. S. Wright, who in turn transferred him to John Choisser. Barney was induced by some one, whom we do not know, to try his right to freedom, and the right was upheld by the Circuit Court. But John Choisser carried the case to the Supreme Court, where it was heard July, 1835. W. J. Gatewood represented Choisser, the plaintiff, and J. J. Robinson and the famous Henry Eddy represented Hargrave, the defendant. Chief Justice Wilson delivered the Supreme Court's opinion, which upheld the decision of the Circuit Court in favor of Barney Hargrave. The Act of 1807 of the Territorial Legislature concerning the indenturing of black servants in Illinois, was held to be a violation of the Ordinance of 1787, forbidding slavery in the territory, and therefore void. Choisser's title to the Negro was denied. The judgment of the Circuit Court was affirmed, with costs. And a step had been taken toward the complete abolition of Negro servitude in Illinois, and toward the Civil War.
Source: Jon Musgrave

ELGIN, Ill. (Monday, April 12, 1948) —
Robert (Uncle Bob) Wilson, Negro veteran of the Confederate army who observed his 112th birthday last January 13, died early yesterday morning in the veterans' hospital at the Elgin State hospital, where he had made his home for several years. The aged Negro was the state's oldest war veteran. War Department records show that he was born to slavery at Richmond, Va., on Jan. 13, 1836. He was in the crowd which witnessed the hanging of John Brown, the abolitionist, at Charles Town, Va., in 1859.
According to John T. Nelson, veterans' service officer, the records show that "Uncle Bob" took the name of the owner of the plantation on which he live. He enlisted as a private in Company H of the 16th regiment of Virginia Infantry on Oct. 9, 1862 and discharged May 31, 1863.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, Wilson engaged in farming and later took to preaching. He had been living in Chicago at the tine he was admitted to the Elgin State hospital Feb. 14, 1941.
Before Uncle Bob moved into the hospital he lived in Shawneetown, Ill., before the Flood of '37, and in Equality afterwards. During both the time he lived in Gallatin County and the seven years at Elgin he talked about his past as a slave. According to affidavits signed by persons who knew him in Gallatin County or talked with him in Elgin, Bob said he had been a stud slave on seven different plantations, including Hickory Hill, and had fathered 200 children.
Created April 27, 1998 by Jon Musgrave

Off Site Link ~ Negro Slavery in Illinois

Off Site Link ~ U.S. Historical Documents Regarding Slavery

Off-Site link ~ Choisser v. Hargrave

Following the failure in 1824 to make Illinois a slave state, a serious of Illinois Supreme Court decisions helped to gradually emancipate the slaves in Illinois. Six of the most important were:

Cornelius V. Cohen, 1825, the Illinois Supreme Court said that for indentured to be legal and enforceable, both parties must be in agreement to the terms and sign the indenture.

Phoebe V. Jay, 1828—bequeathing indentured servants by will was ruled illegal (Metzger, 76). Indentured servants were not chattel property to be bequeathed, but at the death of the master, servants passed to the master’s administrators or executors who could not compel the servants, by force, to work. The remaining terms of service could be auctioned off at the estate sale.

Choisser V. Hargrave, 1836—indentures were illegal unless made in strict compliance with the law (Metzger, 76). For instance, if servants were not registered or indentured within 30 days after coming to Illinois, they were declare.

Boon V. Juliet, 1836—ruled children of servants registered under the 1807 law could not be contractually indentured, and that children of indentured servants could only be indentured for 21 years or 18 years as per the 1818 constitution. The ruling should have freed hundreds of servants.

Sarah V. Borders, 1843—ruled that if there was any coercion or fraud in getting a slave to agree to an indenture, then the agreement was void.

Jarrot V. Jarrot, Dec 1845—the first ruling concerning French slaves—said all slaves born after1787 (the year of Northwest Ordinance) or brought to Illinois by the French after 1787 or born after1787 were free. This left the French only with slaves who were 60 years old or older.

Servitude and Emancipation Records, 1722–1863
County: White
Name Of Servant: None given
Name of Other Party: George Hargrave
Remarks: 1 slave or servant
Document Type: Census
Date: 1820
County: White
Name of Servant: No name listed
Name of other Party: Samuel Hargrave
Remarks: 3 slaves or servants
Document Type: Census
County: White
Name of Servant: No name listed
Name of Other Party: Seth Hargrave
Remarks: 1 slave or servant (Twp. of West)
Type of Document: Census
Date: 1820
County: White
Name of Servant: No name listed
Name of Other Party: Seth Hargrave
Remarks: 1 slave or servant
Document Type: Census
Date: 1818
County: White
Name of Servant: No name listed
Name of other Party: Willis Hargrave
Remarks: 14 slaves or servants
Document Type: Census
Date 1818
County: White
Name of servant: No name given
Name of other Party: Willis Hargrave
Remarks: 10 slaves or servants
Document Type: Census
Date: 1820
County: Gallatin
Name of Servant: William Ewing
Name of other Party: Willis Hargrave
Race: N, Age: 50, Amount, 0
Document Type: Emancipation
Date: 8-13-1836
County: Randolph
Name of Slave: No Name Given
Name of Other Party: A. Davenport
Document Type: Census 1820
County: Gallatin
Name of Slave: No Name Listed
Name of Other Party: Marmaduk S. Davenport
Document Type: Census 1820


Facts About Slavery in Illinois:
In 1853 Illinois passed a law that required any black entering the state and staying more than ten days to pay a fine of $50. If he could not pay, the black could be sold into slavery for a period commensurate with the fine.
The Emanicipation Proclamation did not free any slaves. Issued by Abraham Lincoln on New Year's Day 1863, the proclamation freed only slaves in the areas controlled by the rebel Confederate government, where Lincoln had no authority to enforce it.
Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. 1865

Illinois Constitution of 1848--- “ there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state, except as punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” This officially ended the last vestiges of slavery in Illinois.

Those who Opposed Slavery in Illinois:
A Former Station on the Underground Railway:
Owen Lovejoy came to Princeton in 1838 to assume the ministry of the Hampshire Colony Congregational Church. He was a fiery abololitionist who preached his views from the pulpit, causing dissension in a community already divided by the slavery issue. An aquaintance of Abraham Lincoln, Lovejoy was elected to the State Legislature in 1854 and to the House of Representatives in 1856, where he served 5 terms. He became nationally known for his efforts on behalf of the abolition of slavery. His home was one of the most important stations on the Underground Railroad in Illinois. Runaway slaves were harbored by the Lovejoy family until arrangements could be made for them to travel to the next station on their way to Canada and freedom.
During the Civil War, Alton  Illinois carved out a volatile legacy steeped in politics. It was the site of the Confederate Prison. In 1837, abolitionist and newspaper editor Elijah Parish Lovejoy was killed while protecting his press from a pro-slavery mob. A monument commemorating his death stands prominently on the hill overlooking the city.

Among early settlers  of Princeton, Illinois were John and Cyrus Bryant, brothers of William Cullen Bryant of American literary fame. It was John who was Princeton’s first anti-slavery activist in those pre-Civil War days.



Dedicated to the decsendants of Steven Flanders