Historical Markers in Quincy, Illinois


"Indian Removals - A Memorial"

From 1818 through 1851 groups of American Indians were forcibly removed from states on the east side of the Mississippi River to territories on the west side. One of these removals was the Potawatomi Trail of Death, conducted by William Polke, Rochester, Indiana, and escorted by soldiers from Indiana to Kansas. 850 Indians, 395 horses and 52 wagons crossed the river on a steam ferry boat Oct. 8-9, 1833. They were accompanied by Father Benjamin Petit from Indiana and attended Mass at St. Boniface Church, Quincy. Many Indians died on the removals and were buried along the trail. The trail of death lost 41 to death, mostly elders and babies. About 60 deserted and went back to Indiana or north to Wisconsin and Canada and some went to Texas and Mexico. In 1840 500 Potawatomi from Indiana and Michigan, conducted by Alexis Coquillard, passed through Quincy and attended Mass at St. Peter Church, having been accompanied by Father Stephen Bernier of Indiana. Abram Burnell, a full blood Potawatomi, acted as interpreter for both 1838 and 1840 groups. Today their descendants live in all 50 states.

"Let us tell the stories of the past and vow never more."


"The Mormons in Quincy"

Mormons in Missouri were forced to flee their homes or face death because of an 'Extermination Order' issued in 1838 by Governor Lillburn Boggs. Many of them crossed into Illinois at Quincy and were made welcome by the people here. In April, 1839 they were joined by their leader Joseph Smith, who had been imprisoned on charges of treason since November 1838. Smith had long envisioned a great Mormon community. In May of 1839 he purchased land upriver from Quincy and set about building his city - Nauvoo. It became the center of Mormon life and by his death in 1844 was the largest city in Illinois.


"Augustine Tolton"

Father Tolton, the first Negro priest in the United States, was born of slave parents in Bush Creek, Missouri, in 1854. Educated at Quincy schools, he returned to this city after his ordination in Rome, Italy, in 1886. He celebrated his first public mass at St. Boniface Church in Quincy and later established St. Monica's Church for Negroes in Chicago. He died in Chicago in 1897, and is buried at St. Peter's Cemetery, Quincy.


Historical Markers in the Vicinity of Quincy, Illinois

"New Philadelphia"

New Philadelphia was the first town in America founded by an African American. Frank McWorter was a slave that paid for his freedom in Virginia and traveled to Pike County, Illinois. In 1836, he founded New Philadelphia and sold lots of land to pay for his family's freedom. The town lasted until 1885, when the railroad was rerouted.


"Nauvoo Historic Sites and Nauvoo Temple"

The Nauvoo Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recently rebuilt in Nauvoo, one of the original settlements of the Mormon people. The structure is 150-feet tall and overlooks the Mississippi River. The temple was reconstructed on the site of the original Nauvoo Temple, which was built between 1841 and 1846, but later destroyed by arson, as the Mormon people were driven out of Nauvoo. The many buildings of the original Mormon settlement have also been restored and are open for tours.


"Carthage Jail"

The Old Carthage Jail was constructed of native limestone between 1839 and 1841. It was the site where Mormon leader, Joseph Smith Jr, and his brother Hyrum were killed by an angry mob on June 27, 1844. Their actions resulted in the Mormons abandoning nearby Nauvoo on the trek west that led to the founding of Salt Lake City, UT.