New Philadelphia and the Story of Free Frank
Madison County Historical Society and the Hayner Genealogy and Local History Library of Alton
In partnership with the Hayner Genealogy and Local History Library of Alton, the Madison County Historical Society will host Gerald A. McWorter and Kate Williams-McWorter, authors of a new book on the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois. New Philadelphia, located in Pike County about 20 miles east of Hannibal, Missouri, was the first known town in the United States to be founded and platted by an African-American. The abolitionist town was platted in 1836 by Frank McWorter, a former slave from Kentucky who bought his way out of slavery. Then, over a period of many years, he purchased 16 members of his family, beginning with his pregnant wife, and brought them north to freedom. Located only 20 miles from a slave-holding state, New Philadelphia was a regular stop on the Underground Railroad. The story of Frank McWorter, also known as Free Frank, is both fascinating and inspiring. Although little remains of the town today, the site is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Gerald McWorter is the great-great grandson of Frank McWorter. Gerald is an professor emeritus at the University of Illinois and Kate Williams-McWorter is an associate professor at the same university. Following their presentation, the authors will have copies of their book available for sale which they are willing to sign.
Immanuel United Methodist Church
800 North Main Street
Edwardsville, Illinois (Map)