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Monday, 29 September 2008 00:38

Gillett House 1832
GILLETT HOUSE 1832
1005 Grove
The Gillett House is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places. The use of the Gillett House as a station along the Underground Railroad makes it historically important, while the refinement of its Roman Classicism and Greek Revival design gives it architectural significance as well.
Bezaleel Gillett was a physician and merchant who was one of the founders of the Trinity Church, the first Episcopal Church in Illinois in 1832. He was also an original trustee of the Jacksonville Female Academy founded in 1830 and in 1903 merged with Illinois College. On the first board of trustees of the Illinois State hospital for the Insane, he was also a recognized hero for his tireless efforts serving both rich and poor during the cholera epidemic of 1833.
Dr. Bezaleel Gillett home is located at 1005 Grove Street. One of Jacksonville's early physicians, Dr. Gillett was an abolitionist who supported the Underground Railroad operations. Slaves were often kept in a large shack south of the house, now demolished and gone forever.

One night a wagon with eight slaves pulled up in front of this house. The next morning Mr. Eames, another abolitionist loyal to the cause, helped orchestrate the slaves' escape to Canada. They traveled by train, and after a short time, one of the Negroes recognized someone sitting several seats in front of him. The man was his old master. Mr. Eames told him not to worry, assuring the Negro he had a revolver in his pocket and would use it if necessary. When they got to Springfield the Negro's old master got off the train, never even noticing them.

This home was recently given to Illinois College.


Basement of Gillett House