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Dr. Gillett, one of Jacksonville’s early physicians, was also an abolitionist who

supported the Underground Railroad operations. Slaves were hidden in a large

shack just south of the house, but it has since been demolished. The home is

listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also recognized for its


At night, a wagon carrying slaves would pull up in front of the Gillett House.

They would hide in the shack until morning, when another abolitionist would

guide them to the train depot and travel with them to their final destination of

freedom in Canada.

Dr. Gillett was one of the founders of the Trinity Church in 1832. He was an

original trustee of the Jacksonville Female Academy founded in 1830, which

merged with Illinois College in 1903. He served on the first board of trustees for

the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane. Dr. Gillett was recognized as a hero for

his tireless efforts helping people during the cholera epidemic of 1833.

Dr. Bezallel Gillett House

Bed & Breakfast

1005 Grove Street

Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Area

Visitors & Conventions Bureau

The Underground Railroad in Jacksonville, IL began around 1833. The city became

one of the first stations of its kind in the area and served as a busy hub until 1858

when the Civil War got underway. Today, the following local historic homes can be

seen on the Underground Railroad Walking Tour.