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.