“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Edwardsville in Madison County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Governor Coles and Slavery

Governor Coles and Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, December 1, 2019
1. Governor Coles and Slavery Marker
Inscription.  Site of the courthouse where, in 1824, political enemies convicted Governor Edward Coles of illegally freeing his slaves.

"To preserve to a continuous line of generations that liberty obtained by the valor of our forefathers, we must make provisions for the moral and intellectual improvement of those who are to follow."
Erected 1999 by City of Edwardsville and the Illinois State Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Illinois State Historical Society marker series.
Location. 38° 49.139′ N, 89° 57.846′ W. Marker is in Edwardsville, Illinois, in Madison County. Marker is at the intersection of North Main Street (Illinois Route 143/159) and Liberty Street, on the right when traveling west on North Main Street. Marker is located on a brick wall on the grounds of the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation (formerly Lincoln School). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1210 North Main Street, Edwardsville IL 62025, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Russell (was approx. 0.3 miles away but has
Governor Coles and Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, December 1, 2019
2. Governor Coles and Slavery Marker
Near the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities building
been reported missing. ); Edwardsville National Bank Clock (approx. half a mile away); First Cemetery in the City of Edwardsville (approx. half a mile away); Site of Abraham Lincoln's Speech (approx. 0.6 miles away); Edwardsville (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ninian Edwards (approx. 0.6 miles away); Edwardsville, Illinois (approx. mile away); In grateful memory of the early settlers. (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Edwardsville.
More about this marker. The current marker was replaced by one that was first placed at that spot in 1953. The old marker was originally mounted on the Lincoln School building, but had been damaged in later years. In 1999, Edwardsville's Historic Preservation Commission worked with the ISHS to place a new tablet on a lit brick structure near the old school.
Regarding Governor Coles and Slavery. The Madison County Courthouse was once located in the building that was built sometime in the early 19th century. This was before Illinois became a state in 1818, as a jail and circuit clerk's office was added at that time. By the 1850's, a new courthouse was built down the street and the building became the first public school in Edwardsville. It would later become a "colored school" as it operated as Lincoln School for several decades until 1949 when the Edwardsville schools integrated. By 1972, the building became abandoned as it had little use. Finally, in 2008, Harlem Globetrotters owner Mannie
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Jackson (who attended Lincoln School) purchased the building and was refurbished and named after him.

Edward Coles, who had come from a very prominent Virginia family, had worked in the White House as he worked with Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He would eventually leave the East and buy land on what would become Edwardsville, Illinois, and would settle there in May 1819. Two months later (on July 4), Coles filed papers to give his slaves emancipation at that very spot. In 1822, he was elected as the second Governor of Illinois. While his name may be obscure today, Coles is widely credited by historians for keeping slavery out of Illinois.
Also see . . .
1. Fighting Against Slavery. An article about Edward Coles and the marker, published in the Edwardsville Intelligencer on February 16, 2011. (Submitted on December 3, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 

2. Edward Coles on Wikipedia. Wikipedia page for the 2nd Governor of Illinois, which talks more about his life and views on slavery (Submitted on December 3, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRLaw Enforcement

More. Search the internet for Governor Coles and Slavery.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 3, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 2, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 65 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 3, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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