October 18, 2018
U. Illinois News Bureau
"CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Gerald McWorter grew up hearing stories about the family patriarch who bought his way out of slavery and founded the town of New Philadelphia in western Illinois – the first known U.S. town platted and legally registered by a black man.
When McWorter visited the family farm, he saw the false wall in the dirt basement, and he heard about the cave in a creek bed near the town – places where freedom seekers would hide. He heard how his family would burn rags in front of the house to mask the scent of people running to escape slavery, foiling the efforts of trackers."
. . . .
"McWorter has worked with the New Philadelphia Association and with U. of I. archaeologist and anthropology professor Christopher Fennell, who oversaw an extensive excavation at the site. Fennell led the effort to have New Philadelphia named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009. The National Park Service has completed a study evaluating the feasibility of adding the site to the national park system."