QUINCY, Ill. (AP) -- A western Illinois mayor who lobbied for a pardon for 1800s abolitionist Richard Eells is cheering that the late man finally has been absolved of helping runaway slaves.
The Quincy Herald-Whig reports that Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn issued the pardon Wednesday for Eells of Quincy.
Although slavery was abolished in Illinois in 1824, harboring or assisting runaway slaves remained illegal under Illinois and federal law. Eells was convicted in 1843 of harboring a slave and was fined $400.
Quinn called Eells an early warrior for freedom whose civil disobedience helped pave the way for civil rights.
Quincy Mayor Chuck Scholz approached Quinn's staff a couple years ago in search of the pardon. Scholz calls the pardon "a great way to highlight (Quincy's) history as a city of refuge."