On June 14, 2023, the Peoria Freedom & Remembrance Memorial becomes a reality!

In the 1950s, the old Moffatt Cemetery near the corner of Griswold and Adams on Peoria’s south side was commercially redeveloped. It was thought that the graves had been moved, but recent research found that not to be true. Indeed, about 2,600 Peoria citizens remain on the site. That includes average Peorians, 52 veterans, and Nance Legins-Costley – the first enslaved person that Abraham Lincoln helped free when he won her case before the Illinois Supreme Court in 1841.

Thanks to the entire community coming together, the Freedom & Remembrance Memorial will now honor all of these extraordinary and everyday Peoria citizens. Three Illinois State Historical Markers and a lighted flagpole have been erected near the site of the old cemetery, and on Flag Day – June 14, 2023 – there will be an official naming ceremony. Find details in the official press release here:

Many thanks to all of those who have come together to make this memorial a reality. We encourage you go to see the markers and flagpole. You’ll find them next to the Roofers Local #69 building at 3917 SW Adams St, Peoria, IL 61605. Here’s a preview!

For anyone interested in a more in-depth presentation of the Moffatt Cemetery story, see the PDF below. It was assembled by memorial volunteer Bob Hoffer as part of what was presented to the Peoria City Council in advance of the council approving the project. Enjoy!

Please see the other sections of our site for more information:

• Find news coverage and updates

• Find out more about Nance Legins-Costley, her fight for freedom, and her connection to Abraham Lincoln

• Find out more about the markers that will be installed and the people and organizations that have made them possible

• To find out more about our volunteer team and to reach us, please see the contact page

Also, enjoy this video, which tells the story of Moffatt Cemetery and the efforts to honor those who rest there still. You’ll notice a slight name change for the project from memorial park to memorial. We did this to better reflect the vision as it has developed.

Looking forward, the hope is that a grander vision will eventually be realized – a true gateway to the city of Peoria, building on our history, looking forward to the future, and rooted in freedom.

Thank you for your interest and support. Onward!