Soon, Peoria will be home to a new memorial, honoring everyday and extraordinary citizens from its past who had been long forgotten.

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.

Today, nothing exists to honor these Peorians. The Freedom & Remembrance Memorial will change that. The community has come together to secure funding for three Illinois State Historical Markers and a lighted flagpole and to acquire the land to erect them near the site of the old cemetery. The plan is to have the markers installed on the site in the first half of 2023.

These honored dead will be

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!