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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Historic Marker Dedication Ceremony for Underground Railroad Ton Farm Site

Volunteers around the underground railroad historic marker
Volunteers around the underground railroad historic marker. (Photo Supplied)

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The dedication ceremony for the newly installed State of Illinois historical marker at the Ton Farm site will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2022, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Chicago’s Finest Marina, 557 East 134th Place, Chicago. The public is invited to attend the presentation.

The Jan and Aagie Ton Farm was authenticated as an official Underground Railroad station in 2019 by the National Park Service (NPS) and is part of the NPS “Network to Freedom.” The Tons, Dutch immigrant farmers, owned a forty-acre farm at this site. At great risk to themselves, the Tons and other local abolitionists aided escaped slaves, referred to as “freedom seekers,” to reach safety and freedom in the northern states and Canada.

Highlights of the program will include a keynote address by U.S. Representative Robin Kelly from the Illinois second district.

Other speakers will include Professor Larry McClellan and Glennette Tilly Turner, who as educators, historians, and authors are experts on the Underground Railroad in Illinois.

A representative from the NPS Network to Freedom, descendants of the Ton family, and other elected officials are also expected to attend.

Ton Farm underground railroad
This undated photo shows the Ton Farm, located along the Calumet River.

The program will last about an hour. Chairs will be available. Parking is available at the marina.

The dedication is hosted by the Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project. Tom Shepherd, the Lead Project Organizer, will serve as presiding officer for the dedication ceremony.

The Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project is a volunteer-driven effort to educate about the community’s significance in the nation’s freedom movement and to promote local development efforts.

Underground Railroad escape routes.
Underground Railroad escape routes. (Supplied by: Toastmasters)

Information on the Ton Farm can be found here in detail and on the Facebook page for Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project.

Recognition and gratitude are extended to Ronald Gaines, owner of Chicago’s Finest Marina; Architreasures, for installation of the marker; the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, for funding assistance; the Illinois State Historical Society, for including the marker in its state system of historic markers; and the South Holland Garden Club and the University of Illinois Extension, for planned landscaping and garden services at the marker site.

This article was provided by the Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project.

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