Sheldon Peck used his homestead in Babcock's Grove (now Lombard) to help Underground Railroad travelers. He was a radical abolitionist as were many of the townspeople in the area.
In August 2011, the Sheldon Peck Homestead was inducted into the Network to Freedom – a list of verified Underground Railroad locations. Staff and volunteers worked over several years researching the Underground Railroad, genealogy and property lines near the Homestead, and Sheldon Peck’s art.
Sheldon's youngest son, Frank Peck (born 1853), recalls as many as seven slaves at a time hidden in the house. Frank's diary tells of Old Charley, a memorable older slave who stayed at the Peck House on his way to freedom, and how little Frank sat on his knee asking him questions. Frank wrote down the words of a song he recalled singing with Old Charley:
Roll on tibbler moon,
guide the tabler not astray
Whilest the nightingale song is in full tune
While I sadly complain to the moon
Frank Peck also noted, "Our home was used as headquarters for all opponents of slavery in this part of the country."
Come to the Peck Homestead to see the portrait we believe is Old Charley, painted by Sheldon's daughter Susan!
The locations where slaves were hidden at this site are not known. It is quite possible that Sheldon let them rest in the barn until they headed further north. With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, Peck risked fines and imprisonment by carrying out the duties of "station master." Underground Railroad activities ceased with the passage of the 13th Amendment after the Civil War.
Visit our award-winning exhibit "Footsteps to Freedom."
See current hours.
Admission: Free. Donations welcome.
Directions: The Homestead is located at 355 E. Parkside in Lombard, on the south west corner of Parkside and Grace Street - directly west of Lombard Common Park and Paradise Bay.
Click star to open
Network to Freedom site