Miller Grove

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The Miller Grove site is a freed slave African-American community established in Pope County in 1844. Contained entirely on the Shawnee National Forest, the remains of this settlement (1844-1920's) include over 20 homesteads, a cemetary, a church/school, and lanscape features. Oral histories collected from descendants reveal that community members were actively involved in the Underground Railroad helping runaways from the slave states pass safely through Southern Illinois on their path to freedom. Archaeological investigations conducted by the Shawnee national Forest and the SIU archaeological field school at "Abby's Place", the home site of Abby and Bedford Miller in the mid to late 1800s, have recovered information about the personal belongings, tools, foodways, and daily life of the members of this now-vanished community. The Millers and other members of the community lived in log houses on farms that also contained smokehouses, barns, cisterns, outbuildings and other structures necessary for farm life in the mid-1800s.

Siu field schools participated in excavations at Miller Grove in 2017 and 2018 in partnership with the Shawnee National Forest.