From AP - News Local/State -

Illinois Lt. Gov. Wants Abolitionist Clemency

Sheila Simon

In this May 5, 2011 file photo, Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is seen in Springfield, Ill. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, Simon announced that she would not seek re-election in 2014. The Carbondale Democrat was first elected to the office in 2010. She is a former law school professor. (Seth Perlman/AP)

Illinois' lieutenant governor is seeking clemency for Illinois abolitionists convicted for fighting slavery.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon's office is working with historians and experts to identify men and women around Illinois who were convicted of violating slavery laws.

Slavery was abolished in Illinois in 1824, but laws prohibited people from harboring or helping slaves.

The first petition filed by Simon is for Richard Eells, an abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor who helped slaves traveling through Quincy toward Chicago on their way to Canada. His Quincy home was declared one of the most important Underground Railroads sites by the National Parks Service.

Eells was convicted in 1843 of helping transport a runaway slave from Missouri named Charley. The verdict was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.