Edward Coles

Edward Coles (December 15, 1786 – July 7, 1868) was a planter and politician, elected as the second Governor of Illinois (1822 to 1826). From an old Virginia family, as a young man Coles was a neighbor and associate of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well as secretary to President James Madison (1810 to 1815).

An anti-slavery advocate throughout his adult life, Coles inherited a plantation and slaves but eventually left Virginia for the Illinois Territory in order to set his slaves free. He manumitted 19 slaves in 1819, and acquired land for them. In Illinois, he twice led political campaigns that prevented the legitimization of slavery in the new state. Coles corresponded with and advised both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to free their slaves. In his final years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he helped shape early historians' views of the presidents' republican ideals. Provided by Wikipedia