SPRINGFIELD'S SCULPTURES,            Carl and Roberta Volkmann
MONUMENTS, AND PLAQUES              cvolk@aol.com
www.arcadiapublishing.com
Lincoln's Neighborhood
FRANCIS "FREE FRANK" McWORTER
The life size bronze bust of Francis “Free Frank”
McWorter was presented to the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library in February, 2008, by
descendents of McWorter.  The sculptor was Shirley
McWorter-Moss, Free Frank’s great-great-
granddaughter.  
Francis McWorter was born in 1777 in South Carolina
the son of Juda, a slave, and George McWorter, a
planter.  Frank began his entrepreneurial career as a
manager of his father’s farms.  He took advantage of
the War of 1812 and started a saltpeter (a component
of gunpowder) mining and production operation.  By
earning and saving money from that endeavor and
wages from extra work on neighboring farms, Frank
purchased the freedom of his wife Lucy, himself, and
sixteen other family members.  
McWorter moved to Pike County, Illinois, in 1830 where he purchased a large tract of
land.  He subdivided and sold the land that was then incorporated into the town of New
Philadelphia.  The inter-racial community was the first American town platted and
registered by an African American.  New Philadelphia probably was a stop on the
Underground Railroad, and McWorter became known as Free Frank.  Free Frank
McWorter died in 1854 at the age of 77.

In 1865 there were 160 people living in New Philadelphia, but by 1885 only empty buildings
stood on the site. Today the property is farmland, but a project is underway to further
research the social history of the community and to enhance its focus in our national
memory and heritage. As a result, the site of New Philadelphia was placed on to the
National Register of Historic Places in August, 2005.

Without existing pictures of her ancestor, Shirley McWorter-Moss “utilized a little
information about anthropology, genetic traits, genealogy, and some of the family traits
that were identified by the descendants” to create the bust.  Gifted in both art and
mathematics, McWorter-Moss has worked in education and in the aerospace industry.  A
full time professional artist since 1996, this California resident has received numerous
awards for her bronze portraits.  Life-sized commissions by McWorter-Moss are found in
the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois, the Pro Football Hall
of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.