The Rocky Fork Church [see map below] originated before the Civil War when African American slaves fled across the Mississippi River to Illinois, which was a “free” state at that time. Historians can document that by 1816 Rocky Fork Church was one of the first stops for slaves escaping the brutality of Missouri. The African Methodist Episcopal Church created a more organized Underground Railroad route In the 1830s. The Rocky Fork area continued to serve as a stop on the UGRR route for decades. Rocky Fork also became a distinct African American community of escaped slaves for those not moving further.
We recommend watching historian Charlotte Johnson explain Rocky Fork in a video embedded in the riverbender.com website (program appears after ad): https://www.riverbender.com/video/details/the-rocky-fork-exhibit-video-1911.cfm
We also recommend this video about the Rocky Fork Exhibit, sponsored by Lewis and Clark Community College: