Sergeant Isrel L. Blackburn was born into slavery on May 3, 1818. For the first 48 years of his life he was the property of John Bowman of of Mercer County Kentucky. His life changed in 1864 when his owner sold him to the Union Army at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. Isrel became a member of Company C of the 124th Colored Infantry, just one of the 175 colored regiments formed during the Civil War. When the War was over Blackburn made his way north and found a new home here. He was given a piece of land owned by Samuel Curtiss to farm and raise his family of 5 children. Proud of his new home he was one of the signers of the Incorporation Papers in 1873 and a member of the Naper Post of the Grand Army of the Republic that held meetings in Downers Grove. Every Decoration Day, now called Memorial Day, he could be seen walking along in the cemetery to honor the veterans buried here. Blackburn who was called Uncle Larry by many died in 1902 at the age of 90.