Ellington Stone | 36th & Kochs Ln. Quincy, IL
Described as one of Quincy's greatest unsolved mysteries, the Ellington Stone holds the potential to re-write Illinois history.
This 8” X 11” piece of limestone was found in Ellington township near Quincy, Illinois, situated close to present day 36th & Kochs Ln, sometime between 1907 and 1920 by farmer and arrowhead hunter Sam Cook. Someone chiseled the date 1671 and Jesuit symbols (the letters “IHS,” usually interpreted as a Greek abbreviation for Jesus, and two crosses) on the stone.
A local man took a particular interest in the stone in the 1950's and conducted much research on it. In about 1956 Lee Politsch became intrigued by a discovery and mystery that continued to occupy his attention and become a topic of conversation with many friends and acquaintances who visited the store or his home until his death – the Ellington Stone.He spent much of his life investigating and promoting the stone as evidence of the exploration of the Mississippi Valley by a French explorer, possibly Robert Cavalier de LaSalle, two years before the widely recognized first European exploration of the river valley by Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet.
Another proposed origin is that it is a possible grave marker of a Jesuit explorer in the region during that time.
A University of Illinois team was able to type the limestone. The texture and fossil content of the Ellington Stone match well with limestone from Western Illinois formations. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t definitely determine when the date 1671 and the Jesuit symbols were carved.
The Ellington Stone now resides at the Quincy Museum at 16th and Maine, is a two-inch-thick slab of limestone, a foot high and eight inches across.