Some, like Harriet Tubman, were “conductors,” who led the rescue missions, while others—John Brown, for example—were “station masters,” hosting fugitives in their homes and arranging safe passage to freedom.
Who were station masters on the Underground Railroad?
These eight abolitionists helped enslaved people escape to freedom.
- Isaac Hopper. Abolitionist Isaac Hopper.
- John Brown. Abolitionist John Brown, c.
- Harriet Tubman.
- Thomas Garrett.
- William Still.
- Levi Coffin.
- Elijah Anderson.
- Thaddeus Stevens.
Who helped with the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.
What is a station on the Underground Railroad?
What was a “station” on the Underground Railroad? Using the terminology of the railroad, people’s homes or businesses, where fugitive passengers and conductors could safely hide, were “stations.” Those who went south to find slaves seeking freedom were called “pilots.”
What did Frederick Douglass do?
Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War.
What does Station Master mean?
Definition of stationmaster: an official in charge of the operation of a railroad station.
What did Levi Coffin do?
Levi Coffin, (born October 28, 1798, New Garden [now in Greensboro], North Carolina, U.S.—died September 16, 1877, Cincinnati, Ohio), American abolitionist, called the “President of the Underground Railroad,” who assisted thousands of runaway slaves on their flight to freedom.
What states was the Underground Railroad in?
These were called “stations,” “safe houses,” and “depots.” The people operating them were called “stationmasters.” There were many well-used routes stretching west through Ohio to Indiana and Iowa. Others headed north through Pennsylvania and into New England or through Detroit on their way to Canada.
Does the Underground Railroad still exist?
It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.
What does the code word liberty lines mean?
Other code words for slaves included “freight,” “passengers,” “parcels,” and “bundles.” Liberty Lines – The routes followed by slaves to freedom were called “liberty lines” or “freedom trails.” Routes were kept secret and seldom discussed by slaves even after their escape.
What code words were used in the Underground Railroad?
The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “ tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in
Did the Underground Railroad use quilt codes?
Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Quilts with patterns named “wagon wheel,” “tumbling blocks,” and “bear’s paw” appear to have contained secret messages that helped direct slaves to freedom, the pair claim.
What were slaves called on the Underground Railroad?
The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo. The safe houses used as hiding places along the lines of the Underground Railroad were called stations.
What happened to Cesar in the Underground Railroad?
While the show doesn’t show us what happens after their encounter, Caesar comes to Cora in a dream later, confirming to viewers that he was killed. In the novel, Caesar faces a similar fate of being killed following his capture, though instead of Ridgeway and Homer, he is killed by an angry mob.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
9 Unsung Heroes of the Underground Railroad
With hundreds of people participating in the Underground Railroad’s operation, which spanned from the Deep South all the way to Canada, it’s hardly surprising that the network of underground pathways and safe homes known as the Underground Railroad was so large in scope. Some, like as Harriet Tubman, served as “conductors,” directing rescue efforts, while others, such as John Brown, served as “station masters,” welcoming fugitives into their houses and facilitating their safe journey to safety after their capture.
1. William Still
William Still, who was born in 1821 to previously enslaved parents in New Jersey, traveled to Philadelphia when he was 23 years old and took up the abolitionist banner in more ways than one. As a result, he learned himself to read and write and obtained employment as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, where he rose through the ranks until he was appointed head of the organization’s new Vigilance Committee in the early 1850s. While in that role, Still administered the region’s network of safe houses, which included his own residence, and generated funds to support important rescue operations, including a number of those undertaken by Harriet Tubman.
The fact that he’s frequently referred to as “the Father of the Underground Railroad” is due to another factor.
Hopefully, the “amazing drive and ambition” displayed in the terrible stories will serve as an inspiration to Black Americans as they continue the fight for civil rights.
2. John P. Parker
When John P. Parker was 8 years old, a trader in Norfolk, Virginia, removed him from his enslaved mother and sold him to a doctor in Mobile, Alabama. John P. Parker was born into slavery. With the assistance of the doctor’s children, Parker worked as an apprentice in an iron foundry, where he also learned to read and write. Having persuaded one of the doctor’s patients to purchase him at the age of 18, he was given the opportunity to gradually reclaim his freedom with the money he earned from his foundry.
- While all of this was going on, Parker was making regular trips over the Ohio River to transport fugitives from Kentucky back to Ripley’s safe homes (one belonged to John Rankin, a prominent white abolitionist who lived less than a mile from Parker).
- He once anticipated that an enslaversuspecteda married couple would seek to flee, so he kidnapped their infant and placed him in his chamber to sleep.
- The enslaver awakened and chased after Parker, firing his gun, but Parker and his family were able to flee across the river and into Canada.
- Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript remained undiscovered in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed it and published it in 1996.
Parker’s rescues were recounted to journalist Frank M. Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript remained undiscovered in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed
3. and 4. Harriet Bell Hayden and Lewis Hayden
Lewis Hayden, who was born enslaved in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1812, witnessed enslavers tear his family apart not once, but twice throughout his lifetime. His brothers were sold to a different enslaver at first, and then his wife and son were purchased by Kentucky senator Henry Clay and sold someplace in the Deep South, according to historical records. Hayden never saw them or heard from them again. In the early 1840s, he married an enslaved lady called Harriet Bell, adopted her son, and began preparing their escape from the plantation where they had been held.
- The couple had returned to the United States by 1846, when they had settled in Boston’s Beacon Hill district, where they had founded a clothes business.
- Despite the fact that slavery had been outlawed in Massachusetts since 1783, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 declared that enslaved persons who had escaped to free states might still be apprehended and returned to their enslavers in the southern United States.
- Among those who have received considerable notice are Ellen and William Craft, who gained notoriety for their perilous escape from slavery in Georgia, which required Ellen impersonating a white man and William as a Black servant.
- The bounty hunters didn’t take any chances and returned home empty-handed.
- In 1873, he was elected to the Massachusetts General Assembly, where he served until his death in 1904.
- The estate of Harriet Tubman, who died in 1893, was bequeathed to Harvard Medical School for the aim of creating an annual scholarship for Black students, which is still in existence today.
5. Henrietta Bowers Duterte
His wife, Henrietta Bowers, was 35 when she married Francis A. Duterte, a Haitian-American undertaker who was also 35 at the time. It should have been a long and happy union because they both hailed from well-respected Philadelphia households and Francis’s mortuary was prosperous; in other words, it should have been a joyful union. However, by the end of the decade, Henrietta was on her own: Her children had all died while they were young, and Francis had also died unexpectedly. Instead of handing over the funeral company to a male, as would have been anticipated at the time, Henrietta took over and transformed it into a particularly secretive station on the Underground Railroad, in addition to maintaining the mortuary business.
It was nonetheless profitable, and Henrietta used the proceeds to support organizations that supported Philadelphia’s Black population, such as the First Colored Church and Stephen Smith’s Philadelphia Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, which were both founded by Stephen Smith.
In 1866, she assisted in the organization of the Freedman’s Aid Society Fair, which raised funds for previously enslaved persons in Tennessee.
6. David Ruggles
David Ruggles, who was born free in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1810, traveled to New York City when he was 17 years old and founded a grocery store, which he operated with liberated African Americans. Ruggles soon expanded his business to include lending and selling abolitionist books, pamphlets, and newspapers as well, making him the first Black bookshop proprietor in the United States. Ruggles and other local abolitionists formed the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835, which was an inter-racial group that, like the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, assisted people in their attempts to elude slavery.
- Frederick Douglass, who had escaped slavery and arrived in New York in 1838, impoverished and starving, was one of these temporary visitors.
- David Ruggles saved his life, as he revealed in his autobiography published in 1845.
- Ruggles’s alertness, kindness, and tenacity,” he wrote.
- Ruggles gave the couple $5 shortly after their wedding and arranged for them to go by steamer to New Bedford, Massachusetts.
- Ruggles distributed countless anti-slavery publications during his years as an Underground Railroad station master, and he advocated for “practical abolitionism,” which is the idea that each individual should actively participate in the emancipation of African-Americans.
- Not that he was without adversaries: his business was burned down on two occasions, and he was violently attacked on other times.
- Ruggles was able to restore some of his strength by hydrotherapy while he was there, and he subsequently founded his own hydrotherapy facility, where Douglass would frequently pay him a visit.
7. and 8. Harriet Forten Purvis and Robert Purvis
Robert Purvis, the son of a free Black woman and a free white man, was involved in virtually every aspect of Philadelphia’s anti-slavery movement from the 1830s to the Civil War, and he died in the Civil War. His work with prominent abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison to establish the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society a few years later resulted in the formation of the Vigilant Association of Philadelphia and its Vigilance Committee, which provided fugitive fugitives with boarding, clothing, medical attention, legal counsel, and northern passage.
- Harriet, like Mott, would go on to become a prominent figure in the women’s suffragist movement.
- Their home on Lombard Street became a well-traveled corridor for fugitives on their way to the United States border with Canada.
- The eighth anniversary of slavery’s abolition in the British West Indies was being celebrated when a mob of Irish people, resentful of their own low social standing, attacked the revelers and began looting and setting fire to Black-owned businesses along the street.
- However, according to reports, a Catholic priest diverted the rioters off their intended route to the Purvises’ home, where Robert was armed and ready to confront them.
Robert estimated that he had assisted in the emancipation of around one person each day between 1831 and 1861 (though it’s probable that this figure includes his larger involvement with other anti-slavery organizations).
9. Samuel D. Burris
For more than a decade in the 1840s, Samuel D. Burris worked diligently to transport fugitives through his home state of Delaware and into Philadelphia, where he resided with his wife and children. Despite the fact that Burris was a free man, he might be imprisoned and sold into slavery if he was found assisting fugitives in Delaware—which is exactly what happened to him in 1847. Burris was detained while attempting to sneak a lady named Maria Matthews onto a boat, according to authorities. Because his bail was set at $5000 (equivalent to more than $157,000 today), he was compelled to spend months in jail while awaiting his trial.
Burris was found guilty on November 2, 1847, and he was sentenced to 10 more months in jail as well as a $500 fine.
A group of Philadelphia abolitionists raised $500 during Burris’ 10-month prison sentence and sent a Quaker named Isaac Flint to masquerade as a merchant and acquire Burris at an auction while Burris was serving his sentence.
In Still’s words, “he was not in the least conscious that he had fallen into the hands of friends, but on the contrary, he appeared to be under the assumption that his freedom had been taken away.” ‘The joyous news was whispered in Burris’s ear that everything was OK; that he had been purchased with abolition money in order to keep him from going south.’ The historian Robin Krawitz of Delaware State University told CNN that Burris continued to assist fugitives after his release, and enraged Delawareans petitioned the government to punish him even more severely after he was sentenced to prison.
Burris’ operations in Delaware were suspended when officials approved legislation that prescribed public flogging as a penalty for anyone caught a second time.
The Underground Railroad
At the time of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to flee to freedom in the northern states. Subjects History of the United States, Social StudiesImage
Home of Levi Coffin
Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist. This was a station on the Underground Railroad, a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North during the Civil War. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography. “> During the age of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the North, according to the Underground Railroad Museum.
Although it was not a real railroad, it fulfilled the same function as one: it carried passengers across large distances.
The people who worked for the Underground Railroad were driven by a passion for justice and a desire to see slavery abolished—a drive that was so strong that they risked their lives and jeopardized their own freedom in order to assist enslaved people in escaping from bondage and staying safe while traveling the Underground Railroad.
- As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
- In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
- According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
- Often, the conductors and passengers traveled 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance in this day and age.
- Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
- Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
- Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
- Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
- Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
- Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
- Person who is owned by another person or group of people is referred to as an enslaved person.
Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.
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According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.
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Underground Railroad Terminology
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls As a descendant of slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad, I grew up enthralled by the stories my family’s “Griot” told me about his ancestors. It was my Aunt Stella who was known as the “Griot,” which is an African name that means “keeper of the oral history,” since she was the storyteller of our family. Despite the fact that she died in 1986 at the age of 102, her mind remained keen till the very end of her life. During a conversation with my Aunt Stella, she informed me that John Freeman Walls was born in 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina and journeyed on the Underground Railroad to Maidstone, Ontario in 1846.
- Many historians believe that the Underground Railroad was the first big liberation movement in the Americas, and that it was the first time that people of many races and faiths came together in peace to fight for freedom and justice in the United States.
- Escaped slaves, as well as those who supported them, need rapid thinking as well as a wealth of insight and information.
- The Underground Railroad Freedom Movement reached its zenith between 1820 and 1865, when it was at its most active.
- A Kentucky fugitive slave by the name of Tice Davids allegedly swam across the Ohio River as slave catchers, including his former owner, were close on his trail, according to legend.
- He was most likely assisted by nice individuals who were opposed to slavery and wanted the practice to be abolished.
- “He must have gotten away and joined the underground railroad,” the enraged slave owner was overheard saying.
- As a result, railroad jargon was employed in order to maintain secrecy and confound the slave hunters.
In this way, escaping slaves would go through the forests at night and hide during the daytime hours.
In order to satiate their hunger for freedom and proceed along the treacherous Underground Railroad to the heaven they sung about in their songs—namely, the northern United States and Canada—they took this risky route across the wilderness.
Despite the fact that they were not permitted to receive an education, the slaves were clever folks.
Freedom seekers may use maps created by former slaves, White abolitionists, and free Blacks to find their way about when traveling was possible during the day time.
The paths were frequently not in straight lines; instead, they zigzagged across wide places in order to vary their smell and confuse the bloodhounds on the trail.
The slaves could not transport a large amount of goods since doing so would cause them to become sluggish.
Enslaved people traveled the Underground Railroad and relied on the plant life they encountered for sustenance and medical treatment.
The enslaved discovered that Echinacea strengthens the immune system, mint relieves indigestion, roots can be used to make tea, and plants can be used to make poultices even in the winter when they are dormant, among other things.
After all, despite what their owners may have told them, the Detroit River is not 5,000 miles wide, and the crows in Canada will not peck their eyes out.
Hopefully, for the sake of the Freedom Seeker, these words would be replaced by lyrics from the “Song of the Fugitive: The Great Escape.” The brutal wrongs of slavery I can no longer tolerate; my heart is broken within me, for as long as I remain a slave, I am determined to strike a blow for freedom or the tomb.” I am now embarking for yonder beach, beautiful land of liberty; our ship will soon get me to the other side, and I will then be liberated.
No more will I be terrified of the auctioneer, nor will I be terrified of the Master’s frowns; no longer will I quiver at the sound of the dogs baying.
All of the brave individuals who were participating in the Underground Railroad Freedom Movement had to acquire new jargon and codes in order to survive. To go to the Promised Land, one needed to have a high level of ability and knowledge.
Underground Railroad in Iowa
Initially funded by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program in 2002, the Iowa Network to Freedom project, which investigated persons and locations involved with the Underground Railroad in Iowa, became the Iowa Freedom Trail Project in 2003. After a five-year period of grant funding, volunteers have continued to collect information from historical resources and compile it into a form containing general information, such as biographical data, resource references, associated properties, and researcher information, among other things, to be used by the public.
- Individuals (by name)
- Individuals (by county)
- Places (by county)
- Research Files (by county)
- Inventory of Individuals (by name)
- Inventory of Places (by county)
- Inventory of Research Files
If you have any concerns concerning the Iowa Freedom Trail Project, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Researching Underground Railroad Activity
Since 2002, volunteers at the State Historical Society of Iowa have been doing research into the Underground Railroad’s presence in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn how you can contribute to the project.
- Instructions for the Research and Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
- Sample Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
Iowa and the Underground Railroad
Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to escape slavery. It included both northern and southern states, spanning from Texas all the way up to Maine. The vast majority of runaway slaves fled to Canada from the Deep South, although a minor number journeyed further south to Mexico and the Caribbean. Due to the fact that slaves were considered property in the United States at the time, helping runaway slaves was deemed larceny under American law at the time.
- Prior to the American Revolution, slavery was lawful across the British Empire, including the United States.
- These principles would transform the lives of black people, and many of them fought in the American Revolution in the hope that these rights would be given to them as well.
- Vermont became the first state in the new United States of America to pass anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the Revolutionary War in 1777.
- Apart from that, there were no laws in the newly created United States that forced civilians to return fugitive slaves to their owners.
- The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated similar views on the subject at the time.
- Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties or jail.
- As the Underground Railroad network began to take shape, people began to fill a number of positions inside it.
Fugitive slaves were often referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, or freight when they were on the run.
Others choose to play a more passive role.
The modes of transportation used varied from one region to the next, and were mostly determined by concealment and closeness to slave hunters.
In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, particularly in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery.
In the middle of the night, conductors would walk or ride horses to the next station to transport them.
Because of its physical proximity between Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa saw a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period.
That meant that when Iowa became a state in the Union in 1846, it would be a free state.
Most fugitive slaves crossed through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being arrested and returned to slavery.
Southeastern Iowa was also home to a large number of fugitive slaves from northern Missouri who were making their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois.
Numerous Iowans also became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and granted Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status.
You may get further information about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and other states by clicking here. Take a look at the resources listed below.
- Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to flee slavery. Between Texas and Maine, it stretched over northern and southern states. While the vast majority of fugitive slaves fled to Canada, a small number made their way south to Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Because they were legally considered property at the time, helping fugitive slaves was deemed larceny under U.S. law during that time frame. Anyone found guilty of supporting an escaped slave might face a fine as well as imprisonment. The institution of slavery was lawful across the British Empire prior to the American Revolution. It happened after the Enlightenment period, when people came to believe in and advocate for the notion of a person’s right to life, liberty, and property. In the minds of black people, these values would transform their lives, and many fought in the American Revolution in the hopes that these rights would be given to them as well. Slavery was questioned by many early American colonists, prompting the emergence of the abolitionist movement in response to their beliefs. Vermont was the first state to join the newly formed United States of America with anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the American Revolutionary War in 1775. By 1780, Pennsylvania had followed suit, and by 1804 all northern states had done the same. The newly founded United States also did not have any laws requiring individuals to return fugitive slaves to their owners. Laws mandating the return of fugitive slaves were enacted, however, out of concern for property rights. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated identical views on the subject at the time of their adoption. A provision in the Constitution known as the “fugitive slave clause” states that “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws of that State, who escapes into another, shall, as a result of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall, upon the Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due, be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labor may be due.” Abolishing slavery was strengthened by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which granted slaveholders the power to retrieve runaway slaves and granted judges the authority to determine the legal status of fugitive slaves. Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties and jail. Treason charges might be brought against those who are proven guilty in some instances. A number of positions were filled within the Underground Railroad network as the network came into being. Among the slave networks, station masters, for example, concealed slaves in their homes or on their land, which was known to as a station or depot by those who worked in it. Fleecing slaves were referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, and freight when they were on the run. It was the responsibility of Underground Railroad conductors to guide runaway slaves via the Underground Railroad routes or tracks. Others were more passive in their participation. General agents, for example, connected fleeing slaves to persons who could assist them on the Underground Railroad, and investors contributed to the Underground Railroad network’s financial well-being. Depending on the locale, transportation techniques varied and were mostly dictated by concealment and closeness to slave hunters, among other considerations. When fleeing slaves were carried during the day in covered wagons, they were generally disguised under hay or other items of value in villages that were nearly completely anti-slavery. In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, especially in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery. They remained in near-constant concealment in numerous locations, which included fields and secret chambers in private homes. Nighttime transportation was provided by walking or horseback conductors, who transported them to the next location. In addition to buses, trains were sometimes utilized, but this was less frequent due to the high cost and careful supervision. Given its physical proximity to Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa had a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 also stated that no state north of the 36°30′ parallel (apart from Missouri) could be admitted as a slave state into the United States of America. In other words, when Iowa became a state in 1846, it would be a free one. Some settlers in Iowa did not believe slavery was wrong, but many did, and many of those who did came from neighboring free states or were linked with religious groups such as the Quakers and Congregationalists, who were outspoken in their opposition to the institution. Fugitive slaves sometimes went through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being returned if they were caught. The majority of Underground Railroad action in Iowa took occurred in Fremont and Mills counties, when runaway slaves journeyed from western Missouri to escape their captors. Many fleeing slaves from northern Missouri made their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois through southeastern Iowa, as well. During the 1850s, large Underground Railroad stations were established at Tabor and Civil Bend, both in western Iowa. There were many Iowans who became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise while granting Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status. Do you want to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and beyond? Look no further. See the links below for additional information.
The Secret History of the Underground Railroad
Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.
- However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
- Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
- How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
- Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
- The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
- At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
- The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
- Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.
One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).
- “I escaped without the assistance.
- “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
- The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
- One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
- The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.
Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.
- Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
- Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
- One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
- It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.
Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.
- Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
- The story begins in 1846, when a man named George Kirk stowed away on a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his master.
- The victorious fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
- In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
- In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
- Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
- Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.
One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.
Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.
Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.
As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.
Among those who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned man who put himself up in a first-class hotel, strolled around town in a fine new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.
At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.
It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slaveholders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.
- More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
- Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
- Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
- On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist observed that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—except on one of them.
- The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.
The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.
Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.
What Was the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:
How the Underground Railroad Worked
The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.
The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.
While some traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, or through Detroit on their route to Canada, others chose to travel south. The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.
Fugitive Slave Acts
The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.
The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.
Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.
Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.
Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.
Agent,” according to the document.
John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.
Who Ran the Underground Railroad?
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives and assisted 400 escapees in their journey to Canada. In addition to helping 1,500 escapees make their way north, former fugitive Reverend Jermain Loguen, who lived near Syracuse, was instrumental in facilitating their escape. The Vigilance Committee was founded in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a businessman. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary labor skills to support themselves.
Agent,” according to the document.
A free Black man in Ohio, John Parker was a foundry owner who used his rowboat to transport fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born to runaway enslaved parents in New Jersey and raised as a free man in the city of Philadelphia.
Frederick Douglass, a former enslaved person and renowned writer, hosted fugitives at his house in Rochester, New York, assisting 400 fugitives on their journey to Canada. Former fugitive Reverend Jermain Loguen, who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 fugitives in their escape to the north. In 1838, Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a Philadelphia merchant, founded the Vigilance Committee in the city. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning necessary labor skills.
Agent” in New York City.
John Parker was a free Black man in Ohio, a foundry owner who used his rowboat to transport fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a famous Philadelphia citizen who was born to runaway slaves parents in New Jersey and raised by them as a free man.
End of the Line
Frederick Douglass, a former enslaved person and renowned writer, hosted fugitives in his house in Rochester, New York, assisting 400 escapees on their journey to Canada. Former fugitive Reverend Jermain Loguen, who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees in their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was founded in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who became a businessman. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitives who made their way to Canada in learning necessary labor skills.
Agent.” He was a pivotal factor in directing fugitives he discovered at the ports and train terminals.
He was also known to make his way into Kentucky and into plantations in order to assist enslaved persons in escaping.
Still, who was a friend of Tubman’s, kept a detailed record of his operations on the Underground Railroad, which he was able to keep concealed until after the Civil War, when he published it, providing one of the most comprehensive reports of Underground Railroad activity available at the time.
Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad is a book about the Underground Railroad. Fergus Bordewich is a Scottish actor. A Biography of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom Catherine Clinton is the first lady of the United States. Who Exactly Was in Charge of the Underground Railroad? ‘Henry Louis Gates’ is a pseudonym for Henry Louis Gates. The Underground Railroad’s History in New York is a little known fact. The Smithsonian Institution’s magazine. The Underground Railroad’s Dangerous Allure is well documented.