The routes that were travelled to get to freedom were called “lines.” The network of routes went through 14 Northern states and two British North American colonies — Upper Canada and Lower Canada. At the end of the line was “heaven,” or “the Promised Land,” which was free land in Canada or the Northern states.
What was the route of the Underground Railroad?
Routes. Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.
Where did slaves go in Canada?
Fearing for their safety in the United States after the passage of the first Fugitive Slave Law in 1793, over 30,000 slaves came to Canada via the Underground Railroad until the end of the American Civil War in 1865. They settled mostly in southern Ontario, but some also settled in Quebec and Nova Scotia.
Where did Harriet Tubman Go Canada?
Tubman therefore changed her escape route so that it ended in Canada. She then began and ended her rescues in St. Catharines, Canada West (Ontario), where she moved in 1851.
How many slaves escaped to Canada using the Underground Railroad?
In all 30,000 slaves fled to Canada, many with the help of the underground railroad – a secret network of free blacks and white sympathizers who helped runaways.
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.
Where was the Underground Railroad in Canada?
The Canadian Terminus It became the main terminus of the Underground Railroad. The newcomers migrated to various parts of what is now Ontario. This included Niagara Falls, Buxton, Chatham, Owen Sound, Windsor, Sandwich (now part of Windsor), Hamilton, Brantford, London, Oakville and Toronto.
What is the black population in Canada?
According to the 2011 Census, 945,665 Black Canadians were counted, making up 2.9% of Canada’s population. In the 2016 Census, the black population totalled 1,198,540, encompassing 3.5% of the country’s population.
Who is considered black in Canada?
Black Canadians, or African Canadians, are people of African or Caribbean ancestry who live in Canada. According to the 2016 Canadian census, 1.2 million Canadians (3.5 per cent of the population) identified as being Black.
Was there slaves in Canada?
The historian Marcel Trudel catalogued the existence of about 4,200 slaves in Canada between 1671 and 1834, the year slavery was abolished in the British Empire. About two-thirds of these were Native and one-third were Blacks. The use of slaves varied a great deal throughout the course of this period.
What town is famous for being the end of the Underground Railroad?
Chatham, Ontario. The Buxton National Historic Site & Museum commemorates the Elgin Settlement: one of the final stops for the Underground Railroad. Founded in 1849 by Rev. William King, this settlement was known for its superior educational system and became a self-sufficient community for about 2,000 people.
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.
Did Harriet Tubman ever live in Canada?
Tubman had been living in North Street in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada West since 1851; that was her home and her base of operation. She had brought her parents and her entire family to St. Catharines where they lived safe from slave catchers.
What happened to black slaves in Canada?
Many enslaved Black people were subjected to cruel and harsh treatment by their owners. Some Black slaves were tortured and jailed as punishment, others were hanged or murdered. Enslaved Black women were often sexually abused by their masters. Families were separated when some family members were sold to new owners.
What was the last stop on the Underground Railroad?
Most people know that Jersey City has a rich history. Tons of events and famous players in U.S. and world history have passed through this Hudson County city for different reasons. One piece of history in particular, however, stands out — the Underground Railroad.
5 Canadian stations of the Underground Railroad
One of the re-enactments of the Freedom Crossing (Wikimedia/Lynn DeLearie/ CC BY-SA 4.0). While there was no genuine railroad, there was a covert network of people — known as abolitionists — who assisted between 30,000 and 40,000 African Americans in their attempts to flee from slavery in the United States. Slaves who had been freed would find refuge in Canada, as well as in other northern states that had abolished slavery.
John Freeman Walls Underground Railroad MuseumLakeshore, Ontario
During the American Civil War, former slave John Freeman Walls and his white wife escaped from North Carolina and settled in Canada, where they established a family and constructed a log house. This cabin would go on to become one of Canada’s most renowned stations on the subterranean railroad, and it is still in use today.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic SiteDresden, Ontario
During the American Civil War, former slave John Freeman Walls and his white wife escaped to Canada, where they established a family and constructed a cottage. As one of Canada’s most renowned subterranean train stations, this cottage would go on to become one of the country’s most famous stations.
Sandwich First Baptist ChurchWindsor, Ontario
The Sandwich First Baptist Church played an important role in the Underground Railroad’s journey through the town. Originally known as Olde Sandwich Towne, it is now a neighbourhood inside the city of Windsor, and was awarded to newly emancipated residents in 1847 by the then-Queen Victoria. As part of Sunday services, the ringing of a specific bell and the beginning of a specific spiritual hymn served as an alert for runaways to seek shelter in the church’s trap door dungeon when bounty hunters passed by.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Public Domain)
Buxton National Historic SiteChatham, Ontario
The Elgin Settlement, which was one of the last sites on the Underground Railroad, is commemorated at the Buxton National Historic Site Museum, which is located on the grounds of the site. This village, founded in 1849 by Rev. William King, was noted for its exceptional educational system and eventually developed into a self-sufficient community of around 2,000 people. Families descended from the first settlers who chose to remain in Canada continue to reside in Buxton today.
Birchtown National Historic SiteBirchtown, Nova Scotia
Long before the Underground Railroad was established, African-American residents from both French and English backgrounds established themselves in communities such as Annapolis Royal and Birchtown, New Brunswick. Following the American Revolutionary War, these communities not only became a haven for freed slaves looking for refuge north of the border, but also for former Black soldiers in the British colonial military forces, known as Black Loyalists, who were hoping to transfer north to Canada after the war.
Map of underground routes to Canada, 1898
A map of underground railroad lines to Canada that illustrates the many methods by which runaway slaves were able to escape to freedom.
The map is taken from Wilbur H. Siebert’s book, The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom (New York, 1899). View and/or submit comments
About This Item
- In the year 1898, a map showing underground passages to Canada was published. The map’s creator was Wilbur Henry Siebert. Date of creation: 1898
- Subject period: 1780–1865
- Ink on paper is the medium of choice. Size: 17 x 36 cm
- Dimensions: The following is the local code: Map FF 689
- 326 Si15u
- Text and image are the two types of objects.
Cross Reference Searches
- African Americans
- Antislavery movements in the United States
- Fugitive slaves in the United States
- Slavery in the United States
- Underground Railroad-Maps
- Underground Railroad-Pennsylvania-Maps
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NCUGRHA – People & Places
The Underground Railroad is not a hoax, according to The Banner of Liberty, a distinctly anti-abolitionist journal from the Hudson Valley, which published the following statement in 1860: This term has been given to a regular organization that spans through every free state in the Union and has agents and emissaries on the borders of every slave state as well as along all of the routes taken by fleeing slaves to emancipation.
- Regular agents are stationed in all of the major cities in the state of New York, including New York, Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and other locations, and subscriptions are sought in each of these locations.
- Some of them wound up at the Niagara Falls.
- Starting in New York City and continuing to the state’s capital, Albany, a Committee of Vigilance earned the reputation as the most effective UGRR group in New York State.
- The Erie Canal was the most common route taken by freedom seekers from the Capital area to Canada.
- This network of interconnecting rivers to freedom (as well as neighboring land routes) served as the primary Underground Railroad pathway across the Champlain Valley during the Civil War.
- Lake Champlain was located between the Adirondack Mountains in New York and the Green Mountains in Vermont.
- When the Champlain Canal was completed in 1823, it made it easier for freedom seekers to traverse about the country.
- A number of refugee towns were founded in Canada West when some refugees fled Montreal and followed the St.
- Region The Champlain Line transports passengers.
- In addition to routes from Baltimore, Maryland, Wilmington, Delaware, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it also had routes from other cities.
It was the final leg in a network of road, rail, and sea connections that connected Manhattan and Montreal in the United States. It also served as the final link in the “Vermont Road” that connected Massachusetts to Lake Champlain.
Importance of the Champlain Line
The Champlain Line provided a variety of possibilities for those seeking independence. In Whitehall, they switched to steamboats at the southern end of Lake Champlain, whence they continued north to ports on Lake Champlain. Some went on to St. John, Québec, while others stayed in Montreal. When Lake Champlain became impassable due to freezing, fugitives were transported over land routes from Troy, New York, to Vermont. Others may have traveled via the Great State Road in New York, which runs from Albany to the border with Canada.
- Because the topography in Northeastern New York, right below the Canadian border, was not hilly, the construction of a train was encouraged.
- Fugitive Slave Bill was enacted by Congress two days later, and hundreds of individuals who had managed to leave to the northern United States began making their way south to Canada.
- Because it was located at the narrowest point on the St.
- The Champlain Line’s roads, railroads, and steamboats aided in the transportation of an unimaginable number of escaped slaves to the Queen’s Dominions during the American Revolution.
- They came in a steady stream.
- A man from Peru, New York, named Stephen Keese Smith, spent a thousand dollars or more supporting escaped slaves.
- By way of Vermont and northeastern New York, it gave direct access to the eastern and western provinces of Canada.
Fugitive slaves from Washington, DC, the Atlantic Seaboard states, and the Gulf Coast made their way to New York City from various locations. Some made their way out of New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, or Norfolk, among other southern seaports, and made their way to Philadelphia, New York City, or New Bedford, Massachusetts, where they were welcomed. Smuggling them onto ships was made possible thanks to the efforts of black and white seafarers. Others were able to flee by road or train. Only the most resilient were able to survive.
- As the most significant rail and boat terminal on the New York side of Lake Champlain, Rouses Point was located at the northern end of the lake at the northern end of the lake.
- Albans were among the major Champlain Line stations in western Vermont.
- Johns (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Montreal, and Toronto.
- Agents either sent them to trustworthy friends or personally delivered them to them.
- Some abolitionists hired freedom seekers for short or long periods of time, depending on their needs.
- Some fugitives sought out relatives or acquaintances who had already taken asylum in places like as Québec, Ontario, northern New York, or Vermont, in order to avoid capture.
- Others traveled to Montreal or border settlements in the province of Lower Canada, among other places.
In Vermont, there was only one path to freedom.
Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut were among the states where fugitive slaves were transferred or transported to Vermont.
The Adirondack Mountains in New York were inaccessible to escaped slaves because of a relatively flat plain near Vermont’s Lake Champlain’s shoreline.
Stagecoaches and railroads connected Albany and Troy, New York, with Vermont and Montreal, Canada, via the Great Lakes region.
Fugitive from the Green Mountain State were frequently transported to Montreal or over Lake Champlain to the New York side of the lake in order to continue their trek towards Canada West.
They were involved in or observed slavery, gradual manumission, Liberian colonization, the call for instant liberation, the Underground Railroad, political action, incarceration, and martyrdom, to name a few experiences.
Agents, station masters, and conductors of the Champlain Line Underground Railroad spanned the complete spectrum of anti-slavery ideas, ranging from pacifism to violent revolt.
The anti-slavery movement reached a crescendo in 1859, when Adirondack resident John Brown launched a raid on the government armory at Harper’s Ferry, igniting the American Civil War. John Brown is a fictional character created by author John Brown. People and Places is a section dedicated to the stories of the people and places associated with the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad. Slaves changed the spelling of the term “Canada” to “Canaan” in order to avoid being discovered while they plotted their escape.
Refugees fleeing slavery in the United States were granted citizenship by Queen Victoria, who promised them freedom in Canada and citizenship in the United States.
The Underground Railroad
Abolitionists in Upper Canada were also active in a more clandestine fight against slavery in North America known as the Underground Railroad, which was headed by abolitionists in the United States. By the middle of the nineteenth century, abolitionists and Quaker supporters had constructed the Underground Railroad to aid enslaved Blacks in their attempts to flee from the southern United States to Canada. The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad in the traditional sense.
- One of its most remarkable characteristics was the lack of a formal structure to it.
- The road to freedom was not an easy one to travel.
- In order to escape being kidnapped, they typically journeyed at night and hid in marshes and forests during the day to avoid being apprehended by the authorities.
- Many people risked their lives after establishing themselves in Canada in order to return to the United States and assist their fellow brothers and sisters in achieving freedom in the country.
- Tubman was born in 1820 in Virginia and fled slavery as a young lady before settling in St.
- During her stint as a guide on the Underground Railroad, she returned to the United States 19 times, each time risking her own life to assist others in their attempts to get to Canada.
Asylum seekers follow Canadian path once used by Underground Railroad
Published on August 7, 2017 at 5:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It was more than 150 years ago that the Great Lakes region played a pivotal part in the Underground Railroad movement. Runaway slaves made their way to communities around the lakes and eventually crossed the border into Canada, where they found freedom. Fast forward to today, when thousands of asylum seekers are turning down the opportunity to settle in the United States — and are instead making their way north. Angelica A. Morrison contributes to this story.
- Just a few kilometers away, you’ll find yourself at the world-renowned American Falls.
- “The boundary between the United States and Canada was the difference between oppression and freedom.” “Sara Capen, the executive director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, explains what she means.
- It stretches from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and is a popular tourist destination.
- However, because the Niagara River was small, it was the most convenient and accessible method of reaching Canada “she explains.
- Many of them are refugees seeking asylum.
- As a result, they seek protection in another nation.
- In the last year, Vive has assisted around 1,500 persons in their asylum claims in Canada.
She claims that many individuals are preferring to seek refuge in Canada rather than in the United States.
“There’s always a certain level of trepidation associated with a travel.” “However, I believe that at that specific period in time, individuals did not feel safe in the United States,” she explains.
The province of Ontario is home to people who cross the border into Canada from the Great Lakes area of the United States.
So far this year, they’ve counted about 3,000 individuals.
In fact, the crowds have grown to such an extent that officials have temporarily taken up residence in portions of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
He finds parallels between the Underground Railroad and the current influx of asylum seekers in the United States.
And, like with Niagara Falls and Buffalo, it’s only a short boat ride over a river to get there.
MORRISON of the original foundation for the Niagara Falls Bridge, which was used by Harriet Tubman to aid runaway slaves in their escape to Canada./photo by ANGELICA A.
written by ANGELICA A.
/written by ANGELICA A.
MORRISON / Signage outside an Underground Railroad historic site written by ANGELICA A. MORRISON / Signage outside an Underground Railroad historic site. /written by ANGELICA A. MORRISON / Signage outside an Underground Railroad historic site Great Lakes Today (c) 2017 Great Lakes Today Inc.
Canada’s Underground Railroad sites show other half of the story
- LAKESHORE, ONTARIO — LAKESHORE, ONTARIO — One of Canada’s most significant Underground Railroad sites is hidden behind tall grass and a red metal fence in the cornfields of Ontario. It is one of the country’s most significant Underground Railroad sites. Nobody would ever be able to track you down here. But, of course, that was the whole purpose in the first place. When former slave John Freeman Walls and his white wife fled from North Carolina to Canada in 1846, they were only looking for safety and peace for themselves and their children. They discovered it on these 20 rural acres, where they grew a family and constructed a cottage for themselves and their children. Despite the fact that it is now fairly tumbledown and surrounded by wildflowers and thistles on a September day, its sole visitors are flying butterflies and a busload of Detroit tourists. Despite its modest size, I thought the Walls Historic Site to be a moving reminder of the importance of the Underground Railroad. It is reported that even civil rights activist Rosa Parks sought consolation in this location at one point. In the words of Norma Sales of Detroit, one of a group of Michigan visitors on a two-day trip to see sites in southwest Ontario that make up the Canadian half of the American Revolutionary War story, “It’s good to come here and say, well, you’ve made it to the other side.” Underground Railroad historical sites may be found in abundance across the United States, particularly in Detroit, which served as one of the most important crossing locations for slaves seeking freedom. Fortunately, the second half of this narrative can be seen in Canada – what happened to the estimated 30,000 individuals who came into southwest Ontario between 1834 and 1860, according to some estimates. Lakeshore, Amherstburg, Dresden, North Buxton, and Windsor are all places where black heritage is alive and well. Many of the fugitives who crossed the railroad went on to become important participants in the Underground Railroad movement. What are the teachings that these sites teach their visitors? Among the lessons learned are “perseverance, hard effort, doing the right thing — and never giving up,” says Stewart McMillin, a Detroit tour guide who specializes in Underground Railroad trips, which include stops in Canada. “There are a plethora of stories here.” There are echoes of bravery. You may plan your own driving tour of Underground Railroad locations in southwest Ontario, which are all part of the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Slavery to Freedom circuit, by navigating your own customized driving route. Some are simple to discover, such as the North American Black Historical Museum in Amherstburg, while others are less obvious. Some attractions, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin near Dresden, north of Chatham, are a long trip from Detroit. Some, like as the Walls site, would be completely overlooked if you did not know where to look. You can also go on a guided tour with a group. McMillin, who specializes in black history and Underground Railroad trips, organizes tours like this once or twice a year for anybody interested in learning more. They will be offered on a regular basis next summer, according to Gary Winston of Michigan Millennium Metro Tours (see sidebar.) Sheridan Daniels of Detroit, who went on a McMillin tour on Sept. 3, says she had no clue how much black history existed in southwestern Ontario until she went on the tour with her mother. “I’d heard of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and read about it, but that was about it,” she recalls of her knowledge of the novel. “It was the first time I had truly seen it.” Connection to the province of Ontario In 1830, Josiah Henson managed to flee from his Kentucky slave master and make his way to Canada. Eventually, he penned an autobiography, which was later used as inspiration for the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by author Harriet Beecher Stowe. That novel, published in 1853, was essential in changing popular opinion in the United States concerning slavery, albeit it eventually became controversial. As a result, Dresden, Ontario, is an important Underground Railroad station, as it was here that Henson established the New Dawn Settlement to assist escaped slaves in their efforts to start over in Canada. However, it turns out that the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” on the site is not a primitive cabin at all, but rather a lovely house where Henson resided, and who was far from the stereotype of a “Uncle Tom” in his personal life. The North American Black Historical Museum, located in the picturesque town of Amherstburg, tells the history of slaves who crossed the narrow Detroit River at Belle Isle in search of freedom — yet the museum is modest enough that visitors will not be overwhelmed. The Sandwich First Baptist Church, located nearby in Windsor, is equipped with a trap door through which individuals might flee as slave-catchers crossed the Detroit River. If Walls could talk, what would it say? Meanwhile, back at the John Freeman Walls site, tourists congregate around a crimson “freedom bell” that is intended to be rang by fugitives who have arrived. When John and Jane Walls arrived in 1846, they assisted in the establishment of the local Baptist church, which in turn assisted other runaway slaves in gaining access to land for farming. In the difficult years after 1850, when the United States Fugitive Slave Act permitted fugitive slaves to be apprehended even in northern states like Michigan, driving individuals to flee to Canada in search of protection, this was critical information to have. Today, the Walls site contains a train car that was briefly utilized as a small museum before being decommissioned. It appears to be in disorder when viewed through the dusty windows. The Walls family cabin, as well as many additional outbuildings that appear to be of good construction, are nearby. There is also the family cemetery, which contains the graves of several generations of Wallses. It everything tells of lives that have last found peace, whether it’s the low arcing trees or the profusion of goldenrod, the polite softness of this region or the smooth gray weathering of handmade signs, one of which reads: “Alabama: 833 Miles.” There are four Underground Railroad locations in Canada. The John Freeman Walls Historic Site is located at 859 Puce Road in Lakeshore, Ontario (one mile north of Highway 401 exit 28.) This historic site was established by Walls’ descendants to honor Walls’ participation in the Underground Railroad. (Underground Railroad Museum, 519-727-6555
- Undergroundrailroadmuseum.org.) It is possible to roam around at any time
- Groups should make an appointment.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site is located near Dresden, Ontario, at 9251 Uncle Tom’s Road, which is accessible through Highway 401’s exit 101. The home of Josiah Henson, who served as an influence for the character Uncle Tom in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and was also an abolitionist who assisted other fugitives in settling at his New Dawn Settlement in Virginia. Heritage Trust of Ontario (heritagetrust.on.ca, 519-683-2978, entrance $6.25) It is open year-round by appointment for groups and from May 18-October 25 for private visitors. The North American Black Historical Museum is located at 277 King Street in Amherstburg. This monument commemorates the town’s pivotal role in the Underground Railroad’s transportation of slaves to freedom over the Detroit River. Entrance to the Black Historical Museum (blackhistoricalmuseum.org, 519-736-5433, $6.50, which includes ticket to the lovely Nazrey A.M.E. Church) is included in the admission price. Located at 21975 A. D. Shadd Road in North Buxton, the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum is worth a visit. As one of the few surviving African-Canadian communities still in existence, it serves as a vibrant reminder of the Underground Railroad’s long-lasting impact on the country. (Buxton Museum, 519-352-4799, $6 entrance
- Buxtonmuseum.com.) Tours of the Canadian Underground Railroad Southfield-based Michigan Millennium Metro Trips will provide small-group Underground Railroad tours at least twice a week beginning May 1 and continuing through October 2014, taking you to various locations in southwest Ontario. Owner Gary Winston Sr. advises customers to check the company’s website at mmmtourguides.com or call 313-345-8687 for updates. Stewart McMillin Tours, located in Detroit, will provide a four-night Underground Railroad tour in Ontario from October 23-27, 2014. The tour will stop in or near London, Hamilton, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and St. Catharines, among other locations. In addition, he will be doing a tour of Detroit in May. (mcmillintours.com, 313-922-1990.) This four- or five-day trip of destinations in Detroit, southwest Ontario, and Niagara Falls is designed for parties of 20 or more people and may be customized to meet their needs. Group Tours To Go (grouptourstogo.com
- 888-539-5992) A valid passport is required. Do not forget that you must have a valid passport or passport card or an upgraded drivers license in order to cross the border into Canada.
Experience The Underground Railroad
During the 1850s and 1860s, a large number of individuals were able to flee slavery to what is now known as Canada. The Underground Railroad was the name given to the covert network of paths that they employed. Paul Collins’ Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad is a novel on the life of Harriet Tubman. Free blacks, white sympathizers, and abolitionists all assisted fugitives in their quest for freedom in a new nation by guiding, sheltering, and supporting them. As many as 30,000 fugitives utilized the “railroad” to get away from the terrible reality of being held in bondage, according to some historians.
- There are a variety of activities taking place at the library to commemorate Black History Month, including a one-of-a-kind trip on the “railroad.” Down To Earth Education offers the opportunity to “journey” along the Underground Railroad.
- Learn about life on a plantation as well as the lives and times of one of the most well-known conductors of all time, Harriet Tubman, who is featured in this documentary.
- Hillcrest Branch Office On Friday, February 9th, from 12:30 to 2:30 pm Due to the fact that Black History Month is in full swing, there are a plethora of free activities that you can attend at the library.
- It has more than 16000 items in print and multimedia formats, making it a valuable resource for readers of all ages.
- Then why not take use of Kanopy’s free video streaming service?
- For additional information, please see our Getting Started Guide.
Settlements in Canada
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls After the War of 1812, American officers stationed at Fort Malden (now Amherstburg, Ontario) brought back tales of a land where fugitive slaves were welcomed, which they shared with their fellow citizens in the United States. The outcome was that large numbers of enslaved freedom seekers were able to make their way to Amhersburg. During a trip of Upper Canada in 1844, the renowned abolitionist Levi Coffin characterized Amherstburg as “the chief terminal place in Canada of the Underground Railroad.” Between 1817 and 1822, the township of Ferry, which would eventually be known as Windsor and Sandwich Township, served as the initial refuge for many of the first significant wave of fugitives to enter Upper Canada.
The Matthew Settlement, Edgar, Mt.
Pleasant, Rochester and Harrow.
This town represented a ray of hope for a better life, a yearning shared by Underground Railroad migrants in colonies across Canada at the time of its founding.
The Refugee Home Society Settlement
My ancestors acquired land from the Refugee Home Society at the Puce River colony, which was then known as the Puce River Settlement. In the middle of the nineteenth century, there was woods and trees on every side. The Refugee Home Society Settlement land proposal was suggested by Henry Bibb, the founder of the “Voice of the Fugitive” newspaper, with assistance from the American Missionary Association, and was eventually approved. Lots were acquired and then resold to refugees at a low price on favorable circumstances.
- John and Jane Walls were worried about their personal safety as well as the protection of their children.
- When it came down to it, the truth was weirder than fiction.
- He is a Baptist, and his life narrative is a little strange.
- After his previous master passed away, his mistress relocated to Canada with her children, bringing this man with her.
- He owns a little farm and has paid off his debts.
- Wheeler, a former Oberlin student, now teaches at Little River Elementary School, which is a model of excellence.
- Because many policies and judgments were incorrect, the Refugee Home Society was unable to achieve the aims set out by its founding members.
Underground Railroad Settlements were located throughout Ontario, Canada
During the Puce River settlement, my family were able to acquire property from the Refugee Home Society. In the mid-nineteenth century, there was woods with trees on every side. The Refugee Home Society Settlement land proposal was developed by Henry Bibb, the founder of the “Voice of the Fugitive” newspaper, with sponsorship from the American Missionary Association, and was eventually implemented. Lots were acquired and then resold to refugees at a low price with favorable terms. In addition to the fact that the colony was 20 miles from Windsor, the distance between the two cities provided further peace of mind for the inhabitants, since it served to deter bounty seekers.
- It was their desire to live in peace as husband and wife that brought them from Rockingham County, North Carolina, to Canada.
- In 1861, following a talk with John Freeman Walls, George Whipple, an American Missionary Association preacher, wrote: “Tuesday I returned to tiny River riding in a little cart driven by a small French pony, escorted by a Christian gentleman, although not of our church.
- He is a very black man who was formerly a slave in one of the southern states of the United States of America Following the death of his previous master, his mistress relocated to Canada with her children, bringing this guy along with her.
- The man owns a small farm and has paid off all of his financial obligations.
- Wheeler, a former student of Oberlin’s, is the principal of an excellent school in Little River.
- Because many policies and judgments were incorrect, the Refugee Home Society was unable to achieve the objectives set out by its founding members.
But the fact that many families are still living there today in harmony with their neighbors, and that numerous roads are named after them, such as “Walls Road,” indicates that it was a successful endeavor.
The Elgin Settlement / The Buxton Mission
Buxton, Ontario, is home to one of the most successful Canadian communities. The Presbyterian minister Reverend William King created the Elgin Settlement, which contains the Buxton Mission. Following the death of his father-in-law, King acquired 14 slaves, to which he later added another before traveling north and freeing them all in the state of Ohio. King was resolved to establish a shelter for African-Americans who were entering Canada. On November 28, 1849, over the opposition of Edwin Larwill, a White radical, and other allies, King established the Elgin Settlement with the help of 15 slaves from the state of Ohio.
- The 360,000 acres of property in Raleigh Township were divided into 2,000 acre lots, which were acquired by new immigrants.
- A church and school building, as well as a post office, were constructed in the year 1850.
- Educating their children was extremely important to the settlers in Elgin, and their Buxton Mission School was significantly superior to the government-run schools.
- All were drawn to the university because of the high level of education provided.
- During the course of the settlement’s growth and development, the settlers overcame the antagonism and prejudice of their White neighbors.
- Education, hard effort, and imagination were all important factors in achieving liberation from slavery, just as they are today.
The Underground Railroad of 1812: Paths to freedom along the Canadian border (U.S. National Park Service)
This political cartoon parodies British efforts to destabilize the American slave economy, as shown by the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). A year before the events of 1807, Peter Denison, a slave in Detroit, Michigan, was indentured to Elijah Brush for a year, after which Brush awarded Denison his freedom. Brush, it appears, had done this action without the knowledge or consent of his owner, Catherine Tucker, who was there. Tucker expressed his displeasure with the emancipation and sought Denison’s return.
Catherine Tucker’s property, Judge Augustus Woodward ruled in the case.
Despite the fact that the Northwest Ordinance had prohibited slavery in the region after 1787, the territories that the British surrendered to the United States in 1796 were subject to a different interpretation, and Denison was considered to have remained a slave under the terms of the treaty.
Following the Chesapeake-Leopard incident in 1807, territorial governor William Hull granted Denison “a formal permission,” allowing him to establish a military unit comprised of free blacks and fugitive slaves in the Chesapeake region.
This group of men, according to Hull, had showed an unquestionable “connection to our government, as well as a resolve to help in the protection of our country.” A short time later, the situation that had forced Hull to turn to Denison and the city’s black population had passed, and the governor ordered that the militia be disbanded.
- Denison’s men had fled from bondage in Canada to the freedom of Michigan.
- Slavery had been abolished in Canada in 1793, but not all enslaved people were freed at once; the institution was phased out over time.
- Although there were a few enslaved persons living in Canada at the time of the War of 1812’s conclusion, Canadian law prevented the further entry of slavery.
- William Hull, the Territorial Governor of Michigan (NPSD) During the summer of 1812, Governor Hull gave commissions to Captain Denison, Lieutenant Ezra Burgess, and Ensign Bossett, all of whom were African-American men of color.
- Their services would soon be required when the United States declared war on Britain in June 1812, with Detroit serving as the first theater of action; Denison was believed to have been taken after Hull surrendered the city to British General Isaac Brock.
- John’s Church of England, which was located immediately east of Detroit and across the river.
- He, his wife, and his other children most certainly crossed the border into Canada, demonstrating how the route to freedom had altered considerably northward to include the freedom of Canada within a few short years.
Peter Denison, reportedly as a free man, took use of this chance to travel north to Canada, without a doubt.
Pathways to Freedom
The Underground Railroad was a route from slavery to freedom in the north. It is possible that travellers will be halted when they reach a free state such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Ohio, although this is rare. After 1850, the majority of enslaved individuals who managed to flee made it all the way to Canada. They needed to travel to Canada in order to ensure their own safety. The reason for this was because in 1850, the United States Congress approved a statute known as the Fugitive Slave Act, which prohibited the sale of slaves abroad.
- Church in Philadelphia served as a vital station on the Underground Railroad as the “passengers” made their way north to freedom during the American Revolution.
- The Fugitive Slave Act was passed as part of the agreement.
- Most persons who want to flee the United States walked all the way to Canada after 1850 since it was unsafe to remain in free states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and even Massachusetts.
- What routes did the Underground Railroad take across Maryland, and how did they differ from one another?
When describing a network of meeting spots, hidden routes, passages, and safehouses used by slaves in the United States to escape slave-holding states and seek refuge in northern states and Canada, the Underground Railroad was referred to as the Underground Railroad (UR). The underground railroad, which was established in the early 1800s and sponsored by persons active in the Abolitionist Movement, assisted thousands of slaves in their attempts to escape bondage. Between 1810 and 1850, it is estimated that 100,000 slaves escaped from bondage in the southern United States.
Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad
Aproximate year of birth: 1780
The beginnings of the American Civil War occurred around the year 1862.
Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.
Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. William Still is a well-known author and poet. Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. John Fairfield is a well-known author.
The Story of How Canada Became the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and a Spion is well documented.
The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad
Even before the nineteenth century, it appears that a mechanism to assist runaways existed. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with the assistance provided to one of his escaped slaves by “a organization of Quakers, founded for such purposes.” The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more officially known, were among the first abolitionist organizations to emerge. Their influence may have played a role in Pennsylvania becoming the first state to abolish slavery, which was home to a large number of Quakers.
In recognition of his contributions, Levi is often referred to as the “president of the Underground Railroad.” In Fountain City, Ohio, on Ohio’s western border, the eight-room Indiana home they bought and used as a “station” before they came to Cincinnati has been preserved and is now a National Historic Landmark.
“Eliza” was one of the slaves who hid within it, and her narrative served as the inspiration for the character of the same name in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name
Owen Brown, the father of radical abolitionist John Brown, was a member of the Underground Railroad in the state of New York during the Civil War. An unconfirmed narrative suggests that “Mammy Sally” designated the house where Abraham Lincoln’s future wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, grew up and served as a safe house where fugitives could receive food, but the account is doubtful. Routes of the Underground Railroad It was not until the early 1830s that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was first used.
Fugitives going by water or on genuine trains were occasionally provided with clothing so that they wouldn’t give themselves away by wearing their worn-out job attire.
Many of them continued on to Canada, where they could not be lawfully reclaimed by their rightful owners.
The slave or slaves were forced to flee from their masters, which was frequently done at night.
Conductors On The Railroad
A “conductor,” who pretended to be a slave, would sometimes accompany fugitives to a plantation in order to lead them on their journey. Harriet Tubman, a former slave who traveled to slave states 19 times and liberated more than 300 people, is one of the most well-known “conductors.” She used her shotgun to threaten death to any captives who lost heart and sought to return to slavery. The Underground Railroad’s operators faced their own set of risks as well. If someone living in the North was convicted of assisting fugitives in their escape, he or she could face fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which was a significant sum at the time; however, in areas where abolitionism was strong, the “secret” railroad was openly operated, and no one was arrested.
His position as the most significant commander of the Underground Railroad in and around Albany grew as time went on.
However, in previous times of American history, the phrase “vigilance committee” generally refers to citizen organizations that took the law into their own hands, prosecuting and hanging those suspected of crimes when there was no local government or when they considered the local authority was corrupt or weak.
White males who were found assisting slaves in their escape were subjected to heavier punishments than white women, but both were likely to face at the very least incarceration.
The most severe punishments, such as hundreds of lashing with a whip, burning, or hanging, were reserved for any blacks who were discovered in the process of assisting fugitive fugitives on the loose.
The Civil War On The Horizon
Events such as the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision compelled more anti-slavery activists to take an active part in the effort to liberate slaves in the United States. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Southern states began to secede in December 1860, putting an end to the Union’s hopes of achieving independence from the United States. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists warned against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law.
Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.
Even the Cleveland Leader, a Republican weekly that was traditionally anti-slavery and pro-the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the seas of our nation’s difficulties,” according to the newspaper.
In her honor, a Grand Jubilee was celebrated on May 6, 1863, in the city of Cleveland.
The Reverse Underground Railroad
A “reverse Underground Railroad” arose in the northern states surrounding the Ohio River during the Civil War. The black men and women of those states, whether or not they had previously been slaves, were occasionally kidnapped and concealed in homes, barns, and other structures until they could be transported to the South and sold as slaves.
“I moved from the United States to Canada in search of rights, freedom, and liberty. I relocated to Buxton in order to teach my children “307. —Henry Johnson (p. 307. The Refugee, or, The Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada) (Another View of Slavery from the North: The Refugee, or, The Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada) Image ID1159685 from the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections. Residents of Windsor, Ontario, who are refugees who have settled in the city Since its inception, the Underground Railroad has served as both a political flashpoint for debates about the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery and a source of considerable public interest.
As the subject of novels such as The House of DiesDrear(1968) and the more recent Christopher Paul Curtis novelElijah of Buxton(2007)—which won the Coretta Scott King Award (2008) and was named a Newbury Honor Book—the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement have continued to stir and provoke discussion—particularly in the classroom—in modern times (2008).
Numerous histories of the Underground Railroad come to a close at the border, whether it’s the Canadian border, the Mexican border, or any of the other numerous endpoint locations of this intangible ‘railroad.’ More than 40,000 runaway slaves made their way to Upper Canada alone, and many of them settled there.
In this section, you will find primary and secondary materials from the time period, including first-person and secondary perspectives.
In specifically, this collection of texts inquires into the following question: How did the differing national laws (British versus American) regulating slavery during and after the American Civil War effect the lives of runaway slaves in Canadian territory?
For example, the British Abolition Act of 1833 was the first step toward the abolition of slavery in British colonies, followed by the United States Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Treaty of London in 1852, and finally the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, which effectively brought about the abolition of slavery in the United States.
The historical fiction novelElijah of Buxton can be read by all pupils as a starting point (2007). Abridged synopsis: In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child born in Buxton, Canada, which was a haven for slaves fleeing the American south, uses his intelligence and skills to try and bring to justice a lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to purchase a family’s freedom from slavery in the United States. After reading this novel, ask students how they believe it connects to the real-life experiences of runaway slaves living in Canada, as well as how they believe the laws in effect at the time influenced the events in the story.
Once this is done, students may compare the events recorded inElijah of Buxtonand Elijah’s experiences with primary sources from the time period, such as
- Photographs of former slaves who are now residing in Ontario, Canada (including the photograph above of former slaves who are now residing in Windsor, Ontario)
- Original photographs of Harriet Tubman, ‘The Moses of Her People’
- Excerpts fromA North-side View of Slavery: A Documentary History of Slavery in the United States and Canada The Refugee, or, Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada is a collection of stories about fugitive slaves in Canada. What is the relationship between these first-person narratives and Elijah of Buxton? How do these stories relate to one another—did every former slave who was interviewed have a similar experience in Canada, for example? Also, this tale was specifically collected and distributed for abolitionist reasons (pp. 1-16 Introduction)
- Did this have an influence on the kind of narratives that were gathered? From the time period, a map of the North American subterranean railroad lines (Lexile 1080L) was created. Questions to ponder include: why are these routes being used? Is it true that the Underground Railroad followed highways and rivers? What was this map used for, perhaps to locate slavers? For train conductors, do you mean? The reason why this chart comes to a halt at the Canadian border is unclear. Political cartoon from the era in which it was created. Consider the following questions: how does the information in this cartoon correspond to the information on the maps above? Is it possible to tell what historical events took place during the year this political cartoon was published? Describe the circumstances under which you believe this cartoon was published.
Image ID1150352 from the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections, titled “Seize him, Seize him.”
As a final step, students can use secondary sources to provide context for both Elijah of Buxton and the primary sources from the historical period that they are currently studying in class.
- Map of all subterranean train routes from a secondary source, showing the various termination places on each route. Consider the following questions: how is this map different from the major source maps shown above? What role did slavery practices in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas play in the development of these trade routes? When was slavery abolished in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations? What did this signify for the areas under British control? (Image courtesy of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.) The secondary source, I Came as a Stranger: The Underground Railroad, is a good place to start. A sixth-generation resident of Buxton, Ontario wrote this book to chronicle the history of the Underground Railroad from a Canadian perspective, with an emphasis on Ontario
- It includes a time line and a listing of historic sites such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden, Ontario (the former home of Josiah Henson) to Harriet Tubman’s Canadian base of operations in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. The book is available on Amazon.com. Questions to ponder include: what does this secondary source tell us about the entire experience of slavery and the Underground Railroad, and how does it compare to other sources? What is the relationship between this information and its source and the first-person primary source narratives fromA North-side View of Slavery
- And Fleeing to Freedom on the Underground Railroad: The Courageous Slaves, Agents, and Conductors, by John F. Kennedy, is a secondary source. Elaine Landau is a writer and actress. One of the most important secondary sources on American slavery, this book covers the entire history of slavery in the United States, including vital information on important historical events such as the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act
- It also contains biographical information on conductors of the Underground Railroad. Several questions should be considered, including if this secondary source provides distinct information about the historical period. Is there any information in this source that a primary source does not provide?
I arrived as a complete stranger.
Common Core State Standards for this Texts and Task Unit:
Specific textual evidence should be cited to support the interpretation of primary and secondary sources. R.H.6-8.1 RH.6-8.6 Recognize features of a book that show the author’s point of view or intention (RH.6-8.6) Visual information should be integrated with other information in print and digital texts (RH.6-8.7 ). RH.6-8.9Develop an understanding of the link between a primary and secondary source on a same subject. WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments that are focused on content that is particular to the discipline.
Want to use these texts in the Classroom?
To support your study of primary and secondary sources, cite specific textual evidence from the sources themselves. Identification of textual elements that show an author’s point of view or aim (RH.6-8.6) Combine visual information with other information in print and digital texts (RH.6-8.7 ) to create a cohesive whole. A primary and secondary source on the same issue should be analyzed in connection to one another. WHST.6-8.1 Compose arguments that are focused on content that is particular to a discipline The Ability to Think Backward in Time: Students will be able to tell the difference between historical facts and historical interpretations after completing this unit.
Additional Resources for Further Reading
- Specific textual evidence should be cited to support the study of primary and secondary sources. Find parts of a book that reflect an author’s point of view or aim in RH.6-8.6 Visual information should be integrated with other information in print and digital texts. RH.6-8.7 RH.6-8.9Develop an understanding of the connection between a primary and secondary source on a same topic. WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments that are focused on content that is specialized to a certain field. Skills in Historical Analysis: Students will be able to distinguish between historical facts and historical interpretations.
Additional reading choices, lesson plans, and other educational materials can be added in the comments section below by submitting them.