What Was Kentucky’s Role In The Underground Railroad? (TOP 5 Tips)

Given the geography of American slavery, Kentucky became central to the Underground Railroad as the key border state in the trans-Appalachian west,—and the Ohio River became a veritable “River Jordan” for black freedom seekers.

Who all helped in the Underground Railroad?

8 Key Contributors to the Underground Railroad

  • Isaac Hopper. Abolitionist Isaac Hopper.
  • John Brown. Abolitionist John Brown, c.
  • Harriet Tubman.
  • Thomas Garrett.
  • William Still.
  • Levi Coffin.
  • Elijah Anderson.
  • Thaddeus Stevens.

When was slavery abolished in Kentucky?

In 1833, Kentucky passed a non-importation law that outlawed individuals from bringing slaves into the state for the purpose of selling them.

Where did slaves cross the Ohio River?

The Ross-Gowdy House in New Richmond is one of several Underground Railroad sites in Clermont County. For many enslaved people the Ohio River was more than a body of water. Crossing it was a huge step on the path to freedom.

Who was the most important person in the Underground Railroad?

HARRIET TUBMAN – The Best-Known Figure in UGR History Harriet Tubman is perhaps the best-known figure related to the underground railroad. She made by some accounts 19 or more rescue trips to the south and helped more than 300 people escape slavery.

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.

Did Kentucky have a lot of slaves?

In early Kentucky history, slavery was an integral part of the state’s economy, though the use of slavery varied widely in a geographically diverse state. From 1790 to 1860, the slave population of Kentucky was never more than one -quarter of the total population.

Why did Kentucky secede?

In response to the Unionists’ growing political power, the state’s Southern sympathizers formed a rival Confederate government. On November 18, 200 delegates passed an Ordinance of Secession and established Confederate Kentucky; the following December it was admitted to the Confederacy as a 13th state.

Was KY a Confederate state?

Confederate Kentucky was admitted into the Confederate States of America on December 10, 1861. The provisional government in Bowling Green lasted a mere three months as Confederate forces, along with Governor Johnson, retreated to Tennessee in February 1862.

Which state has the most underground railroads?

Although there were Underground Railroad networks throughout the country, even in the South, Ohio had the most active network of any other state with around 3000 miles of routes used by escaping runaways.

Did Ohio ever have slavery?

Although slavery was illegal in Ohio, a number of people still opposed the ending of slavery. Many of these people also were opposed to the Underground Railroad. Some people attacked conductors on the Underground Railroad or returned fugitives from slavery to their owners in hopes of collecting rewards.

Was there ever a real Underground Railroad?

Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.

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.

Who ended slavery?

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” effective January 1, 1863. It was not until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1865, that slavery was formally abolished ( here ).

What role did the Quakers play in the Underground Railroad?

The Quaker campaign to end slavery can be traced back to the late 1600s, and many played a pivotal role in the Underground Railroad. In 1776, Quakers were prohibited from owning slaves, and 14 years later they petitioned the U.S. Congress for the abolition of slavery.

The roles Kentucky and Indiana played in the Underground Railroad

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The city of Louisville is preparing to host the World Cup. During the years leading up to the American Civil War, the Underground Railroad was built on the foundations of trust and cooperation among those involved. Kentucky was the final state that slaves needed to pass through on their way to freedom via the Underground Railroad’s northern path. To go to freedom, all they had to do was cross the Ohio River and meet those on the other side who could assist them in their escape.

“As you can imagine, the Ohio formed the Mason Dixon Line,” said Al Gorman, Coordinator of Public Programs and Engagement at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany.

“It was a very, very stressful environment, even for people of color who were free,” Gorman recalled of the situation.

The bustling beaches of the Ohio River in the slave state of Kentucky were teeming with the movement of commodities up and down the river from one point to another.

  • Center, was one of the two locations.
  • Mathew Garrison, a Kentucky slave trader, would keep captives in a prison before shipping them to slave markets in the southern United States of America.
  • We didn’t require an enslaved workforce in agriculture, unlike other parts of the southern United States where crops that required more labor, such as sugar cane and cotton, were grown.
  • It implied a difficult existence till death.
  • Those fleeing from their masters to safe havens were transported by the railroad, which was made up of individuals and places known as stations.
  • “They had access to vehicles that allowed individuals to vanish in a variety of ways,” he said, bursting into laughter.
  • A smirk appeared on Gorman’s face as he explained that the incident was “very much an open secret” in New Albany.

Slaves maneuvered their way through a maze of safe havens and a network of safe persons in order to escape capture. WAVE 3 News has ownership of the copyright until 2021. All intellectual property rights are retained.

Underground Railroad Stop

This is a narrative about survival, about overcoming adversity and about finding strength in one’s own abilities. Kentucky was the final state that enslaved peoples needed to travel through on their way to liberation via the Underground Railroad’s northern path. A concealed “station” on the Underground Railroad was placed in Lexington’s St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church on North Upper Street, which was built in the early 1800s. It was first installed in 1850 and is still in use today.

  1. St.
  2. A single window and unpainted wood flooring complement the stark plaster walls and unpolished wood floors of this six-by-ten-foot studio apartment.
  3. “It is an incredible responsibility to be not just the hallowed custodians of the space, but also the proclaimers of keeping history alive,” says Hale of his position.
  4. Slavery cannot be reduced to a single chapter of a book.
  5. Paul AME Church is regarded to be the city’s oldest continuously-used institution of worship, according to local historians.
  6. In 1885, prominent black Kentuckians gathered in the church to debate, draft, and ultimately accept a resolution requesting improved public schools as well as the establishment of a school for educating African-American teachers.
  7. Proctor Knott signed a measure calling for the establishment of the teachers’ school, which is now known as Kentucky State University in Frankfort and serves the surrounding area.
  8. While sitting in the seats, he would think of the slaves who had been held captive in the room above him more than a century before, waiting in silence to the sound of their breath and the pounding of their hearts.
  9. Paul AME Church, located at 251 North Upper Street in New Orleans.
  10. The Ernie Pyle Hall at Indiana University Bloomington, where I attended journalism school, is where I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky.
  11. One of my recurring themes appears to be writing about circumstances in which there is a significant amount of money at risk.

I make it a point to immerse myself in realms that haven’t been reported on. I work in a variety of forms, including print, public radio, the web, and video. In addition, I write and consult with corporations and charitable organizations.

Aboard the Underground Railroad- Rush R. Sloane House

Camp Nelson was a large Unionquartermaster and commissary depot, recruitment and training center, andhospital facility located in southern Jessamine County, Kentucky, six milessouth of Nicholasville. Camp Nelson is the nation’s best preserved large CivilWar depot, hospital, and recruitment and refugee camp because of its landscapeand archeological deposits. Camp Nelson played an importantrole in the freedom of Kentucky’s enslaved population. It served asa Union depot within a slave-holding but Union-leaning state, and as arecruitment and refugee camp for formerly enslaved African Americans. AfterMarch 1864 it became Kentucky’s largest recruitment and training center forAfrican American troops. It also contained a large refugee camp for the wivesand children of these soldiers. The camp was established in June 1863, underorders of Major General Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Army of the Ohio,and it stood until June 1866. Historic maps, archeological investigations,photographs and detailed descriptions provide an idea of the appearance of thecamp.Camp Nelson’s significance as anUnderground Railroad site began with the Conscription Act of February 1864which authorized the creation of United States Colored Troops in Kentucky. Soonafter, thousands of enslaved men, women, and children escaped slavery andsought freedom in this Union enlistment camp. By the end of 1865, when the 13thAmendment finally ended slavery in Kentucky, 10,000 African American men hadenlisted and been emancipated at Camp Nelson.Unfortunately for the soldiers’ wives and children, emancipation did not come immediately upon their husband or father’s enlistment. They were still legally enslaved and in November 1864 theywere ejected from camp. Due to freezing weather about 100 of the 400 refugeewomen and children died after this ejection and a national uproar occurred.This uproar led to a reversal in the army’s policy and the construction of the”Home for Colored Refugees” at Camp Nelson. Ultimately, it led to the March1865 Congressional act freeing the wives, children, and mothers of UnitedStates colored troops. To many African Americans Camp Nelson was synonymouswith freedom, as a United States Colored Troops sergeant stated in 1865: “Itused to be five hundred miles to get to Canada from Lexington, but now it’s only eighteen miles! Camp Nelson is now our Canada.” Camp Nelson is now Camp Nelson Heritage Park whichis located at6614 Danville Road,Nicholasville, Kentucky. For information call (859) 881-5716. The park is openTuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm and there is no admission fee.There are over five miles of trails to explore atCamp Nelson, while learning about the significant role Camp Nelson played inthe Civil War.Previous|List of Sites|Home|Next

1847 Kentucky Raid

“The Kentucky Raid” is a historical novel about a group of people who go on a scavenger hunt in Kentucky (From History of Cass County from 1825 to 1875 – by Howard S. Rogers 1875) The South Bend Fugitive Slave Trial was held in South Bend, Indiana. A fugitive slave trial was held in South Bend, Indiana, in 1848, two years after the Cass County Kentucky Raid of 1847. There were a lot of the same gamers participated in both attacks, rescuing their friends and neighbors from danger. This raid, which also resulted in a favorable judgment in favor of the freedom seekers, served as a catalyst for the passage of the 1850 strengthened Fugitive Slave Law.

  • Helen Hibberd Windle of South Bend, Indiana, compiled the list.
  • Local artist Ruth Andrews came up with the concept for the mural, which was painted by Ruth and a large number of volunteers throughout the summer 2010 and launched it in October 2010.
  • The opening panel depicts a group of freedom seekers attempting to cross the Ohio River.
  • The third depicts a group of Quakers and other abolitionists facing slave catchers and their nine prisoners at O’Dells Mill in Vandalia, Illinois, with the intention of settling the matter in court.
  • The nine abducted slaves, as well as thirty others, were able to escape through the Underground Railroad to Schoolcraft, Battle Creek, and eventually Canada.
  • “The Kentucky Raid” is a historical novel about a group of people who go on a scavenger hunt in Kentucky.
  • Wright Modlin of Williamsville and William Holman Jones of Calvin Township were local slaverunners who traveled to Bourbon County, Kentucky, and brought enslaved men and women back to Cass County.
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They believed their slaves were hiding among the Quakers in Cass County, and they hoped to regain them by rescuing them.

They divided into smaller groups and traveled to a number of Quaker estates, including the Bogue, East, Osborn, and Shugart holdings, where they apprehended nine fugitives and seized their property.

At O’Dells Mill in Vandalia, a dispute erupted, and the Kentuckians displayed firearms in the process.

In spite of the fact that they were outnumbered, and in light of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, they consented to travel to Cassopolis and stand trial.

The Kentuckians were had to post a bail in order to avoid being arrested.

Eventually, the trial resumed.

During the course of the trial, allegations were brought against the Kentuckians by Quakers, free blacks, and fugitives.

The UGRR, which carried the released hostages as well as thirty-four other fugitives, set off for Canada.

There was a lot of pressure on the Southern states to enact a more strict Fugitive Slave Law, which was approved by Congress in 1850, making it much more perilous to be a freedom seeker or to house one.

Nicholson, William Jones, and Commissioner Ebenezer Mcllvain-filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Detroit seeking the ‘value of their property.’ The case was settled out of court.

In 1854, he assisted in the formation of the Republican (anti-slavery) Party, and while serving as a United States Senator during the American Civil War, he drafted the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.

Nicholson, a conclusion that did not sit well with the Quakers, particularly Stephen Bogue.

Nicholson, on the other hand, agreed to pay all court expenses, which totaled more than $2000.

Once again, the Kentuckians received little in return for their efforts.

The failure of these measures to defuse tensions between the North and the South over slavery ultimately resulted in the American Civil War.

Courtnee Anderson contributed to this article.

Also included is an account of a second “Kentucky Raid” trial that took place in South Bend, Indiana, but that had freedom seekers and inhabitants of Cass County as participants. The Underground Railroad Society of Cass County, Michigan is a non-profit organization. urscc.org

A look at McCracken County’s involvement in the Underground Railroad

PADUCAH, TEXAS — Thursday’s talk at the McCracken County Library was primarily concerned with the role that west-central Kentucky played in the Underground Railroad movement. In her book The Underground Railroad, Alicestyne Turley Ph.D. describes the Underground Railroad as “America’s first civil rights campaign.” Getting enslaved people out of slavery, she claims, was impossible without the help of rivers. Alicestyne Turley, Ph.D. is a doctoral candidate. According to Turley, “many of them were African-Americans who moved slaves from one location to another.” In western Kentucky, where you have the Green River, Cumberland River, Tennessee River, and the Ohio River, all of these crucial convergent sites that were carrying individuals from the South to freedom, is where it all began.

  1. “There isn’t a lot of Civil War history in southern California, so this is really exciting,” Simila expressed excitement about the exhibit.
  2. It is her hope that the audience would go beyond the presentation and look more deeply into the history she is teaching them about.
  3. Simila wishes for everyone to be interested in the history of the place.
  4. Turley wants Kentucky as a whole to embrace the heritage of the Underground Railroad, and he wants McCracken County in particular to do so.

Underground Railroad in Oldham, KY

Dr. Afua Cooper is a medical doctor that practices in the United States. Speaking to the gathering during the dedication of the J. C. Barnett LibraryArchives at the Oldham County History Center to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, he said, “I’m proud to be a part of this movement.” Dr. Cooper holds the James Robinson Johnston Chair for Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he has worked for the past decade. Her doctoral research focused on the life and achievements of Henry Bibb to the abolitionist struggle throughout the nineteenth century.

  1. Abolitionist Henry Bibb (1815-1854) suffered and conquered slavery to become the first black editor of a newspaper in Canada, becoming the country’s first black editor.
  2. Bibb has already been recognized as a famous and significant historical figure in Canada.
  3. His father was white, yet it was not known who he was in a certain sense.
  4. He escaped from slavery for the first time in 1842, a year in which he had been wishing for it.
  5. The Oldham County History Center museum hosts his display, which may be seen and experienced there.
  6. Historic archaeological research have been place at the Bibb Escapes/Gatewood Plantation site since 2005, according to the Oldham County Historical Society.
  7. Gatewood, and this was his final escape from Kentucky before he, his wife, and daughter were brought to theLouisville slave cells and subsequently sold to the New Orleans slave market by slave trader William Garrison.
  8. Over 400 individuals have taken part in archaeology studies at the Gatewood site, which is privately owned and sponsored by the Oldham County History Center.
  9. Jeannine Kreinbrink has served as the project’s main archaeologist, overseeing the ongoing studies.
  10. The J.C.
  11. At the Archives building, you’ll find a substantial collection of papers, genealogical records, pictures, a family name database, and a library with publications about regional and local history, including comprehensive family files.

The Archives building was originally owned by James Mount (March 15, 1796-October 17, 1864, son of John Mount and Lydia Jennings) and Amanda Malvina Railey Mount (March 15, 1796-October 17, 1864, daughter of John Mount and Lydia Jennings) (July 22, 1810-January 12, 1888, daughter of John Railey and Elizabeth Randolph).

  • Mount, sent letters to his aunt and uncle during the Civil War, in which he chronicled his experiences as a Union soldier in Company B of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry U.S.
  • Following the death of Amos’ father, James Mount was designated as Amos’ legal guardian by the court.
  • It was at this house that Peyton Samuel Head, benefactor of the history center, lived until he refurbished the house next door (which is now the museum) and made it the family’s permanent residence.
  • It was notable for having a three-door frontage on the street.
  • She had a strong desire to assist Freedom Seekers who were seeking a better life, even if it meant putting her own life in danger.
  • She and Rev.
  • The Haydens were successful in their scheme, but Delia and Fairbank were apprehended and convicted separately.
  • As a result of Delia’s conviction for “slave snatching,” she was sentenced to two years of hard labor in the state penitentiary.

However, this did not prevent her from assisting Freedom Seekers once she was released from prison. At the Oldham County History Center, re-enactments of historical events are held on occasion.

Underground Railroad

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.

Quaker Abolitionists

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.

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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

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.

Frederick Douglass

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?

The vast majority of Underground Railroad operators were regular individuals, including farmers and business owners, as well as preachers and religious leaders. Some affluent individuals were active, including Gerrit Smith, a billionaire who stood for president on two separate occasions. Smith acquired a full family of enslaved people from Kentucky in 1841 and freed them from their captivity. Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina, is credited with being one of the first recorded individuals to assist escaped enslaved persons.

Coffin stated that he had discovered their hiding spots and had sought them out in order to assist them in moving forward.

Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.

John Brown

Abolitionist John Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was at this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, which was dedicated to assisting fleeing enslaved individuals in their journey to Canada. Abolitionist John Brown would go on to play a variety of roles during his life. His most well-known duty was conducting an assault on Harper’s Ferry in order to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people at gunpoint. Ultimately, Brown’s forces were beaten, and he was executed for treason in 1859.

  • The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two were jailed for assisting an escaped enslaved lady and her young daughter.
  • Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
  • After being apprehended in 1844 while transporting a boatload of freed slaves from the Caribbean to the United States, Massachusetts sea captain Jonathan Walker was sentenced to prison for life.
  • John Fairfield of Virginia turned down the opportunity to assist in the rescue of enslaved individuals who had been left behind by their families as they made their way north.
  • He managed to elude capture twice.

End of the Line

Operation of the Underground Railroad came to an end in 1863, during the American Civil War. In actuality, its work was shifted aboveground as part of the Union’s overall campaign against the Confederate States of America. Once again, Harriet Tubman made a crucial contribution by organizing intelligence operations and serving as a commanding officer in Union Army efforts to rescue the liberated enslaved people who had been freed.

MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.


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.

Women of the Underground Railroad featured in Kentucky exhibit

Delia Ann Webster aided the family’s escape from slavery in Lexington by crossing the Ohio River at Maysville with a little slave child hiding beneath the seat of her carriage and his slave parents, who were covered in flour, riding above her. Webster is one of a large number of women, both black and white, who performed crucial but often overlooked roles in the Underground Railroad, safeguarding Southern slaves and guiding many of them to the promise of freedom in the North. W.T. Young Library’s Warriors in the Shadows: Women of the Underground Railroad exhibit, which runs through March, depicts some of their tales, including Webster’s.

  • In Wilkinson’s words, “This is really significant to me because I respected those women for their great battling spirit.” “This is a topic that isn’t discussed often in the media.
  • Her leadership of hundreds of slaves north continued despite a horrific head wound she received at the hands of an overseer that resulted in seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes.
  • Women like Webster, who was arrested in Lexington following the 1844 journey to Maysville and subsequently convicted and sentenced to two years in jail, are less well-known.
  • In 1852, she purchased a farm in Trimble County, Indiana, which was located across the Ohio River from Madison, Indiana.
  • Her life was threatened by mobs on more than one time, and she was arrested and imprisoned once more.
  • A judge in Indiana, where she had taken refuge, declined to extradite her back to Kentucky to face justice for her crimes.
  • The show also includes a portrait of Lucretia Coffin Mott, a Quaker minister who was so opposed to slavery that she boycotted all things made with slave labor in the 1830s, according to the museum.

The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society was created by her in 1833, and she led a team of female anti-slavery activists to the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, England, where women were not permitted to participate due to their gender discrimination.

And then there’s Ellen Craft, the enslaved daughter of a biracial slave and their white owner, who is a significant character in the story.

Craft was presented to the mistress’ daughter as a wedding gift when she was 11 years old.

It was in 1848 that they came up with a plan of escape that needed Ellen to disguise as a white guy with an injured arm that prevented him from writing and bandages around his mouth that prevented him from speaking.

It was successful.

Both were quickly highlighted in public lectures given by abolitionists who were attempting to raise public awareness of the abolitionist cause.

With three of their children, they emigrated to the United States in 1868 and established an agricultural school in Georgia for freed slaves.

Morlan Gallery at Transylvania University, as well as Georgetown College, have both hosted exhibitions of the work.

People active in the Underground Railroad were referred to as “warriors” by Wilkinson because they had discovered a new method to fight, and she added the word “shadows” since much of their activity was carried out in secret.

The original version of this story was published on February 28, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.

History of slavery in Kentucky – Wikipedia

Slavery in Kentucky has a long and illustrious history that extends back to the earliest permanent European colonies in the state and continues to the present day. Kentucky was classed as either the Upper South or a border state, and enslaved African Americans accounted for 24 percent of the population by 1830, but that figure had dropped to 19.5 percent by 1860, just before the Civil War began. It is estimated that the vast majority of enslaved people lived in Kentucky’s cities of Louisville and Lexington, in the rich Bluegrass Region and the Jackson Purchase, which were both the state’s most important hemp and tobacco-producing districts.

In the hilly regions of eastern and southeastern Kentucky, slavery was practiced by a small number of individuals.

Given Kentucky’s geographic location on the frontier, sandwiched between free states to the north and fellowslave-owning states to the south, and the presence of both independent, hardscrabble white farming families and plantations like those of the deep south, the state had economic ties to slavery as well as engagement with northern free state industrialism and western frontier ideals.

Pre-Civil War Kentuckians were divided on the topic of slavery because of competing pressures from northern commercial contacts, westward expansion, and intrinsic support for slavery and southern-style plantations.


For many years before the American Revolution, Kentucky served as Virginia’s far-western frontier, where slavery and indentured servitude had a lengthy history. Slavery played an important role in the economy of Kentucky throughout its early history, while the extent to which slavery was practiced varied greatly across the state’s geographically diversified landscape. From 1790 through 1860, the slave population of Kentucky never exceeded one-quarter of the state’s total population of 4.6 million people.

  • It was profitable for slave owners to send the persons they enslaved to the deep south, and between 1830 and 1860, nearly 80,000 abducted Africans were sent southward by slave ships.
  • Slave ownership was significantly less common in less populous mountainous portions of Kentucky with independent farmers than it was in more crowded places.
  • 5 percent of slave owners had 100 or more slaves, according to the data.
  • Lexington served as a focal point for the slave trade in the state of Kentucky.
  • Kentucky slavery was characterized by fluctuating markets, seasonal requirements, and geographical conditions that were greatly varied.
  • Later, when permanent settlers began coming in Kentucky in the late 1770s, and particularly after the American Revolution, some of these pioneers took slaves with them to clear and develop the land.
  • The majority of the early immigrants were from Virginia, and some of them relied on slave labor as they expanded their plantations to become larger and more permanent.
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The practice of subsistence agriculture could be carried out without the need of slave labor, while some subsistence farmers did keep a small number of slaves with whom they would collaborate.

Due to the fact that early Kentucky plantations were smaller than the later plantation complexes that were popular in the Deep South, the majority of slaveholders had a limited number of slaves.

African American males were frequently forced to live separate from their wives and children.

This was a prevalent practice in the upper southern United States.

Kentucky was home to a number of tiny but prominent free black hamlets scattered throughout the territory.

Among the slaveholders were free black people; in 1830, this group owned slaves in 29 of Kentucky’s counties, according to the Kentucky Historical Society.

Following Nat Turner’s slave insurrection in 1831, the government enacted further limits againstmanumission, requiring acts of the legislature before a slave could be released from slavery.

During the period 1850 to 1860, 16 percent of enslaved African Americans were sold out of state, as part of the forced relocation to the Deep South of more than a million African Americans before to the Civil War.

In Kentucky, there was a surplus of slaves as a result of reduced labor requirements resulting from changes in local agriculture, as well as significant out-migration of white people from the state.

As part of a forced migration, the bigger slave-holding families brought slaves with them. This was one type of forced migration. The combination of these circumstances resulted in higher instability for enslaved families in Kentucky than in other parts of the country.

Fugitive slaves

The fact that Kentucky was only separated from free states by the Ohio River made escaping to freedom relatively simple for an enslaved individual from the state of Kentucky. Henry Bibb, Lewis Clarke, Margaret Garner, Lewis Hayden, and Josiah Henson were all notable fugitives from Kentucky, as were others. This was the path used by James Bradley, who had previously been slaves, to lawfully flee Kentucky. In August 1848, a group of 55 to 75 armed slaves fled from Fayette County and the surrounding territories in what is widely regarded as one of the most organized slave escape attempts in the history of the United States.

Doyle was later arrested and charged with felony slavery.

Desha (1812-1885) of Harrison County.

The slaves were eventually restored to their masters, while Doyle was sentenced to 20 years in a state penitentiary by the Fayette Circuit Court.


When Presbyterian clergyman David Rice successfully fought for the inclusion of a slavery prohibition in both of the state’s first two constitutions, which were written in 1792 and 1799, the abolition movement gained momentum in the state by the early 1800s. In 1808, Baptist preachers David Barrow and Carter Tarrant created the Kentucky Abolition Society with the help of other Baptist ministers. By 1822, it had begun publishing one of the earliest anti-slavery magazines in the United States. From the 1820s onward, conservative emancipation, which advocated for gradually liberating slaves and helping them in their return to Africa, as recommended by the American Colonization Society, acquired significant support in the state.

In 1845, a mob action resulted in the closure of his publication.


When Presbyterian clergyman David Rice successfully fought for the inclusion of a slavery prohibition in both of the state’s first two constitutions, which were written in 1792 and 1799, the abolition movement gained momentum in the state by the early 1890s. The Kentucky Abolition Society was founded in 1808 by Baptist pastors David Barrow and Carter Tarrant. When it originally started publishing in 1822, it was one of the earliest anti-slavery newspapers in the United States. From the 1820s onward, conservative emancipation, which advocated for gradually liberating the slaves and helping them in their return to Africa, as recommended by the American Colonization Society, acquired significant support in the state.

Cassius Marcellus Clay was a staunch supporter of this viewpoint in the past. In 1845, a mob movement forced the closure of his journal. For three years, from 1847 to 1849, the anti-slaveryLouisville Examiner was published with great popularity.

Civil War

Kentucky did not abolish slavery during the Civil War, unlike the neighboring states of Maryland and Missouri, which did so during the conflict. During the war, however, more than 70% of slaves in Kentucky were either emancipated or managed to flee to Union lines. Slavery was brought to its knees as a result of the battle. Enslaved people rapidly discovered that the Union army was the source of their authority and security. When Union military lines advanced into territory previously held by the Confederates, slaveholders frequently fled, abandoning their property and enslaved people in the wake of the advance.

Slaveowners’ ability to govern slaves was weakened as a result of the conflict.

When their requests were refused, these people frequently fled servitude.

By the end of the war, Kentucky had enlisted 23,703 African-Americans in the federal military.

The proposal was defeated.

The slaveholders in Kentucky maintained their belief that slavery would continue to exist after the Civil War ended and the Confederacy was defeated.

Slavery was officially abolished in the United States on December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified and became part of the Constitution.

See also

  • Kentucky’s history
  • Kentucky’s participation in the American Civil War
  • Louisville’s participation in the American Civil War
  • The Filson Historical Society


  1. Abcde”Kentucky and the Question of Slavery Source” (Kentucky and the Question of Slavery Source), retrieved on 2008-08-25
  2. Abcde”Kentucky and the Question of Slavery Source”, retrieved on 2008-08-25. Shockley, Jenn (2021-08-25)
  3. Retrieved2021-08-25
  4. (2016-07-06). It has been said that “this square in Kentucky has a dark and evil history that will never be forgotten.” OnlyInYourState. retrieved on 2008-08-25
  5. Retrieved on 2008-08-25
  6. Retrieved on 2008-08-25 Tony Curtis, “Understanding the Complexities of Slavery in Kentucky | CivilWarGovernors.org,” CivilWarGovernors.org, accessed April 25, 2019. abNotable Kentucky African Americans Database: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870, University of Kentucky, accessed 2 December 2013
  7. Abcd” “The Great Slave Escape of 1848 Ended in Bracken County” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database”. abcd” “The Great Slave Escape of 1848 Ended in Bracken County” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database”. nkaa.uky.edu. Retrieved on 2012-02-25
  8. Nkaa.uky.edu. John E. Leming, Jr. is a professor of biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (June 2000). “In Bracken County, the Great Slave Escape of 1848 came to an end.” The Kentucky Explorer
  9. AbAptheker, Herbert
  10. The Kentucky Explorer (1983). American Slave Revolts Against the Negroes. The Slave Trade in the Cities: The South, 1820-1860, New York, NY: International Publishers, p. 338. ISBN 978-0-7178-0605-8
  11. “Slavery in Kentucky: A Civil War Casualty,” Lowell H. Harrison’s article from 1983. This article appeared in The Kentucky Review (Fall ed.) 5(1): 39
  12. “Not Even Past: Social Vulnerability and the Legacy of Redlining.” Lowell Harrison’s dsl.richmond.edu was accessed on 2008-08-25
  13. Vorenberg’s Final Freedom (2001), p. 217
  14. Vorenberg’s Final Freedom (2001)
  15. An Introduction to the State of Kentucky by James C. Klotter
  16. ISBN 9780813126210
  17. Page 180 in A New History of Kentucky
  18. University Press of Kentucky, 1997.


  • J. Winston Coleman is a writer who lives in the United States (1940). Slavery Times in Kentucky
  • Harrison, Lowell H. Slavery Times in Kentucky
  • Harrison, Lowell H. (1978). The Antislavery Movement in Kentucky
  • Lowell Hayes Harrison and James C. Klotter, The Antislavery Movement in Kentucky A New History of Kentucky, Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1997
  • “Memories of Slavery Days in Kentucky,” in A New History of Kentucky (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1997). Filson Club History Quarterly: 242–57, July 1973
  • Vorenberg, Michael. Filson Club History Quarterly: 242–57, July 1973
  • Vorenberg, Michael. The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment: The Final Steps Toward Freedom ISBN 9781139428002
  • Published by Cambridge University Press in 2001.

Further reading

  • Kentucky Slave Narratives, Federal Writers’ Project, 1936–1938, American Memory, Library of Congress
  • Coleman, J. Winston, Kentucky Slave Narratives, Federal Writers’ Project, 1936–1938, American Memory, Library of Congress (July 1943). “Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbank, Underground Railroad Agents” is the title of this article. Filson Club History Quarterly, Volume 17, Number 17. (3). The original version of this article was archived on 2012-05-02. Retrieved2011-12-06
  • E. Merton Coulter is the author of this work (1926). Kentucky’s Civil War and Post-Civil War Reconstruction. Griffler, Keith P. (University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8446-1131-X)
  • University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8446-1131-X
  • Griffler, Keith P. (2004). Front Lines of Freedom: African Americans and the Construction of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley is a book about the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley. University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-2298-8
  • Howard, Victor B. University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-2298-8
  • Howard, Victor B. (1983). Black Liberation in Kentucky: Emancipation and Freedom, 1862-1884 is a book on the history of black liberation in Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-1433-0
  • Lucas, Marion B. University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-1433-0
  • (2003). A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, is available on the internet. Morris, Thomas D., University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-916968-32-4
  • University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-916968-32-4
  • Morris, Thomas D. (1996). South Carolina Slavery and the Law: 1619-1860 Runyon, Randolph Paul (University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8078-4817-4)
  • University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8078-4817-4
  • (1996). Delia Webster and the Underground Railroad are two of the most well-known historical figures. Tallant, Harold D., University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-0974-4
  • University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-0974-4
  • Tallant, Harold D. (2003). Slavery and Political Culture in Antebellum Kentucky: The Evil Necessity of Slavery and Political Culture in Antebellum Kentucky University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-2252-X
  • University Press of Kentucky, ISBN 0-8131-2252-X

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