Ohio served as the northern “trunk line” of the Underground Railroad, a system of secret routes used by free people in the North & South to help slaves escape to freedom. Escape routes developed throughout Ohio with safe houses where slaves could be concealed during the day.
What is the significance of the Underground Railroad in Ohio?
- Ohio served as the northern “trunk line” of the Underground Railroad, a system of secret routes used by free people in the North South to help slaves escape to freedom. Escape routes developed throughout Ohio with safe houses where slaves could be concealed during the day.
How was Ohio an important part of the Underground Railroad?
Ohio played a major role in leading escaped slaves from lives of captivity to their dreams of freedom. Canal systems, such as the Miami and Erie Canal completed in 1845, as well as motorized rail systems and freight trains gave slaves and their conductors options for escape.
Did the Underground Railroad go through Ohio?
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. First Ohio was bordered by 2 slave states: Virginia and Kentucky.
What was Ohio’s role in slavery?
Ohio prohibited slavery, but only in the sense that no one could buy or sell slaves within the state. Not until 1841 did Ohio enact a law so that any slave brought into the state automatically became free. Before then, Southern slave owners regularly visited Ohio and especially Cincinnati accompanied by slaves.
Why did slaves go to the Ohio River?
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. Serving as natural border between free and slave states, individuals opposed to slavery set up a network of safe houses to assist escaped slaves seeking freedom.
How many Underground Railroad stops in Ohio?
According to research done by the Friends of Freedom Society, there are well over 20 documented Underground Railroad sites in Columbus, but since many of those are private homes, the addresses have not been made public.
Was there any slavery in Ohio?
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 Wooster Ohio part of the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was active in Wayne County, Ohio. Some places include Fredericksburg, Shreve, Millbrook, Wooster, Marshallville, Orrville, Smithville, and East Union. They went through Holmesville, Fredericksburg, Apple Creek, East Union, Smithville, and further north to Seville and Medina.
Was Ohio a Union or Confederate state?
The Union included the states of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, California, Nevada, and Oregon. Abraham Lincoln was their President.
What state ended slavery first?
In 1780, Pennsylvania became the first state to abolish slavery when it adopted a statute that provided for the freedom of every slave born after its enactment (once that individual reached the age of majority). Massachusetts was the first to abolish slavery outright, doing so by judicial decree in 1783.
Underground Railroad – Ohio History Central
According to Ohio History Central This snapshot depicts the “Freedom Stairway,” which consists of one hundred stairs going from the Ohio River to the John Rankin House in Ripley, which served as a station on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Presbyterian clergyman and educator John Rankin (1793-1886) spent most of his time working for the abolitionist anti-slavery struggle. The home features various secret rooms, some of which were used to hide freedom fighters. An illuminated sign was erected in front of the home to signal that it was safe for anyone seeking freedom to approach it.
An underground railroad system of safe homes and hiding places that assisted freedom seekers on their journeys to freedom in Canada, Mexico, and other countries outside of the United States was known as the Underground Railroad (UR).
Although it is unknown when the Underground Railroad had its start, members of the Society of Friends, often known as the Quakers, were actively supporting freedom seekers as early as the 1780s, according to historical records.
As early as the late 1700s, slavery was outlawed in the vast majority of Northern states.
- African Americans were forced to flee the United States in order to genuinely achieve their freedom.
- Despite the fact that slavery was outlawed in Ohio, some individuals were still opposed to the abolition of the institution.
- Many of these individuals were adamantly opposed to the Underground Railroad.
- Other people attempted to restore freedom seekers to their rightful owners in the aim of receiving prizes for their efforts.
- Over three thousand slaves were rescued from their captors and granted freedom in Canada thanks to the efforts of Levi Coffin, a Cincinnati man who lived in the late 1840s and early 1850s.
- His house was perched on a three hundred-foot-high hill with a panoramic view of the Ohio River.
- He gave the freedom seekers with sanctuary and kept them hidden until it was safe for them to proceed farther north in their quest for independence.
These individuals, as well as a large number of others, put their lives in danger to aid African Americans in their journey to freedom.
They typically chose to live in communities where there were other African Americans.
A total of eight communities along the Lake Erie shoreline served as embarkation locations for the freedom seekers’ journey to Canada, including Ashtabula, Painesville, Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo, Huron, Lorain, Conneaut, and Conneaut.
It is still unknown exactly how the Underground Railroad came to be known by that moniker.
In 1831, a freedom seeker called Tice Davids fled from his slave owners in Kentucky, where he had been held since birth.
Davids had arrived at the coast only a few minutes before him. Following the arrival of his boat, the holder was unable to locate Davids and concluded that he “must have gone off on a subterranean path.”
- “The Hippocrene Guide to the Underground Railroad,” by Charles L. Blockson, et al. Hippocrene Books, New York, NY, 1994
- Levi Coffin, Hippocrene Books, New York, NY, 1994. Levi Coffin’s recollections of his time as the rumored President of the Underground Railroad. Arno Press, New York, NY, 1968
- Dee, Christine, ed., Ohio’s War: The Civil War in Documents, New York, NY, 1968. Ohio: A Four-Volume Reference Library on the History of a Great State (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007)
- Fess, Simeon D., ed. Ohio: A Four-Volume Reference Library on the History of a Great State (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007). Gara, Larry, and Lewis Publishing Company, 1937
- Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company. The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad is a documentary film about the Underground Railroad. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1961
- Ann Hagedorn, ed., Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1961. Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad is a book about the heroes of the Underground Railroad. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002
- Roseboom, Eugene H. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002
- The period from 1850 to 1873 is known as the Civil War Era. The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom (Columbus, OH: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944)
- Siebert, Wibur H. “The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom.” RussellRussell, New York, 1898
- Siebert, Wilbur Henry, New York, 1898. Ohio was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Lesick, Lawrence Thomas
- Arthur W. McGraw, 1993
- McGraw, Arthur W. The Lane Rebels: Evangelicalism and Antislavery in Antebellum America is a book about the Lane family who were antislavery activists in the antebellum era. Roland M. Baumann’s book, The Scarecrow Press, was published in 1980 in Metuchen, NJ. The Rescue of the Oberlin-Wellington Train in 1858: A Reappraisal Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College Press, 2003
- Levi Coffin and William Still, editors. Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad is a collection of short stories about people fleeing for freedom. Ivan R. Dee Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 2004.
Underground Railroad aided by Ohio
The state of Ohio played a significant part in guiding runaway slaves from their lives of slavery to their aspirations of freedom. Many runaway slaves used the Underground Railroad, a legendary path to freedom traveled by thousands of runaway slaves, to reach northern destinations where they were more likely to avoid capture. The Underground Railroad was a complex system designed to transport slaves to northern destinations where they were more likely to avoid capture. According to Warren Van Tine, a history professor at Ohio State University, “Ohio was extremely vital to the success of the Underground Railroad.” “Because of its geographic position, Ohio was possibly the most important state in terms of the success of the Underground Railroad.” According to Van Tine, the Ohio River and Lake Erie served as a transportation route between Canada and Virginia.
- Several locations in Franklin County may take pride in their involvement with the Underground Railroad.
- Second Baptist Church, the Kelton House Museum and Gardens, the Margaret Agler House, and the Southwick-Good Funeral Chapel, all of which are located at 3100 N.
- “I believe that the functioning of the Underground Railroad was a very essential aspect of American history,” said William Good, proprietor of Southwick-Good Funeral Chapel in Southwick, Massachusetts.
- Attempts were made to chronicle this heritage by William Siebert, who had worked on the Ohio State University campus as a history professor and department head.
- Despite the fact that his publications and studies presented a thorough history of Ohio counties, the pathways followed by runaways and their conductors, and various personal experiences, some may argue that his works omitted certain critical information.
- In his writings, there are a number of subterranean conductors who aren’t mentioned, particularly African-Americans,” Van Tine explained.
- Finding information on specific places suspected of being train stations can be a challenging endeavor because of the secrecy surrounding them.
Underground Railroad in Ohio
The monument shown above, which was erected by Cameron Armstrong on the campus of OberlinCollege and represents the beginnings of the Underground Railroad in Ohio, may be seen above. A critical crossroads on the Underground Railroad, Oberlin connected five separate paths that fleeing slaves may have traveled in order to escape. During the Civil War, no fugitive who lived in Oberlin was ever returned to bondage, and the town has been dubbed “The Town that Started the Civil War.” When Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, one of the stipulations prohibited slavery in any future state admitted to the Union that was located north of the Ohio River.
- Later, Congress amended the legislation to include a provision making it a federal criminal to help or hide fugitive slaves, which might result in harsh penalties or even imprisonment if the act was committed.
- Even in a free state like Ohio, living was made incredibly difficult as a result of this.
- This would be especially true in the lower half of the state, where inhabitants were more likely to have been previous residents of Virginia or Kentucky, or to have descended from ancestors who had lived in these states at some point in their lives.
- While speaking at local gatherings, anti-slavery activists may frequently transform them into a confrontational confrontation.
- In reality, most of the people on the network were only familiar with a few of the other users, which helped to keep everyone’s identities safe.
- Ohio, with around 3000 miles of pathways used by fleeing runaways, had the most active network of any other state, despite the fact that there were Underground Railroad networks throughout the country, including the Southern states.
- First and foremost, Ohio shared a border with two slave states: Virginia and Kentucky.
- Among all the states participating in these subterranean networks, Ohio was the one that was closest to Canada, with a distance of just roughly 250 miles or less between any point along the Ohio River and Lake Erie, where freedom might be found.
While the Pennsylvania Quakers were largely responsible for the inception of the abolitionist movement, the Ohio Quakers appeared to have been more directly involved in transporting escaping slaves on their way north and toward freedom, particularly those fleeing slaves from the Virginia plantations.
Prior to it, there was a scarcity of knowledge regarding railways in general.
There was no railroad, and there was no underground railroad with the Underground Railroad, of course.
The term railroad was utilized because the persons participating in the activities used phrases that were frequently associated with railways to describe different parts of their operations, leading to the name railroad being used.
- Slaves were referred to as “cargo” or “passengers.” Stations were used to refer to hiding locations or safe homes. Conductors were the guides who escorted the runaway slaves to freedom. Those who assisted slaves in their escape but did not guide them were referred to as agents. People who contributed financial resources to these endeavors were referred to as shareholders.
The use of the same terminology associated with railroads to describe the activities associated with the Underground Railroad became more widespread as physical railroads became more common. This allowed those actively involved in the Underground Railroad to communicate openly without fear of being turned over to the authorities by someone overhearing their conversation. At the time, these code phrases were not known outside of the network, which is understandable given their importance. The title “liberation train” or “the gospel train” was used in certain parts of the country, and in others it was referred to as “the freedom train.” By the 1850s, the name “Underground Railroad” had become the most often used in the state of Ohio.
A fugitive slave could not be assisted under state or federal law, and this was a criminal offense.
It was the plantation owner’s responsibility to apply further punishment to captured slaves when they were returned to the plantation and fields from where they had escaped.
Ohio Anti-Slavery Society
An organization known as the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society was founded by a group of people who shared a strong opposition to slavery. The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society was created in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1835, and was modeled after the framework of the American Anti-Slavery Society, which was founded in 1833 in New York City. When the society was founded, its members committed to work for the abolition of slavery and the adoption of legislation to safeguard African-Americans when they were released from the bonds of slavery.
People who opposed the abolitionists’ ideals were motivated mostly by fear, which was frequently shown in mob attacks on the abolitionists’ homes and workplaces.
When the conference was held in a barn outside of Granville, a mob erupted and attacked the abolitionists who had gathered in the barn.
In addition to bigotry, and because they were unable to accept that racism, they argued that runaway slaves from the southern states would take their employment here in Ohio.
Freedom Center in Cincinnati
The fact that the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located in Cincinnati is a blessing for the state of Ohio. This center serves as a clearinghouse for information regarding the Underground Railroad and organizes educational programs to raise awareness of issues impacting African-Americans, among other things. The Center first opened its doors in 2004. There are three buildings that make up the Freedom Center, and they represent the three foundations of freedom: courage, cooperation, and perseverance.
The Freedom Center is located at 50 East Freedom Way in Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 and can be reached at (513) 330-7500. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Ohio was divided on the question of slavery, and only a few localities could provide complete protection. Oberlin was one of the locations where fugitive slaves may feel safe while trying to flee. Oberlin, which is located in north central Ohio, became one of the primary staging areas for fugitive slaves fleeing to Canada. More villages in the south, including Columbus and Zanesville to the east,Mechanicsburg and Urbana to the west, came together to help, as did a number of other cities. For runaway slaves, there were even more little settlements in southern Ohio, which provided them with sanctuary in an incredibly perilous region.
The major entry point into Ohio was along the Ohio River, with the most notable location being a little town known as Ripley.
In search of a safe refuge where they could live with their families without the fear of being shackled in captivity, escaping slaves came across the United States of America. The only certain location was Canada (and, to a lesser extent, Mexico), although getting to these locations was far from straightforward. As soon as an escaped slave arrived on the borders of Canada, they discovered that living there was incredibly harsh, with little job and strict segregation. After escaping slaves made it to Canada, they would frequently return to Ohio, where they might join tiny enclaves of freed slaves that had already been established in remote places, where they could try to stay as inconspicuous as they possibly could.
ABOVE: The narrative of a slave was recounted at the New Boston Fair.
African-Americans helped make the Underground Railroad work
The fact that escaping slaves made the Underground Railroad feasible was the most significant component of the Underground Railroad’s history. If it hadn’t been for their daring, tenacity, and innovation, the railroad would have been nothing more than a footnote in the history of our nation’s development. It was necessary for the majority of runaway slaves not only to get away from their owner’s estate, but also from all of the areas between them and the Ohio River, as well as from all of the other entrance points between the slave and free states.
- Aside from avoiding their previous masters, they also had to dodge the slave-catchers who prowled the countryside in pursuit of fugitives.
- The runaway slaves had a tough voyage since they had to hide in the woods during the day and travel only at night.
- As soon as they passed over the Ohio River, they had to make contact with someone they had never met before, and they had to hope that they would be able to give them with refuge and assistance on their long voyage ahead of them.
- That occurred at a period when the Ohio River frequently froze over, making it possible for the runaways to cross the river without the need of a boat.
- The ice was frequently more like giant pieces of floating ice, which needed cautious footwork to make it safely across the river at night, just by looking at the river itself and not taking into consideration the extremely low temperatures.
Slaves who had already completed the trek to freedom would frequently return to assist others, putting their own safety and freedom at tremendous risk.
Paying the Price:
A fugitive slave from a Kentucky farm owned by John Bacon who was 17 years old at the time of his capture on September 13, 1858, by two slave hunters and two federal marshals in Oberlin, Ohio, was residing in Oberlin at the time of his arrest. Realizing that attempting to apprehend the young black man in the town of Oberlin would be difficult due to the well-known anti-slavery attitudes held by the town’s residents, they devised a plan to lure John Price away from the protection of Oberlin. On the pretext of digging potatoes for money, they persuaded Shakespeare Boynton, the son of a prominent Oberlin landowner, to accompany John Price to a farm west of Oberlin where he would be paid for his efforts.
- The ruse was successful.
- Anti-slavery activists in Oberlin were angry as soon as they saw what had happened and rallied together to try to save the slaves.
- By late afternoon, more than 200 people from Oberlin and Wellington had gathered outside the Wadsworth Hotel, where Price was being kept captive.
- There was a window with a little balcony that overlooked the town square in that room.
- The sheriff wanted to make sure that all of the paperwork was in order.
- Then, from the outside, someone set up a ladder near the room’s window, and a group of Oberlin locals climbed in via the window while another group entered through the door.
- Price went on the Underground Railroad to Canada a few days later, but was never seen or heard from again after that.
In lieu of posting bond, they were sent to the Cuyahoga County Jail for almost one month, where they remain today.
The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue Case had a significant impact on the public’s opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act, which was one of the reasons that contributed to the American Civil War.
Smith, Richard Winsor, Simeon Bushnell, David Watson, William E.
Scott, Ansel W.
Peck, and James M.
Smith. Ralph Plumb, James Bartlett, John Watson, and Henry Evans are seated at the table. A technicality in their indictments caused two of the men, Jacob B. Shipherd and Orindatus S.B. Wall, to be released sooner than the others. As a result, they are not featured.
Additional information aboutthe Underground Railroad
Wilbur Siebert, a history professor at Ohio State University, claims that the state possessed the most extensive Underground Railroad network of any other state, with an estimated 3000 miles of pathways utilized by runaways. It was possible to enter the Ohio River from as many as twenty different sites, and to escape the river from as many as ten different points along Lake Erie. Image courtesy of the Underground Railroad Monument. Cameron Armstrong, a student at Oberlin College, developed the term Terminology.
- Using the term underground was appropriate because assisting runaway slaves was illegal and needed to be kept a secret.
- Stations are locations where people go to hide or feel protected.
- Agents are those who assist fugitive slaves in their escape but do not guide them.
- Backstory The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was a network of safe homes, hiding sites, and forest pathways that assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to escape to freedom in the northern United States or Canadian provinces.
- As early as the 1810s, other Ohioans were providing assistance to runaway slaves.
- From one station to the next, fugitive slaves made their way north.
- Owning slaves had been prohibited in Ohio since the state’s constitution was adopted in 1802, but some residents of the state continued to favor slavery.
These activists were adamant in their opposition to the Underground Railroad; some attacked conductors, while others attempted to return fugitives to their owners in the goal of receiving rewards from them.
This rule enhanced the likelihood that free blacks would be kidnapped and forced into slavery as a result of enslavement.
Runaway slaves were guided by conductors to the northernmost section of the state of Ohio, where they would spend the night before being carried over Lake Erie to freedom in Canada on the final step of their voyage.
The Underground Railroad was run by African-Americans.
There would have been virtually no opportunity for fugitive slaves to escape into freedom if they hadn’t been protected and assisted by free blacks.
Abolitionist newspaper publisher James G.
Colored individuals are virtually always in charge of such issues, which is not surprising.
It’s been a long and difficult road.
Work schedules were flexible, and slaveholders took advantage of the opportunity to travel during the holidays.
There were fewer cars on the highways due of the cold, yet there was little vegetation in the winter landscape because it was so cold.
Running away from home was made feasible by the regular freezing of the Ohio River, which allowed them to cross it on foot, although the ice was sometimes more like enormous pieces of floating ice, which needed precise footwork to make it safely over the river in the dark.
Aside from avoiding slave catchers, fugitives also had to escape roaming gangs of bounty hunters who searched the countryside in search of fugitives.
Under the Fugitive Slave Law, slaves could be traced down and returned from anywhere in the United States, but an escaped slave who crossed the Ohio River and crossed the Mason-Dixon Line was in relative safety north of the Mason Dixon Line.
Ohio was divided on the topic of slavery, and only a few places provided total sanctuary for runaways, with the town of Oberlin being the safest of these areas.
Oberlin, Ohio, was the site of Oberlin College, which was the first institution in the United States to accept females and African-Americans.
As they were aware that kidnapping Price in the town of Oberlin would be difficult due to strong anti-slavery sentiment held by the citizens of that town, they persuaded Shakespeare Boynton, the son of an influential Oberlin landowner, to lead Price to a farm west of Oberlin under the guise of digging potatoes for which he would be paid $20.
- After realizing what had occurred, anti-slavery activists in Oberlin grew enraged and promptly formed an organization in order to launch a rescue mission.
- The Ohio Historical Society provided permission to use this image.
- Eventually, after many hours of tense negotiations, the captors permitted a small number of men, including the local sheriff, to enter the room in order to verify that their paperwork were properly completed.
- Soon later, a number of Oberlin residents climbed through the window, and another group entered through the door.
- After rescuing Price, his rescuers placed him into a wagon and returned him to Oberlin.
- The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue played a significant role in mobilizing opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States.
- In lieu of posting bond, they were sent to the Cuyahoga County Jail, where they stayed for the time being.
Abolitionist and civil rights activist Langston delivered an impassioned address in court that made a powerful argument for abolition and justice for “colored folks.” However, I stand here to state that if I am sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of one thousand dollars for what I did on that day in Wellington, under the Fugitive Slave Law, and such is the protection that the laws of this country afford me, I must assume the responsibility of self-protection; and if I am claimed as a slave by some perjured wretch, I will never be sold into slavery again.
I stand here to state that I will do all in my power to assist any individual who has been apprehended and detained, despite the fact that the inevitable consequence of six months jail and a thousand dollars fine for each infraction hangs over my head!
You would do so because your manhood demanded it, and no matter what laws were in place, you would be proud of yourself for doing so; your friends would be proud of you for doing it; your children for generations to come would be proud of you for doing it; and every good and honest man would agree that you had done the right thing in the end!
- According to the judge, Langston will serve only 20 days in prison after being found guilty.
- Further south, a number of settlements, including Columbus and Putnam to the east, Mechanicsburg and Urbana to the west, gave help to fugitive slaves, including Columbus and Putnam.
- Organization known as the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society In 1835, the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society was established in Zanesville, Ohio.
- Despite the fact that Ohio was a free state, the Society was constantly targeted by local citizens wherever they held their meetings.
- Fear was a significant motive among people opposed to the society’s ideals, and it was frequently demonstrated in crowds who attacked abolitionists on the streets.
- When the abolitionist convention was held in a barn outside the city boundaries, a mob erupted and attacked the delegates and other attendees.
- One of the state’s oldest communities, Putnam was founded about 1800 and merged into the neighboring city of Zanesville in 1872, making it one of the state’s oldest municipalities.
Putnam was home to numerous important abolitionists throughout the nineteenth century.
Both the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society’s conventions, held in 1835 and 1839, were held at this location.
Weld, who was lecturing at the Stone Academy in preparation for the 1835 convention.
Additional violence was avoided as a result of the arrest of several of the instigators.
William Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, served as the church’s first pastor when it was built in 1835, and many other anti-slavery preachers, including Frederick Douglas in 1852, have spoken here.
The Underground Railroad ran through southern Ohio.
There was a tiny village called Ripley that served as the primary access point.
The Freedom Stairway is a photograph.
John Rankin is a Scottish author and poet.
Located on a three hundred-foot-high hill overlooking the Ohio River, his mansion contained several secret rooms where fugitive slaves could be hidden if they escaped.
Image courtesy of John Rankin House Ripley, Ohio is a town in the state of Ohio.
John Parker, a kindred soul who resided in Ripley as well, was responsible for transporting hundreds of fugitives from slavery over the Ohio River on a small boat.
Parker was taught to read and write by the doctor’s family, who also permitted him to work as an apprentice in an iron foundry.
He then relocated to Ripley, where he built a profitable foundry in the back of his home.
In a later interview, John Parker stated that while the fugitives must, in most cases, take care of themselves south of the line, once they cross the Ohio River, they are in the care of their friends and family.
The majority of the time, slaves traveled northward on their own, looking for a signal that would indicate the presence of food, shelter, and rest.
Many will remain anonymous for the rest of their lives. Putnam Historic District (National Park Service) Underground Railroad – Ohio History Central, Inc. Ohio on the Road: The Underground Railroad in Ohio The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society is featured on Ohio History Central.
The Underground Railroad in Ohio
|Topic||The Underground Railroad in Ohio|
|Time Period||Early to mid 1800s|
|Keyword(s)||Slavery, Underground Railroad, African Americans, Abolition|
|Learning standard(s)||(Grade 8 Social Studies) History Strand: Historical Thinking and Skills, Content Statement 1; Colonization to Independence, Content Statement 4; Civil War and Reconstruction, Content Statement 12 / (High School Social Studies) American History: Historical Thinking and Skills, Content Statement 2; Industrialization and Progressivism, Content Statement 13|
Underground Railroad is a word used to describe a secret network of individuals and locations that supported runaway slaves in their attempts to flee slavery in the southern United States.” This activity was most prevalent during the three decades leading up to the Civil War, and it was concentrated mostly in the regions bordering slave states, with the Ohio River serving as the focal point of much of the action.
- It is important to note that Beneath Train activities did not physically take place underground or along a railroad track, nor was it a formal group with a well defined organizational structure.
- Those who believed in abolitionist principles were at the center of the Underground Railroad campaign.
- They were members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
- The dissemination of abolitionist ideals then extended westward into the territory that would become Indiana and Ohio in the following decades.
- The conflicting features of independence for a society that still kept enslaved people were also considered by others, which prompted many to get involved in the Underground Railroad.” Thanks to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center for this image.
- The Underground Railroad as seen in photographs Portraits of those involved in the Underground Railroad Conductors The Underground Railroad: Its History and Legacy There is also anAdditional Resourceslist and aTeaching Guidefollowing the major source items.
The Underground Railroad
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County provided this contribution.
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center — “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a museum of conscience, an education center, a facilitator of discussion, and a beacon of light for inclusive freedom across the world,” according to the center’s mission statement. “It is located in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.”
- A historical summary of the Underground Railroad and Ohio’s role in it is offered by the Ohio History Connection in this page titled “Ohio History Central: Underground Railroad” (subscription required). The National Afro-American Museum is located in Washington, D.C. Center for the Arts – At this museum in Wilberforce, Ohio, which is home to two historically black institutions, Wilberforce and Central State, visitors may take part in frequently changing exhibitions and special activities that celebrate African American history, art, and culture. Underground Railroad —A discussion and description of the Underground Railroad, as well as biographical information about abolitionists from the Detroit, Michigan region – Detroit Historical Society Underground Railroad
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Institution is a museum of conscience, an education center, a facilitator of conversation, and a beacon of light for inclusive freedom across the world,” according to the center’s mission. “Cincinnati, Ohio is the location.” ; A historical account of the Underground Railroad and Ohio’s involvement in it is offered by the Ohio History Connection in this page titled “Ohio History Central, Underground Railroad.” The National Afro-American Museum is a museum dedicated to African-American culture and heritage.
This museum in Wilberforce, Ohio, which is home to two historically black institutions, Wilberforce and Central State, offers frequently changing exhibitions and special activities that teach about African American history, art, and culture.
- In order to get to the North, escaping slaves would have to cross the Underground Railroad. After their journeys on the subterranean railroad, where would individuals who had traveled there choose to live? What towns and localities in Ohio did fugitive slaves pass through on their journey to freedom in Canada? Exactly where would fugitive slaves be hidden by subterranean railroad conductors
- In your county, do you know of any underground railroad stops that are still there and may be visited?
Activities in the Classroom (Download)
- Were fugitive slaves from other states uniformly welcomed in Ohio? Investigate the history of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850, including how they influenced the operations of the Underground Railroad, as well as the perspectives of Ohioans on slavery during the nineteenth century. Visit the National Park Service’s list of official Underground Railroad locations for further information. Individuals or small groups can participate in this activity. Choose one to research for a brief presentation for the class (individual) OR one to research for a short presentation for the class (group) Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a different Ohio location for a group presentation. Imagine that you, or you and a group of people, have managed to flee the southern United States and make your way north
- Using the information you’ve learned about the Underground Railroad, write a first-person account of what it would have been like to make this perilous journey, either alone or with a group of other people. Consider the hazards you would face along the journey, the route you would take to get to safety, and how you would have felt about the individuals who assisted you
- Think about the people who aided you.
The Ohio River and the Underground Railroad
Located in New Richmond, Ohio, the Ross-Gowdy House is one of a number of Underground Railroad locations in Clermont County. In the minds of many enslaved people, the Ohio River represented more than just a body of water. It was a major step forward on the road to freedom for me to cross it. Individuals opposed to slavery established a network of safe homes to provide assistance to escaped slaves who were seeking freedom along the natural boundary between free and slave states. Underground Railroad ties were strong in Clermont County during the time of the Underground Railroad.
- The Mason-Dixon line, which runs between Pennsylvania and Maryland, functioned as a de facto border between free and slave states during the American Civil War.
- Following Pennsylvania’s abolition of slavery in 1781, the Ohio River served as an unofficial line of demarcation between the states until the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in 1865.
- John Rankin was a conductor on the Underground Railroad who became well-known as a result of his exploits.
- He and his neighbor John Parker aided slaves in crossing the Ohio River and concealing them until it was safe for them to continue their journey.
- For a period of time, the abolitionist journal The Philanthropist was published out of New Richmond.
- Several historic landmarks still stand, notably the Ross-Gowdy Home, which served as the residence and office of Dr.
- The New Richmond shoreline has been classified as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site by the National Park Service (NPS).
- Residents of those towns are reminded of the battle against injustice by historical buildings such as the Robert E.
- Huber mansions, which are still standing today.
- Learn more about the Underground Railroad in Clermont County by visiting one of the 33 historic sites on the Clermont County Freedom Trail, which includes 19 sites that are part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Visit the Chilo Lock 34 Museum, which is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for more Ohio River history.
|In the years after the Civil War, stories of an Underground Railroad that helped runaway slaves travel north to safety and freedom came to rank among the most popular elements of local legend. They were also among the most exaggerated, misunderstood and difficult to document.Since it was against the law to assist escaping slaves, it was necessary to conceal the activities of the Underground Railroad, and due to this secrecy, much of what is known about it today was recorded many years after the events took place.|
|Contrary to legend, no tunnels burrowed under the Ohio River and no highly organized institution existed to spirit runaways northward. Most importantly, the idea that runaways were helpless cargo in the caring hands of highly principled and fearless whites distorted reality.The Underground Railroad was an informal network operated by both whites and blacks.|
|There were also whites in Cincinnati who assisted escaping slaves, and the most noted of these individuals was Levi Coffin.Coffin began actively participating in the Underground Railroad while living in Indiana. After moving to Cincinnati in 1847, he and his wife thought their work with assisting runaway slaves was over.But as Coffin later wrote in hisReminiscences, “we were soon fully initiated into the management of Underground Railroad matters in Cincinnati and did not lack for work.Our willingness to aid the slaves was soon known and hardly a fugitive came to the city without applying to us for assistance.”|
|To learn more about the Underground Railroad,consult the following resources: Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground RailroadBy Ann HagedornGeneral 973.7115 H141This work discusses the role Ripley, Ohio played in the Underground Railroad and looks at various local participants, including the Reverend John Rankin and John Parker.View catalog recordRequest slip|
|Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad By J.
Blaine Hudson General f973.7115 H885eView catalog recordRequest slip
|Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad as told by Levi Coffin and William StillEdited with an introduction by George and Willene HendrickGeneral 973.7115 F594View catalog recordRequest slip|
| Freedom�s Struggle: A Response to Slavery from the Ohio Borderlands By Gary L.
Knepp General 973.7115 K68This book explores Clermont County�s role in the antislavery movement.View catalog recordRequest slip
|Front Line of Freedom: African Americans and the Forging of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley By Keith P.
Blaine Hudson General f973.7115 H885View catalog recordRequest slip
| His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P.
Parker General B P241View catalog recordRequest slip
John Rankin in the Anti-Slavery Cause By Andrew Ritchie R.B.
| Sources Used for Historical Sketch: