In the decades leading up to the American Civil War, settlements along the Detroit and Niagara Rivers were important terminals of the Underground Railroad. By 1861, some 30,000 freedom seekers resided in what is now Ontario, having escaped slave states like Kentucky and Virginia.
What were the stations on the Underground Railroad?
- William Jackson’s house in Newton, Massachusetts, was a “station” on the Underground Railroad. The Jacksons were abolitionists, people who worked to end slavery.
What were the Underground Railroad routes?
During the era of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, places, and people that helped enslaved people in the American South escape to the North.
Was the Underground Railroad in the North or South?
Underground Railroad, in the United States, a system existing in the Northern states before the Civil War by which escaped slaves from the South were secretly helped by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach places of safety in the North or in Canada.
Was there an actual 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.
How many stops were there on the Underground Railroad?
6 Stops on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of people who hid fugitives from slavery in their homes during the day. At night they moved them north to free states, Canada or England. Refugees naturally headed for New England.
How far did the Underground Railroad stretch?
The length of the route to freedom varied but was often 500 to 600 miles. Those who were strong—and lucky—might make it to freedom in as little as two months. For others, the journey could last more than a year. Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous conductors along the Underground Railroad.
Did the Underground Railroad go through Indiana?
The Underground Railroad in Indiana was part of a larger, unofficial, and loosely-connected network of groups and individuals who aided and facilitated the escape of runaway slaves from the southern United States. An eastern route from southeastern Indiana counties followed stations along the Indiana-Ohio border.
Were quilts used in the Underground Railroad?
Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Quilts with patterns named “wagon wheel,” “tumbling blocks,” and “bear’s paw” appear to have contained secret messages that helped direct slaves to freedom, the pair claim.
Who built the Underground Railroad?
In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run.
Which state has the most Underground Railroad routes?
It was used by enslaved African Americans primarily to escape into free states and Canada. The network was assisted by abolitionists and others sympathetic to the cause of the escapees. The enslaved who risked escape and those who aided them are also collectively referred to as the “Underground Railroad”.
How many slaves were saved by the Underground Railroad?
According to some estimates, between 1810 and 1850, the Underground Railroad helped to guide one hundred thousand enslaved people to freedom.
Was Maine part of the Underground Railroad?
During the mid-1800s, Maine was seen as one of the last steps on the road to freedom for many African-Americans trying to escape slavery through the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad consisted of an elaborate network of people and places to help hide slaves and get them to free states or Canada.
List of Sites for the Underground Railroad Travel Itinerary
|KANSAS 1.John Brown Cabin -Osawatomie 2.Fort Scott National Historic Site- Bourbon County|
|IOWA1.Tabor Antislavery Historic District -Tabor2. George B. Hitchcock House -Lewis vicinity3.Henderson Lewelling House -Salem4.Jordan House -West Des Moines|
|WISCONSIN 1.Milton House -Milton|
|ILLINOIS 1.Owen Lovejoy House -Princeton 2.John Hossack House -Ottawa3.Dr. Richard Eells House -Quincy 4.Beecher Hall -Jacksonville5.Rutherford House- Oakland|
|MICHIGAN1.Dr. Nathan Thomas House -Schoolcraft2.SecondBaptist Church -Detroit|
|INDIANA 1.Bethel AME Church -Indianapolis 2.Levi Coffin House -Fountain City 3.Eleutherian College Classroom and Chapel Building -Lancaster4.Lyman and Asenath Hoyt House -Madison5.Madison Historic District -Madison|
|OHIO 1.Harriet Beecher Stowe House -Cincinnati2.JohnP. Parker House -Ripley3.John Rankin House -Ripley 4.Village of Mt. Pleasant Historic District -Mt. Pleasant 5.Wilson Bruce Evans House -Oberlin6.RushR. Sloane House -Sandusky7.Daniel Howell Hise House -Salem 8.Col. William Hubbard House -Ashtabula9. Reuben Benedict House -Marengo10.Samuel and SallyWilson House -Cincinnati11.James and Sophia ClemensFarmstead -Greenville12.Spring Hill -Massillon13.Putnam Historic District -Zanesville|
|PENNSYLVANIA 1.F. Julius LeMoyne House -Washington2.JohnBrown House -Chambersburg3.Bethel AME Zion Church -Reading 4.Oakdale -Chadds Ford5.White HorseFarm -Phoenixville6.Johnson House -Philadelphia|
|NEW YORK 1.Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, Residence and ThompsonAME Zion Church -Auburn 2.St. James AME Zion Church -Ithaca 3.Gerrit Smith Estate and Land Office -Peterboro 4.John Brown Farm and Gravesite -Lake Placid 5.Foster Memorial AME Zion Church -Tarrytown6.Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims -Brooklyn7.Asa and Caroline Wing House -Oswego8.Edwin W. and Charlotte Clarke House -Oswego9.John P. and Lydia Edwards House -Oswego10.Orson Ames House -Oswego11.Starr Clock Tinshop -Mexico|
|VERMONT 1.Rokeby -Ferrisburgh|
|MAINE 1.Harriet Beecher Stowe House -Brunswick2.Abyssinian Meeting House -Portland|
|MASSACHUSETTS 1.African American National Historic Site -Boston 2.WilliamLloyd Garrison House -Boston 3.William Ingersoll Bowditch House -Brookline4.The Wayside -Concord5.Liberty Farm -Worcester6.Nathan and Mary Johnson House -New Bedford7.Jackson Homestead -Newton8.Ross Farm (Hill Ross Farm)Northampton9.Dorsey-Jones House- Northampton10.Mount Auburn Cemetary -Cambridge|
|CONNECTICUT 1.Austin F. Williams Carriagehouse and House -Farmington|
|NEW JERSEY 1.The Grimes Homestead -Mountain Lakes2.PeterMott House -Lawnside Borough3.Bethel AME Church -Greenwich4.Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church and Mount ZionCemetery -Woolwich Township|
|DELAWARE 1.Appoquinimink Friends Meeting House -Odessa2.Friends Meeting House -Wilmington3.New Castle County Courthouse -New Castle|
|DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 1.Frederick Douglass National Historic Site 2.Mary Ann Shadd Cary House|
|MARYLAND 1.John Brown’s Headquarters -Sample’s Manor 2.Riley-Bolten House -North Bethesda|
|VIRGINIA 1.Bruin’s Slave Jail-Alexandria 2.Fort Monroe -Richmond3.Moncure Conway House -Falmouth4.Theodore Roosevelt Island- Rosslyn|
|WEST VIRGINIA1.Jefferson County Courthouse -Charles Town2.HarpersFerry National Historical Park -Harpers Ferry|
|FLORIDA 1.British Fort -Sumatra vicinity2.Ft.Mose Site -St. John’s County|
|COLORADO1.Barney L. Ford Building -Denver|
|NEBRASKA 1.Mayhew Cabin -Nebraska City|
|Kentucky 1.Camp Nelson -Jessamine County|
Main Map |Home
Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.
What Was the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:
How the Underground Railroad Worked
The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.
The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.
While some traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, or through Detroit on their route to Canada, others chose to travel south. The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.
Fugitive Slave Acts
The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.
The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.
Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.
Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.
Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.
Agent,” according to the document.
John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.
Who Ran the Underground Railroad?
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.
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.
The Jackson Homestead – Station on the Underground Railroad
|The Jackson Family, 1846, from a daguerreotype by Whipple of Boston|
|The Jackson Homestead – Station on the Underground RailroadA Local LegacyIf you were an escaped slave before the Civil War the best way to travel was along the Underground Railroad. This wasn’t a real railroad but a secret system located throughout the Northern states. The system helped escaped slaves from the South reach places of safety in the North or in Canada, often called the “Promised Land,” because U.S. slave laws could not be enforced there. The slaves often wore disguises and traveled in darkness on the “railroad.” Railway terms were used in the secret system: Routes were called “lines,” stopping places were called “stations,” and people who helped escaped slaves along the way were “conductors.” One of the most famous “conductors” on the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman (an “Amazing American”), a former slave who escaped from Maryland.William Jackson’s house in Newton, Massachusetts, was a “station” on the Underground Railroad. The Jacksons were abolitionists, people who worked to end slavery. Today, the Jackson House is a museum with a large collection of historical objects and documents that are used for research into Newton’s past.page 1 of 1About Local Legacies|
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.
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865
Running away slaves from slave states to the North and Canada were assisted by white and African American abolitionists, who set up a network of hiding sites around the country where fugitives could conceal themselves during the day and move under cover of night. In spite of the fact that the majority of runaways preferred to travel on foot and trains were rarely used, the secret network was referred to as the “Underground Railroad” by all parties involved. The term first appeared in literature in 1852, when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about a secret “underground” line in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- Those working in the Underground Railroad utilized code terms to keep their identities hidden from others.
- While traveling on the Underground Railroad, both runaways and conductors had to endure terrible conditions, harsh weather, and acute starvation.
- Many were willing to put their lives on the line, especially after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act made it illegal to provide assistance to escaped slaves, even in free areas.
- At the time, an abolitionist came to the conclusion that “free colored people shared equal fate with the breathless and the slave.” Listen to a tape of filmmaker Gary Jenkins talking on the Underground Railroad in the West at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Underground Railroad routes that extended into Kansas and branched out into northern states like as Iowa and Nebraska, as well as all the way into Canada, were often utilized by the fugitives.
When asked about his feelings on doing so much good for the oppressed while doing so much harm to the oppressors, one conductor from Wakarusa, Kansas, responded, “I feel pretty happy and thankfullthat I have been able to do so much good for the oppressed, so much harm to the oppressors.” It was not uncommon for well-known persons to be connected with the Underground Railroad, such as Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and then returned 19 times to the South to help emancipate over 300 slaves.
- Tubman was said to have carried a revolver in order to guarantee that she never lost track of a passenger.
- Individuals from Kansas also played significant roles, such as Enoch and Luther Platt, who managed railroad stations out of their house in Wabaunsee County, Kansas Territory, in the 1850s.
- It is possible for “shareholders” to make donations to such groups, which may be used to supply supplies or to construct additional lines.
- In addition to developing new routes, members of assistance organisations evaluated the routes to ensure that men, women, and children could travel in safety on them.
During an escape, engineers guided passengers and notified the remainder of the train to reroute if there was a threat to the train’s integrity. The Underground Railroad: A Deciphering Guide
- The Underground Railroad, also known as the Freedom or Gospel Train
- Cargo, passengers, or luggage: fugitives from justice
- The StationorDepot is a safe haven for fugitives from slavery. A person who escorted fugitive slaves between stations was known as a conductor, engineer, agent, or shepherd. The term “stationmaster” refers to someone who oversaw a station and assisted runaways along their path. shareholder or stockholder: an abolitionist who made financial donations to the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War
Conductors from Kansas may easily cross the border into Missouri in order to establish contact with suspected runaway passengers. During the war, slaves residing in Missouri, which was so near to the free state of Kansas, were especially enticed to utilize the Underground Railroad to cross the border into the free state of Kansas to escape. Despite the fact that he did not know exact ways into Kansas, one African-American man expressed his confidence in his ability to reach Lawrence, a town around 40 miles from the state line and home to “the Yankees,” which means “the Yankees are waiting for you.” Conductors frequently provided fugitives with clothing and food for their excursions, and even did it at their own expense on occasion.
- Due to the possibility of being questioned by pursuers, several conductors preferred not to know specific information about the fugitives they assisted.
- In the aftermath of their successful escapes to other free states, a small number of passengers returned to Kansas, including William Dominick Matthews, a first lieutenant in the Independent Battery of the United States Colored Light Artillery in Fort Leavenworth.
- Matthews maintained a boarding house in Leavenworth, Kansas, with the assistance of Daniel R.
- Aside from that, as could be expected, very little is known about the specific individuals and families that aided or were assisted by the Underground Railroad.
It was far-reaching in scope, covering the whole United States and beyond, and profound in significance for a nation whose very existence was intertwined with the sale of human life. However, because of its secrecy, that history has proven to be a tough one to uncover.
What was the Underground Railroad?
For enslaved persons seeking freedom, Western Pennsylvania served as a key corridor via which they might travel. They traveled largely on foot, with the odd trip in secret compartments of wagons and other modes of conveyance. They followed paths that had been sculpted by nature through rivers, streams, and mountains, and they did it mostly on foot. It is impossible to know how many there were because no formal records were kept and just a few informal ones have survived. Some writings written by people who aided in this subterranean process—sometimes referred to as “conductors”—have survived, providing some indication of the hardships suffered by those going on the railroad.
- Affected by the Fugitive Slave Laws were also free individuals of African descent who resided in the region.
- Even more were transformed into the voice of social transformation and self-empowerment for all Blacks of the time period and beyond.
- From Slavery to Freedom, an exhibition at the Senator John Heinz History Center, will take you on a journey through more than 250 years of African-American history.
- One of the several Underground Railroad routes in western Pennsylvania entered through Uniontown in Fayette County, proceeded through Blairsville in Indiana County, and then continued on into Mercer, Venango, and Erie Counties before coming to an end in the city of Pittsburgh.
There are tours of the town and cemetery offered by The Blairsville Area Underground Railroad Project, which also offers tours to UGRR-related locations, such as the Underground Railroad Museum.
Western Pennsylvania Underground Railroad Sites
Mt. Washington, PA 15211 Chatham Village Olympia Road Mt. Washington, PA 15211 Building constructed in 1849 that served as a station on the Underground Railroad inside the boundaries of Chatham Village T. James Bigham was an abolitionist barrister and the editor of The Commercial Journal Anti-Slavery Newspaper, which was published in London in 1848. Lucinda Bigham, the Black family nurse of Bigham, is said to have kept a vigilant eye out from the Bigham home’s tower for escaped slaves or professional slave hunters.
More information may be found in this wesa.fm story.
Third Street between Market and Ferry Streets in downtown Pittsburgh is home to a barbershop and safehouse that serves the community. Slaves were given a fresh appearance as well as a head start on their escape to the United States. Using lists of famous hotel visitors and advertisements made by persons seeking for escaped slaves, historians have confirmed the hotel’s role in the abolitionist movement. Daytime: A economic, social, and political club for the city’s white elites; nighttime: a station on the Underground Railroad for slaves fleeing to the United States.
Freedom Road Cemetery
Mercer County Historical Society 119 South Pitt St. Mercer, PA 16137 (724.662.3490) Mercer County Historical Society The Stoneboro Fairgrounds Cemetery is located on the right side of the road, directly across from the entrance gate. Liberia was a runaway slave settlement founded by the Travis family, who were themselves free Blacks. All that is left of Liberia is a cemetery. For many years, this town served as a haven for tired travelers on their journey. A popular target of slave catchers, it was also a frequent target of their raids.
Only a handful of people remained in the region, including one entrepreneur who sold cigars and alcohol to his neighbors.
Gibson House (Mark Twain Manor)
724-662-3490, Mercer County Historical Society 119 South Pitt St. Mercer, PA 16137, Mercer County Historical Society A graveyard is located on the right side of Stoneboro Fairgrounds’ entrance road, directly across from the main gate. Liberia was a runaway slave settlement founded by the Travis family, who were themselves free Blacks. All that is left of Liberia is the cemetery. This village has been a haven for weary visitors for many years. A popular target of slave hunters, it was also the location of several raids.
Only a few people remained in the region, one of them was an entrepreneur who sold cigars and alcohol to the people in his community.
John C. Peck Oyster House
Fourth Street between Wood and Market Streets in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania A station halt on the Underground Railroad.
Plaque Honoring Jane Gray Swisshelm
600 Grant St., in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh In downtown Pittsburgh, on Sixth Avenue, at the Heinz headquarters is the Heinz Museum.
Jane Grey Swisshelm had direct experience with slavery and became committed to the abolitionist fight for the Underground Railroad as a result. She started publishing an abolitionist weekly in Pittsburgh in 1848, called the Pittsburgh Saturday Visitor.
Private homes in Arthurville and Hayti
Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill neighborhood It is believed that the fugitives were hiding out in private homes in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Arthurville and Hayti, where they were assisted by agents and conductors such as the Rev. Lewis Woodson, Samuel Bruce, George Gardner and Bishop Benjamin Tanner, the father of the noted black artist Henry Ossawa Tanner, who is depicted on a United States postage stamp.
St. Matthew’s A.M.E. Church in Sewickley
Sewickley is located at 345 Thorn St. Built in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, in 1857, they functioned as Underground Railroad operators. One common technique of providing food to escaped slaves in the Pittsburgh region was for conductors to disguise as hunters at night and carry a game bag full with foodstuffs to their destination.
Wylie A.M.E. Church
Hill District, 2200 Wylie Avenue, 2200 Wylie Avenue On July 11, 1850, a group of African American residents gathered at the church and passed resolutions criticizing the recently proposed Fugitive Slave Bill, which had been sponsored by the United States Congress. A request was made at this assembly for the complete amalgamation of their organizations in order to secure protection against slave hunters who come into Pittsburgh in search of fugitives.
Avery Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, at the corner of Nash and Avery Streets, was afterwards known as Avery College and then as Avery Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. In 1812, Charles Avery moved to Pittsburgh from New York. His interest in the cotton industry led him on purchasing excursions to the southern United States, where he became interested in the situation of the Negro slaves. He became a member of the abolitionist movement and assisted slaves in their escape from the South to Canada via the underground railroad.
- Avery’s riches enabled him to build the Allegheny Institute and Mission Church, which became known as Avery College.
- The basement, which was only accessible by concealed trap doors, was most likely a “station” (hiding spot) on the Underground Railroad’s secret underground network.
- During the night, a rowboat was employed to transport them up the canal to the tunnel entrance in secrecy.
- When Avery passed away, his net worth was estimated to be $800,000.
- Workmen dismantled the red brick structure of Avery College in Old Allegheny’s Dutchtown to make room for the East Street Valley Expressway, which has been a source of contention for years.
With the exception of a few nostalgic old-timers, hardly one seemed to notice the demolition of the ancient building. Old-timers, on the other hand, believed that demolition of the structure signaled the end of a notable Pittsburgher’s dream.
In the Hill District, this was a hub of Black social life where performers such as Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, and John Coltrane drew a racially diverse and international audience. Founded by William “Gus” Greenlee, a major person in Pittsburgh’s Black community who was also the owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the city’s Negro League baseball club, the Pittsburgh Crawfords was founded in 1903.
In the Hill District, this was a hub of Black social life where musicians such as Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, and John Coltrane brought a racially diverse and international audience to hear them perform. The Pittsburgh Crawfords, the city’s Negro League baseball team, was owned by William “Gus” Greenlee, a significant person in Pittsburgh’s Black community who was active in politics and athletics.
Point View Hotel
On Brownsville Road in Brentwood, there is a family-owned historic pub and restaurant that was originally used as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad. Slaves who had escaped were housed in the basement.
Pathways to Freedom
Do we have a complete list of all of the Underground Railroad routes and stations? Numerous routes and stations have remained undiscovered up to this day. When enslaved individuals were attempting to flee their captivity via the Underground Railroad, it was critical that their whereabouts remain a secret. Despite the fact that William Still wrote about several locations in Pennsylvania, he did not frequently include stations or conductors in Maryland since it was considered too risky at the time of his writing.
- Occasionally, conductors from those locations ventured south to assist fugitives in reaching safety.
- At the start of his voyage north, Frederick Douglass boarded a train at President Street Station in Baltimore and headed north.
- We do know that Frederick Douglass embarked on his successful rail journey north from Baltimore’s President Street Station, which is where he left from.
- In the daytime, many groups went through the fields and forests, remaining hidden from view.
- We know that free blacks and even some enslaved persons took refuge in the homes of fleeing slave owners.
- Churches and schools were operated by free blacks.
- Maryland was home to a large number of Quakers.
- Because the Underground Railroad performed such a wonderful job, and because the conductors were true heroes, many modern people believe that a tunnel or a trap door in their home or other building indicates that it was formerly a stop on the Underground Railroad system.
- Historians are similar to detectives in their work.
- First and foremost, they must gather genuine, solid proof.
Historical data concerning Underground Railroad stations and routes in Maryland will be added to the site as new information becomes available to historians. If it was such a closely guarded secret, how did we come to know about it today? «return to the home page»
Do we have a complete list of all of the Underground Railroad routes and stops that have been identified? Numerous routes and stations have been undiscovered up to this point. While persons enslaved in the United States were attempting to escape through the Underground Railroad, it was critical that their whereabouts remain unknown. Despite the fact that William Still wrote about several locations in Pennsylvania, he did not generally include stations or conductors in Maryland since it was deemed too risky at the time of his writing.
- Conductors were sometimes sent south to assist fugitives fleeing to safety from those locations.
- President Street Station in Baltimore served as the starting point for Frederick Douglass’ voyage north.
- Researchers are putting in tremendous effort to determine the exact locations of stations and routes in the state.
- In order to lead parties out of Maryland, we know that Harriet Tubman and Samuel Burris went from either Pennsylvania or Delaware.
- In certain cases, fugitives were hidden in the homes of free blacks and even some enslaved individuals.
- Churches and schools were run by free blacks.
- Maryland was home to a large number of Quaker communities.
- Because the Underground Railroad performed such a wonderful job, and because the conductors were true heroes, many modern people believe that a tunnel or a trap door in their home or other building signifies that it was once a stop on the Underground Railroad network.
- Historical researchers work in a similar way to police officers.
- First and foremost, they must gather genuine, credible proof.
Historical evidence concerning Underground Railroad stations and routes in Maryland will be added to the site as new information becomes available to the researchers. So, how did we find out about it today if it was such a closely guarded secret? return to the home page»
Tour the Underground Railroad in Bucks County
A new life was symbolized by the Underground Railroad for thousands of escaped slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it continues to do so today. Runaways depended on abolitionists and generous towns to assist them on their trek northward through this covert network of hidden, secure sites. From bars and churches to privately held farms, Bucks County was home to a slew of notable train stations, many of which are still open to the public today. Follow the steps on this list to follow the path that many people travelled in their quest for freedom.
1870 Wedgwood Inn
In the cellar of this Victorian bed and breakfast’s original construction, munitions were kept safe throughout the American Revolutionary War. However, during the time of the Underground Railroad, it was utilized to conceal persons as they made their way northwards across the United States. People used to utilize the subterranean tunnel system to travel to the canal and then on to Lumberville, which is accessible through a hatch in the Gazebo on the property’s grounds. As an overnight visitor, you may be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the event.
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church) is the oldest African American church in Bensalem and a former Underground Railroad safe post, having been built over 200 years ago. Hundreds of slaves were rowed up the Delaware River by Robert Purvis, an abolitionist and one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, from Philadelphia to the church and their farm in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. It is estimated that he assisted around 9,000 fugitives in fleeing, making him one of the most influential men in Bucks County who was linked with abolitionism at the time.
Leroy Allen, an escaped slave from Roanoke, Virginia, sought refuge here before joining the Union Army to fight for his freedom in the war against slavery.
The Archambault House
The Archambault House, which is most notable for the exquisite iron grillwork on its porch, was a station on the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War and is now a museum. Joseph O. Archambault, a dentist, innkeeper, postmaster, and previous proprietor of the Brick Hotel, assisted slaves in their efforts to continue their journey north. Please keep in mind that this is a private property, so please keep your distance.
Bristol was one of many stations on the route to liberation, and it served as a haven for fugitive slaves on their path to freedom.
The citizens of Bristol even went so far as to purchase the freedom of fugitive Dick Shad, who had sought safety in Bristol after being a slave in Virginia for twenty years. Bristol now has a plethora of ancient buildings and destinations that are just waiting to be explored by visitors.
Buckingham Friends Meeting House
In 1776, members of the Buckingham Meeting House (also known as the Solebury Friends Meeting House) voted to abolish the practice of slave ownership. Following the kidnapping of Benjamin “Big Ben” Jones, a local slave and well-known personality, abolitionists presented a series of anti-slavery lectures in this area and in Lambertville, Pennsylvania. Today, the meetinghouse serves as a venue for community gatherings.
Additionally, the Continental Tavern (which served as the Continental Hotel in its heyday), the Yardley Grist Mill (a former mill that supplied sorghum and meal to Union soldiers), and Lakeside (one of the area’s earliest homes) were believed to have been stops on the Railroad that were connected by an underground tunnel system. Today, the Continental Tavernis well-known for its happy hour and delectable supper menus. You should try one of their signature dishes, such as the Continental Bacon Burger or the Striped Bass, which goes nicely with one of their bottled craft beers.
Samuel Aaron lived at 105 East State Street for a period of time in the early 1830s, when he served as pastor of the New Britain Baptist Church. He was also a manager for the American Anti-Slavery Society, and it is believed that he was responsible for the concealment of fleeing slaves at his residence in the Borough of Manhattan. (Please keep in mind that this is a private property, so please keep your distance.)
Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue
While strolling down the shoreline, be sure to stop at the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue, which is one of the most important Underground Railroad landmarks in Bucks County. Tubman devoted her life to the cause of liberation and is considered to be one of the most well-known conductors on the Underground Railroad, according to historians. Before the Civil War, she put her life in danger a number of times in order to assist approximately 70 slaves northward.
As a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, Langhorne (then known as the village of Attleboro) served as a link between Princeton, New Jersey, and New York City. Bucks County’s first free black settlements were established in Attleboro, and the American Methodist Episcopal church, founded in 1809, is the oldest congregation of its kind to have been established in the county. There are African-American Union Army veterans buried in several of Bucks County’s different cemeteries, including the Langhorne Cemetery.
Mount Gilead Church
The Underground Railroad passed through Bucks County, and the first all-African-American church to operate in the county was a significant stop on the journey. It grew from 70 to 162 members between 1830 and 1840, according to church records. These fugitive slaves from Maryland, Delaware, and the Carolinas took advantage of the protection provided by Buckingham Mountain to start new lives and live independently. When their most famous churchgoer, Benjamin “Big Ben” Jones, was apprehended after being sold out by a white resident in the area, it became one of the major rallying cries for the congregation, giving them even more motivation to continue their church and ensure that it was stronger than it had ever been.
Today, visitors and residents alike can attend a regular church service at the location in question.
However, there are those who believe that Big Ben is buried here, while others believe that he is assumed to have been buried by his wife Sarah in a potters field somewhere near the Bucks County Almshouse.
In the early 1850s, the Newtown Theatre, which is the world’s oldest continuously functioning movie theater, was known as Newtown Hall. It is currently known as the Newtown Theatre. It was a favorite gathering place for town meetings and anti-slavery demonstrations. Several notable abolitionists, including Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass, are recorded as having spoken at this event.
The town of New Hope served as the terminus of the Underground Railroad in the county of Bucks. In this location, slaves would cross the Delaware River into New Jersey, where they would continue their trek north. Are you a history buff who enjoys learning new things? While in town, pay a visit to the Parry Mansion Museum for a guided tour of the building’s history. The home, which was built in 1784 by one of New Hope’s founders, Benjamin Parry, contains furniture in 11 rooms that illustrate the estate’s 125-year history of décor.
Begin your journey back in time at the Bucks County Visitor Center in Quakertown, which is conveniently located. The Visitor Center, which is located just off Rt. 309 in the historic downtown district, shares space with the Quakertown Historical Society and the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce in a beautiful 19th century barn. In addition, the building contains a glass-enclosed exhibit showcasing historic objects that illustrate the 150-year history of manufacturing and trade in the Upper Bucks County area.
Richard Moore House
The distance between stops, which might be up to 10 miles, led to Richard Moore’s stone home being one of the most significant sites on the Underground Railroad for slaves going through Bucks County during the abolitionist movement. Moore, a potter from the area, became well-known for his friendliness, and many people were sent to his house. Henry Franklin, a former slave, was the driver of the wagon that delivered pottery, coal, and the secret slaves hidden beneath the goods for Moore. Robert L.
Moore’s generosity is now available for purchase.
Several locations in Yardley, including a white-columned mansion on South Main Street, a shop on Afton Avenue, a house on South Canal Street, the Old Library, the borough Baptist and American Methodist Episcopal churches, and a stone house on River Road, were likely hiding places for fugitive slaves. For those who are interested in the genuine narrative of fugitive slave Big Ben seeking freedom from Maryland in Bucks County, we recommend seeing the film The North Star, which was shot in Bucks County and depicts the true story of runaway slave Big Ben seeking freedom from Maryland.
Visit the African American Museum of Bucks County’s events calendar for more information!
Explore Bucks County’s TownsMain Streets
|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 Teaching Guide also contains discussion questions and classroom exercises.
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
As a starting point, this guide will detail some possible ways for students to interact with digital content. It also includes recommendations for having students pull information from the examples given above. Guide for Participation in a Discussion (Download)
- 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.