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.
Why was it called the Underground Railroad?
- Underground Railroad was used for slaves who evidently, grew tired of the way the southern whites treated them. Though, the name says that it’s an “Underground Railroad” it was given that name because of the way escaped slaves had to be carried out secretly.
Where were the underground railroads located?
There were many well-used routes stretching west through Ohio to Indiana and Iowa. Others headed north through Pennsylvania and into New England or through Detroit on their way to Canada.
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.
What were the stations on the Underground Railroad?
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
Where were stations in Indiana that were part of the Underground Railroad?
Indiana’s Underground Railroad All three paths eventually led to Michigan, then to Canada. (Canada abolished slavery in 1833.) The routes in Indiana went from Posey to South Bend; from Corydon to Porter; and from Madison to DeKalb County, with many stops in between.
Was Ohio part of the Underground Railroad?
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.
How many Underground Railroad routes were there?
There were four main routes that the enslaved could follow: North along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to the northern United States and Canada; South to Florida and refuge with the Seminole Indians and to the Bahamas; West along the Gulf of Mexico and into Mexico; and East along the seaboard into Canada.
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.
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.
What cities did the Underground Railroad go through?
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 slaves called on the Underground Railroad?
The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo. The safe houses used as hiding places along the lines of the Underground Railroad were called stations.
Where did the name Underground Railroad come from?
It was a name given to the way that people escaped. No one is sure where it originally got its name, but the “underground” part of the name comes from its secrecy and the “railroad” part of the name comes from the way it was used to transport people. The Underground Railroad used railroad terms in its organization.
Did the Underground Railroad go through Kentucky?
Kentucky was the last state enslaved peoples needed to pass through on the Underground Railroad’s northern route to freedom. One of the hidden “stations” on the Underground Railroad was located at Lexington’s St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church on North Upper Street.
Were there slaves in Indianapolis?
Even with statehood, there was still slavery in Indiana. Despite slavery and indentures becoming illegal in 1816 due to the state constitution, the 1820 federal census listed 190 slaves in Indiana.
Where is the Underground Railroad in Ohio?
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a museum of conscience, an education center, a convener of dialogue, and a beacon of light for inclusive freedom around the globe. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio.”
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
Enslaved man Tice Davids fled from Kentucky into Ohio in 1831, and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his release. This was the first time the Underground Railroad was mentioned in print. In 1839, a Washington newspaper stated that an escaped enslaved man called Jim had divulged, after being tortured, his intention to go north through a “underground railroad to Boston” in order to avoid capture. After being established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard fugitive enslaved individuals from bounty hunters, Vigilance Committees quickly expanded its duties to include guiding runaway slaves.
It was by the 1840s that the phrase “Underground Railroad” had become commonplace in the United States. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ THESE STATEMENTS. Harriet Tubman and other Underground Railroad fugitives used the following strategies to get away.
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.
She was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, and her name is Harriet Tubman. In 1849, she and two of her brothers managed to escape from a farm in Maryland, where they were born into slavery under the name Araminta Ross. Harriet Tubman was her married name at the time. While they did return a few of weeks later, Tubman set out on her own shortly after, 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 people.
Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other runaway slaves to the Maryland state capital of Fredericksburg. In order to avoid being captured by the United States, Tubman would transport parties of escapees to Canada.
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
The abolitionist Josiah Henson served as the basis for the character Uncle Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and his renowned cabin was based on a house in Ontario, where he lived at the time of the novel’s publication. Henson was also an abolitionist, and his New Dawn Settlement served as a safe haven for other fugitives fleeing the law. In 1830, he managed to flee to Canada from Kentucky.
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
Located on the Underground Railroad’s route through Sandwich, the Sandwich First Baptist Church was a crucial stop on the journey. Olde Sandwich Towne — which is now a district inside the city of Windsor — was awarded land by Queen Victoria in 1847 to the newly emancipated people of the town. As part of church services, the ringing of a specific bell and the beginning of a specific spiritual hymn served as an alert for runaways to seek refuge in the church’s trap door dungeon when bounty hunters passed by.
At the Elgin Settlement in Buxton, Ontario, runaway slaves founded the country’s first school in 1861, which is still in use today. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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.
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»
4.4 The Underground Railroad – Human Geography Lab Manual
Begin by visiting The Underground Railroad map on ArcGIS Online, where you may explore the map. Step 2: While the Details button is highlighted, select the Show Legend option from the context menu.
- Which states permitted slavery to exist? Which states did not enslave their citizens
- Which areas were the most enslaved
- What reasons contributed to these places being the most enslaved
Step 3: Select the Show Map Contents button from the drop-down menu. Step 4: Select Bookmarks from the drop-down menu. Choose the Underground Railroad option. Step 5: Enable the Map Notes layer in the Layers panel. Map Notes for Northern Michigan can be found by opening and reading them.
- Why did rivers serve as effective escape routes? Which rivers do you believe are the great river and the tiny river, and why do you believe this?
6. Filter the US Rivers layer in such a way that the value FOLLOW is set to YES. The filter button is only available for some map layers, and it is not available for all. Hover your mouse over the name of a layer while the Details button is highlighted. Select the Filter option from the drop-down menu. Set the Filter settings to your liking. Step 7: Remove the filter from the water. Step 8: Enable the Notable Underground Railroad Stations layer in the Layers panel.
- What trends do you observe in the positions of the stations
- What do you think they are? Which stations were the farthest north
- Which stations were the furthest south
Step 9: Select the two purple stations from the drop-down menu.
- What kinds of stations were they, and what does this tell us about the Underground Railroad’s operations
Step 10: Enable the Routes layer in the Layers panel.
- What trends do you detect in these networks that you would want to share?
Step 11: Turn off the Stations layer in the Layers panel. Step 12: Windsor, turn on the layer you just created. The Measure tool should be used to answer the questions button in Step 13.
- The majority of fugitive slaves were from border states. What is the reason for this
- How far is the Ohio River from Windsor
- What is the distance between the mouth of the Ohio River and the mouth of the Mississippi River
- What is the distance from Windsor and the mouth of the Mississippi River
- Aside from the distance, what additional considerations made departing the Deep South so challenging
Because of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, assisting escaped slaves in the United States is now a federal offense.
- Was the Underground Railroad instrumental in convincing southern legislators to enact more stringent anti-fleeing slave legislation? Specifically, what effect did a more stringent Fugitive Slave Act have on the Underground Railroad.
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?
Although it had a vast scope, embracing the whole United States and beyond, its meaning was profound for a country whose history was intertwined with the sale of human lives. However, because of its secrecy, that history is extremely difficult to uncover.
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)
The Jamestown Future Foundation is located at 210 Liberty St. in Jamestown, Pennsylvania 16134 and can be reached at 724.932.5455. Dr. William Gibson, a well-known Jamestown physician, accompanied Samuel Clemens on his journey to Russia. Clemens authored a book on their adventures, titled Innocents Abroad, which is available on Amazon. It has been speculated that the home served as a halt on the Underground Railroad. There is evidence of a tiny chamber that was utilized as a station on the Underground Railroad in the basement.
The Gibson House is a historic structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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
Located in downtown Pittsburgh on Fourth Street between Wood and Market, a station halt on the Underground Railroad
Private homes in Arthurville and Hayti
Fourth Street between Wood and Market Streets in downtown Pittsburgh A station on the Underground Railroad.
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
Sewickley, Pennsylvania 345 Thorn St. Sewickley, Pennsylvania’s Underground Railroad was served by a building constructed in 1857. One common way for providing food to escaped slaves in the Pittsburgh region was for conductors to disguise as hunters at night and carry a game bag stocked with foodstuffs to their destination.
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.
Formerly located at the junction of Water and Smithfield Streets, this hotel has been demolished. One of the city’s most luxurious hotels, as well as a hotbed of anti-slavery activities. It had a staff of 300 free Blacks who were in regular touch with a steady stream of affluent Southern merchants who arrived from the north and east.
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.
Underground Railroad in Iowa
Initially funded by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program in 2002, the Iowa Network to Freedom project, which investigated persons and locations involved with the Underground Railroad in Iowa, became the Iowa Freedom Trail Project in 2003. After a five-year period of grant funding, volunteers have continued to collect information from historical resources and compile it into a form containing general information, such as biographical data, resource references, associated properties, and researcher information, among other things, to be used by the public.
- Individuals (by name)
- Individuals (by county)
- Places (by county)
- Research Files (by county)
- Inventory of Individuals (by name)
- Inventory of Places (by county)
- Inventory of Research Files
If you have any concerns concerning the Iowa Freedom Trail Project, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Researching Underground Railroad Activity
Since 2002, volunteers at the State Historical Society of Iowa have been doing research into the Underground Railroad’s presence in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn how you can contribute to the project.
- Instructions for the Research and Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
- Sample Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
Iowa and the Underground Railroad
Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to escape slavery. It included both northern and southern states, spanning from Texas all the way up to Maine. The vast majority of runaway slaves fled to Canada from the Deep South, although a minor number journeyed further south to Mexico and the Caribbean. Due to the fact that slaves were considered property in the United States at the time, helping runaway slaves was deemed larceny under American law at the time.
- Prior to the American Revolution, slavery was lawful across the British Empire, including the United States.
- These principles would transform the lives of black people, and many of them fought in the American Revolution in the hope that these rights would be given to them as well.
- Vermont became the first state in the new United States of America to pass anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the Revolutionary War in 1777.
- Apart from that, there were no laws in the newly created United States that forced civilians to return fugitive slaves to their owners.
- The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated similar views on the subject at the time.
- Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties or jail.
- As the Underground Railroad network began to take shape, people began to fill a number of positions inside it.
Fugitive slaves were often referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, or freight when they were on the run.
Others choose to play a more passive role.
The modes of transportation used varied from one region to the next, and were mostly determined by concealment and closeness to slave hunters.
In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, particularly in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery.
In the middle of the night, conductors would walk or ride horses to the next station to transport them.
Because of its physical proximity between Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa saw a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period.
That meant that when Iowa became a state in the Union in 1846, it would be a free state.
Most fugitive slaves crossed through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being arrested and returned to slavery.
Southeastern Iowa was also home to a large number of fugitive slaves from northern Missouri who were making their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois.
Numerous Iowans also became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and granted Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status.
You may get further information about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and other states by clicking here. Take a look at the resources listed below.
- The John Brown Freedom Trail (1859)
- Abolitionist Movement Primary Sources
- Underground Railroad Primary Sources
- Underground Railroad Sites in the Iowa Culture mobile app
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|
Abolitionist Movement primary sources; Underground Railroad primary sources; Underground Railroad sites may be found on the Iowa Culture mobile app; John Brown Freedom Trail 1859; Abolitionist Movement primary sources; Underground Railroad primary sources; Abolitionist Movement primary sources
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.
When describing a network of meeting spots, hidden routes, passages, and safehouses used by slaves in the United States to escape slave-holding states and seek refuge in northern states and Canada, the Underground Railroad was referred to as the Underground Railroad (UR). The underground railroad, which was established in the early 1800s and sponsored by persons active in the Abolitionist Movement, assisted thousands of slaves in their attempts to escape bondage. Between 1810 and 1850, it is estimated that 100,000 slaves escaped from bondage in the southern United States.
Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad
Aproximate year of birth: 1780
1780 is a rough estimate.
Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.
Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. William Still is a well-known author and poet. Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. John Fairfield is a well-known author.
The Story of How Canada Became the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and a Spion is well documented.
The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad
Canada’s Role as the Final Station of the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and as a Spione
The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name
Canada’s Role as the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy: Freedom Fighter and Spy
Conductors On The Railroad
A “conductor,” who pretended to be a slave, would sometimes accompany fugitives to a plantation in order to lead them on their journey. Harriet Tubman, a former slave who traveled to slave states 19 times and liberated more than 300 people, is one of the most well-known “conductors.” She used her shotgun to threaten death to any captives who lost heart and sought to return to slavery. The Underground Railroad’s operators faced their own set of risks as well. If someone living in the North was convicted of assisting fugitives in their escape, he or she could face fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which was a significant sum at the time; however, in areas where abolitionism was strong, the “secret” railroad was openly operated, and no one was arrested.
His position as the most significant commander of the Underground Railroad in and around Albany grew as time went on.
However, in previous times of American history, the phrase “vigilance committee” generally refers to citizen organizations that took the law into their own hands, prosecuting and hanging those suspected of crimes when there was no local government or when they considered the local authority was corrupt or weak.
White males who were found assisting slaves in their escape were subjected to heavier punishments than white women, but both were likely to face at the very least incarceration.
The most severe punishments, such as hundreds of lashing with a whip, burning, or hanging, were reserved for any blacks who were discovered in the process of assisting fugitive fugitives on the loose.
The Civil War On The Horizon
Events such as the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision compelled more anti-slavery activists to take an active part in the effort to liberate slaves in the United States. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Southern states began to secede in December 1860, putting an end to the Union’s hopes of achieving independence from the United States. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists warned against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law.
Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.
Even the Cleveland Leader, a Republican weekly that was traditionally anti-slavery and pro-the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the seas of our nation’s difficulties,” according to the newspaper.
In her honor, a Grand Jubilee was celebrated on May 6, 1863, in the city of Cleveland.
The Reverse Underground Railroad
Because of events like the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision, an increasing number of anti-slavery activists were involved in the movement to liberate slaves. Southern states began seceding in December 1860, following the election of Abraham Lincoln to the president, putting a crimp in the works of the Union. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists urged against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Act.
Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.
In fact, the Cleveland Leader, a Republican journal that had previously taken a strong stance against slavery and the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the rivers of our nation’s problems.” Lucy was sent to Ohio County, Virginia, where she was chastised, but she was eventually released when Union soldiers conquered the region.
On May 6, 1863, the city of Cleveland hosted a Grand Jubilee in her honor.