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Immigration and Early Settlement

Immigration and Early Settlement > African-Americans > Underground Railroad
8 Topic Specific Items
Circular Letter, Underground Rail Road Depot, To the Friends of the Fugitives from Slavery
Author: Abbott, William E.; Allen, Joseph A.; Fuller, James ; Knight, Horace B.; Loguen, Jermain Wesley; May, Samuel J.; Ormsbee, Lucius J.
Date: March 4, 1858

This printed, circular dated Syracuse, March 4, 1858, announce the dissolution of the Syracuse Fugitive Aid Society and directed all "Fugitives" interested in such assistance in the future to contact Rev. J. W. Loguen of that place who would assume "the entire care of the Fugitives who may stop at Syracuse.

Keywords: Abbott, William E.; African Americans; Allen, Joseph A.; Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895; Fugitive slaves; Fuller, James; Knight, Horace B.; Loguen, Jermain Wesley; May, Samuel J.; Ormsbee, Lucius J.; Syracuse, New York; Underground railroad

Letter, E. B. Whitman to My Dear Friend [Franklin B.] Sanborn
Author: Whitman, E. B.
Date: April 30, 1858

Among other things, Whitman wrote to Sanborn from Lawrence on April 30, 1858, regarding increased activity on the region's U.G.R.R. due in part to the fact that proslavery men in Missouri knew they had lost the battle for Kansas and "large gangs of slaves are already made up for Texas and the Extreme South, in case Lecompton fails to pass. Political harmony had, for the most part, returned to the Free State Party and "we have broken the back bone of the Slave power."

Keywords: Conway, Martin Franklin; Fort Scott, Kansas Territory; Free State Party; Free state cause; Jefferson City, Missouri; Missouri; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917; Slave power; Slaveholders; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Underground railroad; United States. Army; Whitman, E. B.

Letter, Mary [Brown] to Dear Brother Willie [Brown]
Author: Brown, Mary Ann Day , 1816-1884
Date: January 30, 1859

This letter, written by Mary Brown from Lawrence, was addressed to her brother William, who was studying at Phillip Exeter Academy. Mary and William were the children of John Stillman Brown, a Unitarian minister who lived west of Lawrence. The main focus of the letter is the story of how Dr. Doy was captured by Missourians while aiding fugitive slaves. Mary was convinced that someone had told the Missourians about the plan of escape. She also mentioned her father's religious work and "Old" John Brown's work to free Missouri slaves.

Keywords: Brown, John S.; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Doy, John; Fort Scott, Kansas Territory; Fugitive slaves; Missourians

Letter, [E. Nute] to [Unidentified recipient]
Author: Nute, Ephraim
Date: February 14, 1859

Ephraim Nute wrote from Lawrence on February 14, 1859, regarding "the disaster that befel the last expedition from this place with fugitives." The party, led by Dr. John Doy, was in route to Oskaloosa when captured and taken to Missouri, where "the colored people, both free and slaves, have been shipped for the New Orleans market." Doy and his son had been jailed at Platte City, Missouri, and were to be tried for "stealing a slave from Weston." Nute was quite sure this operation had been betrayed from within, as "Great rewards were offered, spies sent out & men hired in this place to watch & aid in recovering the run away property."

Keywords: African Americans; Border disputes and warfare; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Doy rescue and trial, 1859; Doy, Charles; Doy, John; Fugitive Slave Law; Fugitive slaves; Holton, Kansas Territory; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Missouri; Nute, Ephraim; Oskaloosa, Kansas Territory; Spurs, Battle of the; Underground railroad; United States marshals; United States. Army

Letter, E. N. [Ephraim Nute] to Unidentified recipient
Author: Nute, Ephraim
Date: February 24, 1859

Ephaim Nute of Lawrence provides an interesting description of the plight of one of the Doy party's fugitive slaves, captured and jailed at Platte City until his escape and dangerous flight back to Lawrence. "We have him now hid & are to day making arrangements to have him set forward tomorrow 30 miles to another depot. I think they (there are 2 others to go) will not be taken again without bloodshed." Nute also mentioned his involvement in the "Charley Fisher affair in Leavenworth." Fisher, a black fugitive, had actually come to Nute's house "disguised in female attire."

Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Canada; Doy rescue and trial, 1859; Doy, John; Fisher, Charley; Free state cause; Fugitive slaves; Jefferson County, Kansas Territory; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Missouri River; Nute, Ephraim; Platte City, Missouri; Proslavery settlers; Underground railroad

Letter, E. Nute to F. B. Sanborn Esq.
Author: Nute, Ephraim
Date: March 22, 1859

Ephraim Nute's efforts on behalf of "4 more fugitives," including Charley Fisher of Leavenworth, and the activities of "manhunters" in and around Lawrence are the main focus of this letter to F. B. Sanborn, but Nute also mentions the continuing need for money to pay for Doy's defense. The trial was to begin at St. Joseph the next day.

Keywords: Conway, Martin Franklin; Doy rescue and trial, 1859; Doy, John; Fisher, Charley; Fugitive slaves; Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876; Linn County, Kansas Territory; Nute, Ephraim; Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917; Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877; Slaves in Kansas Territory; Underground railroad

Letter, H. J. Espy to S. N. Wood
Author: Espy, H. J.
Date: November 28, 1859

H. J. Espy, a probate judge in Council Grove, wrote in response to a letter from Wood, who seemed to have challenged Espy's "charge" that Wood was "connected with the Underground Rail Road." Espy explained that "as I understand the term, Underground Rail Road, I believe there is an inseparable connection between it and the republican party. . . ."

Keywords: Council Grove, Kansas Territory; Courts; Espy, H. J.; Judges; Republican Party (U.S.: 1854- ); Underground railroad; Wood, S. N. (Samuel Newitt)

Letter, John E. Stewart to My Dear Sir [Thaddeus Hyatt]
Author: Stewart, John E.
Date: December 20, 1859

John E. Stewart wrote from Wakarusa, Kansas to Thaddeus Hyatt, president of the National Kansas Committee, describing his work on the underground railroad. This letter detailed the inclement weather and difficulties he encountered as he helped slaves to escape from Missouri, as well as his procedure for locating the slaves and hiding them in his wagon. Stewart sought to gain assistance from Hyatt, mainly in the form of provisions and horses. He also needed advice about what to do with the escaped slaves to ensure that they were not captured and sold again into slavery.

Keywords: Abolitionists; African Americans; Fugitive slaves; Guns; Horses; Iowa; Missouri; Nebraska Territory; Relief; Slaves; Stewart, John E.; Underground railroad; Weapons (see also Guns)

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Pro-slavery Banner
Authors: No authors specified.
Date:  1855
This flag was created by pro-slavery Missourians who captured Free State supporter Reverend Pardee Butler of Atchison in April 1855. The pro-slavery men sent Butler adrift on a raft down the turbulent Missouri River with this flag flying from it. The Missourians wanted others to know that the minister had helped slaves escape. Although he was expected to drown, Butler survived.

Keywords: Abolitionists; Atchison County, Kansas Territory; Butler, Rev. Pardee; Butler, Rev. Pardee; Emigrant aid companies - Free state; Flags and banners; Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872; Missourians; Objects; Proslavery; Proslavery activities; Slavery; Underground railroad; Violence


Quindaro Desk
Authors: No authors specified.
Date:  1856-1861
Walnut desk used by abolitionist Fielding Johnson in Quindaro, Kansas. The word "Quindaro" is painted on the back of the desk. The town of Quindaro was settled by anti-slavery activists. Johnson, a merchant and agent to the Delaware Indians, was known to aid fugitive slaves.

Keywords: Abolitionists; Daily life; Delaware Indians; Fugitive slaves; Furniture; House furnishings; Immigration (see Emigration and immigration); Johnson, Fielding; Merchants; Objects; Quindaro, Kansas Territory; Settlement; Underground railroad; Wyandotte County, Kansas Territory


Letter, John [Brown, Jr.] to Dear Father [John Brown]
Authors: Brown, Jr., John
Date:  February 13, 1858
From Lindenville, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, John Jr. wrote his father on February 13, 1858, to report that he was ready to travel to Washington, D.C., if Brown wanted him to and to enlist the assistance of Marcus Parrott if needed. (It is unclear what kind of legislative business he intended to pursue there.) John Jr. closes by making what appears to be a veiled reference to the Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania and by relating his plan to move soon to North Elba.

Keywords: Ashtabula County, Ohio; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Brown, John, Jr.; North Elba, New York; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Underground railroad; United States. Congress; Washington, D.C.


Circular Letter, Underground Rail Road Depot, To the Friends of the Fugitives from Slavery
Authors: Abbott, William E.; Allen, Joseph A.; Fuller, James ; Knight, Horace B.; Loguen, Jermain Wesley; May, Samuel J.; Ormsbee, Lucius J.
Date:  March 4, 1858
This printed, circular dated Syracuse, March 4, 1858, announce the dissolution of the Syracuse Fugitive Aid Society and directed all "Fugitives" interested in such assistance in the future to contact Rev. J. W. Loguen of that place who would assume "the entire care of the Fugitives who may stop at Syracuse.

Keywords: Abbott, William E.; African Americans; Allen, Joseph A.; Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895; Fugitive slaves; Fuller, James; Knight, Horace B.; Loguen, Jermain Wesley; May, Samuel J.; Ormsbee, Lucius J.; Syracuse, New York; Underground railroad


Letter, E. B. Whitman to My Dear Friend [Franklin B.] Sanborn
Authors: Whitman, E. B.
Date:  April 30, 1858
Among other things, Whitman wrote to Sanborn from Lawrence on April 30, 1858, regarding increased activity on the region's U.G.R.R. due in part to the fact that proslavery men in Missouri knew they had lost the battle for Kansas and "large gangs of slaves are already made up for Texas and the Extreme South, in case Lecompton fails to pass. Political harmony had, for the most part, returned to the Free State Party and "we have broken the back bone of the Slave power."

Keywords: Conway, Martin Franklin; Fort Scott, Kansas Territory; Free State Party; Free state cause; Jefferson City, Missouri; Missouri; Parrott, Marcus J., 1828-1879; Sanborn, F. B. (Franklin Benjamin), 1831-1917; Slave power; Slaveholders; Stearns, Geo. L. (George Luther), 1809-1867; Underground railroad; United States. Army; Whitman, E. B.


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