La Belle Riviere, also Known as The Ohio. Portal to Freedom.

O' Be Joyful

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At this National Historic Landmark, you can step inside one of the best-documented and most active Underground Railroad "stations" in Ohio and get the story of Ohio's role in the abolitionist movement that set the stage for the end of slavery as well as the modern Civil Rights movement. Average visit time: Allow 1+ hours

The historic town of Ripley is part of the Ohio River Scenic Byway and has a 55-acre historic district that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Walk Front Street and enjoy the sites and sounds of river life. Take in the historic riverside homes or try one of the great local restaurants.

John Rankin wasn’t the only famous abolitionist in Ripley. You can also visit the John P. Parker House, home of an African American inventor and active conductor on the Underground Railroad who helped hundreds make their way to freedom.

https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/john-rankin-house
 

O' Be Joyful

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You can also visit the John P. Parker House, home of an African American inventor and active conductor on the Underground Railroad who helped hundreds make their way to freedom.

Been to the Parker house also, before and since it was renovated. Btw, the U.S. Grant birthplace, Point Pleasant, is about 40 miles back up Rt. 52.

https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/us-grant-birthplace



John P. Parker House
NHL-NPS Photo
John Parker (1827-1900), a former slave, lived in this house, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, from about 1853 until his death, and from this location planned many rescue attempts of slaves held captive in the "borderlands" of Kentucky. Born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, Parker was sold at the age of eight to a doctor in Mobile, Alabama. The doctor's family taught Parker to read and write and allowed him to apprentice in an iron foundry where he was compensated and permitted to keep some of his earnings. Persuading an elderly female patient of the doctor's to purchase him, Parker, at the age of 18, bought his freedom from the woman with money earned from his apprenticeship. Parker moved to southern Ohio and around 1853 established a successful foundry behind his home in Ripley. Patenting a number of inventions from his foundry, Parker was one of only a few African Americans to obtain a U.S. patent in the 19th century. Though busy with his business, Parker was also active in the Underground Railroad and is believed to have assisted many slaves to escape from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Parker, who was well-known by regional slave-catchers, risked his own life when he secreted himself back into slave territory to lead fugitive slaves to safety in Ripley. Once the slaves were in Ripley, Parker would deliver them to Underground Railroad conductors in the town, such as John Rankin, who would harbor the fugitive slaves and help them to the next depot on the network. In the 1880s, Parker recounted his life as an Underground Railroad conductor in a series of interviews with journalist Frank M. Gregg. These interviews have recently been edited by Stuart Seely Sprague and published as His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad.

The John P. Parker House is located in Ripley, Ohio, at 300 Front St. The house has recently been restored, and is open on weekends from May through the second weekend in December. Tours are offered 10:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays, and 1:00pm to 4:00pm on Sundays. Tours can be scheduled at other times by calling 937-392-4188 to make an advance appointment.

https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/underground/oh2.htm

 

O' Be Joyful

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His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad.
This narrative, never before published, was told to a newspaperman after the Civil War. It follows John P. Parker (1827-1900), a determined young slave who at the age of eight was forced from his family in Virginia and made to walk to Alabama. In Mobile, Parker was sold to a doctor. There he was taught illegally by the doctor's sons to read. Parker lived in the doctor's household for several years, and then ran away to New Orleans. After a series of harrowing near captures, Parker was found by his master and returned to Mobile. He persuaded a widow to buy him and let him earn his way out of slavery through working in a foundry. Moving to Ohio, Parker worked with other members of the Underground Railroad in Ripley, a stronghold of the abolitionist movement. Parker is one of the few African Americans whose battle against slavery we can now turn to in his own words. He recounts dramatically how he helped fugitive slaves to cross the Ohio River from Kentucky and go north to freedom. He risked his life - hiding in coffins, diving off a steamboat into the Ohio River with bounty hunters on his trail - and his freedom to fight for the freedom of his people.

https://books.google.com/books/about/His_Promised_Land.html?id=zERylrfQMUwC
 

5fish

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I think I should become an Underground Railroad denier...

The Myth-Truth test...http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/underground_railroad/myths.htm
  • Myth:
    Most of the “workers” on the Underground Railroad were white abolitionists.
  • Truth:
    In fact, most people who helped escaping slaves were free blacks or escaped slaves. And even though the whites who helped runaways were abolitionists who wanted to end slavery, not all abolitionists supported the Underground Railroad. Many abolitionists, in fact, were against helping slaves escape. They did not believe in breaking the law and wanted to find a legal way to end slavery.
  • Myth:
    The first “stops” along the Underground Railroad were found in the South.
  • Truth:
    The Underground Railroad did not exist as an organization in the south. Slaves rarely received any help until they reached a free, Northern State. They had to reach freedom on their own, which they usually did by foot.
  • Myth:
    Many slaves escaped from the Deep South.
  • Truth:
    Because runaway slaves could not expect any help until they got to a free state, it was more difficult for slaves in the Deep South like Alabama and Louisiana to make it to freedom. Slaves in the Deep South had much further to go, and they had to do most of the traveling on foot. As a result, most slaves who successfully escaped were from states in the upper south like Kentucky and Virginia, where they had a better chance of making it to bordering free states like Ohio and receive help from members of the Underground Railroad.
  • Myth:
    There were distinct routes along the Underground Railroad that slaves followed.
  • Truth:
    The Underground Railroad was a loose network of houses and people, and slaves reached their destinations in different ways. If there had been one route that was used regularly, the slave catchers would have known about it and would have shut it down. There were likely almost as many routes as escaping slaves.
  • Myth:
    Most people in the North supported the Underground Railroad and welcomed runaway slaves into their states.
  • Truth:
    Only a small minority of people in the North worked on – and even supported – the Underground Railroad. In fact, many did not welcome fugitives into their states. In 1804, Ohio passed a law prohibiting runaway slaves from entering the state.
  • Myth:
    Most slaves knew of the term “Underground Railroad.”
  • Truth:
    Although slaves had been escaping since they were brought to the New World, the loose “network” of routes and safe houses began to emerge in the 19th century. And the term “Underground Railroad” was not coined until about 1840. But this term was used mostly in the North. Most slaves in the South would not have been familiar with the term.
  • Myth:
    Enslaved African Americans depended on others, like Harriet Tubman coming to their plantation, to help them make their escape.
  • Truth:
    Enslaved African Americans were not passive in their escapes. They planned and carried out their own escapes, usually alone.
  • Myth:
    Slaves made quilts that had specific symbols – or codes – that helped slaves escape. Slaves used the quilts since many of them were illiterate.
  • Truth:
    People in the 1800s, including slaves, made quilts. Sometimes these quilts had symbols in them, but they were not secret codes that helped runaway slaves. The story of the Secret Quilt Code began with a book called Hidden in Plain View published in 1999. Before then, there was no talk about a Secret Quilt Code. In all the interviews with freed slaves done in the 1930s, no one mentioned the Code, and since 1999, many historians have disputed the truth to the story. It is also unrealistic to expect that slaves could gather the material and make a quilt fast enough to help escaping slaves. Escaping slaves certainly did not carry quilts with them in their escape to freedom – they were just too heavy.
  • Myth:
    Enslaved African Americans had many spirituals like “Follow the Drinking Gourd” that contained coded information that helped slaves escape.
  • Truth:
    While spirituals were passed orally from slave to slave, there is no evidence that the songs were used to help others escape. If a song had given slaves a route to follow to freedom, like the “Follow the Drinking Gourd” was supposed to have done, slave owners and bounty hunters could easily learn of it and promptly shut the route down. The truth is that the lyrics and the chorus were written by Lee Hays and first published in 1947 — well after the Civil War had ended.
  • Myth:
    Quakers were heavily involved in the Underground Railroad because slavery was against their religious principles.
  • Truth:
    There were Quakers involved in the Underground Railroad, the most famous being Levi Coffin who later called himself the “Father of the Underground Railroad.” However, not all Quakers were involved in the Underground Railroad. Many Quakers did not believe that breaking the law to help fugitive slaves was a solution to slavery. Some Quakers had even been slave owners themselves.
  • Myth:
    A lantern in a window was a common sign used to identify a safe house along the Underground Railroad.
  • Truth:
    The famous stationmaster John Rankin used this secret “sign” to signal that it was safe to cross the Ohio River to his home. However, this was not a common signal. If it had been, the slave catchers would have quickly learned of it, and used it to identify safe houses.
  • Myth: All slaves who escaped went to the North.
  • Truth: While many slaves ventured for free northern states and Canada, some escaped to places like Florida to rural, isolated communities of blacks in the South.
  • Myth:
    A significant percentage of enslaved African Americans escaped on the Underground Railroad.
  • Truth:
    While the number is often debated, some believe that as many as 100,000 slaves escaped on the Underground Railroad between 1800 and 1865. However, this is only a tiny percentage of the slaves living in the South during this period. For example, in 1860, there were nearly four million slaves in the South. Additionally, the majority of slaves who attempted to escape were caught and returned to their owners.


    Just because some of the stories about the Underground Railroad are myths does not undermine the fact that thousands of slaves escaped to freedom. Many people put their own lives and their own freedoms at risk by helping slaves escape, and their only reward was the happiness of seeing a person free.
A 100.000 is a big number... I need to look for some smoke...
 
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5fish

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I am looking for smoke so I can be a denier ...

I see why @O' Be Joyful brought up the Underground Railroad to showoff the city of Cincinnati ... tourism site...

Mr. Foner, 71, has certainly tackled a wildly popular subject. The Underground Railroad is enshrined in school curriculums and children’s books as an inspiring story of interracial cooperation, and celebrated in museums like the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, not to mention a growing number of local tourism sites.
“Everybody in Ohio who has a potato cellar thinks it was an Underground Railroad site,”
said Paul Finkelman, a professor at Albany Law School who is writing a book on fugitive slave laws.


Snip...

But the Underground Railroad has had a checkered past among professional historians, who have long questioned not just the more colorful elements of popular legend — like the notion that fugitives followed coded instructions sewn into quilts — but whether it existed at all.

Snip the myth starts...

The first scholarly study of the Underground Railroad, published by Wilbur Siebert in 1898, named some 3,200 “agents,” virtually all of them white men, who presided over an elaborate network of fixed routes, illustrated with maps that looked much like those of an ordinary railroad.

Snip... myth debunked...

That view largely held among scholars until 1961, when the historian Larry Gara published “The Liberty Line,” a slashing revisionist study that dismissed the Underground Railroad as a myth and argued that most fugitive slaves escaped at their own initiative, with little help from organized abolitionists. Scholarship on the topic all but dried up, as historians more generally emphasized the agency of African-Americans in claiming their own freedom.

“Gara was quite right to take the story down a few pegs,” Mr. Foner said. “But to say there was no Underground Railroad is not correct.”

“Gateway to Freedom” does some debunking of its own. Instead of the popular image of a lone fugitive running through the woods, Mr. Foner’s analysis of Gay’s notes suggests a significant number escaped in groups, often traveling on trains or boats, helped along by blacks working in the maritime industry, including some in Southern ports like Norfolk, Va.

Link... the rest of the article is Foner effort to bring it back... https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/15/books/eric-foner-revisits-myths-of-the-underground-railroad.html

I am finding some firewood...
 

O' Be Joyful

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“Everybody in Ohio who has a potato cellar thinks it was an Underground Railroad site,” said Paul Finkelman, a professor at Albany Law School who is writing a book on fugitive slave laws.
This is true. If there were as many "Underground" sites as have been claimed in my home county it would be truly amazing. And many claimed "credit" after the war.

But there was/is Harveysburg, less than 10 miles from where I grew up.

In Harveysburg's early years Elizabeth Harvey, wife of Dr. Jesse Harvey, recognized the need to educate African American and Native American children in the area. The Harveys built the Harverysburg School in 1831, which was one of the first schools for such minority children in Ohio and the Northwest Territory.



It was supported by the Harveys and members of the Grove Monthly Meeting of Friends. Stephen Wall, a wealthy North Carolina plantation owner, provided funding to relocate eight slave children and their families to Harveysburg for their education at this school. Orindatus S.B. Wall, oldest son of Steven became the first regular commissioned African American captain in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. This school closed in 1909 when classes became too small to continue. In 1976 the Harveysburg Bicentennial Committee purchased the building, restored it, and opened it to the public as a symbol of freedom through education.

Established in 1831 in Harveysburg, the Harveysburg Free Black School was the first free school for African-American children in Ohio. Quakers Kylar and Nathaniel Harvey founded the school. Like most Quakers, the Harveys believed strongly in education. They also believed in equal opportunity for African Americans with whites. Elizabeth Harvey was especially concerned about the lack of free education for Ohio's African-American children and convinced her husband to construct a one-room schoolhouse to assist black children in attaining an education. While the institution is now known as the Harveysburg Free Black School, the school permitted any children of color to attend. Constructed of brick, the Harveysburg Free Black School remained in operation as a school until the early 1900s, when African-Americans were finally permitted to attend historically white schools in the community. The school relied on donations, principally from the Grove Monthly Meeting of Friends in Harveysburg, to remain open. In addition to opening the Harveysburg Free Black School, the couple also established a seminary for white children in the community Upon the school's closing, the building became a private home. In 1976, the Harveysburg Bicentennial Committee acquired the building and restored it to its original appearance. The Harveysburg Free Black School now serves as the Harveysburg Community Historical Society's headquarters

http://www.villageofharveysburg.org/history



 

5fish

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I found this it does not support my desire to be an underground railroad denier but it does takes away the romance of the story...

First, I want to point numbers... 100,ooo... if you divide 100,ooo by 60 years you get the number 1,666. and you divide that number by 52 equal 32 ... 32 slaves a week made it to freedom over 60 or so years... not impressive if you look at the length of the border between North and south...

Truth:
While the number is often debated, some believe that as many as 100,000 slaves escaped on the Underground Railroad between 1800 and 1865. However, this is only a tiny percentage of the slaves living in the South during this period. For example, in 1860, there were nearly four million slaves in the South. Additionally, the majority of slaves who attempted to escape were caught and returned to their owners.

I found this site that takes the shine off the underground railroad...

link: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-am...tory/who-really-ran-the-underground-railroad/.

Snip...

The Railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular threads in the fabric of America’s national historical memory,” as Blight rightly puts it. Since the end of the 19th century, many Americans — especially in New England and the Midwest — have either fabricated stories about the exploits of their ancestors or simply repeated tales they have heard. However, before we tackle those tales, it’s worth looking at the origins of the term “Underground Railroad.”

Snip Origin stories...

Various explanations exist for how it was coined. Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who successfully escaped to Ohio in 1831, and the term “Underground Railroad” may have been coined based on his escape. His owner had been pursuing Davids but lost track of him in Ohio. It is said he claimed that Davids disappeared as if “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad,” according to Blight. I love this story — an account worthy of Richard Pryor — but this seems unlikely, since rail lines barely existed at this time.

Snip... next...

Two other possibilities exist. One story from 1839 claims that a fugitive slave from Washington, D.C., was tortured and confessed that he had been sent north, where “the railroad ran underground all the way to Boston.” If one checks the Liberator newspaper, however, the first time the term appears is on Oct. 11, 1839, in which an editorial by Hiram Wilson from Toronto called for the creation of “a great republican railroad … constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province.”

Snip ... here it is in print...

The actual phrase “Underground Railroad” first appeared in the Liberator on Oct. 14, 1842, a date that may be buttressed by those who assert that the abolitionist Charles T. Torrey coined the phrase in 1842. In any event, as David Blight states, the phrase did not become common until the mid-1840s.

Snip... romance ... White feel-good story...

Often well-meaning white people crafted “romantic adventure stories — about themselves,” as Blight puts it, stories that placed white “conductors” in heroic and romantic roles in the struggle for black freedom, stealing agency from supposedly helpless and nameless African Americans (who braved the real dangers), a counterpart to popular images of a saintly, erect Abraham Lincoln bequeathing freedom to passive, kneeling slaves. With the collapse of Reconstruction in 1876 — often blamed on supposedly ignorant or corrupt black people — the winning of freedom became a tale of noble, selfless white efforts on behalf of a downtrodden, faceless, nameless, “inferior” race.

Snip... points of note...

2. The Underground Railroad was primarily a Northern phenomenon. It operated mainly in the Free States, which stands to reason. Fugitive slaves were largely on their own until they crossed the Ohio River or the Mason-Dixon Line, thereby reaching a Free State. It was then that the Underground Railroad could take effect. There were well-established routes and conductors in the North, and some informal networks that could move a fugitive from, say, the abolitionists’ office or homes in Philadelphia to various points north and west. Some organized assistance was also available in Washington, D.C., where slavery remained legal until 1862 and in a few places in the Upper South. And some slaves were assisted in escaping from Southern seaports, but relatively few.

3. Those tunnels or secret rooms in attics, garrets, cellars or basements? Not many, I’m afraid. Most fugitive slaves spirited themselves out of towns under the cover of darkness, not through tunnels, the construction of which would have been huge undertakings and quite costly. And few homes in the North had secret passageways or hidden rooms in which slaves could be concealed.

4. Freedom quilts? Simply put, this is one of the oddest myths propagated in all of African-American history. If a slave family had the wherewithal to make a quilt, they used it to protect themselves against the cold, and not to send messages about supposed routes on the Underground Railroad in the North, where they had never been!

6. Who escaped? Whole families? According to John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, as Blight summarizes, “80 percent of these fugitives were young males in their teens and twenties who generally absconded alone. Indeed, [between 1838 and 1860] 95 percent fled alone. Young slave women were much less likely to run away because of their family and child-rearing responsibilities. Entire families with children did attempt flights to freedom, but such instances were rare.”

Unfortunately, the Underground Railroad was not the 19th century’s equivalent of Grand Central Station, despite the fanciful claim for that title by the editor of the Weekly News of Oberlin, Ohio, in 1885 for a piece on his town’s pivotal role in aiding fugitives to escape. The bottom line for Blight, citing Gara’s research, was that “running away was a frightening and dangerous proposition for slaves, and the overall numbers who risked it, or for that matter succeeded in reaching freedom, were ‘not large.’ ” It did succeed in aiding thousands of brave slaves, each of whom we should remember as heroes of African-American history, but not nearly as many as we commonly imagine, and most certainly not enough.

I hope you all read the link I left a lot out but it is short and worth a read to give you a good overview of the underground railroad... There other numbers lower than I showed at the site and I think the Southern Slave lords in the 1850's were bemoaning runaway slaves. It is obvious they were not getting away ut being captured instead before they got to the free states...




 

5fish

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Here a map.. my issue it implies there was this great mass of runaway slaves escaping which is not the story...




It’s impossible to draw a precise map of “the” underground railroad, since it wasn’t a literal railroad. Rather, it was a network of slavery opponents who helped escaped slaves reach safety and freedom, either in northern states or in Canada. But this map illustrates some of the most popular ways slaves escaped to freedom: either traveling up the Mississippi River or along the Northeast Corridor through Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. One part of the Compromise of 1850 was a tough new fugitive slave law requiring government officials in northern states to assist with capturing escaped slaves and returning them to their masters. White Northerners in abolitionist strongholds like Boston sometimes organized mobs to defy the law, raising tensions between North and South.
 

5fish

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Old @O' Be Joyful , has forgotten another Civil War related place in the Cincinnati. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center... Why does @O' Be Joyful kept secrets of his city so guarded...



The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a museum in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, based on the history of the Underground Railroad. Opened in 2004, the Center also pays tribute to all efforts to "abolish human enslavement and secure freedom for all people."

It is one of a new group of "museums of conscience" in the United States, along with the Museum of Tolerance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum. The Center offers insight into the struggle for freedom in the past, in the present, and for the future, as it attempts to challenge visitors to contemplate the meaning of freedom in their own lives. Its location recognizes the significant role of Cincinnati in the history of the Underground Railroad, as thousands of slaves escaped to freedom by crossing the Ohio River from the southern slave states. Many found refuge in the city, some staying there temporarily before heading north to gain freedom in Canada
.

Here is...


Our physical location in downtown Cincinnati is just a few steps from the banks of the Ohio River, the great natural barrier that separated the slave states of the South from the free states of the North. Since opening in 2004, we have filled a substantial void in our nation’s cultural heritage. Rooted in the stories of the Underground Railroad, we illuminate the true meaning of inclusive freedom by presenting permanent and special exhibits that inspire, public programming that provoke dialogue and action, and educational resources that equip modern abolitionists.
 
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