Delaware County Ties to the Underground Railroad
Freedom is a powerful force and, in this country, it is guaranteed to every American Citizen. For slaves there was only a new ‘Freedom Trail’ — a dangerous, often deadly unmarked route that passed through homes, barns, farmlands, and mills of ordinary American citizens who believed slaves, too, should be free.
Excerpt from a February 27, 1999 article by Loretta Rodgers:
“Local historians believe that Harriet Tubman, the most well-known Underground Railroad conductor, made numerous trips through the state of Delaware, up Route 13, after her own daring escape from bondage in 1849. In ill health, and with a $40,000 bounty on her head, the “Black Moses” as she was called, returned to the south 19 times, leading more than 300 slaves to freedom.”
“We do believe that Harriet Tubman led slaves through Delaware County on her way to Philadelphia,” said Nancy Webster, former Senior Planner with the Delaware County Planning Department. “It is probable that she traveled through Concord Township up to Logtown (now Chester Heights) and on to Middletown Township where a large free-black community thrived.” Photo Credit: ©Wikimedia Commons: Carte-de-visite portrait of Harriet Tubman – Creative Commons CC0 License
Special thanks to Keith Lockhart, Bob Seeley, Bill McDevitt, Harold Finnegan, Tom Smith, Karen Micha, Kate Clifford, Susan Mescanti, Carol Fireng, Leslie Potter, and Laurie Grant for sharing their knowledge, documents, articles, maps and photos with Visit Delco, PA. Laurie Grant, Executive Director of the Delaware County Historical Society invites those seeking more information to visit their website. “Since 1895 DCHS remains true to its mission of Collecting, Protecting, and Preserving Delco history and tradition,” Laurie notes, “we also have a Museum Gallery, Research Library and Children’s Education Center.”