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Runaway Slaves

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NEWS
May 31, 1995 | by Ron Avery, Daily News Staff Writer
In a smaller, less history-drenched city, the Johnson House in Germantown would be considered a historic gem and tourist asset. But chances are not one Philadelphian in 1,000 has ever heard of Johnson House. It's merely one of 150 house museums in the Delaware Valley - one of 14 in Germantown alone. Even when it opened Saturdays with a big welcome sign, almost nobody came. "We had no visitors for half the Saturdays we opened," says Galen Horst- Martz, who runs the place. However, there's a new strategy to keep the house - shot up during the Battle of Germantown - alive and to stimulate new interest in it. The idea is to link it to the African-American community by emphasizing its role as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
NEWS
February 26, 1995 | By Joseph S. Kennedy, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
When the Underground Railroad was in operation, some of the better places for runaway slaves to hide were in free black communities, where they could hide in plain sight of their pursuers. But along the route to freedom, there were regions through which the escaped slave would have to pass in which there was no visible black population. In such areas, they had to rely on white abolitionists for their safety. A group of white conductors operated the railroad in North Penn, and had to handle both the hostility of their neighbors and the danger posed by slave hunters.
NEWS
February 9, 2001 | By Robert F. O'Neill, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Anna Moat likes to tell the story of the Underground Railroad because it is the story of her church, Honeycomb Union A.M.E., on Barren Road, Middletown Township. Moat is the church historian and can trace her family to the mid-1800s, when the church was built and used as a hiding place for runaway slaves en route to freedom. "It was one of the earliest black houses of worship built in these parts, and it has a cemetery, where slaves were buried," she said. "Church history has it that runaway slaves were hidden in a crawl space above the church's tin ceiling, but there are no records.
NEWS
May 31, 2009 | BY DANIEL R. BIDDLE AND MURRAY DUBIN FOR THE INQUIRER
On the first Monday of spring in 1867, the new principal of a Philadelphia elementary school stepped to the corner of 11th and Lombard Streets with her assistant. The teachers heard the clip-clop of hooves and saw a yellow streetcar lumbering up the 11th Street tracks. Caroline R. Le Count took a breath of the cool air and called out to the conductor to stop. Horse-drawn streetcars, a popular hybrid of animal and rail, were the primary way to get around cities - and a natural focus for efforts to expand civil rights.
NEWS
February 11, 1996 | Inquirer photographs by Michael Mally
The Croft Farm property helped sow the seeds of freedom from slavery. In the 1800s, when it was called Edgewater, its Quaker owners, Thomas and Josiah Evans, sheltered runaway slaves who had passed through Woodbury. For Black History Month, "The Underground Railroad in South Jersey" was presented last weekend at Croft Farm, now owned by Cherry Hill Township.
NEWS
June 19, 1995 | by Ron Avery, Daily News Staff Writer
To most Philadelphians, Plymouth Meeting is the name of a shopping mall next to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But for historian Charles L. Blockson, perhaps the nation's leading expert on the Underground Railroad, Plymouth Meeting is an inspirational shrine, a historical landmark of enormous importance. The real Plymouth Meeting is a Quaker meetinghouse built in 1708. It's surrounded by a dozen very quaint, old houses at the intersection of Germantown and Butler pikes, about a mile from the mall.
NEWS
January 2, 2004 | By Wayne Glasker
More than 100 years before the modern civil rights movement, black and white activists joined together to oppose the evil of slavery, and New Jersey played an important role. Their resistance to oppression was called the Underground Railroad. According to tradition, the term derived from slaveholders' complaints that runaway slaves seemed to vanish into thin air, as if whisked away on some invisible, underground railroad. In reality, the Underground Railroad was a secret network of courageous men and women who assisted runaways; hid them and sheltered them in barns, attics, and crawl spaces; and transported them in boats and wagons.
NEWS
October 14, 2002 | By Kathleen Stevens
Ten days ago, under a blazing autumn sun, schoolchildren and adults gathered outside the historic Peter Mott House in Lawnside as part of the 15-day Harriet Tubman and William Still Underground Railroad Walk Across New Jersey. Stopping each day at sites where runaway slaves found refuge on their flight to freedom, this 180-mile trek from Greenwich to Jersey City celebrated both the runaways and the people who helped them. Harriet Tubman was born about 1820, one of 11 children of slave parents in Maryland.
NEWS
February 7, 2005 | By Kera Ritter INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As slaves escaped north through Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, a local man named William Still carefully recorded their firsthand stories and hid the papers in a crypt for safekeeping. After slavery was abolished, Still, the son of emancipated slaves, published the stories with letters and drawings in The Underground Rail Road. Scholars and historians believe the 1872 book is the first and most authoritative on the subject - yet it had been out of print since 1970. But a chance encounter a few years ago between a publisher and a Still descendant resulted in a new edition, released this month and celebrated Saturday at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
NEWS
February 1, 2000 | By Michelle M. Martinez, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
In the early 19th century, many slaves took to routes in Chester County as they traveled the Underground Railroad from Wilmington to Philadelphia. Some of the local people who helped the slaves find freedom will be the topic of a presentation sponsored by the Chester County Historical Society. It is one of many events marking Black History Month around the region. William Kashatus, director of public programs at the Chester County Historical Society, will present a slide show tomorrow and will discuss the county's secret network.
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NEWS
July 30, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Neighbors opposing the proposed demolition of the William Penn Inn in Lower Merion presented information Monday suggesting that the building might have harbored runaway slaves. At a meeting of the township Historical Commission, a resident of the inn showed photographs of a trapdoor panel and a hiding place between the second and third floors. Gerald A. Francis, president of the Lower Merion Historical Society, said it would be nearly impossible to prove that runaways passed through, but "it would make sense" given its location near other known safe houses.
NEWS
September 22, 2012
By William C. Kashatus One hundred fifty years ago Saturday, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, stating his intention to free all slaves in the Confederate states that did not return to Union control by the first of the new year. None returned, and the order took effect on Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation made abolition a central aim of the war. It also presented the Religious Society of Friends with a fundamental conflict: how to further a longtime commitment to human equality without violating their historic Peace Testimony.
NEWS
May 11, 2012 | Kevin Riordan
Lawnside's Peter Mott House will be closed to visitors Saturday, as a beloved civic leader who saved the structure from demolition is laid to rest in the borough whose history he championed. Clarence Still Jr., patriarch of an illustrious African American family whose annual reunions he organized for decades, died Friday at age 83. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Lawnside, with burial to follow in the church cemetery. "It's a great loss," Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow said.
NEWS
May 31, 2009 | BY DANIEL R. BIDDLE AND MURRAY DUBIN FOR THE INQUIRER
On the first Monday of spring in 1867, the new principal of a Philadelphia elementary school stepped to the corner of 11th and Lombard Streets with her assistant. The teachers heard the clip-clop of hooves and saw a yellow streetcar lumbering up the 11th Street tracks. Caroline R. Le Count took a breath of the cool air and called out to the conductor to stop. Horse-drawn streetcars, a popular hybrid of animal and rail, were the primary way to get around cities - and a natural focus for efforts to expand civil rights.
NEWS
January 31, 2008 | By Ed Mahon FOR THE INQUIRER
The tricky part was the fence - both for the title character of Rachel Harris: One Woman Over The Line, and for Diane Matthews, the show's creator. The West Chester Dance Works production mixes modern dance, live music, storytelling, visual arts and history to tell the story of a runaway slave who temporarily settled in West Chester during the 1830s. It premieres tomorrow at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, the first of three local performances. Matthews, 52, of West Chester has struggled with details, such as how to present Harris' escape scene, in which she climbs a 7-foot fence to flee her former owner.
NEWS
April 24, 2005 | By Joseph S. Kennedy INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Self-reliance is the Fine Road to Independence. - Motto of the Provincial Freeman; Mary Ann Shadd Cary, publisher. The name Mary Ann Shadd Cary may not ring too many historical bells. But thanks to two local women, Penny Washington and Robyn Young, her story will be highlighted in brief on a historical marker erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission soon. The marker will be placed at High and Barnard Streets in West Chester. "Mary Ann Cary was a dedicated woman with strong convictions about ending slavery in our country.
NEWS
February 7, 2005 | By Kera Ritter INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As slaves escaped north through Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, a local man named William Still carefully recorded their firsthand stories and hid the papers in a crypt for safekeeping. After slavery was abolished, Still, the son of emancipated slaves, published the stories with letters and drawings in The Underground Rail Road. Scholars and historians believe the 1872 book is the first and most authoritative on the subject - yet it had been out of print since 1970. But a chance encounter a few years ago between a publisher and a Still descendant resulted in a new edition, released this month and celebrated Saturday at the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
NEWS
April 18, 2004 | By Cynthia J. McGroarty INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
In September 1851, Maryland farmer Edward Gorsuch and a posse of men rode into Christiana, Pa., to retrieve some runaway slaves. All did not go as planned. Before the end of the morning, Gorsuch was dead and a number of men in his party were badly wounded, shot by an armed contingent of escaped slaves and white abolitionists. The incident would become known as the Christiana Riot and would be recorded as the first deadly confrontation arising from the Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress the year before.
NEWS
January 2, 2004 | By Wayne Glasker
More than 100 years before the modern civil rights movement, black and white activists joined together to oppose the evil of slavery, and New Jersey played an important role. Their resistance to oppression was called the Underground Railroad. According to tradition, the term derived from slaveholders' complaints that runaway slaves seemed to vanish into thin air, as if whisked away on some invisible, underground railroad. In reality, the Underground Railroad was a secret network of courageous men and women who assisted runaways; hid them and sheltered them in barns, attics, and crawl spaces; and transported them in boats and wagons.
NEWS
January 2, 2004 | By E. Harris Baum
Tucked away on a tree-lined street in Center City Philadelphia is a museum that, since 1888, has been the repository of historical significance. The Civil War Library and Museum, located at 1805 Pine St., has accumulated over the years 3,000 artifacts, 7,000 photographs, a 13,000-volume library, and a trove of manuscripts, letters and documents. Our region came close to losing some of these treasured and historic items. Recently, an amicable settlement was reached following a lawsuit filed by the State Attorney Gen. Michael Fisher, State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.
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