The Underground Railroad in Connecticut
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
IT HAS been said that we shall never know the events of the past as they actually occurred. And it is true that the historian, writing from a position more or less distant in time and viewpoint from the happenings that concern him, can hardly know his materials as his more or less distant...
NEWS traveled slowly in 1831, but few newspapers in the United States failed to report with all possible speed that a bloody slave insurrection, led by Nat Turner, had broken out in Southampton County, Virginia. This dramatic attack against the South's "peculiar institution"...
1. Blazing the Trail
THERE had always been runaway bondsmen in Connecticut. In 1643, just four years after the first slave set foot on the colony's soil, the Articles of Confederation between the United Colonies of New England—Massachusetts, New Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven—provided...
2. Thorny Is the Pathway
IN BOSTON, on the first day of the year 1831, that same abolitionist issued a forthright call to action in the antislavery cause. His name was William Lloyd Garrison; and in the initial number of his newspaper The Liberator he stated his position in words that no man could fail to...
3. Fugitives in Flight
AMONG the first runaways from the South to reach Connecticut was William Grimes. He came into the state on his own two feet, with little guidance from others, for at this early date—just after 1800—the Underground Railroad as even a quasi-organized entity was still years in...
4. The Captives of the Amistad
THERE wasn't any doubt about Antonio, the mulatto cabin boy. He was a slave, property of the late Captain Ramon Ferrer of the schooner Amistad, and he was perfectly willing to return to bondage in Cuba. But what of the forty-odd Negroes, Cinque and Grabbo, Banna and...
5. A House Divided
THE AFFAIR of the Amistad Negroes unquestionably stimulated Connecticut's traditional Yankee devotion to independence, and it aroused widespread sympathy for those who were held as slaves, whether in Africa or in the American South. All over the state, people who believed...
6. "This Pretended Law We Cannot Obey"
THE SPLIT between North and South became wider and more serious as the number of runaway slaves became ever greater. It has been estimated that in the decade of the 1840's over a thousand fugitives annually escaped from what abolitionists liked to call "the land of whips and...
7. New Haven, Gateway from the Sea
THE Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 gave the Underground Railroad its greatest impetus; but the lay of the land, together with the disposition of cities and villages, determined the main routes into and through Connecticut. Unlike Pennsylvania and the states along the north bank...
8. West Connecticut Trunk Lines
WHILE some fugitives entered Connecticut from the sea, at New Haven or another port, the majority came by overland routes. Pennsylvania, whose southern border was the Mason-Dixon line, received thousands of runaways from the contiguous states of Virginia, Maryland,...
9. East Connecticut Locals
TO A SIGNIFICANT extent, the Underground Railroad lines of East Connecticut received their passengers from neighboring Rhode Island. The people of that small state had had their own experiences with slavery, by which some of them had prospered. Merchants of Newport had...
10. Valley Line to Hartford
BESIDES the vessels that brought fleeing slaves to landings at New Haven, New London, and other saltwater ports, not a few river steamers, transporting with their cargo those same stowaways, sailed up the Connecticut River. In its great river, flowing 400 twisting miles...
11. Middletown, a Way Station
IN THE decade before the Civil War, Middletown presented a peaceful scene of horse-drawn vehicles rolling along the tree-lined streets. It was not unusual to see a Negro hackman quietly speaking to his team as they climbed the slope toward Wesleyan University's brownstone...
12. Farmington, the Grand Central Station
FARMINGTON, in the year 1696, was a self-contained farming village whose citizens produced virtually all the things they consumed, minded their own business, and elected their own leaders. One whom they honored with public office was Frank Freeman, a Negro and a man of...
13. The Road in Full Swing
THE Compromise of 1850 had been intended to allay the sectional conflict over the extension of slavery to the territories; and for a time, despite Northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law that was one of its provisions, it seemed to succeed in its purpose. The Missouri...
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2011
OCLC Number: 557777574
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Underground Railroad in Connecticut