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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bowie in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Seeking Freedom

 
 
Seeking Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, October 12, 2013
1. Seeking Freedom Marker
Inscription. "Billy", who went by William Whitington, and "Clem", also known as Clem Hill, escaped together on June 21, 1815, as shown in the ad printed in the Washington, D.C. newspaper, Daily National Intelligencer on June 26, 1815

It appears that Clem was captured since another runaway ad appears two years later for the capture of "...Clem, and his wife Sophy...", who ran away in the middle of May 1817. One runaway ad for them appears on June 14, 1817 in the Daily National Intelligencer. The ad describes Sophy as pregnant and suggests that the couple may have fled in the direction of Annapolis, Maryland (approximately 25 miles east), where her enslave father lives. Ads for their capture ran for over a year with the reward amount changing from $100 to $500.

From Slavery to Tenant Farming
In 1865, Violetta Sprigg, wife of Samuel, sold Northampton to Dr. John Contee Fairfax (Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron). During this period tenant farming was replacing slavery and some freed slaves remained at Northampton as tenant farmers. The property continued as a working farm until the 1960s. The property remained in the Fairfax family until 1959 and was eventually purchased by a developer.

A Connection to the Past
Many descendants of Northampton slaves and tenant farmers still reside in Prince George's
Northampton Slave Quarters and Archaeological Park image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, October 12, 2013
2. Northampton Slave Quarters and Archaeological Park
County. Today, there are six families that tie themselves to a common ancestor, Elizabeth Hawkins. Elizabeth, who lived at Northampton during the 1800s, appears in the 1870 U.S. Census as 25 years old and "Keeping House". She lived with her husband, 50 year old "Farm Hand" Robert Hawkins and their two children, 4 year old Henrietta and 2 year old Edward.

Descendants of Elizabeth Hawkins have played a major role in the restoration and interpretation of the slave quarters by assisting with the archaeology and providing oral histories. Susie Smith, daughter of Elizabeth, lived in the brick quarters in the 1920s and 1930s. Susie's grandchildren remember visiting her at Northampton and have shared their experiences and memories. These oral histories have helped archaeologists learn more about life at Northampton during the 1900s.

Network to Freedom
On September 10, 2008, the Northampton Slave Quarters and Archaeological Park was accepted into the National Park Service's, National Underground Railroad, Network to Freedom Program. This program was created in 1998 and focuses on enslaved African Americans who sought freedom. Any site, facility, and educational or interpretive program associated with enslaved African Americans seeking freedom through escape is eligible to apply. Acceptance into the program adds to the National Park Service's nationally growing database
Photograph of "Low Hanging Lantern." image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 17, 2013
3. Photograph of "Low Hanging Lantern."
Close-up of photo on marker
Alexander Pfeiffenberger
of resources related to the historical significance of the Underground Railroad. For more information on the Network to Freedom, please visit their website (www.nps.gov/ugrr).
 
Location. 38° 54.198′ N, 76° 49.009′ W. Marker is in Bowie, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker is on Water Port Court. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10915 Water Port Court, Bowie MD 20721, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Northampton Slave Quarters and Archaeological Park (here, next to this marker); Archaeology at the Frame Quarters (a few steps from this marker); Archaeology at the Brick Quarters (a few steps from this marker); Weary Warriors (within shouting distance of this marker); “Mount Lubentia” (approx. 1.4 miles away); Ridgley (approx. 2.1 miles away); Ridgeley Rosenwald School (approx. 2.6 miles away); Philip Reed (approx. 3.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bowie.
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican Americans
 
Portrait of Elizabeth Hawkins and the 1870 Census Form image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 17, 2013
4. Portrait of Elizabeth Hawkins and the 1870 Census Form
Close-up of illustration on marker
The Rose image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 17, 2013
5. The Rose
A descendant of Elizabeth Hawkins, honoring her with a rose at the family's 1999 Dedication Ceremony.
Close-up of photo on marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 403 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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