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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cambridge in Dorchester County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Station Stops: The Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad

 

— 1849 - 1858 —

 
Station Stops: The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 11, 2017
1. Station Stops: The Underground Railroad Marker
Inscription.  William Still

William Still (1821- 1902) was born in Burlington New Jersey. His parents had been enslaved on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. To escape slavery, William Still’s parents and their young daughter fled to New Jersey before William was born. Tragically, the parents had to leave behind two young boys. The owner was afraid that these boys also would eventually “run away” so the owner sold them at a “southern market,” and they ended up in Alabama. Over 30-years later one of these boys who had bought his own freedom came to Philadelphia. He had come to search for his long lost parents. By chance he met his brother William Still who of course he did not know. After a short conversation they suddenly recognized that they were brothers. As a result of this emotional encounter William Still resolved to preserve detailed records about fugitive slave who came through his office. Still hoped that such records might one day help other long-separated African Americans identify their kinfolk and re-unite.

Samuel Green

Samuel Green ((c. 1803 – 1876) was a free black farmer and Methodist minister. He lived about eight miles northeast of Cambridge near the town of East New Market. The son Samuel Green fled to Canada in 1854, under the guidance of Harriet Tubman. In 1857,
Station Stops: The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 11, 2017
2. Station Stops: The Underground Railroad Marker
Reverend Green was sentenced to ten years in prison for having in his house a copy of the famous anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. In 1862 Reverend Green was pardoned.

Thomas Garret

Thomas Garrett (1789-1871) of Wilmington, Delaware, provided a pivotal station on the Underground Railroad. He aided over 2,000 slaves on their way to freedom.

William Still's Account of the Cambridge "Runaways" of October, 1857

On her trips North, Harriet Tubman often would meet William Still at the home of an American business man in Philadelphia. William Still was the head of the Vigilance Committee of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery society. This group of activists assisted slaves from the south who had come north to escape. During the 1850’s, William Still kept a detailed journal about the people whom he helped in their flight to freedom. In 1872 William Still published a unique book called The Underground Railroad in which was a narrative account of the journal. Still focused his attention on the fugitives themselves and not on the abolitionists who helped the many other writers of books about the Underground Railroad.


From Still’s book, we know that in October 1857 at least 42 slaves fled the Cambridge area. One Baltimore newspaper called this large scale exodus a “Stampede”. These self-liberators were well armed. According to Still their weapons of defense included three revolvers, three double-barreled pistols, three single-barreled pistols and three sword-canes,
William Still image. Click for full size.
Internet Archive
3. William Still
from The Underground Rail Road, 1872.
four butcher knives, one bowie knife and one paw. (A paw is a weapon with iron prongs, four inches long to be grasped with the hand and used in close quarters.) The illustration below appeared in The Underground Railroad. These “memorable twenty-eight” were joined by an additional fourteen slaves from the same area and Still documents their journey to liberation through letters, reward notices and newspaper articles. Some historians believe that Harriet Tubman herself was involved in this October 1857 escape.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansWomen. In addition, it is included in the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway series list.
 
Location. 38° 33.593′ N, 76° 3.811′ W. Marker is in Cambridge, Maryland, in Dorchester County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Street (Maryland Route 343) and Ocean Gateway (U.S. 50) on Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 757 Ocean Gateway, Cambridge MD 21613, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Post War Years (here, next to this marker); Born To Be Free (a few steps from this marker); Harriet Tubman Memorial Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War: Abolitionist, Scout, Spy and Nurse (within shouting distance of this marker); Joe Bailey Shakes the Lion's Paw (within shouting distance of this
Samuel Green image. Click for full size.
Internet Archive
4. Samuel Green
from The Underground Rail Road by William Still, 1872.
marker); Meredith House (approx. half a mile away); Goldsborough Stable (approx. half a mile away); Neild Museum (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cambridge.
 
Thomas Garrett image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne
5. Thomas Garrett
from The Underground Railroad by William Still, 1872.
“Twenty-Eight Fugitives Escaping from the Eastern Shore of Maryland” image. Click for full size.
Internet Archive
6. “Twenty-Eight Fugitives Escaping from the Eastern Shore of Maryland”
From The Underground Railroad by William Still, 1872.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 196 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on May 10, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 11, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3, 4, 5. submitted on May 19, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   6. submitted on May 30, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 10, 2020