Near Church Creek in Dorchester County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Taking Refuge from Slavery
— Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway —
It is no accident that for years more fugitives escaped from slavery in Maryland than any other state—the 1850 census recorded 259 runaways. Location played a critical role in these escapes. Networks of black and white abolitionists helped fugitives across borders to adjacent free states. Local terrain contributed too.
In the 1840s and 1850s, settings like Blackwater offered refuge to Rit Geen Ross, Harriet Tubman’s mother, when she successfully hid her son Moses in Greenbriar Swamp, so that he could not be sold to a Georgia slave trader.
Remember, when you bike or drive the refuge’s Wildlife Drive, paddle the rivers, or walk a trail, that for slaves fleeing the area, knowledge of the rivers, marshes, fields, and forests meant the difference between freedom, perishing, or a return to slavery.
“The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.”
— Frederick Douglass
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans. In addition, it is included in the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1850.
Location. 38° 26.814′ N, 76° 7.134′ W. Marker is near Church Creek, Maryland, in Dorchester County. Marker is at the intersection of Key Wallace Drive and Visitor Center Access Road on Key Wallace Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2145 Visitor Center Access Rd, Cambridge MD 21613, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Welcome to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Why Use Native Plants? (approx. 0.2 miles away); Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel (approx. ¾ mile away); Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Ctr. (approx. one mile away); Highway to Freedom (approx. one mile away); Harriet Tubman (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Underground Railroad (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Church Creek.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 31, 2022. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 520 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on March 17, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1. submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 2. submitted on August 31, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3. submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.