York in York County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Underground Railroad and Precursors to War
Among the events in the 1850s that helped drive the nation into civil war, the Christiana Riot put a controversial new law to a bloody test. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 ordered federal officers to arrest suspected runaway slaves; it also threatened imprisonment to anyone aiding a runaway. In 1851, Edward Gorsuch, a Maryland farmer, heard that four of his escaped slaves had been seen in southern Pennsylvania. With an armed posse, Gorsuch arrived at William Parker's Christiana home, where fugitives had been hiding. Parker, an escaped slave himself from Maryland, had passed first through York before settling in Christiana. After neighbors gathered to oppose the posse, Gorsuch was shot and killed. Federal authorities charged participants with treason, but all were acquitted. Southerners fumed over the verdict.
John Brown's raid on the Federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, lit the country's already short fuse. The Federal force sent after Brown included York resident Lieutenant Michael P. Small. Among Brown's raiders was Osborne Perry Anderson who escaped to Chambersburg on foot. From there he turned to the Underground
Erected 2009 by Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1850.
Location. 39° 57.749′ N, 76° 43.673′ W. Marker is in York, Pennsylvania, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Market Street (Pennsylvania Route 462) and North George Street (Business Interstate 83), on the left when traveling east on Market Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Market St, York PA 17401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trolley Master Station (a few steps from this marker); Black Horse Tavern (a few steps from this marker); York surrenders to save city (a few steps from this marker); Articles of Confederation (a few steps from this marker); McClean House (within shouting distance of this marker); Continental Treasury (within shouting distance of this marker); Continental Congress (within shouting distance of this marker); Provincial Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in York.
More about this marker. In the lower half of the marker is a portrait captioned, Osborne Perry Anderson, one of John Brown's raiders, escaped to Chambersburg following the 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry. Anderson was hidden in York by William Goodridge before escaping to Canada.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 6, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 30, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,368 times since then and 56 times this year. Last updated on June 22, 2022, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 30, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.