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Belpre in Washington County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Underground Railroad Crossings / Near Border War

 
 
Underground Railroad Crossings Marker (Side A) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., May 30, 2009
1. Underground Railroad Crossings Marker (Side A)
Inscription.  
Underground Railroad Crossings
Underground Railroad crossings, agents, and conductors were common along the Ohio River between Washington County, Ohio and Wood County, Virginia. At Constitution, six miles upriver from Belpre, Judge Ephraim Cutler listened for hoot owl calls that signaled when a boatload of runaway slaves was crossing from Virginia to the Ohio shore. “Aunt Jenny,” a slave woman in Virginia, used a horn signal to alert abolitionist John Stone in Belpre when fugitive slaves were crossing. At Little Hocking, eight miles downriver from Belpre, slaves crossing from Virginia looked for a lantern signal to guide them to the Horace Curtis Station on the Ohio River shore. Runaway slaves were also assisted by Thomas Vickers at Twin Bridges, James Lawton at Barlow, and others as they traveled northward by various routes through Morgan County to Putnam in Muskingum County where the Underground Railroad merged with the Muskingum River Corridor.

Near Border War
In July 1845, an incident at Belpre nearly led to war between Ohio and Virginia when armed Virginia slave catchers
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intercepted six fugitive slaves getting out of a boat on the Ohio shore. Ohio citizens Peter M. Garner, Crayton J. Lorraine, and Mordicai Thomas were arrested by the Virginians, taken to jail in Parkersburg, Virginia, and held without bail on charges of violating Virginia's fugitive slave laws, laws not applicable in Ohio where slavery was illegal. Jurisdictional issues regarding the states' boundary lines were raised. The question was whether the prisoners had actually been apprehended in Ohio or Virginia. Tensions increased when Ohio's governor threatened to use Ohio's militia to enter Virginia and free the prisoners. After six months Virginia courts finally released the prisoners on their own recognizance with the question of jurisdiction never resolved.
 
Erected 2008 by Belpre Historical Society and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 22-84.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansHeroesWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series list. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1845.
 
Location. 39° 16.292′ N, 81° 34.47′ W. Marker is in Belpre, Ohio, in Washington County. Marker is at the
Near Border War Marker (Side B) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., May 30, 2009
2. Near Border War Marker (Side B)
intersection of Ridge Street and Locust Street, on the left when traveling west on Ridge Street. Marker is in front of the Belpre Historical Society. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 509 Ridge Street, Belpre OH 45714, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Women of Courage (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Albert J. Woofter (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Burr-Blennerhassett (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Vital Transportation Center (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Escape to Freedom / Women of Courage (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Railroads (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia); Blennerhassett Island (approx. 0.6 miles away in West Virginia).
 
Underground Railroad Crossings / Near Border War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., May 30, 2009
3. Underground Railroad Crossings / Near Border War Marker
Belpre Historical Society in background.
1915 Parkersburg-Ohio Bridge Company Builder's Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., May 30, 2009
4. 1915 Parkersburg-Ohio Bridge Company Builder's Marker
In front of Belpre Historical Society
Underground Railroad Station No. 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel
5. Underground Railroad Station No. 1
1834 Little Hocking Southland Branch 1860
Agents
James and Margaret Smith
Gave aid and comfort to more than 150 runaway slaves.
Conductors
Their sons, William, Alexander, John, Joseph and James, who served under the Union flag in the Civil War.

Plaque mounted to grindstone next to historical society.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,217 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 20, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   5. submitted on May 10, 2020, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 28, 2024