“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Church Creek in Dorchester County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Finding Freedom

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

Finding Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
1. Finding Freedom Marker
The Call of Freedom
Dorchester County occupies a central place in the story of the Underground Railroad, the secret network of “stations” and “conductors” assisting hundreds of enslaved African Americans to reach freedom in the mid-1800s. Church Creek and nearby Madison were ten important shipbuilding centers where some enslaved people learned skills in the maritime trades that helped them to use the creeks and rivers of the Chesapeake as passageways to freedom.

The Christmas EscapeTubman escaped slavery in 1849, yet risked her freedom time and again by making at least 13 trips back to the Eastern Shore and leading over 70 slaves north to freedom. Late in 1854, she sent a letter to Jacob Jackson, a free black farmer living near Madison saving “…tell my brothers to be always watching unto prayer, and when the good old ship Zion comes along, to be ready to step on board.”

Authorities intercepted the letter, but Jackson told them he didn’t understand its meaning. Later Jackson alerted Tubman’s brothers that Harriet was on her way. When the three brothers went to see their parents

Finding Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
2. Finding Freedom Marker
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on Christmas Day in nearby Caroline County, they found Tubman waiting to lead them to freedom.

A Conductor’s Roots
The famed Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman lived and worked in this area. Her father Ben Ross served as the head timber cutter of a slaveholder on a Madison/Woolford plantation. Tubman’s mother “Rit” Green belonged to the stepson of Ben’s owner who moved her and her children to Bucktown in 1823. While Harriet Tubman was separated from her father in her early years, she later returned to this area toiling with him in the woods and marshes where she learned survival skills essential to her later success on the Underground Railroad.

(Inscription under the photo in the center top)
This canal near Madison was dug with slave labor between 1810 and 1830. The canal was used to float logs to boatyards on the Little Choptank River.-Courtesy of Kate Clifford Library.

(Inscription beside the photo in the lower center)
William Henry (Ross) Stewart, Sr., one of Harriet Tubman’s brothers who fled with her on Christmas Day, 1854. The Ross brothers settled in Ontario, Canada. Photo taken c. 1860-Courtesy of Judith Bromwell.

(Inscription beside the photo of Harriet Tubman)
Harriet wrote: “I was a conductor on the Underground Rail Road for eight years and I can say what most conductors can’t say—I never ran my

Finding Freedom Marker-Park and Ride Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
3. Finding Freedom Marker-Park and Ride Sign
train off the track and I never lost a passenger. (Women’s Suffrage Meeting, Rochester, NY) (Courtesy of the Collections of the Cuyahoga Museum of History and Art)

(Inscription beside the book-Impending Crisis)
This book, published in 1857, attacked slavery. Charles Dixon of Church Creek was brought to trial in Cambridge for loaning his copy of the book to friends and neighbors.

The “Finding a Way to Freedom” Driving Tour and Dorchester County Courthouse are part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, info available at the Dorchester County Visitor Center (410-228-1000)
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network-Maryland Heritage Area.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican Americans. In addition, it is included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1849.
Location. 38° 30.084′ N, 76° 9.15′ W. Marker is in Church Creek, Maryland, in Dorchester County. Marker is at the intersection of Taylors Island Road (SR16) and Maryland Route 335 on Taylors Island Road (SR16). The marker is on the Park and Ride lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Church Creek MD 21622, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies

Harriet Tubman grave marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, October 20, 2001
4. Harriet Tubman grave marker
Her grave marker is located in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn NY. The inscription on the grave marker is: To the Memory of Harriet Tubman-Davis "Herome of the Underground Railroad. Nurse and Scout in the Civil War. Born about 1820 in Maryland. Died March 10, 1913 at Auburn, NY. "Servant of God, Well Done" Erected by the Empire State Federation of Womens Clubs July 5, 1917
. Treaty Oak (approx. ¼ mile away); Church Creek (approx. 0.4 miles away); Walk the Old Trinity Heritage Trail (approx. 0.8 miles away); Writer, War Strategist, Enigma (approx. 0.8 miles away); Trinity P.E. Church (approx. 0.8 miles away); Malone's Church (approx. 3.6 miles away); Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (approx. 3.7 miles away); The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Church Creek.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 514 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 5, 2022