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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Marion in Marion County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Underground Railroad / The Marion County Trial of Bill Anderson

Historic Underground Railroad Site

 
 
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, January 5, 2016
1. The Underground Railroad Marker
close up, showing text
Inscription.  
The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, but a system of loosely connected safe havens where those escaping the brutal conditions of slavery were sheltered, fed, clothed, nursed, concealed, disguised, and instructed during their journey to freedom. Although this movement was one of America’s greatest social. moral, and humanitarian endeavors, the details about it were often cloaked in secrecy to protect those involved from retribution of civil law and slave catchers. Ohio’s history has been permanently shaped by the thousands of runaway slaves passing through or finding permanent residence in this state.

The Marion County Trail of Bill Anderson
Runaways sheltered by friendly abolitionist communities often believed that slave-catchers could not touch them in the heart of Ohio, but they were wrong.

Such was the case in 1838 in Marion County. A black man by the name of “Bill Anderson” or “Bill Mitchell” fled bondage in a Virginia salt works and settled near Marion but he was soon recognized there. A mail dispatch sent to Virginia
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, September 12, 2021
2. The Underground Railroad Marker
“The Marion County Trial of Bill Anderson” side of the marker.
Click or scan to see
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caused the alleged slaveholder to demand Bill’s incarceration by local authorities.

Forty days after his capture, six strangers appeared in Marion claiming ownership of Bill and brandishing bowie knives, pistols, and clubs. During the trial, the men, one identified as “Smith” produced notes of sale showing that three of them had purchased “Bill” at different times with “John Smith” the most recent buyer. After lengthy preamble, local UGRR stationmaster Judge Ozies Bowen rocked the courtroom by announcing, “Mr. Smith and John Smith might be two different persons, therefore I shall decide in favor of the prisoner.”

Pandemonium erupted in the courtroom after the ruling was announced and the Virginians refused to accept the verdict. They drew weapons; Bill was jerked back and forth in a vicious tug-of-war, while clubs and pistols pummeled bodies. Several Quakers gave as good as they got. A local black man helped Bill escape, and Quakers escorted them both to the Rueben Benedict home near Marengo, Morrow County. After a long and anxious night, Bill was on his way north to Oberlin, a noted Lorain abolitionist stronghold, and then to freedom in Canada.
 
Erected by Ohio Department of Transportation, Friends of Freedom Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Abolition & Underground RR
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, January 5, 2016
3. The Underground Railroad Marker
full view of marker
.
 
Location. 40° 31.707′ N, 83° 4.425′ W. Marker is near Marion, Ohio, in Marion County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 23 at milepost 6 and Newmans-Cardington Rd (County Route 123), on the right when traveling north on U.S. 23. The marker stands in the northbound rest area on US 23, between Waldo and Marion, Ohio. It is north of Co Rd 123 Newman-Cardington Road and south of State Route 529 Marion-Cardington Road mile post 6 northbound US 23, Richland Township. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Marion OH 43302, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Marion Mausoleum (approx. 3.8 miles away); Harding Memorial (approx. 4 miles away); Jacob's Well (approx. 4.7 miles away); Waldo Township Veterans Memorial (approx. 4.8 miles away); Harrison Military Road (approx. 4.8 miles away); Cummins Home (approx. 4.9 miles away); Marion County Courthouse (approx. 5.1 miles away); The Marion County Trial of Bill Anderson (approx. 5.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Marion.
 
More about this marker. There is an identical marker in downtown Marion, Ohio, at the courthouse.
 
Additional keywords. Underground Railroad
 
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, January 5, 2016
4. The Underground Railroad Marker
marker can be seen at a distance. It is in a small garden, to the left of the facilities building at the rest area.
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, January 5, 2016
5. The Underground Railroad Marker
artwork
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, January 5, 2016
6. The Underground Railroad Marker
artwork
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Rev. Ronald Irick, January 5, 2016
7. The Underground Railroad Marker
artwork
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 5, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 669 times since then and 74 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on January 5, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio.   2. submitted on September 21, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on January 5, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 5, 2022