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Adrian in Lenawee County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Antislavery - Underground Railroad Movement

1830 - 1860

 

—Lenawee County, MI —

 
The Antislavery - Underground Railroad Movement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
1. The Antislavery - Underground Railroad Movement Marker
Inscription.
What was the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad existed from around 1830 to the Civil War (1860). It was a secret (underground) network of people organized on Moral grounds to help slaves travel to Canada to find freedom from the slave laws of the South. It was called a railroad because the members used railroad terms. The "Passengers" were guided by "Conductors" from one "Station" to another.

The Growth of Lenawee's Antislavery Movement
The Logan Female Antislavery Society, begun in 1832 by Elizabeth Chandler, in Raisin Township, was the first antislavery society in the then Territory of Michigan. By 1839 activists like Charles and Laura Haviland and the Rev. Tripp had organized other antislavery societies in the county. They were in Blissfield, Cambridge, Franklin and Madison townships as well as in the village of Adrian.

With the formation of the Liberty Party in 1840, political antislavery activists such as Rev. Tripp and Joel Carpenter began to organize the movement from one end of the county to the other. This process took six years.

Sympathy for fugitive slaves and efforts to help and protect them emerged wherever local antislavery societies took root. Stephen Allen, Charles and Laura Haviland, and Warren and Almira Gilbert were some who helped. More than
Far Upper Left Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
2. Far Upper Left Image
Laura Haviland 1808-1898
Laura Haviland is one of Lenawee County's most instrumental figures in the Antislavery-Underground Railroad movments. Originally a Quaker, Mrs. Haviland left the faith because she did not believe the Quaker views on antislavery were as adamant as hers. In Laura Haviland's 1881 autobiography "A Woman's Life Work" she describes helping many fugitive slaves escape to freedom. In addition Mrs. Haviland founded the Raisin Institute, a school that always enrolled African Americans (along with whites) which made it unique in Michigan in the 1830s.
likely, their homes were stations on the Underground Railroad.

In two townships, Raisin and Woodstock, schools were formed to provide good education for African Americans as well as others.
 
Location. 41° 53.839′ N, 84° 2.229′ W. Marker is in Adrian, Michigan, in Lenawee County. Marker is at the intersection of East Church Street (State Highway 52) and South Main Street (State Highway 52), on the right when traveling east on East Church Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 East Church Street, Adrian MI 49221, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Laura Haviland (here, next to this marker); Laura Smith Haviland (a few steps from this marker); Frank Navin & The Detroit Tigers (within shouting distance of this marker); Adrian Fire Department / Adrian Engine House No. 1 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cooley Law Office (about 600 feet away); Adrian's Governors (about 700 feet away); Adrian's Prominent Leaders (about 700 feet away); Professional Baseball in Adrian (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Adrian.
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RR
 
Upper Left Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
3. Upper Left Image
Elizabeth Chandler
Among Elizabeth Chandler's accomplishments, one of the most significant was the establishment of the Logan Female Antislavery Society in 1832, the first antislavery society in the Northwest Territory. In addition, Chandler used her writing talent to produce poems for the antislavery movement.
Upper Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
4. Upper Right Image
Joel Carpenter 1818-1891
Joel Carpenter of Blissfield held vigorous antislavery convictions. He believed that politics played an important role in the abolition of slavery. During his lifetime Carpenter helped to organize three antislavery parties. The Liberty Party, then the Free Soil Party, and eventually he contributed to the development of the Republican Party. In 1858 Carpenter was elected State Senator while representing the Republican Party.
Far Upper Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
5. Far Upper Right Image
Reverend Tripp 1783-1863
Reverend Tripp, the first Baptist minister in Franklin Township, was a leader of the antislavery movement in the area. Reverend Henry Tripp was a member of the Liberty Party and served as the Vice President of the Lenawee County Anti-Slavery Society in 1846. His most dramatic action occurred at the 1853 Michigan Antislavery Convention. At the convention Reverend Tripp engaged in a fervent debate with William Lloyd Garrison against a proposed resolution condemning all Christian churches for not taking a stand against slavery.
Middle Left Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
6. Middle Left Image
Woodstock Manual Labor Institute
Greenleaf Highway, Woodstock Township
Established in 1846, the Woodstock Manual Labor Institute was the second school in Lenawee County designed for the education of black students. In return for their manual labor, the black students received a liberal arts education. Prior Foster, a free black man from Ohio, developed the school. The school was successful in gaining support from the national antislavery movement. This helped provide adequate finances and books. The addition of white students in 1848 increased financial support. The school continued through the 1850s but closed due to complications during the Civil War.
Middle Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
7. Middle Right Image
The Gilbert House
Possible Station on the Underground Railroad
It is not easy to determine just which places might have been involved in the Underground Railroad. If the house dates back at least to the 1850s and there is evidence that the person who owned the house at the time was involved in helping fugitive slaves, that seems sufficient to determine that his or her house was probably as station on the Underground Railroad. Such a house was that of Warren Gilbert who lived on Gilbert Highway a few miles north of US 223 in Cambridge Township.
Lower Left Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
8. Lower Left Image
Raisin Institute
Wilmoth Highway, Raisin Township
In 1839 Laura and Charles Haviland, along with Laura's brother Harvey Smith, established the Raisin Institute, the first integrated coeducational school in Michigan. Harvey Smith made the school financially possible by selling his 160 acre farm. The Institute developed a good reputation for its liberal arts education. However, the school was forced to shut down in 1850. The original buildings were worn out. In 1856 after the construction of new buildings, the school was reopened. In 1864 it was closed permanently because disruption by the Civil War made operation difficult.
Lower Right Image image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
9. Lower Right Image
The Allen House
Possible Station on the Underground Railroad
According to his biography, Stephen Allen was a Madison Township antislavery activist in the 1840s and 1850s. From the 1840s sources we learn that Allen was one of the leaders of the antislavery movement in Lenawee. Traditional sources say his house was a station on the Underground Railroad. With the other evidence we have for his antislavery activity, it is easy to believe that he did, indeed, run a station. This is a 1970s photo of his house, which still stands on West Beecher a bit west of Adrian.
The Antislavery - Underground Railroad Movement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, April 8, 2017
10. The Antislavery - Underground Railroad Movement Marker
There are two markers next to the Haviland statue. This marker is the one farthest to the right of the statue. The building is the Lenawee County Historical Museum, formerly the Adrian Public Library.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 4, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 57 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on May 4, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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