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

Delaware County: Anti-Slavery Stronghold / The Underground Railroad

Historic Underground Railroad

 
 
Delaware County: Anti-Slavery Stronghold image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 21, 2008
1. Delaware County: Anti-Slavery Stronghold
Inscription.
Delaware County: Anti-Slavery Stronghold
A unique combintation of strong-principled religous communities, free black settlements, and tightly knit extended families fostered a wide-spread attitude of willful defiance that made Delaware one of Ohio's strongest anti-slavery counties in the early nineteenth century.

Among the Delaware County congregations participating in the Underground Railroad were Berlin United Presbyterian, Wesleyan Methodist, Alum Creek, Friends and Otterbein's United Brethren.

Manumitted slaves who settled the hamlet of Africa, at the intersection of present day Polaris parkway and Africa Road in southeastern Delaware County, and those who came to the area with early white settlers, John McClure and Benjamin Bartholomew, had a fierce hatred of bondage, they helped escaping slaves whenever possible. Bartholomew and his son, Major Bartholomew, operated a station near the Olentangy River in southern Liberty Township.

Sometimes more than one member of a family participated in the Underground Railroad. Northern Delaware County resident, William Cratty, epitomized local attitudes by publicly denouncing the unjust Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. He vowed to continue to “run slaves” and he did not care who knew it “In congress or out!” Aided by
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 21, 2008
2. The Underground Railroad Marker
his brother, John and sister, Peggy, Cratty claimed to have assisted three-thousand fugitives to Canada. The bounty on Cratty's head was $3,000, dead or alive.

Other local Delaware stations were Halfway House, George Gooding's tavern on State Route 23, and Seven Oaks on William Street.

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 the 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.
 
Erected by Ohio Department of Transportation, Friends of Freedom Society, and Ohio Underground Railroad Association.
 
Location. 40° 17.917′ N, 83° 3.756′ W. Marker is in Delaware, Ohio, in Delaware County. Marker is at the intersection of William Street and Columbus
Delaware County: Anti-Slavery Stronghold / The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 21, 2008
3. Delaware County: Anti-Slavery Stronghold / The Underground Railroad Marker
Pike (U.S. 23), on the right when traveling west on William Street. Touch for map. Marker is across William Street from northbound US 23 William Street Exit ramp. Marker is in this post office area: Delaware OH 43015, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The March 1913 Flood (within shouting distance of this marker); Patrick J. Foley Memorial Bridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of the First Ohio State Football Game (approx. 0.2 miles away); 1897 Memorial Tree (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Sulphur Spring (approx. 0.2 miles away); President Hayes Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cherry, Judge, Luckett Memorial (approx. mile away); Old City Hall and Opera House (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Delaware.
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesCharity & Public WorkCivil RightsNotable PersonsNotable Places
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 22, 2008, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 5,421 times since then and 185 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 22, 2008, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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