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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Stafford in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Early Escape Route

Trail to Freedom

 
 
Early Escape Route Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., February 19, 2011
1. Early Escape Route Marker
Inscription. "For a few moments, silence prevailed. My master [Ellen] looked at me, and I at him, but neither of us dared to speak a word, for fear of making some blunder that would tend to our detection. we knew that the officers had the power to throw us in prison..."
— William Craft, Dec. 24, 1848.

The opening of the rail line to Aquia in 1842 provided opportunity for slaves seeking freedom. In 1848, slaves William and Ellen Craft of Georgia embarked on their dangerous journey to escape. Ellen, born of a slave mother and a white father, disguised herself as a white man seeking medical treatment in the North. William assumed the role of her body servant. They traveled by train, carriage, and steamship from Georgia to Philadelphia, passing unchallenged through Aquia Landing. They reached Philadelphia — and freedom — on Christmas day 1848.

Three months later, Henry "Box" Brown became one of the most famous fugitives in American history. A slave in Richmond, Brown packed himself in a wooden box to be mailed to freedom. By wagon, train, and steamboat, Brown traveled north, sometimes upside down. After 27 hours and undetected passage through Aquia Landing, the Express Mail box carrying Henry Box Brown was delivered in Philadelphia, its occupant a slave no more.

"The
Picture of Henry Box Brown on the Early Escape Route Marker image. Click for full size.
February 19, 2011
2. Picture of Henry Box Brown on the Early Escape Route Marker
"Brown travelled with a bladder of water and a small hand drill for air holes. After his escape to freedom, Henry Brown forever became known as "Box" Brown."
Picture provided for the marker by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
joy of the friends was very great; when they heard that I was alive they soon managed to break open the box, and then came my resurrection from the grave of slavery. I rose a freeman...." —Henry Box Brown, Mar. 30, 1849

 
Erected 2011 by Stafford County and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
 
Location. 38° 23.372′ N, 77° 18.945′ W. Marker is in Stafford, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Brooke Road (County Route 608). Touch for map. Marker is in Aquia Landing County Park (formerly Aquia-Po Beach Park). Marker is at or near this postal address: 2846 Brooke Rd, Stafford VA 22554, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Steamships, Stages and Slave Trade (here, next to this marker); Gateway to Freedom (here, next to this marker); Aquia Landing (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (within shouting distance of this marker); Patawomeck Tribe Village (approx. mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Aquia Landing (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mason's Homestead (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stafford.
 
Also see . . .
Portraits on the Early Escape Route Marker image. Click for full size.
February 19, 2011
3. Portraits on the Early Escape Route Marker
"Sketches of William and Ellen Craft as they appeared in the 1870s." Portraits provided for use on the marker by the Arnold Bernhard Library, Quinnipiac University.
 Trail to Freedom web site. (Submitted on February 7, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil Rights
 
Three Trail to Freedom markers are collocated here. image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., February 19, 2011
4. Three Trail to Freedom markers are collocated here.
The Early Escape Route Marker is the one in the middle.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 874 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 6, 2011, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
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