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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Washington County Jail

Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail

 
 
Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, February 23, 2008
1. Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail Marker
Inscription. An African American Heritage Report prepared by the Heritage Resources Group for the City of Hagerstown in 2002 identified the following historical incidents which suggest that the Washington County Jail was a significant site of activity along the Underground Railroad in pre-Civil War era times:

A local petition was sent to the Maryland General Assembly in 1819 asking that the slave trade be halted in Washington County included a complaint that the Washington County Jail was being used to hold enslaved persons which was not the purpose of the public jail.

The County Grand Jury for 1825 complained that the County's jailer was holding enslaved persons in special cells and selling them to their owners for "unreasonably high prices." This 1825 report also stated that the jailer participated in catching slaves. The Grand Jury requested that the sheriff remove the jailer from his position. (Williams 1992:251)

In 1847, a group of freedmen attacked the Washington County Jail on Jonathan Street in an effort to free a number of fugitive salves. The raid was unsuccessful and the freedmen were jailed. (Brugger 1988:267 & Bridner 1971:33)"This exhibit was made possible by the African-American Historical Association of Western Maryland which works tirelessly to preserve African-American history in Hagerstown. It is important
Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, February 23, 2008
2. Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail Marker
that this history, no matter what feelings it may conjure up, be preserved for future generations that may not be aware of what African-Americans endured during earlier period of Hagerstown's history and so that we may learn from our mistakes and create more positive conditions for our future generations."
 
Erected by Each One Teach One African American Historical Association of Western Maryland.
 
Location. 39° 38.751′ N, 77° 43.24′ W. Marker is in Hagerstown, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Jonathan Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hagerstown MD 21740, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Washington County Jail (here, next to this marker); The Harmon Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Retreat from Gettysburg (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Zion Evangelical and Reform Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jonathan Hager (approx. 0.2 miles away); Military Occupation (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ransom of Hagerstown (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Brown (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hagerstown.
 
More about this marker.
Washington County Jail and Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail Markers image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, February 23, 2008
3. Washington County Jail and Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail Markers
The background of the marker shows newspaper clippings posting rewards for fugitive slaves,
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican Americans
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 23, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,459 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 23, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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