Podcast – The Underground Railroad in Southeastern Indiana


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Southeast Indiana Day Trips
The Underground Railroad in Southeastern Indiana

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Description
This episode talks about talk about some underground railroad sites and stops of Southeastern Indiana. I will use the historical markers located around the region as a reference point.

Greetings, today I want to talk about some underground railroad sites of Southeastern Indiana. I will use the historical markers located around the region as a reference point. My book, Southeast Indiana Day Trips from my Road Trip Indiana Series includes every historical marker installed by the Indiana Historical Bureau in the region. In the book, I include the text of the marker as well as some background information to give the marker more context. Historical markers, ignored by many, can give some interesting insights into the events, people and places of a city, town or village. Many of the topics of the markers are not well known.

First, I will give you a short history of the underground railroad movement.

Underground Railroad in Indiana
Underground Railroad in Indiana

Underground Railroad in Indiana

The Underground Railroad was a vast network of people in the North and South who aided fugitive slaves in their flight from slavery. In Indiana the route stretched from communities on the Ohio River to the Michigan border. From Michigan the fugitives fled to Canada and freedom. Forefront in this movement was groups like the American Colonization Society and the Quakers. Many of these groups used agents to go south of the Ohio River to aid slaves wishing to flee.
The route escaping slaves took when fleeing bondage was never a static route, it changed constantly due to many factors.
Escaping Slavery
Slaves escaping bondage from the south faced many obstacles. Most slaves were kept illiterate by their owners, so they could not read or write. Thus, newspapers, maps and other written media were useless to them. Their knowledge of the surrounding countryside was limited, thus once they were out of their immediate area, they could not know who to trust. Slaves along the Ohio River often used it as an avenue of escape. Before the United States Corps of Engineers built the dam and lock system along the river, water levels were much lower. In winter, the river commonly froze over. Slaves living in northern Kentucky often walked across the ice to Indiana. There are some tales of escaping slaves rowing boats across the river. Legend holds that slave holders in northern Kentucky moved their slaves south in winter to get them away from the river.
Across the River
Free blacks mostly lived in separate communities in Indiana, as well as other free states. There were communities of free blacks in Madison, Evansville and other river towns. Frequently, escaping slaves sought out these communities, as they would blend in better there than in a white community. Many free blacks were willing to help them. From this haven, they could plan their move away from the United States and into Canada.
Underground Railroad Terminology
Various people in this clandestine network acquired names that belied their role. People that guided the refugees along the way and provided them with refuge, at great personal risk, were called “Conductors.” The homes and businesses used to harbor the refugees became known as “Stations.” The conductors referred to the refugees as “Passengers.” Frequently, free blacks traveled into the south, a dangerous enterprise, to find those that wished to escape and guided them north. These free blacks were called “Pilots.” “Bounty Hunters,” sought out the escapees on their journey north to capture them and return them to their owners. The conductors did not keep records of their activities, as these would be incriminating and if authorities found them, they could use them to convict the conductors and send them to prison.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
This act reinforced the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. This act made aiding and abetting an escaping slave a crime and placed fines on those that defied it. Slave hunters, or bounty hunters, had only posters and flyers to use in their search. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 reinforced this act with stricter fines and penalties. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 slapped severe penalties on those that aided slaves in their escape. The Act authorized Federal Marshals to capture blacks and it allowed local law enforcement in free states to assist them. Private citizens were also allowed to capture escaping slaves for the reward. These people became known as bounty hunters. A bounty hunter, with only an obscure affidavit, could capture escaping blacks and return them to their owner. Bounty hunters roamed the free northern states searching for escaping blacks and presented an additional peril to the refugees. Congress repealed this law in 1864 during the ravages of the Civil War.
The Underground Railroad Network
This network expanded after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Many northerners felt that the Federal Government had overstepped its boundaries by interfering with their opposition to slavery. Many historians estimate that over 100,000 slaves escaped bondage using this obscure network that snaked northward from the Ohio River to Canada. This network changed constantly, as conductors many times either died, or sold their homes, which necessitated a change. These changes could occur quickly, so a working knowledge of active conductors was necessary. The route could change due to bounty hunter activity, unavailability of a conductor, or other reasons. Movement occurred mostly at night and at random patterns. An escapee might move north, then east, then west and finally north again, depending upon many different circumstances. Eventually, if all went well, the escaping slaves reached Canada, which provided a safe haven.

First off, this podcast will skip over some of the underground railroad related markers mentioned in previous podcasts. The first one on our tour references a lady named Hannah Toliver

Hanna Toliver
Hanna Toliver

Hanna Toliver

This one is located at the corner of Pearl Street and Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville.
Installed by:
2008 Indiana Historical Bureau, City of Jeffersonville and Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology, IDNR

Marker Text:
Side one:
Emancipation Proclamation (1863) did not free slaves in Kentucky. In April 1864, Hannah Toliver, a free black woman living in Jeffersonville, was arrested for aiding a fugitive slave from Kentucky. In May, she was convicted and sentenced to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary; She was pardoned January 5, 1865 and returned to Jeffersonville.
Side two:
Toliver and other blacks risked their freedom aiding fugitives. Slavery in U.S. abolished December 1865. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.
Brief History
Hanna Toliver was part of a vast network of people that worked to help slaves escape bondage in the south. President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. This proclamation did not help slaves in states that did not secede. Kentucky had not seceded but had declared its neutrality in the conflict.

Hanna Toliver was part of the network of free blacks and whites that risked their lives and freedom by helping the fugitive slaves escape bondage. Forefronts in this movement were groups like the American Colonization Society and the Quakers. Many of these groups used agents to go south of the Ohio River to aid slaves wishing to flee. Hanna was performing this service in Kentucky when arrested for “enticing a slave.”

Kentucky at the beginning of the Civil War was in a tenuous situation. It was a slave state with strong southern ties. It was also a Unionist state that believed strongly in the Constitution. Its leaders realized that, as it was geographically in an important strategic location, much of the fighting would occur there. Both sides would need to send armies through Kentucky to get to their opponent. Kentucky officials tried to minimize the damage to their state by not taking sides. Early in 1861, they declared neutrality. They would contribute neither troops nor aid to either side. It was a policy doomed to fail. Much of the early fighting did take place there, killing many Kentuckians and destroying much property.

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The Proclamation was limited in what it did. It only freed slaves in states deemed in rebellion. In addition, it only freed slaves still in Confederate territory. It did not free slaves in areas under control of the Union Army, nor did it free slaves in neutral states like Kentucky. Lincoln did not believe he was constitutionally entitled to free all the slaves. He believed that only Congress could to that through legislation or amending the Constitution. Thus, slaves remained slaves in the neutral states until the Thirteenth Amendment banned it.

Hanna Toliver was a free black that lived in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Kentucky officials arrested Hanna Toliver in April 1864 as she was helping a slave held by William Murphy escape. Since it was against Kentucky law to assist escaping slaves, they tried and convicted her. She was sentenced to seven years in jail. Kentucky Governor Thomas Bramlette pardoned her on January 5, 1865 after Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment in January 1865. She returned to Jeffersonville.

We will next visit Lancaster in Jefferson County to find a marker honoring Lyman Hoyt at 7147 West SR 250, Lancaster in Jefferson County, Indiana.

Lyman Hoyt
Lyman Hoyt

Lyman Hoyt

Marker Text:
Side one:
Born in Vermont 1804. Moved to Jefferson County 1834, where he owned land and had several manufacturing businesses. Active in Neil’s Creek Anti-Slavery Society and in forming Liberty Party for abolition of slavery. He and his family supported Eleutherian College. He died 1857. Home listed in National Register of Historic Places 2003.
Side two:
Hoyt condemned the Fugitive Slave Law and participated in helping fugitives escaping through Jefferson County. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Lyman Hoyt lived from 1804 – 1857
Native Vermonters, Lyman Hoyt and his wife Asenath Whipple Hoyt moved from Vermont to Lancaster, Indiana around 1839. Asenath’s sister lived in the community, which had strong abolitionist ties, and had suggested that her sister and brother-in-law move there to help the movement. Their activity exposed them to discovery by slave bounty hunters that followed reports of escaped slaves north in an effort to capture them and return them to their masters.

David Hillis and William McFarland platted Lancaster, Indiana on October 5, 1815 with 128 lots, with one reserved for a courthouse. Madison was the county seat at the time and the men hoped to attract it away from that river community. About ten miles north of Madison, the small town attracted mostly anti-slavery New England Baptists and soon became a hotbed of Underground Railroad activity.

Lyman Hoyt was a conductor in network of free blacks and whites that risked their lives and freedoms helping the fugitive slaves escape bondage. As conductor, Lyman took escaping slaves from one point on the railroad’s route to another, always taking them further north and away from slavery.

Before passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, all United States citizens, even in the free states of the north, were required to return escaped slaves. Anyone caught aiding a slave faced stiff fines for doing so. After a slave escaped, their owners would make great efforts to regain them. Before the Fugitive Slave Act, these efforts were mainly printing and distributing flyers, putting up posters and taking out newspaper ads. The Fugitive Slave Act strengthed the laws against those helping slaves escaped and gave the owners the right to send bounty hunters into the north in an attempt to recapture them. Anyone caught aiding a fugitive slave was subject to much stiffer fines and penalties than before the Act. Participants in the Underground Railroad were always in danger of the penalties.

Hoyt and some local Lancaster residents formed the Neil’s Creek Anti-Slavery Society in 1839. Thus organized, they formed an integral link in the Underground Railroad. Lyman transported the slaves in his wagons, hid them from slave catchers in his barn and in a cave on his property. He fed them and gave them clothing. The members of the Neil’s Creek Anti-Slavery Society established an abolitionist church called Neil’s Creek Anti-Slavery Baptist Church in 1846 after the Society disbanded in 1845. The church had many of the same members as the Society had. Hoyt wrote articles for a Cincinnati abolitionist newspaper, The Philanthropist, and helped other abolitionists, like Thomas Craven. Craven and Hoyt were also instrumental in establishing the Eleutherian College.

Part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, the Hoyt House, and the house belongs to the Historic Eleutherian College, Inc. Located in Lancaster; it is not open to the public.
Contact the Eleutherian College for more information at:
812-866-7291
After Hoyt died in 1857, Asenath reduced her activities in the movement.

Near the marker is one noting the location of the Eleutherian College at 6927 West SR 250, Lancaster.

Eleutherian College
Eleutherian College
Eleutherian College

Marker Text:
Side one:
College developed 1854 from Eleutherian Institute, founded 1848. Thomas Craven and anti-slavery advocates in the area created and supported the institution for education of students of all races and genders. This structure, built in the 1850s for classes and a chapel, was purchased for restoration 1990. Designated National Historic Landmark 1997.
Side two:
Eleutherian provided one of earliest educational opportunities for women and African-Americans before Civil War. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Founded by Thomas Craven in 1848, Eleutherian College became the first school in Indiana that accepted any student regardless of race or gender.
Thomas Craven (March 19, 1792 – August 21, 1860)
A native of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Thomas’ parents were blacksmith Thomas Craven and Emmetje Isbrants. The elder Craven served in the Revolutionary War. As a young man, the younger Thomas migrated to Indiana in 1812, after floating down the Ohio River in a flatboat and arriving in Cincinnati. He went to Franklin County to live. He served as a captain during the War of 1812, serving in a blockhouse in Indiana. He moved into Ohio in 1826 and, at age forty-five, entered Miami University. He achieved his lifelong dream of a college education in 1842. In 1848, he donated land in Lancaster, Indiana, Jefferson County to the Eleutherian College. He engaged in several fundraising trips later on to raise money for the institution. Thomas passed away in 1860 and is interred in College Hill Cemetery in Lancaster.
Founding of Eleutherian College

Founded by members of the Neil’s Creek Abolitionist Baptist Church with substantial help from Thomas Craven and Lyman Hoyt, the college opened in 1848. The word “elutherian” derives from the Greek word, “Eleutheros.” That word means freedom and equality. By 1857, the college enrolled eighteen black students, ten of which were former slaves. By 1850 enrollment increased to 200, fifty of which were blacks. When public schools for free blacks opened, the school closed. Purchased by Lancaster Township in 1888, the Township operated it as a public school until 1938. The building still stands in Lancaster. It is a part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
It is open to the public by appointment only.
Call 812-866-7291 for more information.

Georgetown
Georgetown

Free Blacks settled in many towns along the Ohio. Georgetown, on the north side of Madison, was one of these settlements, marked by an historical marker at
Jefferson & Fifth Streets, Madison, Indiana

Marker Text:
Side one:
Free blacks settled in Madison as early as 1820. The growing black community began businesses and organized churches and schools in this area, later called Georgetown. Risking their own freedom, some free black residents here actively aided slaves seeking freedom. A few of these residents had to flee from Madison themselves in the late 1840s.
Side two:
Despite the danger, after the late 1840s some free blacks in Madison continued to aid freedom seekers. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.
Brief History
Georgetown
Free blacks settled in Madison, forming the neighborhood known as Georgetown. The origin of the name is lost to the mists of history, but legend attributes it to residents George Short or George Hopkins. The neighborhood ranges along North Walnut Street from Main to Jefferson Street (US 421). A whitewasher named Stepney Stafford is the first recorded black resident, recorded in 1823. Many of these free blacks risked their own freedom by participating in the Underground Railroad movement. The residents first attended church at the Wesley Methodist Chapel until white members asked the blacks to sit in the balcony. They responded by building their own church, the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church, in 1840. The participation of the members in the Underground Railroad created problems in the community. Whites demanded that they discontinue their activities. Many did, but those that did not established another church, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Both these churches still stand. The African Methodist Episcopal Church is part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church

A marker at 6810 N. Boyd Road, Madison honors John H. and Sarah Tibbets for their work helping slaves escape to freedom.

John H. Tibbets
John H. Tibbets
John H. Tibbets

Marker ID #:
39.2006.2
Marker Text:
Side one:
The Tibbets assisted fugitive slaves here in their home (now part of National Park Service, Network to Freedom); John piloted them to the next safe haven. Both were members of Neil’s Creek Anti-Slavery Society and Anti-Slavery Regular Baptist Church at College Hill. John served as a trustee for the church and Eleutherian College.
Side two:
Free blacks from Madison and surrounding area and white abolitionists helped fugitive slaves. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

John H. Tibbets (June 27, 1818 – ?)
A native of Clermont County Ohio, John came from a strong anti-slavery family. At age sixteen, he became a conductor on the Underground Railroad. His older brother, Dr. Samuel Tibbets and wife Susanna Coombs Tibbets had moved to Jefferson County in 1830. Around the year 1843, John moved to Lancaster, Indiana in Jefferson County. While there, he became acquainted with Sarah Ann Nelson, niece of Hoyt Lyman.
Sarah Ann Nelson Tibbets (1820 – ?)
Her father was a soldier and held a claim to land in Jefferson County. Her parents, James and Lucy Nelson, moved there around 1820 and settled near Lancaster, Indiana. The idea for the Neil’s Creek Antislavery Society originated in James Nelson’s home. Sarah and John married on September 22, 1844. The familial relationship that existed between the main organizers of the group provided security against betrayal for the groups Underground Railroad activities. Together, working with the other members of the group, it is likely that they moved hundreds of escaping slaves from bondage to freedom.

Barkshire Family
Barkshire Family

We next move upriver to Rising Sun Indiana to note the achievements to the The Barkshire Family. The marker is located at 201 N. Poplar St., Rising Sun
Historical Marker
Barkshire Family
Text
Side One:
African American Samuel Barkshire was freed from slavery in Boone County, Kentucky in 1833. He and his family moved here in 1836. The Barkshires defied fugitive slave laws to provide aid and comfort to those escaping bondage in the South. Their Rising Sun home, just north of the Ohio River, became an important hub for connecting freedom seekers to routes of escape.
Side Two:
The Barkshires faced threats of violence and re-enslavement by slave hunters, yet they persisted. Some prominent abolitionists and local residents assisted the family’s Underground Railroad activity. One ally was Nancy Hawkins who formerly held the Barkshires in slavery in Kentucky, relocated along with them in 1836, and then aided African American freedom seekers.

Samuel Barkshire (c. 1798 – April 11, 1875)
Born about 1798 as a slave to Dickey Barkshire in Harrison County, Kentucky. After Dickey’s death his son Felix acquired him. Felix sold him to Joseph Hawkins, who manumitted Samuel in 1833, for the sum of one dollar. Samuel married Frances Newman, who was owned by Hawkins. The couple would have six children. Barkshire purchased 100 acres of land next to Hawkins only three month’s after Hawkins manumitted him, land a monumental accomplishment.
Unusual Man
Most manumitted slaves were elderly and well past their prime working years. Samuel was still young and stayed in the area, which was also unusual for a young freed slave. By staying in a slave state, he risked kidnapping and a return to his status as slave. Any time a slave escaped, the white neighbors in the area would immediately cast eyes on free blacks living nearby, viewing them as accomplices in the escape. By staying in the area,he risked many things.
Underground Railroad Work
Before moving to Rising Sun, Samuel had possibly been engaged in helping escaped slaves in their quest to find freedom while still living in Kentucky. The land he had purchased there bordered the Ohio River and proved a good conduit for slaves fleeing north. This was extremely dangerous for Barkshire, as if caught he was subject to severe punishment.
Move to Rising Sun
Sometime before 1840 the Barkshire family moved across the Ohio River to settle in Rising Sun, Indiana. Barkshire worked at the cooper’s trade in Rising Sun making many of the barrels used to ship goods on the river and to age whiskey at the numerous distilleries that lined the river. He also continued his work in the underground railroad, serving as a contact person. He and his family hid escaping slaves and passed along bits of valuable information. Barkshire’s wife and children were also intimately involved in the movement as was Samuel’s former owner, Nancy Hawkins. After his death, Samuel was interred at Union Cemetery in Rising Sun, Indiana.
Nancy Hawkins (C. 1776 – 1854)
History knows little of Nancy Hawkins before marriage to Joseph Hawkins around 1817. She was native to Virginia. She may have been married to, or at least the common law wife of, Dickey Barkshire, though the only evidence linking them is circumstantial. If so, she would possibly have known Samuel prior to his transfer to Hawkins while he was enslaved by Barkshire. Sometime after John’s death in 1836 she moved across the Ohio River to Rising Sun close to the same time as Samuel Barkshire and his family. Sometime after the move to Rising Sun Nancy filed papers that officially manumitted Samuel’s wife and children as well as other slaves she had brought to Rising Sun. Since there was a danger that manumitted slaves could be kidnapped and sold back into slavery, which often happened, Nancy ensured that there protections were filed prior to their manumission.
The Barkshire Family
Arthur Barkshire,
Emily Barkshire
Garrett Barkshire
Matilda Barkshire
Barkshire, Minerva
Barkshire, Woodford

Arthur Barkshire (1825 – June 25, 1864)
The son of Samuel Barkshire and Frances Harriet Newman, Arthur was native to Boone County, Kentucky. During his early life he lived as a slave owned by Dicky Barkshire and later of Joseph and Nancy Hawkins in 1836. Nancy Hawkins manumitted him in 1848 after she moved to Rising Sun in Indiana. Arthur, as well as his other siblings, became involved in the Underground Railroad movement as a conductor. He and Elizabeth Kuth married on June 18, 1854. Elizabeth lived in Ohio. When Arthur brought his new bride to Rising Sun, he violated Article 13 of the Constitution that Indiana had adopted in 1851, The provisions of this article are stated below:
Section 1. No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State, after the adoption of this Constitution.
Section 2. All contracts made with any Negro or Mulatto coming into the State, contrary to the provisions of the foregoing section, shall be void; and any person who shall employ such Negro or Mulatto, or otherwise encourage him to remain in the State, shall be fined in any sum not less than ten dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.
Section 3. All fines which may be collected for a violation of the provisions of this article, or of any law which ay hereafter be passed for the purpose of carrying the same into execution, shall be set apart and appropriated for the colonization of such Negroes and Mulattoes, and their descendants, as may be in the State at the adoption of this Constitution, and may be willing to emigrate.
Section 4. The General Assembly shall pass laws to carry out the provisions of this article.
The Indiana General Assembly passed a statute that read:
“Any person who shall employ a Negro or Mulatto who shall have come into the State of Indiana subsequent to the 31st of October 1851 or shall encourage such Negro or Mulatto to remain in the state shall be fined in any sum not less than $10 nor more than $500.”
Someone filed a complaint against him and he was charged with, “encouraging Negro to remain in the State of Indiana.” The suit, filed in the in the Ohio County Common Pleas Court. The court found him guilty and fined him $10.00 and expelled him from the state. Barkshire appealed his case to the Indiana Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the decision, contending that:
“all contracts made with Negros and Mulattos coming into the State contrary to the provisions of the 13th Article void.
“because the marriage itself, solemnized in contravention of both must be regarded as void.”
Thus, Barkshire and Elizabeth had to leave Indiana. They migrated back to her home state of Ohio.
Barkshire enlisted in the 27th United States Colored Infantry Regiment when it organized in Delaware, Ohio on January 16, 1864. Barkshire would die of disease on June 25, 1864.
Garrett Barkshire (October 31, 1826 – May 11, 1894)
The son of Samuel Barkshire and Frances Harriet Newman, Garret was native to Boone County, Kentucky. During his early life he lived as a slave owned by Dicky Barkshire and later of Joseph and Nancy Hawkins, beginning in 1836. Nancy Hawkins manumitted him in 1848 after he moved to Rising Sun in Indiana. Garret would marry twice, to Sarah Ellis and Frances Kennedy. He had one child. Garrett acted as a conductor in the Underground Railroad system. His job working on riverboats allowed him to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana. There he collected slaves wanting freedom and took then north to Rising Sun, where they used the network of stations that took then north to freedom. Garrett died in Terra Haute, Indiana and is interred at Highland Lawn Cemetery there.
Matilda Barkshire (July 19, 1828 – November 17, 1892)
The daughter of Samuel Barkshire and Frances Harriet Newman, Matilda was native to Boone County, Kentucky. During her early life she lived as a slave owned by Dicky Barkshire and later of Joseph and Nancy Hawkins, beginning in 1836. Nancy Hawkins manumitted her in 1848 after she moved to Rising Sun in Indiana. There is no documentation of the daughters participated in the Underground Railroad activities of their parents, however their presence in the home allows speculation that they were somehow involved. She married George W Kennedy on October 21, 1851 and later Willis Wade on December 10, 1871. She had two children. She passed away in Terre Haute and is interred there.
Minerva Barkshire (September 15, 1836 – January 11, 1908)
The daughter of Samuel Barkshire and Frances Harriet Newman, Minerva was native to Boone County, Kentucky. During her early life she lived as a slave owned by Dicky Barkshire and later of Joseph and Nancy Hawkins, beginning in 1836. Nancy Hawkins manumitted her in 1848 after she moved to Rising Sun in Indiana. She and Noah B. Tutt married on November 4, 1854. The family migrated to Muscatine, Iowa. After her death, Minerva was interred in Greenwood Cemetery in Muscatine, Iowa.
Woodford Barkshire (1832 – August 25, 1868)
The son of Samuel Barkshire and Frances Harriet Newman, Woodford was native to Boone County, Kentucky. During his early life he lived as a slave owned by Dicky Barkshire and later of Joseph and Nancy Hawkins, beginning in 1836. Nancy Hawkins manumitted him in 1848 after he moved to Rising Sun in Indiana. Woodford became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping his parents in their task of aiding escaped slaves seeking freedom in Canada. He and Virginia Sayers married on June 16, 1858. The couple would have three children. Woodford was interred in Union Cemetery in Rising Sun after his death.

Moving north to Ripley County we travel backroads to Flat Rock to find a marker noting the location of the Union Church at 6303 CR 975 W and Flat Rock Road

Union Church
Marker Text:
Side one:
August 12, 1843 Union Church organized as Freewill Baptist church at home of Harvey Marshall. Church covenant states: “We cannot receive slaveholders into the church nor those who believe that slavery is right.” First church building completed 1859 near here. In 1914, members changed denomination and name of church. New church built here 1921.
Side two:
Strong anti-slavery stance of Freewill Baptist churches contributed to end of slavery and freedom for those enslaved. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Union Church
Union Church

Union Church
The church is located on West Flatrock Road, southwest of Napoleon. To get to the church from Napoleon, Indiana, which is on US 421, south of Greensburg and north of Versailles, Indiana, travel west on Milhousen Road about 1.1 miles. Turn left on Brownstown Road and drove about four miles to County Road 900W. Turn left on 900W and drive about one mile to Flatrock Road. Turn right on Flat Rock Road. The Union Church is in a peaceful valley less than a half mile from the intersection of Flat Rock Road and 900W.
Freedom to Worship
The remote location of this stop on the Underground Railroad route made it one of the few places escaping slaves could worship in public. There were slave catchers living in the area, but before the sheriff or federal marshals could arrive to arrest the slaves, someone in the Ripley County Court House had warned the conductors and they could hide the slaves away before they could arrive to get the runaways.

Elutherian College
Elutherian College

Mentioned on the marker to Elutherian College as the founder of the institution, the James Harrison Craven home is located at 324 E. Fairground Avenue, Osgood. (Ripley County, Indiana)
James Harrison Craven
Marker Text:
Side one:
Born 1802 in Virginia; admitted to the bar 1823. Moved to Jefferson County, Indiana 1829. Established law office in Versailles, Ripley County 1833. Served four terms in Indiana General Assembly. Elected as Whig to U.S. Congress 1841. Lost as Free Soil party candidate for Indiana governor 1849 and as Republican candidate for attorney general 1856.
Side two:
A well-known debater, he opposed extension of slavery, 1850 Fugitive Slave Act requiring citizens to return escaping slaves to their owners, and Article 13 of 1851 Constitution prohibiting blacks from moving into Indiana. Served briefly in Civil War. Moved to Osgood area before 1860; built home here circa 1865. Died at Osgood December 4, 1876.

James Harrison Cravens (August 2, 1802 – December 4, 1876)
A native of Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia, and Cravens studied law, received admittance to the bar in 1823, and opened a practice in Harrisonburg. In 1829, he migrated to Madison, Indiana and became involved in agriculture. Cravens gained election to the Indiana House of Representatives. He served in the House from 1831 through 1833. In 1833, he moved to Ripley County, Indiana and opened a law practice in Versailles. After winning a term to the Indiana State Senate in 1841, he mounted a successful campaign for the United States House of Representatives in 1841. He ran for Indiana governor in 1852 as a Free Soil Candidate. During the Civil War, he joined the Eighty-third Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and served as a lieutenant colonel.

General John Hunt Morgan’s troops captured his troop during their raid into Indiana and he remained a prisoner of war until the conflict ended. After mustering out of the Army, Cravens moved back to Ripley County, building a home in Osgood. He lived in that house until his death in 1876. During his time in office, he opposed Article 13 of the new Indiana Constitution.

The Free Soil Party originated in Buffalo, New York. It appealed mainly to people in upstate New York, western Massachusetts, Ohio and Indiana. The short-lived party remained active for two presidential elections, 1848 and 1852. Its two candidates, Martin Van Buren and John P. Hale were unsuccessful. the party consisted mainly of anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats. They opposed expanding slavery into the territories and tried to expunge laws in the states that discriminated against free blacks. After the 1852 support for the Free Soil Party disintegrated, however many of its former adherents established the Republican Party which successfully ran Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Article 13 – Negroes And Mulattoes
Section 1. No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State, after the adoption of this Constitution.
Section 2. All contracts made with any Negro or Mulatto coming into the State, contrary to the provisions of the foregoing section, shall be void; and any person who shall employ such Negro or Mulatto, or otherwise encourage him to remain in the State, shall be fined in any sum not less than ten dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.
Section 3. All fines which may be collected for a violation of the provisions of this article, or of any law which ay hereafter be passed for the purpose of carrying the same into execution, shall be set apart and appropriated for the colonization of such Negroes and Mulattoes, and their descendants, as may be in the State at the adoption of this Constitution, and may be willing to emigrate.
Section 4. The General Assembly shall pass laws to carry out the provisions of this article.
The Supreme Court declared this article unconstitutional in the famous 1855 case of Freeman v. Robinson.

Stephen S. Harding
Stephen S. Harding

The home of another leader in the underground railroad movement, Stephen S. Harding, is located at Washington and Tyson Streets, SW corner of Courthouse Square, Versailles (Ripley County, Indiana).
Stephen S. Harding
Marker Text:
Side one:
Born 1808 Ontario County, New York. Moved with family to Ripley County, 1820. Prominent abolitionist and orator, delivering powerful anti-slavery speeches throughout the area, often against public sentiment. Was active in Liberty Party and Republican Party. Received several appointments from President Abraham Lincoln. Died February 12, 1891.
Side two:
Harding was an early leader in the opposition to slavery, helping to bring freedom to enslaved people in U.S. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.
Stephen S. Harding (February 28, 1808 – February 12, 1891)
The oldest son of David and Abigail Harding, Stephen was born in Palmyra, New York. The family moved to Ripley County in 1820, when he was twelve. He studied law in Brookville, Indiana, and then opened an office in Richmond, Indiana. He moved back to Versailles after a few months and opened an office there around 1828. In that year, he traveled to New Orleans on business. While in New Orleans, he saw a slave market and visited a plantation. After seeing the plight of the slaves, he became anti-slavery. Upon his return to Versailles, he started speaking about abolition in an area that had been settled primarily by people from the south and who were sympathetic to slavery.
Bravery in the Cause
In spite of friends warnings about his safety, Harding continued to speak out against the institution of slavery, believing if he could describe it, he could change people’s minds. He traveled around the country on speaking engagements. Gradually, the sentiment changed to become antislavery. The Underground Railroad movement grew. There were five routes through Ripley County for slaves to escape. He became a supporter of Abraham Lincoln, who rewarded him with two positions. The first, as the first Governor of Utah, ended when he questioned the Mormon practice of polygamy and they asked to have him removed. Lincoln then appointed him Chief Justice of the Colorado territorial court.
Retirement to Indiana
He served in several other government posts before retiring to Old Milan, Indiana. After his death, his body was interred in Greendale Cemetery, Greendale, Indiana.

Find out more about these Indiana day trip destinations and many more by purchasing the book Southeast Indiana Day Trips. The book includes contact information for all of these museums as well as information on include, state parks, nature preserves, golf courses , wineries, breweries and much, much more. You can find it on my web site, http://www.mossyfeetbooks.com on the Road Trip Indiana category. Just scroll down to categories, click the Road Trip Indiana Series. There are links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and other online book sellers. You may choose to purchase the book in ebook or softbound versions. An audio book version is available on Google Play. There will be four more podcasts in this series covering some of the historical markers, court houses and underground railroad sites in the southeastern part of Indiana. At the conclusion of this series I will compile the episodes into an audio book. The next series will cover Indiana’s role in the Civil War. Listeners may also be interested in my book, The Ultimate Indiana Day Trip Travel Guide. The 747 page book includes a plethora of day trip destination in Indiana. A complete tourism guide the book includes local and state parks, museums, golf courses and much, much more. The book includes information on all of Indiana’s 92 counties. No traveler in Indiana should be without it.
You can also order these books direct from me, the author, on the web page. If you wish me to sign the book, just send me an email to mossyfeetbooks@gmail.com requesting a signed book and instructions on how you want me to address it. Note, if you send me an email, I will add you to my contact list. Readers on the list will receive an email from me announcing when I publish a new book. If you do not want me to add you to the list, tell me and I will not add you. Listeners to this podcast that want email notification of my new releases can just send me an email requesting addition to the list. You can choose to have your name removed at any time. If you browse the web site you will find dozens of sample chapters, one for each of my books. I hope you enjoyed this podcast and thank you for listening.

Indiana Places and History Podcast

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