Maryland Releases New Underground Railroad Guide

Maryland Releases New Underground Railroad Guide

A new edition of a map-guide to 41 places and programs related to the Underground Railroad in Maryland is now available in the state's Welcome Centers and at the Hagerstown-Washington County Downtown Visitor Welcome Center at 6 North Potomac Street.
The brand new guide, "The Underground Railroad: Maryland's Network to Freedom," describes places where you can learn about the personal stories of slaves who tried to outrun slave catchers and civil authorities in the decades before the Civil War.
All of the sites in the Maryland guide are associated with the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, a program mandated by Congress in 1998.
Sites include the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the Frederick Douglass Driving Tour of Talbot County on the Eastern Shore, Sotterley Plantation in Southern Maryland, and Uncle Tom's Cabin/Riley Farm in Rockville. Also included are sites in Washington County, including Antietam National Battlefield, Ferry Hill Plantation, and Rockland (the home of slave-holder Frisby Tilghman).
The new brochure's Washington County section includes:
Rockland: James W. C. Pennington One of the most prominent African-American leaders of the 19th century escaped here in 1827. Pennington described his life at Rockland and his dramatic escape in his 1849 autobiography, The Fugitive Blacksmith. Against all odds, Pennington became a powerful Presbyterian minister, abolitionist, civil rights activist, and Underground Railroad agent. Built in 1803, the main house at Rockland is a private residence not open to the public. View site from the main road. 9030 Sharpsburg Pike, Fairplay, MD 21733.
Ferry Hill Plantation: Situated along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Potomac River, major thoroughfares for freedom seekers heading north, Ferry Hill was once a thriving plantation utilizing enslaved and free black labor. Records reveal that captured runaways were taken to the Hagerstown jail. A $200 bounty was paid to one slave catcher for capturing five of them. Part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Sharpsburg, Ferry Hill is open Sat.-Sun. noon-4pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Group tours may be arranged in advance. Contact the Williamsport Visitor Center, 205 Potomac Street, Williamsport, MD 21795. 301-582-0813. www.nps.gov/choh/History/TowpathTowns/FerryHill.html.
The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau assisted Maryland's Office of Tourism in producing the new brochure. An online version is posted here: http://visitmaryland.org/BrochuresandMaps/UndergroundRailroad.pdf.
As discussed in the new Maryland brochure, escaping slaves crossed Washington County, while traveling north to freedom. Underground Railroad historians call the route through Washington County a "major travel route of freedom."
For more information about African-American Heritage sites in Washington County, see the CVB's online brochure: www.marylandmemories.org/african_american.html. From the brochure: "There are many historic African American sites in Washington County, Maryland. From the earliest days of the 18th Century, the lives, the sacrifices, and the contributions of African Americans have left an unmistakable impression on Washington County. In 1820, 14% of the population was enslaved; Maryland's average however was 26%. By 1860, there were more free African Americans than slaves in Washington County. By 1864, slavery was abolished in Maryland."