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History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

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Railroad. I have forgotten the name of the agent at Leoni also the
one at Grass Lake. At Francisco was Francisco himself who was a
good worker. At Dexter we had Samuel W. Dexter and his sons. At
Scio was a prominent man — Theodore Foster, father of Seymour Foster
of Lansing. At Ann Arbor was Gu.y Beckley, editor of the Signal of
Liberty, the organ of the Liberty party, who publi-shed the i^aper in
connection with Theodore Foster. At Geddes, was John Geddes, after
whom the town was named, and who built a large flouring mill there.
He was an uncle of Albert H. Geddes of this city. I can't tell the
names of the agents at Ypsilanti or Plymouth. At the former place the
route branched, leaving the Michigan Central for Plymouth. Sometimes
they went to Plymouth from Ann Arbor. From Plymouth they fol-



5 These Quakers had made a settlement at Young's Prairie, had establislied a
school and were prospering. A few Kentucky fugitive slaves had made their homes
among them and were highly respected. See story of ' ' Raid in Michigan ' ' in
Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, pp. 366-73.

Townsend E. Gidley. See Vol. XIV, p. 402, this series.

7 It -was Abel F. Fitch who was involved in the railroad conspiracy case and
died during the trial.



IIISTOUY OF CALIIOrX COIXTY Sn

lowed the Kiver Rouge to Swart burg', then to Detroit.^ The principal
man iu Detroit was Horace Hallock, also Silas ^1. Holmes ami Saiiiiiel
Zug. They were men who eould be relied upon.

"We had passwords, the one eonnnonly used being: "(Jan you give
sheltei" and protection to one or more persons?' This was addressed to
the agent by the person or persons looking for a place of safety. 1
usually drove the fugitives through to Marshall myself, in the night,
but often got some one to go with me. Isaac Mott, then a boy, worked
for me, and used to frequently take the slaves through. Sometimes
others ^vent. I used my own horse and buggy.

"It was just four weeks after John Cross had appnintiMl mo agent
that the first fugitives came. They were two men, \Villi;iiii Colriiiau and
Stephen Wood. These men came through under lictilidus iianies and
always i-etained them. This the fugitives frequently did. While Cole-
man and Wood were yet secreted at my house Levi Coffin, the originator
of the Underground Railway, and John Beard, a Quaker minister, came
thi-nugh on the route. They were a committee appointed by the Quakers
of Indiana to visit the colored people of Canada and to learn how they
were succeeding, and to ascertain what assistance they w'ere in need of.
They went home on the other route, and so I did not see them on their
return. Coffin was acquainted with Wood, and Beard with Coleman.
The two colored men, when they saw their old friends, were overcome
with joy. By the way, I never met John Cross until eight years after-
ward, at the great Free-Soil convention at Bu



Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 74)