Were there any Southerners involved in the Underground Railroad?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Will Carry

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Messages
958
Location
The Tar Heel State.
Were there any Southerners involved in the Underground Railroad? I guess I could find out for myself like I use to do, by reading books but you guys are so far ahead of me I will never catch up.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Mild53

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
1,016
Location
Maine
Great question, I'd love to know. I'd bet that there is little or no documenttion for this. It was hard enough being a stop on the railroad in the north. If one was found out in the south, I suspect death would be the outcome.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

civilken

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 25, 2013
Messages
3,517
forgive me for my memory loss when it comes to names. But one of the great woman abolitionists was from South Carolina a wealthy planters daughter who gave support and help to many African Americans . I have remembered the story from long ago it always impressed me that someone of privilege would give it all up to help others. I'm sure there are more I am no longer able to do the research I use to do but there were many southern sympathizes. I honestly believe that was one of the reasons some Southerners push for the war they were afraid of southern people starting to turn their backs on slavery.
 

nc native

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Messages
567
Location
NC Piedmont
https://randolphhistory.worldpress.com/2010/02/22/piedmont-nc-quakers-and-the-underground-railroad/

I hope this link works. Randolph County, North Carolina was a hot bed for abolitionist
activity up to and during the Civil War. The small slave population there (10% of the population
versus 35% and more for surrounding counties) and the fact that Quakers were in abundance
made it a destination for slaves who were escaping other areas of the South and heading North to
freedom.

P.S. A little help with this link would be appreciated. It's not opening when I click on it.
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

NH Civil War Gal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
3,486

Republican Blues

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
2,612
Location
on the Savannah Station..
forgive me for my memory loss when it comes to names. But one of the great woman abolitionists was from South Carolina a wealthy planters daughter who gave support and help to many African Americans . I have remembered the story from long ago it always impressed me that someone of privilege would give it all up to help others. I'm sure there are more I am no longer able to do the research I use to do but there were many southern sympathizes. I honestly believe that was one of the reasons some Southerners push for the war they were afraid of southern people starting to turn their backs on slavery.
Angelina Grimke and her sister Sarah Moore Grimke
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
8,865
Location
District of Columbia
I just started reading Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War, by the historian Jacqueline Jones. She tells the story of Thomas Simms, a runaway who went to Boston from Savannah by a commercial transport vessel. Jones says that Simms, an urban slave who earned wages and kept most of his money, surely paid off the crew of the ship that took him to Boston.

I don't know how often this happened - probably not a lot, because most slaves were not paid for their work - but it seems money could turn one into a Underground Railroad conductor. Although I do believe the crew men on Simm's escape vessel were northerners.

- Alan
 

archieclement

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
4,694
Location
mo
there was some, but keep in mind in 1860 the national runaway rate for slaves was 1 out of 4919 slaves for a runaway rate of .02 percent
 

Republican Blues

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
2,612
Location
on the Savannah Station..
Youd be surprised how many urban enslaved people hired their time out and made wages.... Including River Pilots like Billy Bugg, Moses Dallas and Isaac Tattnall... by law African Americans had to have the legal status of enslaved to be pilots... and these three were GOOD at their jobs..

but, what do I know....
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

archieclement

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
4,694
Location
mo
Youd be surprised how many urban enslaved people hired their time out and made wages.... Including River Pilots like Billy Bugg, Moses Dallas and I forget his first name right now but his last name Tattnall... by law African Americans had to have the legal status of enslaved to be pilots... and these three were GOOD at their jobs..

but, what do I know....
I know here in Missouri, because of the smaller scale of slavery, more of the slaves tended to be skilled slaves with trades that could be rented out, and it was up to the owners what would happen with the wages of course. But its not unusual to come across cases were the slaves were allowed to keep enough of their rental wages that they could eventually buy their own freedom. Quite a few appear to have been stone masons for chimney and foundation work.
 

Dedej

Retired User
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
1,111
Youd be surprised how many urban enslaved people hired their time out and made wages.... Including River Pilots like Billy Bugg, Moses Dallas and I forget his first name right now but his last name Tattnall... by law African Americans had to have the legal status of enslaved to be pilots... and these three were GOOD at their jobs..

but, what do I know....
That's really interesting. Do you know why they had to have that status?

I have heard or read (maybe in a narrative?) about enslaved paying other free or enslaved people to help them get to certain routes or to the North.

And thanks for the info about River Pilots - reading more about this now.
 

Republican Blues

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
2,612
Location
on the Savannah Station..
That's really interesting. Do you know why they had to have that status?

I have heard or read (maybe in a narrative?) about enslaved paying other free or enslaved people to help them get to certain routes or to the North.

And thanks for the info about River Pilots - reading more about this now.
Tattnall would serve as a Pilot for the South Atlantic Blockade Squadron. Bugg and Dallas would serve in the Savannah Squadron.. Dallas was so highly regarded that he requested and recieved a pay raise to $100 a month in 1863 from the Navy Department in Richmond
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
2,031
Location
Mass.
I have recently read of an account by an african American woman who was living in the deep South of putting a "Lawn Jockey" she called it a horse walker. AKA "Jocko". and how the symbol was used by the Underground RR to indicate that the owners of the property were part of the RR and different apparel would signify different degrees of assistance. I dont really see that much of a need to encode such help in the North, yet, I spend a good deal of time in Springfield MA and I am told by many African Americans that there was a great deal of RR activity, and we have witnessed tunnels that appear to have no other purpose than moving people covertly. I imagine it would have been near impossible for the RR to work w/o assistance in the South.....try traveling 500 miles without being given food, water or shelter. I know there is plenty of water along the way but Im not so sure how much of that water is drinkable
 

Republican Blues

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
2,612
Location
on the Savannah Station..
I have recently read of an account by an african American woman who was living in the deep South of putting a "Lawn Jockey" she called it a horse walker. AKA "Jocko". and how the symbol was used by the Underground RR to indicate that the owners of the property were part of the RR and different apparel would signify different degrees of assistance. I dont really see that much of a need to encode such help in the North, yet, I spend a good deal of time in Springfield MA and I am told by many African Americans that there was a great deal of RR activity, and we have witnessed tunnels that appear to have no other purpose than moving people covertly. I imagine it would have been near impossible for the RR to work w/o assistance in the South.....try traveling 500 miles without being given food, water or shelter. I know there is plenty of water along the way but Im not so sure how much of that water is drinkable
About that... http://www.snopes.com/jocko-lawn-jockey-racist/
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top