Saturday, July 12, 2014

Underground Railroad

Andover, Ohio High 82 Low 68

It was another nice day.

We went to Ashtabula, Ohio to see light houses, but they were a disappointment. They are not very tall and are at least a mile along a peninsula, which is walking only. And if you do all you can do is walk around them.

While we were there we had found out about The Hubbard House/Underground Railroad Museum. It was the terminus for the runaway slaves prior to the Civil War before getting on ships to Canada. We were told that up to 600 slaves were helped to freedom through this home, but there was no record of the numbers kept.

It was rumored that there was a tunnel from the home to the harbor, but we were assured that it was not true. The docent did tell us other homes did have tunnels.

The William Hubbard family arrived in the Connecticut Western Reserve in the late spring of 1834. William had been sent here from Trenton, Oneida County, New York to work as a land agent for his uncle Nehemiah Hubbard. Jr. Nehemiah was one of the 39 men who formed the Connecticut Land Company following the 1795 re-division of the lands in the Ohio Territory. He owned approximately 58,000 acres of land in this area, which he purchased for 33 cents per acre. Because of his advanced years, he sent his brother Isaac's sons out to establish a presence for him in the Western Reserve.

 Only weeks after arriving in Ashtabula, William became a member of the Ashtabula County Anti-Slavery Society. His brothers Matthew and Henry, who had arrived earlier and made  homes for themselves in this part of the county, were already heavily involved in the Abolitionist movement, both having helped to found the Ashtabula Sentinel, an Abolitionist newspaper. It may never be possible to know how many slaves William's family helped on to Canada, as no written account has been located to date. However, it is known from an eyewitness account, that, at one time, there were thirty-nine slaves in hiding, as the gentleman stated "thirty-nine slaves made short work of a barrel of pickles." Other observers made note of the fact that fugitive slaves arrived day and night, looking for William and Catharine's assistance and protection.

Runaway slaves and conductors on the Underground Railroad referred to Hubbard's home as "Mother Hubbard's Cupboard" and as "The Great Emporium." From surviving records, it appears that all of the African Americans assisted by Hubbard managed to escape to Canada successfully. It is unclear how many slaves Hubbard helped gain their freedom. Hubbard remained active in the abolitionist movement until his death in 1863. Today, the Hubbard House is listed on National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public as a museum. The Underground Railroad was a system of safe houses and hiding places that helped runaway slaves escape to freedom in Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere outside of the United States.

White and African-American "conductors" served as guides from place to place for runaway slaves. It remains unclear when the Underground Railroad began, but members of the Society of Friends, who were also known as the Quakers, were actively assisting runaway slaves as early as the 1780s. Some people living in Ohio began to help runaways by the 1810s.

 The outside fabric is woven horse hair. It is said to be very coarse  and not very comfortable. It is also stuffed with horse hair.

Cindy liked this old player piano with the built in lamp holders.

 This is an old hand cranked butter churn.

Old spinning wheel

 The rope held the straw filed mattress. The bed was a lot shorter than they are now.

We learned a lot about life in the mid-19th century.  There was a type of bench that held a baby one part of it. It was constructed so the bar could be removed to be a full bench.

There was also a method to raise pots that were over the fire in the kitchen to different levels for whatever temperature was needed.

Another thing we found interesting was a devise that raised and lowered candles depending on how much light was needed.

There were two maps of the county divided into different townships of the era showing the owners of the land.

We were told that William was very rich, and had to go to court because someone reported his slave dealings. He was fined $1000.00, which at that time would have been a large amount of money.  

William was a land agent for his uncle but considered himself a farmer first.

In the museum part, there are lots of Civil War memorabilia. There is an old drum, and several old flintlock rifles.

It was an interesting museum to visit. Thanks for visiting.

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