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The Underground Railroad In Hudson County - Part Ten

By Alexander Maclean

Edited by GET NJ, Copyright 2002

The Fugitive Slave law made it easier and more profitable for the slave hunters as well as more dangerous for the active abolitionists.

The second route started at Salem, about forty miles below Philadelphia. This was an independent route for about sixty miles, with its own agents and stopping places, merging with the main line at Bordentown. It was made in three stages: the first ending at Woodbury, the second at Evesham's Mount, and the third at Bordentown. This route was well known to the slaves along the Chesapeake. They reached the Delaware river at various points, and were carried to Salem, where the Rev. T. C. Oliver and Abigail Goodwin took charge of them. Miss Goodwin confined her personal expenditure to the barest necessities in order to provide food and clothing for the fugitives. Her connection with the Society of Friends gave the means for assisting escaping slaves with speed and safety. She received gifts of money and clothing from many sources and always had supples for men, women and children.

She was a generous contributor and a model of sustained self-sacrifice. She died on November 2, 1867, aged seventy-three years.

The third route began at Greenwich, the little town on the Delaware that raised a monument to the patriots who destroyed a cargo of tea about the time before the Revolution that Boston had its Tea Party. The fugitives for this route arrived by boat from the vicinity of Dover. Tinted lights were used as signals of approach and identification. These blue and yellow lights were shown from boats manned by volunteer watchers and the exchange was made out of sight from land. This route led to Swedesboro and Mount Holly to Burlington, and thence by the main line.

The visible workers on the Greenwich line in Cumberland County were Levin Bond, Ezekiel Cooper, Nathaniel Murray, J. R. Sheppard, Thomas B. Sheppard, ALges Stanford, and Julia Stanford. In Glouscester County, on both the Salem and Greenwich line, the workers who are known were William Douden and two African-Americans, Pompey Lewis and Jubilee Sharper. In Mercer County the active agents were Elias Conove, J. J. Earl, and Rush B. Plumley. In Union County Joseph Garrison was the leader. There were many more who were active agents, but there are no recors to be found that show who they were, how the messages were sent, or where the fugitives were lodged and supplied with necessities. Originally there were letters, later there was a cypher code. The passage of the Fugitive Slave law not only made these hazardous, but made it necessary to destroy every scrap of writing that could become evidence. The more active workers even quit attending abolitionist meetings to avoid even the appearance of interest in the cause. This obnoxious law made it easier and more profitable for the slave hunters as well as more dangerous for the active abolitionists.

Part Eleven

Hudson County Facts  by Anthony Olszewski
Hudson County, New Jersey is a place of many firsts - including genocide and slavery.
Political corruption is a tradition here.
First issue in a series by Anthony Olszewski
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