Draft Timeline

*** Entries from main project area are headlined in red ***

July 1841 || Trio of Illinois abolitionists captured enticing slaves

  • Locations: Hannibal, MO and Quincy, IL
  • Numbers:  Unknown (Abolitionists = James Burr, George Thompson, Alanson Work)
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Lighting Out for the Territory: Reflections on Mark Twain and American Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 53-8; Terrell Dempsey, Searching for Jim: Slavery in Sam Clemens’s World (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003).

October 1841 || 26 Freedom Suits at Once –A Legal Stampede

  • Locations:  St. Louis Circuit Court
  • Numbers:  26 (and then 27), including Preston, Braxton (process begins after owner Milton Duty’s death in 1838, accelerates with successful injunction to stop threat of sale in October 1841 and continues throughout early 1850s with multiple freedom suit petitions)
  • Owners:  Milton Duty (Mississippi slaveholder); executors David and Mary Coons,  John F. Darby
  • Sources:  Kelly M. Kennington, In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture; Lea VanderVelde, Redemption Songs; Dale Edwyna Smith,African American Lives in St. Louis, 1763-1865: Slavery, Freedom and the West

August 1842 || Richard Eells helps runaway; later resulted in Moore v. Illinois

  • Locations:  Monticello, MO to Quincy, IL
  • Numbers: 1 (part of the Mission Institute series) (Charley)
  • Owners:  Chauncey Durkey
  • Sources:  Quincy Whig, “Once Upon a Time in Quincy,” September 9, 2011; Quincy Whig, Aug. 27, 1842, Quincy Whig, Feb. 8, 1843, Quincy Whig, April 26, 1843, Quincy Whig, May 3, 1843

February 1843 || Anti-Negro Stealing Society Organized in Jacksonville

  • Locations:  St. Louis, MO and Louisiana to Jacksonville, IL
  • Numbers:  Incidents involving controversy over sojourning of visiting slaves (Bob and Emily Logan, late 1830s), “slave girl Lucinda” (owned by St. Louis visitor and then freed and hired out to attorney Murray McConnel), and finally (1843) young girl owned by Mrs. Lisle of Louisiana helped in escape by Julius (father) and Samuel (son) Willard
  • Owners:  Mrs. Lisle of Louisiana // organizers of Anti-Negro Stealing Society include M. McCormick, W.B. Warren, A. Smith and O.M. Long
  • Sources:  “News-Extra, February 22, 1843 (ALPLM Broadside); Don H. Doyle, The Social Order of a Frontier Community: Jacksonville, Illinois, 1825-70, pp. 53-7; Samuel Willard, “My First Adventure with a Fugitive Slave,” Illinois Historical Journal,  89 (Winter 1996)

1844-45 || St. Genevieve County Petitions Legislature for Relief from Escapes

  • Locations: St. Genevieve, MO
  • Numbers:  Unknown
  • Owners:  Unknown
  • Sources:  MO House Journal, 13th Assembly, 1st Session, p. 332

May 1845 || Runaways “Battle” in Maryland during mass escape

  • Locations:  Smithsburg, MD
  • Numbers:  10 freedom seekers, 8 slave patrollers
  • Owners:  Unknown
  • Sources:   “Runaway Negroes–A Battle with the Whites,” Boston Daily Atlas, June 2, 1845 cited in Stanley Harrold, Border War: Fighting Over Slavery before the Civil War, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). See post.

July 1845 || Attempted escape in Maryland involving 70-80 black men

  • Locations:  Southeastern counties counties, via 2 groups thru Bladensburg, Rockville
  • Numbers:  70-80 black men (led by Bill Wheeler, free black), 330 “well armed” slave patrollers
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: Stanley Harrold, Border War: Fighting Over Slavery before the Civil War, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 129-31. See post.

May – July 1847 ||  First mentions of “stampede” in antislavery press

  • Locations:  Maysville, KY
  • Numbers:  5 or 6
  • Owners:  Unknown
  • Sources (with quotation):
    • GRAND STAMPEDE.  On Friday or Saturday last, says the Times, between twenty and twenty-five negroes, belonging to different plantations in Kenton Co., Ky., across the river, left for parts unknown via the state of Ohio. We learn that the aggregate amount of award offered for their apprehension is over four thousand dollars.  –Cincinnati Allas”  (“Grand Stampede,” Danville (VT) North Star, May 17, 1847.
    • We learn that a stampede occurred among the negroes at and near Maysville, a few days ago. Five or six of the number belonged to a prominent and influential member of the Northern Methodist Church at Maysville. And we also understand that a distinguished preacher of that denomination was at the gentlemans’s house at the time his negroes left-Covington (Ky.) Register” (“Miscellaneous,” Liberator, 16 July 1847)

April 1848 || Scholar calls Pearl “Most influential mass-escape attempt”

  • Locations:  Washington, DC
  • Numbers:  77 runaways stowed aboard steamer Pearl (organized by Daniel Bell and William Chaplin with ship captain Edward Sayres; mostly unarmed house servants with women and children, all recaptured in the escape attempt, include most famously, the Edmonson sisters, Mary and Emily)
  • Owners:  Unknown
  • Sources:  “most influential” designation from Stanley Harrold, Border War: Fighting Over Slavery before the Civil War, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010),131-33;Andrew Delbanco, The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (New York: Penguin Press, 2018), 214-5 (see post)

June 1848 || Daggs Group Slave Escape Becomes Major Fugitive Case

  • Locations: Clark County, MO to Salem, IA
  • Numbers:  Up to 16 slaves (John Walker, wife, children, + several others, including Sam Webster)
  • Owners:  Ruel Daggs
  • Sources:  An Iowa Fugitive Slave Case –1850 (by George Frazee) [WEB]; Lowell J. Soike, Necessary Courage: Iowa’s Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery (2013); O.A. Garretson, Traveling on the Underground Railway [WEB]; James Patrick Morgans, The Underground Railroad on the Western Frontier (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 2010), 94-5.

November 1849 || Stampede from Canton, MO leaves one dead

  • Locations: Canton (Lewis County), MO
  • Numbers:  35-50 (slave woman Lin, man John, child Henry; note possible connections to Gregory’s Landing “whites” and Sen. Thomas Hart Benton)
  • Owners:  Samuel McKim, James (also sometimes John) Miller, John McCutcheon (McCutchen or also McCutchan), William Willis (also Ellis)
  • Sources: “Negro Stampede,” Palmyra Weekly Whig (Palmyra, MO), 8 November, 1849; “Negro Stampede,” Glasgow Weekly Times, 8 November 1849; “The Lewis County Affair,” Palmyra Weekly Whig (Palmyra, MO), 15 November 1849; Negro Stampede in Lewis County,” Glasgow Weekly Times, 15 November 1849; “Slave Stampede and Resistance-Their Leader Killed,” Weekly Commercial (Wilmington, NC), 16 November 1849; “Slave Stampede and Resistance-Their Leader Killed,” Placer Times (Sacramento City, CA), 5 January 1850; “Slave Stampede and Resistance-Their Leader Killed,” Hartford Daily Courant, 8 November 1849; “The Great Slave Stampede in Missouri,” North American and United States Gazette, 22 November 1849; “Slave Stampede and Resistance,” Hartford Daily Courant, 8 November 1849; “Another Chapter of Southern Atrocities and Horrors,” The Liberator, 18 January 1850; “The Peculiar Institution: Apprehension of Runaway Negroes-Conduct of Abolitionists in Illinois,”National Anti-Slavery Standard, 17 January 1850; “Mssrs. Editors,” Daily Illinois State Journal, 23 January 1850; “The Great Slave Stampede in Missouri,” Anti-Slavery Bugle, 2 February 1850. Also see the St. Louis Republican;  Diane Mutti Burke, On Slavery’s Border, p. 186 (see post); Terrell Dempsey, Searching for Jim: Slavery in Sam Clemens’s World (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003), 129; Lorenzo J. Greene, et al. Missouri’s Black Heritage, p. 43 (on slave woman Lin);  George R. Lee, “Slavery and Emancipation in Lewis County, Missouri,” Missouri Historical Review 65, no. 3 (April 1971): 294-317. [WEB]

January 1850 || Escape toward Alton

  • Locations: St. Louis area, MO
  • Numbers:  Unknown
  • Owners:  E. Block, McCune, Glasby, and Pittman
  • Sources: “The Peculiar Institution: Apprehension of Runaway Negroes-Conduct of Abolitionists in Illinois,”National Anti-Slavery Standard, 17 January 1850

January 1850 ||  Jameson Jenkins, Lincoln’s neighbor,  leads a stampede

  • Locations:  St. Louis area, MO (through Springfield, IL)
  • Numbers: Up to 14
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: Daily Illinois State Journal, 22 January 1850; Daily Illinois State Journal, 23 January 1850

October 1851 || Missouri Runaway Arrested in Syracuse, NY

  • Locations:  Syracuse, NY
  • Numbers: William “Jerry” McHenry”
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources:  Steven Lubet, Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 86-90, 254, 305-307, 316.

September 1852 || Escape from Ste. Genevieve

  • Locations: Ste. Genevieve, MO
  • Numbers:  8
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “Slave Stampede,” Daily Courier, 20 September 1852

May 1853 || “Battalion” of slaves escape in “stampede”

  • Locations:  Western Missouri
  • Numbers:  18
  • Owners:  Unnkown
  • Sources:  “Negro Stampede,” Alton Evening Telegraph, 23 May 1853; Richard Blackett, Captive’s Quest, 139-40

June 1853 || Three escapees identified in press as “stampede”

  • Locations: Weston, MO
  • Numbers: 3
  • Owners: R. Meek
  • Sources:  “Slave Stampedes,” Pomeroy Weekly Telegraph (Pomeroy, OH), 5 July 1853; “Negro Stampede,” Frederick Douglass Paper, 24 June 1853

July 1853 || Group of fifteen headed for Iowa

  • Locations: Ray County, MO
  • Numbers: 15
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources:  “Slave Stampedes,” Pomeroy Weekly Telegraph (Pomeroy, OH), 5 July 1853; “Negro Stampede,” Frederick Douglass Paper, 24 June 1853. Article appeared in the Alton Telegraph

November 1853 || Chicago and Boston papers describe UGRR “stampede”

  • Locations: Marion County, MO (Palmyra) to Quincy, IL to Menden (Mendon), IL to Chicago, IL
  • Numbers: 13
  • Owners: Unknown (from at least six different farms)
  • Sources:  Richard Blackett, Captive’s Quest, 139; Chicago Tribune, November 7, 1853 reported in Boston Herald, “A Stampede,” November 15, 1853 [HD];  James Patrick Morgans, The Underground Railroad on the Western Frontier (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 2010), 69; Hannibal Missouri Courier, November 10, 1853 (19th Century US Newspapers) –describes 11 heading from Palmyra through “Menden”

February 1854 || Over $15,000 in “property” loss reported from escape

  • Locations: Marion County, MO
  • Numbers:  Unknown
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “Prompt Proceedings,” Missouri Whig (Palmyra, MO), 23 February 1854

March 1854 || Missouri Runaway Arrested in Wisconsin; Leads to Landmark Case

  • Locations:  St. Louis to Milwaukee
  • Numbers:  1 (Joshua Glover)
  • Owners:  Bennami Garland; rescue effort of Glover led by abolitionist Sherman Booth who appealed his conviction, eventually resulting in US Supreme Court case Ableman v. Booth (1859)
  • Sources:  Steven Lubet, Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 305-307.

November 1854 || Women, children, “some aged and crippled” flee together

  • Locations:  St. Louis area, MO
  • Numbers: 15 to 20
  • Owners: Pierre Chouteau (3), Emanuel Black (3), Edward J. Gray (6), Mr. Merritt (3 or 4)
  • Sources:  “Stampede Among the Africans,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 18 November 1854. Original article appeared in the St. Louis Democrat

December 1854 || Runaways from several places; $1,000 reward

  • Locations: St. Louis area, St. Charles, and Ste. Genevieve, MO
  • Numbers: 5
  • Owners: Berry, Mrs. Smith
  • Sources: “Another Slave Stampede,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 30 December 1854. Original article appeared in St. Louis Democrat

July 1856 || Extended family flees together

  • Locations: St. Louis area, MO
  • Numbers: 8 – 9
  • Owners: Major West, R. Wash and John O’Fallon Jr.
  • Sources: Richard Blackett, Captive’s Quest, 139; Lea VanderVelde, Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom Before Dred Scott (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 263n [see post]. Missouri Republican, 16 July 1856; “Slave Stampede,” Anti-Slavery Bugle, 2 August 1856. First reported in St. Louis Leader. Also see “Slave Stampede at St. Louis,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 9 August 1856; “Slave Stampede at St. Louis,” Times Picayune (New Orleans, LA), 23 July 1856

Late 1858 || Missouri Runaway Helps Several More Escape through Galesburg

  • Locations:  Missouri to Galesburg, IL to Canada
  • Numbers:  9 (colored man who returned, attempted to bring nine out but only 5 or 6 made it to Galesburg
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources:  Originally Chapman’s History of Knox County cited in Owen Muelder, The Underground Railroad in Western Illinois (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2008), 110-1.

December 1858 ||  John Brown raids Missouri and frees a dozen

  • Locations: Vernon County, MO (then Iowa to Detroit)
  • Numbers: 11 (Jim Daniels, then 12 after birth of John Brown Daniels)
  • Owners: Harvey G. Hicklan (also Hicklin)
  • Sources:  David S. Reynolds, John Brown, Abolitionist (2005), pp. 278-79; Kristen Epps, Slavery on the Periphery: The Kansas-Missouri Border in the Antebellum and Civil War Eras, (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2016),129-32 [see post]; Fergus M. Bordewich. Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America (New York: HaperCollins Publishers Inc, 2005), 419-20 [see post]

January 1859 || Dr. John Doy tries unsuccessfully to copy Brown’ raid

  • Locations: [helping MO runaways in  Kansas] (captured and then jailed in Platte City, tried & convicted in St. Joseph, MO but then rescued from custody in July)
  • Numbers:  13
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: New York Times, “Dr. Doy of Kansas,” March 18, 1859; Kansas Memory; David S. Reynolds, John Brown, Abolitionist (2005), p. 280 (but note that Reynolds misreads the family name as Joy)

October 1859 || Group captured heading toward Chicago

  • Locations: Maline Township (Saline County), MO
  • Numbers: Unknown (Bob)
  • Owners: Richard E. Snelling
  • Sources: “Returned to Servitude,” Marshall Democrat (Saline County, MO), 15 August 1860

November 1859 || Multiple Escapes from LaGrange

  • Locations: LaGrange (Lewis County), MO
  • Numbers: 11
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “Negro Stampede,” Glasgow Weekley Times, 17 November 1859; “Negro Stampede,” Press and Tribune (Chicago, IL), 17 November 1859

November 1859 || Over two dozen freedom seekers head toward Detroit

  • Locations: [Missouri] (traveling through Nebraska, Iowa, Chicago, and Detroit
  • Numbers: 26
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “A Large Underground Arrival,” Douglass’ Monthly, November 1859; “Arrival of Twenty-Six Fugitive Slaves at Detroit,” Delaware Gazette (Delaware, OH) 11 November 1859; “A Large Underground Arrival, Cadiz Sentinel, 23 November 1859. Original article appeared in Detroit Advertiser. The following article is probably referencing the same incident, “The Underground Railroad Business,” Fremont Weekly (Fremont, OH), 25 November 1859

June 1860 || Lewis County “stampede” reported in Louisiana

  • Locations: Lewis County, MO
  • Numbers: 11
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: ‘”Stampede of Negroes from Lewis,” Louisiana Journal, 7 June 1860; Harriet C. Frazier, Runaway and Freed Missouri Slaves and Those Who Helped Them, 1763-1865 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company Inc., 2004), 102.

August 1860 || Mother organizes family escape

  • Locations: St. Louis area, MO
  • Numbers: 5
  • Owners:  Edward Bredell
  • Sources: “Another Slave Stampede,” Louisville Daily Journal, 28 August 1860

April 1861 || Arrest of Harris family in Chicago sets off “stampede”

  • Locations:  St. Louis to Chicago
  • Numbers: 5 (Onesimus Harris, wife and three children)
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources:  Chicago Tribune, April 4, 1861 with quotation:  “There was immediately a general stampede of fugitive slaves harbored and residing in this city and within a day or two hundreds of them will have left for Canada.”;  New York Times, “Another Fugitive Slave Case at Chicago,” April 4, 1861

Summer 1861 || Northern Magazines Celebrate Stampede at Fort Monroe

  • Locations:  Fort Monroe, Hampton, VA
  • Numbers:  Hundreds
  • Owners:  Originally Col. Mallory
  • Sources:  “Stampede Among the Negroes of Virginia,” (illustration),Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, June 8, 1861; “Stampede of Slaves from Hampton to Fortress Monroe,” (illustration), Harpers Weekly, August 17, 1861 (see post)

November 1862 || Reports on wartime slave-catching “difficulties”

  • Locations: Loutre Island (Montgomery County), MO
  • Numbers:  Unknown
  • Owners:  Unknown
  • Sources: “Slave Catching Under Difficulties,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 20 June 1863; “Preparation of the Slaveholders for Emancipation,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 13 December 1862

November 1862 || Mounting escapes from Ste. Genevieve

  • Locations: Ste. Genevieve, MO
  • Numbers: Unknown
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources:”Slavery in Missouri,” Douglass’ Monthly, November 1862

March 1863 || Stampede from Hannibal

  • Locations: Hannibal, MO
  • Numbers: 30-40
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “Slave Stampede,” Chicago Tribune, 31 March 1863; “Slave Stampede from Hannibal,” Vincennes Gazette, 4 April 1863; “Slave Stampede from Hannibal,” Weekly Atchison Champion (Atchison, KS), 11 April 1863; “Slave Stampede,” Chicago Tribune, 31 March 1863

May 1863 || Runaways take eighteen horses, six wagons, one carriage

  • Locations: Lafayette County (MO)
  • Numbers: 50-75
  • Owners: Packard of City Hotel (9), H. Wallace (9), Gen. Vaughan (3); J.R. Graves (2); Joseph Moreland (2)
  • Sources:”The Slave Stampede from Missouri,” New York Daily Tribune, 1 May 1863; “”Slave Stampede from Missouri,” Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 11 May 1863; “Slave Stampede in Missouri,” Daily National Intelligencer, 2 May 1863, The Weekly Herald and Tribune (St. Joseph, MO), 14 May 1863. First reported in Lexington Union

December 1863 || Family of Archer Alexander (face of DC statue) freed

  • Locations: St. Charles to St. Louis
  • Numbers: 4 (Archer and Louisa Alexander with children Ellen and James) (William G. Eliot)
  • Owners: James Naylor
  • Sources:  Miranda Rechtenwald, “The Life of Archer Alexander: A Story of Freedom,” The Confluence (Fall/Winter 2014); Dale Edwyna Smith, African American Lives in St. Louis, 1763-1865 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2017), 165 (see post)