Draft Timeline

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

July 1841 || Trio of Illinois abolitionists captured enticing groups of 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 mass escape

  • 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 serial runaway; 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 mass 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 stampedes 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 Farm 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.

October 1849 || Stampede from St. Louis

  • Locations: St. Louis, MO
  • Numbers: 6
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “A Stampede,” St. Louis Republican, October 29, 1849.

November 1849 || Attempted “Stampede” from Missouri makes national headlines

  • 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 ||  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, then liberated in “Jerry” rescue

  • 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.

July 1852 || Reports of a “regular stampede” from St. Louis

  • Locations: St. Louis, MO
  • Numbers: 4-7
  • Owners: J. Mattingly
  • Sources: St. Louis MO Republican, 22 July 1852; Marshall TX Republican, 31 July 1852.

September 1852 || Stampede 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” towards Iowa

  • Locations:  Ray County, MO
  • Numbers:  15-18
  • Owners:  Unnkown
  • Sources:  “Negro Stampede,” Alton Evening Telegraph, 23 May 1853;
  • “Slave Stampedes,” Boston Liberator, 10 June 1853; “Negro Stampede,” Frederick Douglass Paper, 24 June 1853; “Slave Stampedes,” Pomeroy Weekly Telegraph (Pomeroy, OH), 5 July 1853, all quoting an initial report from the Alton, IL Telegraph; Richard Blackett, Captive’s Quest, 139-40, describes a “battalion” of 18 escapees because he combines it with the escape of three freedom seekers from Weston, Missouri slaveholder R. Meek that occurred a week later

October 1853 || Palmyra Stampede

  • Locations: Marion County, MO (Palmyra) to Quincy, IL to Menden (Mendon), IL to Chicago, IL
  • Numbers: 11 (though at least newspaper claimed 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”; “Prompt Proceedings,” Missouri Whig (Palmyra, MO), 23 February 1854

March 1854 || Missourian 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.

October 1854 || Families, “some aged and crippled” stampede together

  • Locations:  St. Louis area, MO
  • Numbers: 15 to 20
  • Owners: Pierre Chouteau (3), Emanuel Block (3), Edward J. Gray (6), Mr. Merritt (3 or 4)
  • Sources: “Stampede Among the Africans,” St. Louis Democrat, 24 October 1854; “Stampede Among the Africans,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 18 November 1854.

November 1854 || Stampeding runaways from several places; $1,000 reward

  • Locations: St. Louis area, St. Charles, and Ste. Genevieve, MO
  • Numbers: 17
  • Owners: Richard Berry, Mrs. Smith, Martin Wash
  • Sources: “Another Slave Stampede,” St. Louis Democrat, 30 November 1854; “Another Slave Stampede,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, 30 December 1854.

May 1855 || Mary Meachum and the St. Louis Stampede

  • Location:  St. Louis, MO
  • Numbers: 8 to 9 (Esther and two children)
  • Owners:  Henry Shaw
  • Sources:  “Stampede,” St. Louis Democrat reprinted in Milwaukee (WI) Daily Free Democrat, May 26, 1855

July 1856 || Extended family stampede together from St. Louis

  • Locations: St. Louis area, MO
  • Numbers: 8 – 9
  • Owners: Robert Wash and John O’Fallon
  • 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; St. Louis Democrat, 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

October 1856 || Two families escape from Hannibal

  • Locations: Hannibal, MO
  • Numbers: 6
  • Owners: John S. Bush
  • Sources: “Negro Stampede,” Hannibal, MO National Democrat, October 23, 1; “Another Stampede,” Palmyra, MO Whig, October 23, 1856

Late 1858 || Missouri Runaway Helps 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 in stampede

  • 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 to copy Brown’ stampede

  • 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 || Stampede 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

October 1859 || Over two dozen freedom seekers stampede toward Detroit

  • Locations: western Missouri (traveling through Nebraska, Iowa, Chicago, and Detroit)
  • Numbers: 26
  • Owners: Unknown
  • Sources: “A Large Underground Arrival,” Douglass’ Monthly, November 1859; “Signs Not to be Mistaken,” St. Louis Democrat, 9 November 1859; “Arrival of Twenty-Six Fugitive Slaves at Detroit,” Delaware Gazette (Delaware, OH) 11 November 1859; “Twenty-Six Missouri Negroes Arrived in Canada,” Glasgow Weekly Times (Glasgow, MO), 17 November 1859; “A Large Underground Arrival, Cadiz Sentinel, 23 November 1859. Original article appeared in Detroit Advertiser.

November 1859 || Successive “Stampedes” from LaGrange

  • Locations: LaGrange (Lewis County), MO
  • Numbers: 11
  • Owners: Seven Unknown, David S. Lillard
  • Sources: “Negro Stampede,” Glasgow Weekly Times (Glasgow, MO), 17 November 1859; “Stampede of Negroes from Missouri,” Chicago Tribune, 17 November 1859; “Negro Stampede,” Press and Tribune (Chicago, IL), 17 November 1859; “Negro Stampede,” Cleveland Daily Herald, 19 November 1859; “The Underground Railroad Business,” Fremont Weekly (Fremont, OH), 25 November 1859

August 1860 || Mother organizes family stampede

  • 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 free black 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 stampedes 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)

February 1862 || St. Joseph Stampede

  • Locations:  St. Joseph, MO // Leavenworth, KS
  • Numbers:  7 (Dan, Sina, Fanny, Jason, Charles, Peter and Shelby)
  • Owners:  Lard, Howard, Pullin, Elder and Stamper
  • Sources:  St. Joseph MO Morning Herald, February 15 and 18, 1862 (NA)

November 1862 || Stampede from Loutre Island

  • Locations: Loutre Island (Montgomery County), MO
  • Numbers:  Unknown
  • Owners:  Isaac Talbot, Elizabeth Clark, Martin
  • Sources: “Slave Catching at Hermann,” St. Louis, MO Democrat, 29 November 1862; “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 stampedes 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: 20-25
  • Owners: Sarah Carter, Gilchrist Porter, Brison Stillwell, Robert F. Lakenan
  • Sources: “Arming the Negroes,” Quincy IL Daily Herald, 24 March 1863; “Arming the Negroes,” Quincy IL Whig, 28 March 1863; “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

April 1863 || Lafayette County Stampede

  • Locations: Lafayette County (MO)
  • Numbers: up to 375 (50 at one time from Lexington; 300 over few weeks; 75 more in mid-May)
  • 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)