1830 - 1860
—Lenawee County, MI —
What was the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad existed from around 1830 to the Civil War (1860). It was a secret (underground) network of people organized on Moral grounds to help slaves travel to Canada to find freedom from the slave laws of the South. It was called a railroad because the members used railroad terms. The "Passengers" were guided by "Conductors" from one "Station" to another.
The Growth of Lenawee's Antislavery Movement
The Logan Female Antislavery Society, begun in 1832 by Elizabeth Chandler, in Raisin Township, was the first antislavery society in the then Territory of Michigan. By 1839 activists like Charles and Laura Haviland and the Rev. Tripp had organized other antislavery societies in the county. They were in Blissfield, Cambridge, Franklin and Madison townships as well as in the village of Adrian.
With the formation of the Liberty Party in 1840, political antislavery activists such as Rev. Tripp and Joel Carpenter began to organize the movement from one end of the county to the other. This process took six years.
Sympathy for fugitive slaves and efforts to help and protect them emerged wherever local antislavery societies took root. Stephen Allen, Charles and Laura Haviland, and Warren and Almira Gilbert were some who helped. More than likely, their homes were stations on the Underground Railroad.
In two townships, Raisin and Woodstock, schools were formed to provide good education for African Americans as well as others.