Underground Railroad - Statehouse Marker


Underground Railroad - Statehouse Marker


Underground Railroad


Marker Text:
Side A: The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, but a system of loosely connected safe havens where those escaping the brutal conditions of slavery were sheltered, fed, clothed, nursed, concealed, disguised, and instructed during their journey to freedom. Although this movement was one of America’s greatest social, moral, and humanitarian endeavors, the details about it were often cloaked in secrecy to protect those involved from the retribution of civil law and slave-catchers.

Ohio’s history has been permanently shaped by the thousands of runaway slaves passing through or finding permanent residence in this state.

Side B:

Black Conductors of Columbus. Early legislators did not want slavery In Ohio, nor did they want Blacks to settle here. Declaring people of color a menace, they passed the Black Laws. Outside the Statehouse, Blacks went unnoticed. The turnover of black waiters and porters at the Buckeye House aroused no suspicion. White customers overlooked barbers James Poindexter and Andrew Redmond. No one saw John T. Ward, clerk at Zettler’s. These men were invisible to all but the desperate faces secreted in attics, barns, smokehouses, and in wagons traveling northward at night to Clintonville. Teamsters Louis Washington and his son Thomas were drivers. “The UGRR was actually going on here in Columbus when I came in 1828,” recounted James Poindexter. Conductors David Jenkins, NB Ferguson, and John Bookel were all members of Poindexter’s Antislavery Baptist Church.




“Underground Railroad - Statehouse Marker,” Teaching Columbus Historic Places, accessed June 13, 2024, https://teachingcolumbus.omeka.net/items/show/130.