Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Church tunnels were a waypoint on Underground Railroad

From Maryland-

Narrow, low-ceiling tunnels beneath a downtown church are all that remain of a fort built by the Maryland militia before the French and Indian War.

But it was the tunnels' use nearly a century later - as a hiding place for runaway slaves - that is renewing interest in them in this mountain city.

The Rev. David Hillhouse Buel, an abolitionist, came to Emmanuel Parish of the Episcopal Church as rector in 1847, according to the parish website. It's believed he hired a slave escaped from Mississippi, Samuel Denson, as church sexton, and together they helped other fleeing slaves take cover in the tunnels beneath the church.

The border separating North and South, between Pennsylvania and Maryland, was just a few miles away.

"It was a place to hide away and be stored away until it was time to move across the Mason-Dixon line," said Bernard Wynder, president of the Allegany County NAACP.

About 1,000 adults and 500 children visited the tunnels last weekend, which marked Heritage Days here. The church and tunnels gave visitors relief from 90-degree heat and humidity outside, as well as a glimpse into the past that Wynder said should be a point of community pride.

The underground tunnels connect the church, its rectory and the nearby Allegany Academy, now the city's library. The buildings are not far from an area of town once filled with bars and brothels, which was populated by workers on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

More here-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no evidence that the tunnels was a part of anything that had to do with the underground railroad.