The Underground Railroad

Essay by hazelhmHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2013

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The Underground Railroad was the gateway to freedom for many enslaved people during the Civil War. This network of secret routes and safe houses led to the free states or to Canada. Along the way, slaves stopped at the safe houses, also known as "stations". Salem, Ohio was an important stop along the path to freedom because it was home to many anti-slavery supporting Quakers. It also was the place where some abolitionists that aided anti-slavery causes lived. Two such families were the Hises and the Haines.

Salem, Ohio was a city in Columbiana County. The name Salem was taken from "Jerusalem", which means "city of peace". t was settled in 1803 by Quakers from Salem, N.J., but was not founded until 1806 by two men, Zadok Street and John Straughan. "Early settlers to the city included the Religious Society of Friends Quakers." Salem was an excellent location for all the Anti-Slavery Societies because of the town's high percentage of Quakers and its closeness to large clusters of abolitionists in the encircling areas.

Extremely active during the anti-slavery movements, Salem was a hot spot for the Underground Railroad, with quite a few of its homes functioning as "stations."

The Society of Friends came to Ohio in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Most of the Quakers supported the abolition of slavery. They were united under that belief that the enslaved had a "natural and just right of liberty" and that no Quaker should ever even think of taking a human being for property. "Slavery was, in Quaker eyes, a 'national evil'." 18th and 19th century Quakers acknowledged that Quakers had held slaves at one point. To clear the Quakers of that sin they looked to educate the freed people. For the Quakers slavery was not only wrong; it...