Underground Railroad Activity in Carrollton


The June 2, 1855 issue of the Carroll County Times has this item:

“Five more Negroes availed themselves of the under-ground facilities for reaching Canada, a few days since.  They were from Shelby county, and crossed the river about Locust -  they were watched, and maybe caught - though we would not expect to get within five miles of them after they reach the abolition line. It is evident that many switches are laid at the southern terminus, many agents and conductors are employed, and that to whistle down the brakes when the train is in motion, is a piece of folly that delights the owners of the road, as it is committed by the owners of the freight.”

A week later, June 9, 1855, this item appeared in the same paper:

“Assisting Runaway Negroes to Escape:  A Warrant under this charge was issued Monday against James McDowel, a citizen of Kentucky, living a few miles below this place, and the case was examined before Judge Cox yesterday, occupying nearly the entire day.  W. B. Winslow and R. W. Masterson for the Commonwealth, and Judge Tharp for the defendant.  The slaves passed through this place on Monday the 28th ult., and crossed to Indiana opposite the mouth of Locust creek.

“The Court held the evidence to be such as furnished reasonable grounds for the belief that McDowel was guilty, and held him over, under penalty of $800, to appear and answer the charge at the September term of the Carroll Circuit Court.”

On June 23, 1855 the Carroll County Times ran this item, reprinted from the Detroit Tribune:

“More Slaves.  Six of the “Personal property, goods and chattels” of a Mr. Gittner, of Carroll county, Ky., passed over the river yesterday,  Some three years ago this person brought an action in the Supreme Court against a gentleman in Marshall, we believe for aiding his “property” in “their journey Canadawards.”  He recovered $3000.  Since that time he has lost 28 slaves, and the band that passed over yesterday are the last of an entire plantation's stock.  He was here last week looking for them, but the engineers on the underground were altogether too cunning for him.”