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The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was vital in the safe passage for the runaway slaves to achieve freedom.The Underground Railroad was not under the ground nor was it on a “rail”. The abolitionists who participated (conductors) risked their lives as well as their families by aiding the slaves. This was a bold act without regard to self. Many homes were burnt down as well as men killed by ruffians or raiders seeking out runaway slaves to return to their “master’s” hoping to profit from the steep bounty posted for their delivery.

Many slaves were safely led through the Wakarusa Valley and on their way to freedom by these noble men. The following biographies are excerpts from Martha Parker’s book Angels of Freedom (available for purchase at the Wakarusa River Valley Historical Museum) with the addition of a later discovery of John Archibald’s participation in the Underground Railroad.



Joseph Gardner

Dr. Eliab G. Macy

Dr. Horace W. Thompson

The Stokes Brothers

Augustus Wattles

John Armstrong

William Jessee

Colonel James Cooper Steele

Andrew White

Henry Hiatt

Edwin Smith

William Bainbridge Kennedy

Elisha Greene Family

John Stewart and Others of the Wakarusa/Kennedy Valley

Lawrence D. Bailey, David G. Peabody & Sears; Belvoir Crossings

George W. Cosley

The Baldwin Brothers

John Archibald

Ohio Settlement: Heath Brothers, Ezekiel Colma, Leroy J. Beam

Whitford Washington Thurber




This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Interior.


To visit the the National Underground Railroad site click here