The Underground Railroad in Connecticut

By Horatio T. Strother | Go to book overview

PREFACE

IT HAS been said that we shall never know the events of the past as they actually occurred. And it is true that the historian, writing from a position more or less distant in time and viewpoint from the happenings that concern him, can hardly know his materials as his more or less distant forebears knew them. Nonetheless he must do his best, bearing in mind a maxim of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense." Such is the task of the historian in resurrecting and presenting the missing links of the Underground Railroad.

Even at the height of its operations, the work of this "railroad" in Connecticut was shrouded in obscurity; and so it has remained. Detailed contemporary records have not survived; indeed they can hardly have existed, for the entire movement arose, flourished, and came to its end as an extralegal and even a downright illegal enterprise. A few of its passengers and operators wrote some of what they remembered, then or later, in the form of memoirs, diaries, or letters that are still in existence. Contemporary newspapers and periodicals supply some data, often less explicit than one could wish. Family and local legend, passed verbally down through the generations since the era before the Civil War, add a modicum of information and an understanding of contemporary viewpoints.

For leads of these sorts, for many facts and recollections, the writer is indebted to a great number of kind peo

-ix-

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The Underground Railroad in Connecticut
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter 1 - Blazing the Trail 10
  • Chapter 2 - Thorny is the Pathway 25
  • Chapter 3 - Fugitives in Flight 43
  • Chapter 4 - The Captives of the Amistad 65
  • Chapter 5 - A House Divided 82
  • Chapter 6 - This Pretended Law We Cannot Obey 93
  • Chapter 7 - New Haven, Gateway from the Sea 107
  • Chapter 8 - West Connecticut Trunk Lines 119
  • Chapter 9 - East Connecticut Locals 128
  • Chapter 10 - Valley Line to Hartford 137
  • Chapter 11 - Middletown, a Way Station 150
  • Chapter 12 - Farmington, the Grand Central Station 163
  • Chapter 13 - The Road in Full Swing 175
  • Appendices 189
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliography 237
  • Index 251
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