The Underground Railroad in Connecticut

By Horatio T. Strother | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
NEW HAVEN, GATEWAY FROM THE SEA

THE Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 gave the Underground Railroad its greatest impetus; but the lay of the land, together with the disposition of cities and villages, determined the main routes into and through Connecticut. Unlike Pennsylvania and the states along the north bank of the Ohio River, the Nutmeg State had no common border with any territory where slavery was legal. Fugitives traveling overland had to come in through either New York from the west or Rhode Island from the east; a network of routes, entering from both directions, brought the runaway into and through Connecticut on his way northward to freedom. But the coast of Long Island Sound and the central artery of the Connecticut River offered a number of entry points for those who came by water.

To any slave who could find his way to a Southern seaport, the ocean offered an opportunity for escape. As William Grimes found early in the century, many Yankee sailors and captains "forgot to be microscopic in the inspection of their craft." A runaway who could steal aboard an outbound ship and hide himself among the cotton bales might well rest undisturbed--though perhaps not unseen --for the duration of the voyage to some Northern port.

-107-

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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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