From around 1812 Canada began the offer
of asylum to fugitive slaves from the United States. Fugitive slaves traveling to Canada needed to cross states north of the
Mason-Dixon Line in order to reach Canada. Fugitive Slave Laws gave slave owners and their agents the authority to pursue
and capture fugitive slaves, even in the states north of the Mason-Dixon Line where slavery was not legal. Also slave owners
posted posters offering large sums of reward money for anyone who would capture and return a fugitive slave.
Around 1812 some free African Americans
and some white Americans living in states north of the Mason-Dixon Line began helping enslaved African American who escaped
by providing them with, hiding places, shelter, food, directions and sometimes transportation. This practice became know as
the Underground Railroad.
By 1831, when the Underground Railroad
was adopted as a covert faction of the American Anti-Slavery Society, the Underground Railroad had become a well organized
system. Escaping slaves being assisted by the Underground Railroad were code named “Passengers”. Those helping
fugitive slaves find the way north were code named “Conductors”. The homes and other places where fugitive slaves
were hidden were code named “Stations”. Those who helped in various other ways were code named “Agents”. The peak
years of Underground Railroad activity was from 1831 until the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861.
The Underground Railroad Markers shown
here give some details about Underground Railroad Stations located along the Muskingum River Underground Railroad Corridor
and the names of some individuals who operated Underground Railroad Stations and/or were Underground Railroad Conductors or
the Underground Railroad in Southeastern Ohio Page at this web site for maps and more details.)