Local History and Genealogy

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Harvey and George A. Brown - Underground Railroad Conductors

George A. Brown was born in Worchester County Massachusetts in 1828, son of Harvey and Sally Bolton Brown.  At the age of 15 he came,  with his parents and brother Lyman and sister Mary, to Steuben County.  They settle just southeast of Lake Gage.  

George married Ursula Stocker on November 12, 1850. Their family consisted of  four sons and three daughters: Frank, Irving Chester, Oscar Rolland, Estella, Addie and Elizabeth.  Ursala was the youngest child of John and Betty Stocker.  She was born at Jamica, Windham County, Vermont on March 28, 1834.  Her family moved to Steuben County when she was 6 months old.  She died January 19, 1909.  George died in 1915.  Both are buried at the Lake Gage Cemetery.

This was taken from an article appearing in the January 8, 1913 Steuben County Republican.
"  George A Brown, aged 85 years, who lives with his son on the north shore of Lake Gage, was in Angola last Saturday, and in the company of with T.L. Gillis called at the Republican office.  Mr Brown came with his parents from Worcester county, Massachusetts, when fifteen years of age.  They lived southeast of  Lake Gage and before the War of the Rebellion  his father's house was one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. The home of Daniel Butler, in Salem township, was another station, and the slaves were taken from Mr Butler's to the home of Mr Brown in wagons, the journey always being made in the night.  From Mr Brown's home they were taken on north to the residence of Mr Waterhouse in Kinderhook, and then on to Detroit and Canada.  the slaves traveled in groups of from tow to eight or nine, and always appeared to be greatly frightened, for every strange noise they would hear made them fear they were about to be captured and carried back to cruel masters.  At Mr Brown's home these unfortunate people were cared for in the best way possible, provided with meals, and conveyed to the next station, all free.During the day the slaves were hid about the house, barn or woods, and always someone had to keep watch, for neighbors were not always friendly to the plan and would report to Dr Marsh, the united States Marshal, who lived near Flint.

Mr Brown remembers a number of incidents of those dark and trying days, and related a few during his short stay in the office.  One day they had several slaves hid in the barn by the side of the road.  In the company was a boy who did not realize, as his parents did, how serious a matter it would be to be captured, so while a funeral possession was passing, he stuck his head out of the barn door, and some one reported the fact to Dr Marsh.  The next day Dr. Marsh was on hand and asked if there were any slaves on teh premises, but of course by that time they were hiding in michigan at another station.

One morning about 4:00 o'clock the family was awakened by a man who had brought from the Butler sation a man and wife, two children and a woman who was very sick.  Mrs. Brown ogt breakfast for them and they were hid away as securely as possible.  The woman was sick before they left the Ohio river, and was growing worse.  Beyond Hillsdale was a station kept by a man known to be a doctor, so as soon as it was dark the woman was placed in a wagon on some straw, and all were taken that night to the station beyond Hillsdale,  where medicine could be procured, for to call a doctor at any station would be  to give away all the secrets and cause the fugitives to be arrested; and not only so, but also those who were helping them, as was the case later when captain Barry of Orland, and Mr Waterhouse of Kinderhook, were taken by Dr Marsh to Indianapolis.  Mr Brown thinks as many as forty people stopped from time to time at his father's house during the summer and winter."

Underground Railroad: Steuben County Indiana by Peg Dilbone 

Steuben Republican  January 8 1913