Southwest Michigan Cities A Part Of The Underground Railroad
Living in a state like Michigan we get the blessing and the curse of having a lengthy history. We are on the right and wrong side of history on multiple accounts but in this instance, we couldn't be more right. Southwest Michigan has an even more defined history, especially early on.
History always makes everyone go WAY back, so this time we actually will. Let's think slave times and the Underground Railroad. As a lot of us know, slaves were seeking to touch ground in Canada to declare themselves free and start a new life. Many cities in Michigan, especially Southwest Michigan were pivotal in these slaves finding the freedom they desired.
As I stumbled around the internet looking for the Southwest Michigan ties to the underground railroad, I found plenty of information, especially on the From Michigan with Love Blog. The author took a deep dive into the area and found TONS of ties to many cities.
As slaves made their way into Michigan, they would have several stops to make before reaching their final destination, the first of them being Cassopolis and Vandalia. The stationmasters were often referred to as quakers and there were several in these two cities that would prepare to send the slaves to Schoolcraft.
Over 1,500 slaves traveled to Schoolcraft from the 1830s to the end of slavery, where they would meet Dr. Nathan Thomas, Kalamazoo's first physician, and his wife Pamela. Thomas and his wife would pass them along to the Isaacs, Isaac Davis and his neighbor Isaac Pierce, who would help freedom seekers while they were in Climax.
Once Pierce got them through Climax, they found themselves in Battle Creek where they met Erastus and Sarah Hussey, another married couple. They would fight off slave owners looking to reclaim their property which led to a wild story. Nonetheless, the freedom seekers made it to their next destination, Marshall.
Marshall is where the trail ends in Southwest Michigan as there is no information about who helped freedom seekers here. We do know that the National House Inn Bed and Breakfast is a place of significance when referencing Marshall and the Underground Railroad.