The Story: Escape From Slavery

As in other states across the North and South, the Underground Railroad developed in North Carolina to help escaped slaves reach safety. The North Carolina stops were primarily organized by members of the Religious Society of Friends, also know as the Quakers, a religious denomination that was strongly anti-slavery. Quaker leader Levi Coffin was well-known for assisting escaped slaves in Guilford County, North Carolina. He later founded a major stop on the Underground Railroad in Indiana, and became so involved in helping runaway slaves that he earned the nickname "President of the Underground Railroad".

"Near Petersburgh [Virginia], we passed a neat farm-house, with every thing around it in perfect order, which had once been shown to me by a slave, as I was driving my master's team to the city. 'That,' said he, 'belongs to a Friend; they never hold slaves.' Now I was strongly tempted to stop there, and ask instruction in my northward course, as I knew the way no farther; but I dared not. So, not knowing the north star, we took the two lower stars of the great bear for our guide, and putting our trust in God, we passed Petersburgh."


James Curry, Person County, N.C.

"Father enjoyed the friendship of two very distinguished Quakers, Mr. Fuller and Mr. Elliott, who owned oyster sloops, and stood at the head of what is known in our country as the underground railroad, or an organization filled with love of freedom for suffering humanity, that had for its end the liberation of slaves and that only. Hundreds of men belonging to this organization sacrificed their lives in carrying out this noble purpose.   "

"The system of deliverance by the underground railroad was to divide the country off into sections, and at every fifteen or twenty miles would be a station or depot. One man would haul the slaves at night to the end of his station and get back home before daylight, undiscovered, then they would be conveyed the next night in wagons from that station to the next, and so on until they reached Canada."


William H. Robinson, Wilmington, N.C.