John P. Parker (1827-1900)

John Parker, inventor and businessman, was also a prominent Underground Railroad conductor before the Civil War.  He was reputedly responsible for the rescue of nearly 1,000 enslaved people between 1845 and 1865.  Parker repeatedly crossed the Ohio River from his home in Ripley, Ohio, often going as far as 20 miles on foot into Kentucky to … Read MoreJohn P. Parker (1827-1900)

Elizabeth Riley (1791-1855)

Elizabeth Riley was a prominent Bostonian who was deeply involved in the Massachusetts antislavery movement and noted for harboring the fugitive slave Shadrach Minkins in her attic. Riley was born Elizabeth Cook in 1791 in Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up in Boston and was twice married, first to a man named … Read MoreElizabeth Riley (1791-1855)

George Putnam Riley (1833-1905)

George Putnam Riley, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was an important figure in the Pacific Northwest during the nineteenth century. Riley’s grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War under General Israel Putnam, and his middle name probably refers to his grandfather’s commander. His father, William Riley, was a clothing … Read MoreGeorge Putnam Riley (1833-1905)

John Brown (1800-1859)

John Brown was a controversial figure who played a major role in leading the United States to civil war. He was a devout Christian and lifelong abolitionist who tried to eradicate slavery from the United States through increasingly radical means. Unlike most abolitionists, Brown was not a pacifist and he … Read MoreJohn Brown (1800-1859)

The Colored Orphans Asylum of New York (1836-1946)

There was much racial unrest in New York City, New York in the early 1800s as immigrants from across Europe and migrants from neighboring states arrived in the city. Slavery was abolished in New York state in 1827. Although black New Yorkers were free, many of their families were broken because … Read MoreThe Colored Orphans Asylum of New York (1836-1946)

Thomas Elkins (1818-1900)

An inventor, abolitionist, and trained medical professional, Dr. Thomas Elkins played a significant role in supporting the Underground Railroad in Albany, New York during the 1840s and 1850s. He also made an important contribution to the development of refrigeration techniques, and patented several inventions for other household furniture items during the latter … Read MoreThomas Elkins (1818-1900)

John Mercer Langston (1829-1897)

John Mercer Langston, the youngest of four children, was born a free black in Louisa County, Virginia on December 14, 1829. Langston gained distinction as an abolitionist, politician, and attorney.  Despite the prominence of his slaveowner father, Ralph Quarles, Langston took his surname from his mother, … Read MoreJohn Mercer Langston (1829-1897)