Fremont County, Iowa

Underground Railroad
by Lynn Handy

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of 15 September 2008

There has been renewed interest in the Underground Railroad in the state of Iowa. Two years ago, Max Beebout and myself, with members of the State of Iowa Historical Society, met at Max’s house near the Blanchard Cemetery south and west of the town of Percival. The Historical Society Members were seeking more information about the people involved in helping slaves escape north.

Max and I were able to supply them with information including letters newspaper clippings and a map drawn up by Samuel Platt Ricketts. Samuel had traveled by covered wagon from Ohio with his parents in the late 1840s. This map drawn by him marked all the locations of early settlers and the land they owned, also the location of the post office, church and a piece of land where George Gaston wanted to build a college.

The State Historical Group told us that there is far more information known about these early settlers from Civil Bend, Tabor, and the vicinity, and their involvement in the Underground Railroad, than any other part of the state.

These archeologists walked the sites of interest in the area, dug holes and sifted the dirt. They found pieces of blackboard, a pipe stem, a broken marble and many pieces of pottery, crockery and glass. During their stay they collected more information about the movement of slaves through Fremont County.

September is Archeology Month and the work in this area is continuing as historical folks learn more about those who lived long ago in Fremont County. No doubt more answers will come.


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Page updated on May 10, 2017 by Karyn Techau