Underground Railroad: Lick Creek Church
Quakers and the Underground Railroad in Indiana Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian movement that began in the late 17th century. Most Quakers viewed slavery as a disgraceful institution that not only affected the enslaved but also the life of the slave owners and their treatment of other human beings. In the 19th century, Quakers in the southern United States faced persecution because of their social and moral views about the institution of slavery. This eventually led to their pilgrimage to the Midwest. Quakers in Indiana, specifically the region that encompasses today’s Hoosier National Forest, migrated from Guilford, Chatham, and Orange County, North Carolina. Persecution and increasingly restrictive laws in North Carolina caused this mass exodus. North Carolina law no longer allowed manumission of one’s slaves without a $1,000 fee and then the freed individual had to leave the state immediately. These restrictive laws prompted Quakers to create a trusteeship system to free (manumit) their slaves. This system allowed for slaveholding Quakers to entrust an enslaved individual to another Quaker until that person could be freed and relocated out of the state. Often these trustees and other Quakers who wanted to escape the laws fled to Indiana. Once in Indiana, African Americans were not always warmly welcomed to the state. Quakers played a vital role in facilitating their settlement and helped other fugitive slaves reach freedom through the Underground Railroad in the region. A notable Underground Railroad station in the region was the Quaker settlement of Chambersburg. Close to the Kentucky border, Quaker conductors would guide freedom seekers through Chambersburg and often to the Lick Creek settlement or beyond. Sources: “The Underground Railroad in Indiana,” http://visions.indstate.edu/civilwar/railroad.html [http://visions.indstate.edu/civilwar/railroad.html] Cheryl LaRoche, Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: the Geography of Resistance US Forest Service, “Underground Railroad in Indiana: Lick Creek, Hoosier National Forest,” http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r9/home/?cid=stelprd3790778 [http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r9/home/?cid=stelprd3790778] This information about the Underground Railroad is part of a geo-located multi-forest interpretive program. Please contact the U.S. Forest Service Washington Office Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources program leadership with any questions or to make changes. SGV – Recreation Data and Information Coordinator.