Underground Railroad Convention

Larry Cammack (deceased 2012) liked to search old newspapers and he found the following for us.

Compiled by Jean Leeper July 2010


New counter on September 13, 2011

Mt. Pleasant Journal May 6, 1875

"Denmark, May 2d, 1875

My dear Old Friend Dugdale:

Yours of April 30th, received last evening, and was glad to hear from you - I am doing what I do not often allow myself to do, write on the Sabbath. I desire to suggest a idea to you. There are in many counties of our State an organization of "Old Settlers," who hold annual meetings and talk over the incidents of those times. The Soldiers' if the armies of the Rebellion have their organizations, and hold their yearly meetings to keep in memory their trials during the eventful war and to cultivate their love of country. Now why not have a convention at some suitable place and at some suitable time of the old anti-slavery conductors and stock-holders in the under-ground Railroad. - Scenes and experiences of those times and to take each other by the hand once more before we all cross the river? Many are already gone, and others are going all the time. All will soon be gone. Please present this thought to your Conversation Society, and if approved, appoint a committee of correspondence, and if thought best I would make more sacrifices to attend such a meeting than nay other meeting almost I ever attended. Let me hear from you on this subject. In haste, as ever, Geo. SHEDD (D. Shedd was chairman of the first Republican and Liberty Convention in Iowa.)"

Mt. Pleasant Journal May 13, 1875

"We learn since the publication of D. Shedd's letter in our last issue, that Friend Joseph A. Dugdale attended the late Quarterly Meeting at Salem and after preaching, in the business meeting introduced the subject of holding the State Peace Society and an Under-Ground Rail Road Convention. Many of the stockholders in this honored institution reside at and near Salem, and are now venerable with years. The meeting entertained the subject and granted the use of their Quarterly meeting house. The Methodists sent a messenger, offering their chapel for a part of the sessions. The experiences of these veterans will be full of interest. We learn the hospitality of the Salemites is very large, and guests will be entertained cordially. The call for the 18t of June, will be duly published, perhaps next week. Friend Dugdale remained over the Sabbath and addressed the students in the Whittier College."

Mt. Pleasant Journal May 20, 1875 had the invitation in it

"We the undersigned, residents of various counties in the State of Iowa - Stockholders and Conductors in the Underground Rail Road, in the dark days when the black and bloody flag of slavery waved in triumph over our country, and the fugitive slave law imposed fine and imprisonment for harboring or feeding the fleeing fugitive, we believed it our duty to put our feet on all statues and ordinances whether of Church or state which were in contravention of Divine Law: as did the prophet Daniel, who disregarded the decree of King Darius forbidding to ash a petition of any other god or man save the King, should be cast into the den of lions; ... Gray haired veterans, men and woman shall we hold such a convention? Would not such an assemblage give intense and thrilling delight to the old workers in the anti-slavery cause, as we all feel that our labor was not in vain in the Lord? What we may say and do will be done openly 'in the face of all Israel and the Sun.' Hence our invitation is to all people, irrespective of color or condition of servitude. The rising generation will be startled and amazed at revelations which their grandsires and mothers will rehearse of deeds more wonderful than romance. ... Convention will commence its sessions in the M. E. chapel at Salem, Henry County, Iowa on the 18th day of 6th month (June) A. D. 1875 at 10: o'clock A. M. and close on the morning of the 19th in the Friends Quarterly meetinghouse. (In the afternoon at 2 o'clock, the State Peace Society will commence its session.)"

Signed with names of people who are residents of various counties in Iowa - Stockholders and Conductors in the Underground Railroad.

I have taken these names and added what I could about them.

Open the attached file to read.

1875 list of names

Mt. Pleasant Journal June 24, 1875

"The underground R. R. Convention which convened in Salem, Iowa on June 18th 1875, at the Methodist church that place, was called to order by Joel Garretson nominating Joseph A. Dugdale President, who was unanimous elected. The organization was then completed by the election of the following officers - Vice- Presidents: Friend Joseph D. Hoag, Muscatine Co., L. M. Holmes, Marshall Co., Margaret Woolman, Ruth Dugdale, Mr. Joseph Vernon, Rev. Bennett Walters, Rev. Eber Crane, Hon. John Teesdale of Henry Co., Rev. L. L. Hunting, Scott Co, Friend Nathan Bond, Friend Elwood Osborn and Rev. John Cross of Lee Co. - Secretaries: R. B. Throop and Miss Rachel Carney of Henry Co. - Business Committee: Dr. Geo Shedd of Lee Co.; Rev L. L. Hunting, Scott Co.; Friend Elijah Holmes, Marshall Co.; Friend Amos Vickers, Mahaska Co.; Rev. Wm. R. Cole, Rev. Joel Garretson, Mrs. Anne E. Woolson, Friend Amos McMillan and Friend Joseph Laird of Henry Co. ..."

(There were two sessions on June 18th and one on the morning of the 19th. Much time was spent in sharing and resolutions were made and passed and letters shared. Three letters follow.)

Before adjourning it was decided to have the proceedings published in pamplet form, and those wishing the same are to apply to the President Joseph A. Dugdale. Does anyone have a copy? We really would like to see a copy!

Levi Coffin Letter

Levi Coffin

Mrs. L. Maria Child letter

Mrs. Child

William Lloyd Garrison letter



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