Historical Markers
Underground Railroad (Union County) Historical Marker
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Underground Railroad (Union County)

Valleys of the Susquehanna


Marker Location:
University Avenue, Lewisburg

Dedication Date:
November 22, 1954

Behind the Marker

The stable was a carriage house behind the home of a Bucknell professor, George R. Bliss. According to family tradition, his wife and their daughter Lucy helped hide fugitive slaves heading north through the central part of the state.
George Bliss hid fugitive slaves in this carriage house on his property.
George Bliss hid fugitive slaves in this carriage house on his property.

The abolitionist movement did not have strong support in Union County, however. In 1844, only eight votes were cast for James G. Birney, the Liberty (Abolition) Party's nominee for president. Even so, Bucknell University professors reportedly helped create a small but thriving Underground Railroad network in Lewisburg. Thomas F. Curtis and Howard Malcom, who taught with Bliss at the school, also helped aid fugitives.

The Underground Railroad activity at Bucknell was significant because colleges and universities in Pennsylvania were not always centers of abolitionist support. Many schools hoped to attract southern applicants, and almost all administrators in higher education desired to avoid public or legal controversy. Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, for example, banned student discussion of abolitionism in the 1850s.

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