Research proves Gibson County’s ties to historic underground railroad

Research proves Gibson County’s ties to historic underground railroad

PRINCETON, Ind. (WFIE) - A historian from Harvard, may have found the link that will add Gibson County to the list of communities that were a part of the underground railroad.

Back in April, Lyles’ Station received $10,000 from the visitor and tourism commission hoping to get verified by the Network to Freedom Program as an official stop of the underground railroad.

Researcher Anna-Lisa Cox has been in Princeton for two weeks studying Gibson County and its ties to the underground railroad.

“To be clear the underground railroad was neither underground nor was it a railroad, it’s actually secret routes,” said Cox.

The routes on the underground railroad helped get slaves to freedom.

One of the most well-known slave families use the underground railroad, and it brought them right to Gibson County.

“They were approached by a young man called Seth Cochlan, who was attempting to rescue the sister in law and niece of William Still," said Cox. "Who was probably one of the most famous abolitionists in America.”

Cox says the Still family made it to Gibson County from Alabama using the railroad.

“I was also able to find an article from the Princeton newspaper at the time of this escape attempt," said Cox. "Talking about the fact that a young white man, by the name 'Miller’, had been taken through and into Evansville with four black people.”

When the Stills made it to Evansville they were captured, making what would have been a great escape, into an escape attempt.

“Some of the resources I’ve been using were actually later published by William Still, in his 1870′s book On the Underground Railroad,” said Cox.

Cox believes all the letters, newspaper clippings, and obituaries found will get Gibson County verified as a part of the national parks service’s network to freedom program.

“If we lose these crucial aspects of our past, we lose essential aspects of who we are today, and what is possible for us today” said Cox.

Cox will be hosting a meeting to share her findings Thursday at Lyle’s Station.

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