Ellen and William Craft Run for Freedom

In December 1848, the Crafts began a dramatic escape from their different masters in Macon, Georgia. Ellen, the daughter of her master and enslaved mother, was light-skinned and posed as an ailing white man, traveling to Philadelphia for medical treatment with her attending servant, William. Throughout the tense journey, which led to Savannah by train, Baltimore by steamer, and by train again to Philadelphia, the Crafts were in constant danger of being discovered. From a suspecting free black man on the train, William received the name of a Philadelphia Quaker who sheltered the couple upon their arrival. Their journey ended in Boston, where they arrived in early 1849, and after speaking at the Brookline Town Hall, stayed at the Bowditch House and other Brookline Underground Railroad stops. The Crafts fled once again to England after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, but eventually returned to Georgia after the Civil War and converted a plantation to a freedman's school. - NPS



Participants

Timeline

Y/M/D Description Place
1842/12/21 In Savannah, Ellen Smith and William Craft board a steamship for Philadelphia.
1848/12/00 Ellen Smith and William Craft escape from their different masters in Macon, Georgia.
1848/12/25 Ellen and William Craft arrive in Philadelphia.
1849/01/00 In early January, William and Ellen Craft arrive in Boston, and after speaking at the Brookline Town Hall, stay at the Bowditch House and other Brookline Underground Railroad stops. William Ingersoll Bowditch House, Brookline
1849/01/00 In early January, William and Ellen Craft arrive in Boston, and after speaking at the Brookline Town Hall, stay at the Bowditch House and other Brookline Underground Railroad stops. First Parish Unitarian Church, Brookline
1849/04/27 The abolitionist paper, The Liberator, reports Ellen Craft speaking to an audience of 800-900 people in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
1850/00/00 Ellen Craft is in the protection of the Hillards while slave catchers search Boston for her and her husband. George and Susan Hillard House, Boston
1852/09/18 After the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act 1850, Ellen moves to Brookline, where she finds sanctuary at the Philbrick residence while William hides in the South End. Philbrick House, Brookline

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