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Local Histories of the Underground Railroad

Cass County, Michigan

Historical Marker in the village of Vandalia. Marker is in town, on the south side of state highway M-60.

"Vandalia, prior to the Civil War, was the junction of two important 'lines' of the 'Underground Railroad'. Slaves fleeing through Indiana and Illinois came to Cass County, where Quakers and others gave them shelter. Fugitives seeking a refuge in Canada were guided to 'stations' to the east. Many stayed here and built a unique Negro rural colony. Slave-hunting by Kentuckians in 1847 led to legal action and increased North-South tensions."

Michigan Historical Commision registered site number 137.

La Porte County, Indiana

Daniel Low

Daniel Low, a local farmer, was a staunch abolitionist who is reputed to have helped as many as 150 slaves escape to freedom in mid-1800's. He provided food, shelter, and transportation to Michigan City for escape to Canada on Great Lakes ships.

Tradition has it that Low's farm was the last land "station" of the Underground Railroad in this area. Candles were lit and placed on the widow's walk at Low's, signaling that it was safe to transport awaiting slaves. If it was felt that Michigan City was under surveillance, he housed them, sometimes allowing them to work on his farm until it was felt that passage was safe.

It is believed that 2 slaves, who became ill while in transit, were brought to Low's farm, where they later died. According to tradition, they are buried in unmarked graves at the Low Cemetery.

(Note: This essay on Daniel Low is based on information obtained from local history sources, including the book, "Michigan City, Indiana - Life of a Town", by Gladys Bull Nicewarner).

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