Now rare 140 years after the end of the uplifting national phenomenon of the Underground Railroad are the very few intact family accounts of Underground Railroad safe-house operators.  This book tells the story of the extensively documented experiences of the family of author Peter Michael in sheltering Underground Railroad freedom seekers, and the reconnection after 150 years with the descendants of a freedom seeker who passed through the Underground Railroad safe-house of his family, Cooling Springs Farm, now an Underground Railroad historic site open to the public.

 

 

Contents

 

 

Synopsis

 

 

Sources

 

 

Book Cover Credits

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

Author

 

 

Contact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooling Springs Farm

 

 

Tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

I.         Roots:  Swiss Family Michael

II.       The Founding of Cooling Springs Farm

III.     The Underground Railroad Through Frederick County, Maryland

IV.      The Potomac-To-Doubs Route of the Underground Railroad

V.        How the Michael Family Became Underground Railroad Operators

VI.      Underground Railroad Station: Cooling Springs and Its Spring House

VII.    Christmas, 1855:  Freedom Seekers at Cooling Springs

VIII.  Other Freedom Seekers Who Passed Through Cooling Springs and Nearby

IX.      Michael Ownership of Cooling Springs In Underground Railroad Times

X.        Legacy Established: Post-Civil War Family Work In Racial Equality

XI.      Evolution of the Cooling Springs Family, Homes and Farms

 

Click here for an expanded version of the table of contents.

 

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Expanded Table of Contents

 

I.

ROOTS:  SWISS FAMILY MICHAEL

 

Franz Ludwig Michel, Explorer of the New World

 

The Founding of New Bern, North Carolina

 

The Four Immigrant Brothers:  First Generation in America

 

Indentured Servitude

 

Was the Michael Family at One Time Jewish

 

II.

THE FOUNDING OF COOLING SPRINGS FARM

 

Andrew Michael and His Family Arrive in Frederick

 

Andrew and Barbara Witness the Birth of the Nation

 

Did Andrew Know the First President of the Nation-to-Be

 

From Blacksmith to Land Holder

 

Andrew Michael II

 

III.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD THROUGH FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND

 

The National 280-Year Legacy

 

The Funnel

 

West Virginia Becomes a Union State

 

Pro-Union, Anti-Slavery Sympathies In Loudoun County, Virginia

 

Routes Crossing the Potomac River from Virginia to Frederick County and Nearby

 

Routes From Doubs North to Monrovia, New Market, Frederick and Hagerstown

 

Fifty-Eight Underground Railroad Sites in Frederick County, Maryland

 

On to Pennsylvania

 

IV.

THE POTOMAC-TO-DOUBS ROUTE OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

 

Landmarks of the Potomac-to-Doubs Route and Environs

 

The Importance of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to the Underground Railroad

 

Underground Railroad Sites Adjacent to the Potomac-to-Doubs Route

 

The Michael Family as Underground Railroad Station Operators

 

Strong Underground Railroad Sympathies Lie Alongside the Michael Farms

 

The Contiguous Chain of Michael Farms of the Potomac-to-Doubs Route

 

Rev. Thomas Henry, Conductor on the Potomac-to-Doubs Route

 

Other Conductors Around Cooling Springs Farm

 

V.

HOW THE MICHAEL FAMILY BECAME UNDERGROUND RAILROAD OPERATORS

 

Political Backdrop of the Times

 

Frederick County As Mirror of the National Struggle

 

Frederick County as Civil War Nexus

 

Namesakes In the Line From Andrew Michael I

 

The Sufferings of the Michael Family and Cooling Springs From the Civil War

 

The Split in the Michael Family Over Slavery

 

Official Records and Family Accounts of Ezra Michael Freeing the Slaves of His Father

 

Quadruple Confirmation of the Family Split Over Slavery and Freeing the Enslaved

 

The Will of Andrew Michael II Confirms the Four Oral Traditions

 

The Influence of Margaret Dudderar Michael

 

Ezra and Margaret Found an Integrated Church Used in the Underground Railroad

 

Elected Officials In the Extended Michael Family

 

Slavery Conspicuously Omitted in the Samuel Michael Chronicle

 

Michaeltown

 

VI.

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD STATION: COOLING SPRINGS AND ITS SPRING HOUSE

 

The Setting

 

The Original Home During the Time of the Underground Railroad

 

The Actual Station: The Spring House

 

Physical Evidence of Spring House Use As an Underground Railroad Station

 

VII.

CHRISTMAS, 1855: FREEDOM SEEKERS AT COOLING SPRINGS

 

Escape Through Cooling Springs

 

The Wanzer Party Detours Ten Miles to Get to the Michael Farms

 

Did the Michaels Guide the Wanzers and Grigbys to Safety in Pennsylvania

 

The Courage of Frank Wanzer Once Again

 

Man of Two Countries

 

The Distinguished Descendants of  Frank Wanzer

 

The Living Legacy of the Wanzers, Grigbys and Michaels

 

VIII.

OTHER FREEDOM SEEKERS WHO PASSED THROUGH COOLING SPRINGS AND NEARBY

 

James Curry Passes Through the Michael Farms

 

John Jones

 

A Party of 39 Freedom Seekers From Loudoun County, Virginia

 

The Parents of Charles E. Misner

 

The Family of Mark Lewis

 

Joseph Blanhum

 

John Thompson

 

Charles Bentley

 

Captured Runaways Along the Potomac River and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

 

IX.

MICHAEL OWNERSHIP OF COOLING SPRINGS IN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TIMES

 

Genealogical Chart

 

Michael Family Ownership of Cooling Springs During Underground Railroad Times

 

Andrew Michael II Inherits Cooling Springs and Passes It On to His Son Ezra

 

Ezra Owns Cooling Springs Farm During Its Use In the Underground Railroad

 

Chronology of the Underground Railroad, Abolition and Michael Involvement

 

X.

LEGACY ESTABLISHED: POST-CIVIL WAR FAMILY WORK IN RACIAL EQUALITY

 

150 Years of Michael Family Employment of All Races

 

The Michael Family and Racial Equality In the 20th Century

 

The 1940s- A Michael Takes One More Slave to Freedom

 

The 1950s- Integration of the United States Air Force

 

The 1960s- Integration of the Methodist Church

 

The 1970s and 1980s- Integration of the Michael Family

 

The 1990s- The Founding of Common Ground

 

An American Legacy: The Ninth Generation of Michaels and Beyond

 

XI.

EVOLUTION OF THE COOLING SPRINGS FAMILY, HOMES AND FARMS

 

The Family

 

The Homes

 

The Farms

 

A Note on the Doubs Methodist Church and Family Clergymen

 

Legacy at Work: Cooling Springs Farm for the Public Benefit in the 21st Century

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Index

 

End Notes

 

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Synopsis

The Underground Railroad was a 280-year American phenomenon which served as the boldest and most active foil to slavery.  Because the Underground Railroad was clandestine, its safe-house operators and conductors — black and white alike — who ushered people to freedom had to keep their roles hidden.  If caught rendering aid to freedom seekers, they could be and were arrested, convicted of interfering with supposed property rights, and sentenced.  All who rendered aid risked all they had to do so, and some lost all they had for doing so.  Because those who rendered aid could still be prosecuted long after the Civil War and the Underground Railroad ended, most took their noble secrets to the grave.

 

One who did not was Marion Michael, great-grandfather of the author, who could not be prosecuted because he was a minor when he rendered aid.  Marion Michael told of the work of his parents and siblings on the Underground Railroad, and his descendants keep this family history quite alive today. An American Family of the Underground Railroad is told by the descendant of the actual safe-house operators who owns the very farm where his ancestors sheltered freedom seekers.  Cooling Springs Farm might be the sole remaining Underground Railroad safe-house in the nation still owned by the same family that used it in Underground Railroad times.

 

An American Family of the Underground Railroad provides to general reader and scholar alike a wealth of detail about more than fifty Underground Railroad sites in a single county with a map of the sites, and identifies several safe-house operators and a key Underground Railroad conductor there. With a bibliography of nearly 150 sources, this book is one of the most thoroughly documented works on any single Underground Railroad safe-house.

 

An American Family of the Underground Railroad helps reawaken the nation to its defining heritage of the Underground Railroad.

 

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Sources

With a bibliography of nearly 150 sources, this book is one of the most thoroughly documented works on any single Underground Railroad safe-house. 

 

An American Family of the Underground Railroad provides a bibliography of 145 sources used in researching the Underground Railroad and the involvement in it of Cooling Springs Farm, the Underground Railroad safe-house which is the subject of the book.  These sources range from the 1702 letters of an ancestor of the author who was one of the first Europeans to explore western Maryland, to a 1786 letter of George Washington, to the landmark Uncle Toms Cabin of Harriet Beecher Stowe to contemporary academic research. 

 

An American Family of the Underground Railroad is annotated with over 200 end notes and over 1,000 index notations, and provides the casual reader and the Underground Railroad researcher alike a close idea of how one particular Underground Railroad route and its safe-houses were researched, and also conveys a general approach to researching the Underground Railroad.

 

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Book Cover Credits

The illustration on the cover of An American Family of the Underground Railroad is a painting commissioned by Allen U. Nelson,  the great-great-grandson of Underground Railroad freedom seeker Frank Wanzer portrayed driving the wagon in the painting. The painting which Mr. Nelson commissioned is patterned after an engraving appearing in The Underground Railroad, the 1872 landmark history by William Still.  This image is perhaps the most often-seen Underground Railroad illustration remaining from the nineteenth century.

This illustration depicts the successful defense of Frank Wanzer and the other freedom seekers against an assault by slave catchers on Christmas Day, 1855, at Hoods Mill, Maryland.  Earlier that morning, the six freedom seekers departed Cooling Springs Farm, the Underground Railroad safe-house which is the subject of An American Family of the Underground Railroad, and the previous day, Christmas Eve, had escaped enslavement from Oak Hill Plantation in Virginia, a few miles south of Cooling Springs Farm.  The full story of this escape, the shelter provided by the family of the author, the successful journey of the Wanzer party to freedom in Canada, and the reconnection of the two families after 150 years is told in the book.

Mr. Nelson has kindly permitted his painting to be used on the cover of An American Family of the Underground Railroad.  Nice 24-by-32 posters of this painting may be ordered for $20 from Mr. Nelson by writing to him at 1464 Belmont Street, Washington, DC, 20009.

 

 

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Acknowledgements

The author thanks the following historians and others who very kindly provided a wealth of well-researched information and plenty of encouragement during the writing of An American Family of the Underground Railroad.

 

Anthony Cohen

Underground Railroad historian, and President, The Menare Foundation

Paul Gordon

Frederick County, Maryland historian, author and former Mayor of Frederick, Maryland

Mark Hudson

Executive Director, the Historical Society of Frederick County

Jeanne LaGrave

Michael family historian and genealogist, and cousin of the author

Ann Lebherz

Historian and founder, the Frederick County Landmarks Foundation

Mary Mannix

Manager, Maryland Room of the  Frederick County Public Library

Dr. Jenny Masur

Regional  Coordinator, Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, National Park Service

Allen Nelson

Sculptor, historian and descendant of Underground Railroad freedom seekers

Lord Nickens

Frederick County civic leader, long-time president of the Frederick County chapter, NAACP

Eugene Scheel

Underground Railroad historian and cartographer

Kathleen Snowden

Underground Railroad historian and Member of the Town Council, New Market, Maryland

Dr. Judith Wellman

Underground Railroad historian, Professor Emerita, State University of New York at Oswego

 

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The Author

Peter H. Michael is the owner of Cooling Springs Farm, one of the few still-existing Underground Railroad safe-houses, and is the seventh consecutive generation of his family there.  The Michael family founded Cooling Springs Farm in 1768. 

 

The great-great-grandparents of Mr. Michael and their children used the farm and its spring house as a haven for Underground Railroad freedom seekers through the end of the Civil War.  Mr. Michael and his family have opened Cooling Springs Farm as a historic site to the public and to a number of national and local Underground Railroad and historical organizations for tours and study.  He is a co-founder and officer of Friends of the Underground Railroad, an international organization which promotes the memory of the Underground Railroad and the preservation of remaining Underground Railroad safe-houses and routes.

 

Peter Michael is the founder and president of Michael Strategic Analysis, an award-winning firm practicing strategic planning, market analysis, and economic damages expert witness testimony. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland which he attended on academic scholarship, took his MBA at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley where his thesis was published as the cover story of a magazine of national circulation, and completed a post-graduate program in demography at Princeton University which he attended on a Population Council fellowship.  Before founding Michael Strategic Analysis, Peter Michael served as an advisor to the government of Korea for The Population Council, and later as a United Nations officer directing an eight-nation project with ministries of health.  Peter Michael is the author of Out of This World, an expose of United Nations failure to adequately assist poor nations in lowering their population growth rates.

 

He is married to Vicki Michael, a painter and civic leader.  The couple resides at Cooling Springs Farm near Adamstown, Maryland.

 

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Contact

Click below to e-mail to

ugrr@CoolingSprings.org

 

Write to

Cooling Springs Farm

2455 Ballenger Creek Pike

Adamstown, Maryland, 21710

 

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Purchase

 

Click here to purchase An American Family of the Underground Railroad on line at Amazon.

 

Click here to purchase An American Family of the Underground Railroad on line at Barnes and Noble.

 

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Cooling Springs Farm

The Cooling Springs Farm web site provides information on the history, public programs, tours and contact information of Cooling Springs Farm, and a guide for researching the Underground Railroad.  Click here to go to the Cooling Springs Farm web site.

 

 

 

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Tours

Click here to arrange a tour of the Cooling Springs Farm Underground Railroad site.

 

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