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Freedom Seekers: Stories from the Western Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad along the Missouri-Kansas border was the most dangerous escape route in the U.S.

To get on the line to Canada, freedom seekers had to dodge professional slave catchers, Missouri Border Ruffians, U.S. Federal Marshals, and Missouri slave holders. The escape routes began along the Missouri/Kansas border, north to Nebraska City, Nebraska, east across the Missouri River through Tabor, Iowa east to Illinois and north to Chicago.

One of the interesting little known facts about Iowa and its connection to the UGR is the Lane Trail also called the Lane Road. Jim Lane tried to come up the Missouri river with a group to help Kansas stay free. They were turned back at Lexington. They went to Chicago and traveled across central and southern Iowa leaving stone cairns to mark the trail (became known as Lane’s Chimneys). This became the UGR route North.

Dr. John Doy of Lawrence started north with 12 slaves when he was apprehended by a Missouri Posse. He was taken to St. Joseph, Missouri and held for trial. Before Missouri authorities could remove Dr. Doy to the state prison, a group from Lawrence, Kansas rode to his rescue. The Immortal Ten and the rescue of Dr. Doy is one of the all time great stories of the Underground Railroad.

In the winter of 1858-1859 John Brown made one last trip into Missouri to free slaves. Learn about this dangerous and heroic trip from Bates County, Missouri along the Lane Trail to Chicago where the famous Allen Pinkerton assisted Brown and his Freedom Seekers into Canada.

George Washington, a Platte County slave, made his way across a frozen Missouri River to Quindaro. He was hidden by Kansas Abolitionists until he made his way to Mound City, Kansas where he joined the U.S. Military. Private George Washington fought in the Battle of Island Mound in Bate County, Missouri. This was the first engagement between “Colored” Troops and Confederate troops in the Civil War.

This film will feature period documents, re-enactments and interviews of historians telling these stories and more.

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