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Family stories of the Underground Railroad

by | Sep 15, 2015 | Alamance, Confederate affiliation

Excerpted from “Ramblings of a Country Boy,” by Stephen Arthur Cohagan (my grandfather), written 1953. (Private papers) “Grandfather (John Pugh Jay) and Grandmother (Rachel Commons Jay) maintained a station in ‘the Underground Railroad’ and back of the fruit bins in the cellar was small space where they would hide the black folks until grandfather could get a chance to take them at night to the next station. This small boy was told by his half sister that he better stay out of there for one of those black men might get him. (Grandmother) “told us many tales of the Civil War days and how she and Grandfather were often in danger because of the ‘copperheads’ who lived in the southern part of Davis County (Iowa) south of the home. Oft-times someone would call for grandfather at night but he would never go out for they could see through the windows that they were riders on horseback and would not have hesitated to shoot those abolitionists helping run-away slaves and they also tried to catch them with run-away slaves whom they were helping to escape by way of the under-ground railroad. Grandfather never got caught.”

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