Runaway slaves; underground railroad

The Underground Railroad played a significant role in north central Ohio history.

MOUNT VERNON -- Did you know that in the years preceding the Civil War there also many abolitionists in Knox County and the region served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, assisting many runaway slaves?

Friends and neighbors differed in their opinions about slavery and whether it should or shouldnt be allowed in the United States.

On Thursday, June 13, Bob Ford will act as the moderator, discussing what we the audience, want to do in regard to the Fugitive Slave Act? Do we, as a community, want to help runaway slaves or turn them to the bounty hunters?

Ford will take guests on a journey explaining what it meant to be a slave and what it meant aid an escaped slave. The presentation will be similar to what took place in many communities in the North leading up to and during the Civil War. Ford will include musical examples of the era.

The Chautauqua Series is held in the lower level at the Grand Hotel (12 Public Square in downtown Mount Vernon).The facility is accessible to those with special needs such as walkers, wheelchairs, service dogs and strollers. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m.

The series, now in its 13th season, is organized by Elixir Presents, the Grand Hotel, and supported in part by a generous grant from the Ariel Foundation. These programs bring year round living history to our community and are presented on a donation basis. All donations go directly to the performers.

For more information about this and upcoming presentations, please visit, or call 740-392-3018. To receive a “Gentle Reminder” email on the Sunday before each program, contact Mike Petee at

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