Here in Marietta under the "Ordinance of 1787" was established the Northwest Territory. The first government BORN FREE in all the world. "Here no witch was ever burned; nor heretic molested; here no slave was ever born or dwelt."
You can visit or view seven Underground Railroad sites in the Marietta and the Washington County Ohio Area.
- Henderson Hall, a former slave owning plantation that is preserved to its near original condition. It is located on River Road off WV 14, 1.01 miles south of Williamstown WV. Open Sundays, June - September 1:00 - 4:00 pm or by appointment for groups and private tours. 304-375-2129
- Blennerhasset Island Plantation, rebuilt to its original condition includes a history of the Aaron Burr Conspiracy and the story of a slave called Micah "Cajoe" Phillips, who started the Underground Railroad station in Waterford, Ohio. Access via sternwheeler cruise from Point Park, Parkersburg WV. 304-420-4800
- The Historic Harmar District of Marietta where the first African American was born in the United States Northwest Territory, the home where abolitionist David Putnam Jr. was born in 1808, and a view of the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers used by fugitive slaves from Western Virginia.
- Constitution Station located between Marietta and Belpre, on Ohio State Route 7, is the site of the Underground Railroad founded by Ephriam Cutler in 1806.
- The Jonathan Stone House in Belpre, Ohio and on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1798 along Ohio's first highway was an Underground Railroad station from 1810 to 1861. This is a private residence not open to the public.
- The Sawyer-Curtis House also on the National Register of Historic Places was built in 1798 and used from 1820 by Horace Curtis as a major Underground Railroad station. This is a private residence not open to the public.
- Belpre Historical Society/Farmers Castle Museum Educational Center is located at 509 Ridge Street, Belpre has a local URR exhibit permanent installation. Call 740-423-7588 for hours and tours.
by Historian Henry Burke
Manasseh Cutler, a Revolutionary War Officer, became engaged in the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance before Congress, for the government of the Northwest Territory. He was successful in uniting the discordant political elements and made possible the enacting of provisions (Article 6) in the Northwest Ordinance which- Forbid slavery in the Northwest Territory.
In Decatur Township "western" Washington County, Ohio, there is a tiny hamlet named Cutler in honor of W.P. Cutler a descendant of Manasseh Cutler. Cutler was a station on the earliest branch of the Underground Railroad. This was no accident, but rather the direct result of Manasseh Cutler's anti-slavery sentiments.
Ephraim Cutler, son of Manasseh Cutler, was a member of the Northwest Territorial Legislature and Washington County's delegate to the Ohio Statehood Constitutional Convention. He cast the single vote that kept slavery from becoming legal in Ohio! When Ohio became a state in 1803, Washington County, Ohio already had a small but influential population of abolitionists.
David Putnam Jr., was Marietta's premier abolitionists and Underground Railroad Conductor. The Underground Railroad and David Putnam Jr. literally grew up together. As a young man, David became acquainted with some of the slaves from Wood County, Virginia, and he listened to their fears of being - "sold down the river" - to plantations in the Deep South. By the time he was a teenager he had decided that he would fight slavery.
In 1847, George Washington Henderson (Henderson Hall) of Wood County, Virginia brought a law suit against David Putnam Jr., ($7,000) for his implication in the loss of nine slaves from Henderson Hall Plantation. Actually, some of the fugitives were hidden in David Putnam's house, and were only able to escape by a bold act of trickery. The law suit was later thrown out of court on a legal technicality.
In Washington County
For information on our local Underground Railroad History please visit our local Underground Railroad Historian, Henry Burke's Web site
Henry Robert Burke
103-C Muskingum Terrace
Marietta, OH 45750
Marietta Ohio Underground Railroad History
Several Underground Railroad Sites in Washington County, along the Ohio River:
- The Horace Curtis Underground Railroad House in Little Hocking
- John Stone Underground Railroad House in Belpre
- Constitution Underground Railroad Crossing
- Ephraim Cutler Marker at Veto Lake (Ephraim Cutler drafted the veto of slavery in Ohio Constitution)
- Smith Underground Railroad Station at Cutler
- David Putnam Underground Railroad Marker at the Confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers in Marietta