James Montgomery

I attended the National Parks Service Network to Freedom Underground Railroad conference in Leavenworth today. One of the most interesting presentations was by author Todd Mildfelt and National Parks Service Officer Dave Schafer – Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Brown v. Board Site. They have done extensive archival research about James Montgomery. They believe John Brown’s original plan was to set up Kansas as a safe haven for Freedom Seekers where nobody would be allowed to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and return slaves to their owners. They found that James Montgomery adopted that plan and stopped sending Freedom Seekers north. He and others hide them in the Mound City/Osowatomie Kansas area. These Freedom Seekers were the first recruits into the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Regiment.  Had the Civil War been delayed, Montgomery wanted to make Kansas the final stop on the Underground Railroad, not Canada.

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