Organization of Underground Railroad

The UGR had been in operation in eastern states for several years before the issue of whether or not new states and territories would be slave or free. Eastern abolitionists streamed west to settle the new Kansas territory in the middle 1850s. They had two motivations, the first was to prevent the spread of slavery and the second was to obtain free fertile land. The new settlers opposed slavery for moral reasons, also, they did not want to compete with slave farm systems operated by Missouri and Arkansas farmers. These new settlers brought with them the idea of an organized system of people to help slaves escape in order to destabilize the slave system. These brave Kansas settlers took up collections, conducted clothing drives, and found skilled craftsmen to do jobs like repair wagons, build secret compartments, and mend harness .  For example, a Topeka resident named Joseph Miller was an accountant and he handled money used to rent horses, fix wagons and buy other supplies. William Bowker was a wheelwright just north of Topeka in the Rochester area. He repaired the wagons.

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