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Who Really Ran the Underground Railroad?



I recently came across your site and your story about Ann Maria Weems. Because there were major errors in it I tracked down Professor John Ernest who had given the lecture the article was based on. He said the reporter had gotten the facts mixed up.

Ann Maria Weems did not escape on her own by dressing like a blackjack (a black sailor) and taking a train. She was only 15 at the oldest and had been a slave her entire life. Where would she have gotten a sailor's suit (it's actually a buggy driver's get-up) and the money to ride a train?

Her escape was a carefully laid out plan that involved black and white abolitionists on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. My G, G, G, grandfather, Dr. Ellwood Harvey, was the man who took her from in front of the White House to Philadelphia and then NYC. This story has been told in several books: William Still's History of the UGRR; Elisa Carbone's Stealing Freedom, and Lorene Cary's Free. There will be a piece on Dr. Harvey in Main Line Today in the next month. You can also read about Dr. Harvey at the Yahoogroups site, The Amazing Ellwood Harvey, it's free, but you have to sign up for the site. Ellwood was a Quaker abolitionist, but partially undertook the rescue for the reward money. Even though he was poor Ellwood used the money to buy a dissection mannequin for the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania. It was the first college in the world for female doctors and very unpopular at the time. Therefore supplies were limited. The usual conductors in Washington DC were scared away from the rescue due to the high reward, $500, that Ann's master was offering for her return. That was in Sept. Ellwood couldn't come down until Thanksgiving break due to his teaching commitments. He brought her to Philly at Thanksgiving.

I would be willing to send any information I have if you would print the real story. There is another New Hampshire web site that has repeated the story you printed. I'd like to correct this mistake.

Because her entire family had been purchased and set free, but her owner refused to sell her, these abolitionists hatched a plan to help her escape. She eventually made it to Canada. A book on her whole family will be coming out soon.

Thanks for reading this,
Steve Harvey 


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Thursday, February 22, 2018 
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