The Great Escape

By: Tuulia Koponen

What the Journey Entails:

Starting point: Cincinnati, Ohio

Destinations along the way:

  1. Samuel and Sally Wilson's Home-Cincinnati, Ohio
  2. James and Sophia Clemens' Farmstead-Greenville, Ohio
  3. Second Baptist Church-Detroit, Michigan
  4. Dr. Nathan Thomas' Home-Schoolcraft, Michigan
  5. John Freeman Wall's Cabin-Lakeshore, Ontario

Final destination: Lakeshore, Ontario

Important information to note:

  1. The Wilson's home is set upon College Hill and is a private residence among many trees. They have set up several pieces of wood up to a mile behind their home to create a path to aid you in finding their home.
  2. The Clemens' Farmstead is located in the Longtown settlement of Greenville. It is also a private settlement and may be found by following the various tree branches set upon the ground a few miles behind the structure.
  3. The Second Baptist Church in Detroit can easily be spotted from the woods by finding the large cross embellished on the outside of its southern wall that faces the woods.
  4. Zachahria Shugart can be found in the Cass Country settlement of Schoolcraft in a log cabin shielded by many trees to bring you to Thomas' settlement. Follow the smoke seen in the woods to reach his cabin.
  5. Wall's cabin can be found just a few miles beyond Ontario's border. Talk to the locals in Lakeshore and they will aid you in finding his cabin.
  6. Upon reaching Wall's cabin, he and his wife will aid you in getting adjusted to Canadian life and beginning a new life in the country.
Follow the Drinking Gourd

Assistance for Your Journey:

To determine which way is North (in other words, to determine which way to travel along the route):

  • Look at the stars. Find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper and look to the tip of the Little Dipper and you will find the North Star (HINT: It will be the brightest star in the sky). After locating it, journey in the direction of the star.
  • Look for moss growing on trees. It will be found on the north side of tree trunks and will serve as a compass during the day or on cloudy nights when the North Star cannot be seen. Journey in the direction of the moss.
  • Birds travel north in the winter. When the weather is particularly chilly or winter is nearing, look up to the sky and try and spot birds. If you are able to spot them, journey in the same direction as them. Follow them.

To avoid slave catchers and dogs:

  • Travel by rivers and streams. Dogs cannot track scents in water-however, traveling by rivers and streams is more dangerous than traveling by roads-so take great caution when traveling by them.
  • Beware of traps and snares-they are set up everywhere. If you fall into one of them-you will be re-enslaved immediately. Travel carefully and be conscious of your surroundings every second of your travel.
  • Travel quickly. The faster you travel, the faster you get to your destination.



  1. Severe punishment, most often in the form of floggings, are available for slaves from their overseers if brought back to their plantations after attempting to run away.
  2. A successful journey on the underground railroad is not guaranteed. You may not obtain your freedom and will therefore never see life beyond the peculiar institution. You may end up growing cotton for the agricultural profit of this nation-as it is done exclusively for profit in the Black Belt-for the rest of your life.
  3. As you reach each destination, beware of the people. Not everyone is a friend to darkies. There are numerous rewards available for people who turn in runaway slaves, so be careful who you interact with because they may just turn you in.
  4. After Denmark Vesey's plans for a slave rebellion failed and became know to the public, many have become wary of freed slaves and are more likely to turn you in if you get caught.
  5. Although Nat Turner led a successful slave rebellion, the result of it all for him was execution. It is recommended that you focus on the task at hand-earning your freedom-rather than starting a rebellion as you take this journey. Be wary and cautious.


A Part Of Our Heritage - Underground Railroad