Underground Railroad Travel Itinerary Header

photo courtesy of the National Park Service

The Lyman and Asenath Whipple Hoyt House was an active station on the Underground Railroad in Lancaster, Indiana. It was built in limestone about 1850 in Greek Revival style, and housed the Hoyts -- Lyman (1804-1857), Asenath (1810-1897), and their seven children. Lyman was a landowner and a woodworking factory owner. Lyman and his wife were among the main Underground Railroad activists in Lancaster from 1830 to 1856. Lyman hid freedom seekers in his barn loft and a cave near his home and gave them clothing, food, and transportation in his wagons. His nephew wrote a reminiscence in 1888 describing one instance of transportation for those fleeing in 1845, and in 1930 his daughter remembered hiding runaways in a cave on their property.

The Hoyt family moved to Lancaster from Vermont at the suggestion of Asenath's sister who lived there. Located near the Ohio River separating Indiana and Kentucky, Lancaster was established as a community which opposed the institution of slavery. Founded primarily by New England Baptists, by 1839 there were enough abolitionists to form the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society. Disbanded in 1845, it was followed in 1846, however, by the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Baptist Church, meeting in the same schoolhouse and having many of the same members. Members of the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society attended the state Anti-Slavery convention in 1839, and affiliated themselves with the National Liberty Party in 1845. Lyman was an active member of the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society, attended the state convention, and in 1839 helped draft a series of resolutions for the local society. He also wrote for The Philanthropist, a Cincinnati antislavery newspaper. In 1849 he and other abolitionists helped Thomas Craven to found Eleutherian College, open to all regardless of gender or race. Lyman Hoyt died in 1857. Lancaster continued helping freedom seekers up to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. By the time Asenath died in 1897, her obituary could openly state
"He (Lyman) and his wife were strongly against slavery and their home in Jefferson county was one of the stations of the underground railroad."

The Lyman and Asenath Hoyt House is located at 7147 West State Road 250, Madison, Indiana. It is privately owned by Historic Eleutherian College, Inc., and not open to the public.

Previous | List of Sites | Home | Next

Comments or Questions
Last Modified: EST