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Cumberland County Courthouse

The Cumberland County Old Courthouse, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has played an important role in the history of the Underground Railroad. This nomination includes five known UGRR incidents that occurred at the courthouse. The first was when a slave owner named Anderson, requested custody of a man named Jim, whom he claimed was his fugitive slave. He went before the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County with two witnesses who support his claim. The next incident occurred in 1847, and is known today as the McClintock riot. After three freedom seekers found their way to Carlisle, their owners forcibly entered a private home near Shippensburg in order to capture them. This incident led to the slave owners having to appear in court, and eventually to the illegal imprisonment of the fugitives. At the trial a riot broke out in front of the courthouse, leading to the death of one of the slave owners and the escape of the freedom seekers. Also in 1847, the Kaufman Case was heard at the courthouse. This case was about Daniel Kaufman's work on the Underground Railroad and his aiding thirteen fugitives at his home in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. In 1850, the Burns Family incident occurred in which a young black man was lured into a carriage and taken back to Maryland to be sold as a slave. The fifth known incident occurred in 1859, when slave catchers in the middle of the night abducted the Butler Family. The catcher was found and put on trial for kidnapping.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 2 Courthouse Square, Carlisle, 17013

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Gary Echelberger

Location Type: Site

People/Organizations Associated with the site: Auld (Slave Catcher, PA, 1850),Colonel Howard Hollingsworth (Owner),Dr. Ridgely (Owner),Emmanuel Myers (Slave Catcher),James Kennady (Owner),Samuel Hepburn (Judge),Thomas Anderson (Owner)

Freedom Seekers: ? Burns (PA, 1850),Alexander Burns,Butler Family (PA, 1859),Hester (PA, 1847),Jim (PA, 1832),Lloyd Brown

UGRR Operatives: Daniel Kaufman,George Cole,John McClintock