In August 1855, Phebe Myers, a free black spinner residing on Maryland's Eastern Shore in eastern Queen Anne's County, helped seven enslaved individuals seek freedom. Newspaper accounts state that the party included her "children and grandchildren". Their slave holder was Richard Bennett Carmichael, residing at Belle Vue near Wye Island, who had manumitted "Phebe" at the end of 1839. The fugitives were apprehended and Phebe Myers was indicted on seven counts of "harboring and assisting slaves to run away." In December 1855, in an era of increasingly harsh punishment for accomplices, Judge Philemon B. Hopper sentenced her to more than 42 years in prison - at age 52, a life sentence. Queen Anne's County leaders, including Hopper and Carmichael, successfully petitioned the Governor for her pardon in May 1856. As Judge Hopper's successor (1858), Carmichael is important in Maryland's Civil War History, a "States' Rights Democrat" summarily hauled from his bench, beaten, and imprisoned by the Union for treason. This case illustrates the complicated nature of relations among slave holders, their servants in bondage, and free African Americans. The site nominated is a mid-nineteenth century property where Carmichael and the seven fugitives resided and where Carmichael is buried.
Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.
Location: , Queenstown, 21658
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Nina Houghton
Location Type: Site