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Parson's Creek: Keene Family Escape Route


On April 4th or 6th, 1831, Joseph Keene and his pregnant wife Nellie stole a small boat and sailed their seven children to freedom from Parsons Creek in Dorchester County, Maryland.Enslaved by Levin Woolford, the Keene family took an unusual and risky step to liberate them.The escape of entire families – especially one as large as the Keene family – was rare in the annals of the Underground Railroad.A skilled sailor, Joe and Nellie were successful in evading capture.Their final destination remains speculative, but when Levin Woolford died the following year, he had not retrieved the family of nine, and by the time the estate was fully probated in 1839, the family was not listed among Woolford's assets.The creek, owned by the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is being nominated as an escape route to freedom.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: Parsons Creek at Route 16, Madison, Dorchester, 21648

Contact Information: 410-228-1000 (main phone)

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Location Type: Site