On December 10, 1828, Bob Manoca (Manokey) fled from the Staplefort family, whose plantation sat on the west side of the Little Blackwater River near the Little Blackwater Bridge in Dorchester County, Maryland.The Little and Big Blackwater rivers provided water access to the area's farms from the late 17th century through the 19th century, facilitating the movement of goods to and from markets around the Chesapeake and beyond. The Stapleforts advertised a $150 reward for the capture and return of the thirty-six year old man, noting that Manoca was a very skilled man, "a great sawyer, having followed it ever since he was about 18 years of age."The Stapleforts believed that Manoca was heading to Baltimore, then on to Philadelphia or New York.Given his experience as a sawyer and the Staplefort's home on a navigable river, Manoca would have been familiar with the watermen who manned the vessels that carried the coveted timber to shipyards throughout the Chesapeake and as far away as New England.Such relationships would have facilitated quick and reliable transportation for his escape. The farm, now wholly included within the boundaries of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and situated along Wildlife Drive, is also located across the river from the site where Harriet Tubman's mother and grandmother were once enslaved. Visitors may drive along the Little Blackwater Bridge or Wildlife Drive to see the Staplefort farm where Bob Manokey fled.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: Wildlife Drive, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, Dorchester, 21613
Contact Information: 410-228-2677 (main phone)
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Location Type: Site