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Bruin's Slave Jail

In 1848 one of the largest attempted escapes in the United States occurred on a ship called The Pearl, sailing down the Potomac River for Frenchtown, Maryland, starting from the Washington, D.C., waterfront. Over 70 freedom seekers were on board. Unfortunately, the attempt failed, and many of the bondspeople involved were bought by slave traders for sale further south. Among these unfortunates were the Edmonson sisters who were purchased by the slave trading firm, Bruin & Hill. After a period in the Bruin & Hill slave pen at 1707 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia, the sisters were sent to New Orleans. An outbreak of yellow fever meant that Joseph Bruin brought them back to Alexandria, where they worked for the Bruin family until the sisters' parents were able to raise money in New York City to redeem them. The sisters then attended Oberlin College. After sister Mary died, Emily the surviving sister returned to D. C. to teach with Myrtilla Miner.

Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.

Location: 1707 Duke Street, Alexandria, Alexandria, 22314

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Duke 8401 Limited Partnership

Location Type: Site

Freedom Seekers: Emily and Mary Edmonson