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William Chaplin Arrest Site

On August 8, 1850, a hired carriage was forcibley stopped in the middle of the Georgetown Pike (Georgia Avenue) at the DC-Maryland border by a Sheriff's posse from Washington, D.C. There was a gun fight. The carriage, driven by William Chaplin, was carrying two men attempting to escape from enslavement respectively owned by two Southern Congressmen. Chaplin was arrested and the bondsmen recovered. William Chaplin was an Underground Railroad operative who had come to DC in 1845. He was associated with the Liberty party and the Albany Vigilance Committee. He is known to have aided African Americans, both free and enslaved, in legal endeavors and in escaping to freedom. Since there was originally some dispute over whether the arrest took place in DC or in Maryland, Chaplin was imprisoned in Washington for six weeks and released on $6000 bond. He was subsequently imprisoned in Rockville, Maryland, for 13 weeks and released on $19,000 bond. Chaplin left the area, forfeiting the bond, and never came to trial. The exact site of the arrest has been ascertained by the descriptions in the National Intelligencer article, the "Appeal" by the Chaplin Committee, and a visit to the site.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: M-NCPPC--Jesup Blair Park, 900 Jessup Blair Drive, Silver Spring, 20910

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Park Manager

Location Type: Site

UGRR Operatives: William Chaplin

Religious Denominations: Other