"A Desperate Leap for Liberty": The Escape of William and Ellen Craft

Boston served as a destination for many people escaping slavery on the Underground Railroad. Freedom seekers arriving in the city found that Boston's tightly knit free Black community provided support and a welcome sanctuary as they began their new lives. This article highlights the journey of two freedom seekers, William and Ellen Craft, who escaped to Boston. To explore additional stories, visit Boston: An Underground Railroad Hub.

Growing up enslaved in Macon, Georgia, William and Ellen Craft hoped to one day escape. In December 1848, they devised a plan to disguise Ellen, who had lighter skin, as a sickly white male slaveholder, with William as "his" faithful enslaved man. After four days of traveling, they succeeded in their quest for freedom by first arriving in Philadelphia and then later settling in Boston. However, the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law brought the threat of slave catchers, forcing William and Ellen Craft to flee to England to ensure their safety. The Crafts' story exemplifies the bravery, ingenuity, and perseverance of many on the Underground Railroad willing to risk everything for freedom.

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William and Ellen Craft

(1824-1900) and (1826-1891)

Learn about the Crafts' daring escape to freedom.

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William and Ellen Craft

(1824-1900) and (1826-1891)

Learn about the Crafts' daring escape to freedom.

Print portraits of Ellen and William CraftPortraits of Ellen and William Craft. (Credit: William Still. 1886)

1820s-1840s: Macon, Georgia

Born in 1824, William Craft grew up enslaved with his parents and siblings. At a young age, William's enslaver apprenticed him to a cabinet maker so he would become more valuable as a skilled worker. Similar to many enslaved people, William suffered the tragedy of being separated from his family when his enslaver sold his parents and siblings. In recounting the emotional separation from his sister at an auction, William stated how this event "sent red-hot indignation darting like lightning through every vein. It quenched my tears, and appeared to set my brain on fire, and made me crave for power to avenge our wrongs!"

As the child of a White slaveholder and an enslaved mother, Ellen Craft, born in 1826, had a different background than William. Due to Ellen's father being her White owner, William Craft described how she appeared "almost white." This angered her father's wife as people frequently mistook Ellen for being a member of the family.

Years before they married, William and Ellen met in Macon, Georgia. They discussed escaping together so they could get married once free; however, William and Ellen realized the near impossibility of escaping slavery from Georgia. William wrote that they

resolved to get the consent of our owners, be married, settle down in slavery, and endeavor to make ourselves as comfortable as possible under the system; but at the same time ever to keep our dim eyes steadily fixed upon the glimmering hope of liberty, and earnestly pray God mercifully to assist us to escape from our unjust thralldom.[1]
Portrait of Ellen in disguise as a man.Ellen disguised herself by cutting her hair and wearing a hat and glasses. She also wore a bandage from her chin to the top of her hat, which is not pictured. (Credit: William Craft, 1860)

c. December 18-20, 1848: Macon, Georgia

After patiently waiting for an opportunity to escape, William Craft devised a plan. As he later recalled:

it occurred to me that, as my wife was nearly white, I might get her to disguise herself as an invalid gentleman, and assume to be my master, while I could attend as his slave, and that in this manner we might effect our escape.

He shared his plan with Ellen, who expressed hesitancy, believing she would not successfully disguise herself. However, as she contemplated her future in slavery, she eagerly agreed to the plot, telling William, "I feel that God is on our side, and with his assistance, notwithstanding all the difficulties, we shall be able to succeed."

With her approval, William discretely bought the pieces for Ellen's disguise from different areas of town. To avoid suspicion, Ellen's disguise as an ill, young, White planter had to convincingly hide her true identity: she carried her right arm in a sling so she could ask someone else to sign her name for her since she could not read and write; she wrapped a handkerchief under her chin and tied it above her head as if she had a toothache to cover up her "beardless face"; she limped and used a cane; she wore green spectacles to suggest poor sight; and she pretended to be hard of hearing to avoid conversations. Ellen's disguise reinforced their reason for traveling north –this sick planter needed to go to Philadelphia for his health, bringing his enslaved man with him to attend to his care.

Lastly, they both received permission, William from the cabinet maker and Ellen from her mistress, for a few days off before the upcoming holidays. Under this pretense, the Crafts hoped to buy themselves some time before their enslavers would start looking for them. [2]

Clip of a map showing train routes beween Macon and Savannah, Georgia.Ellen and William traveled on a train for 200 miles from Macon to Savannah, Georgia. (Credit: Library of Congress)

December 21, 1848: Savannah, Georgia

Early this December morning, Ellen and William embarked on their dangerous path to freedom as Mr. William Johnson and his enslaved man. Upon leaving, William Craft exclaimed to Ellen, "Come my dear, let us make a desperate leap for liberty!"

They took separate paths to the train station to not draw suspicion. Ellen, disguised as William’s "master," walked through the main entrance for passengers and bought a ticket for herself and William to Savannah, 200 miles away.

Boarding the train, the Crafts feared discovery when they noticed two people they knew aboard the train. William saw the cabinet maker he worked for board the train as if looking for someone, but then disembark before the train departed. Ellen recognized Mr. Cray, a friend of her enslaver who had known Ellen for years. He sat down in the seat next to her, and to avoid conversation, Ellen "resolved to feign deafness as the only means of self-defense." Recognizing this young planter’s inability to hear, Mr. Cray left her alone for the journey.

Upon arriving in Savannah in the evening, the Crafts boarded an "omnibus" that took them to a steamer, the General Clinch, headed for Charleston, South Carolina.[3]

Newspaper advertisement for steamers from Savannah to Charleston. The Crafts took the steamer 'General Clinch' from Savannah to Charleston. (Credit: Savannah Republic, January 12, 1850)

c. December 22, 1848: En route to Charleston, South Carolina

Once on the steamer, Ellen, disguised as William's enslaver, pretended to be ill and went to bed early to avoid talking with others on the steamer. While she slept on a bed, William found cotton bags to rest on for the night.

The next morning, Ellen's disguise proved effective as she sat next to the captain for breakfast. The captain and a slave dealer warned her, as the young gentleman, of the dangers of bringing enslaved people north since they could more easily escape to freedom. The slave dealer tried to buy William from Ellen, using the potential of William's escape once north as a bargaining tactic, but she would not sell him.[4]

Dirt road leading up to Charleston Custom House.Before continuing their journey, the Crafts bought train tickets at the Charleston Custom House, depicted in this 1865 photograph. (Credit: Library of Congress)

c. December 22, 1848: Old Exchange and Custom House Office, 122 East Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina

In Charleston, William and Ellen rested at a hotel until they left for the next leg of their journey in the evening. While the Crafts initially planned to take a steamer from Charleston to Philadelphia, they discovered the last steamer for the winter had already left and a fugitive slave had been discovered on board. Thankful they did not board that steamer, the Crafts learned of another route that went through Wilmington, North Carolina. They went to the Custom-House Office by the water to buy their tickets. When the ticket officer asked her to sign for the tickets, Ellen, in disguise and with her arm in a sling, asked him to sign on her behalf. He refused to do so. Luckily, one of the fellow passengers from the previous steamer interceded and signed for Ellen.[5]

Map of train routes from North Carolina to Maryland.The Crafts likely followed this 1848 train route north from Wilmington to D.C.. (Credit: Library of Congress)

c. December 23, 1848: Wilmington, North Carolina

Traveling via steamer, the Crafts reached Wilmington in the morning. The rest of their journey north consisted of various train rides and steamer trips. First, they boarded a train to Richmond, Virginia. From Richmond, the Crafts took a train to Fredericksburg, Virginia and then a steamer to Washington D.C. From D.C. they boarded a train to Baltimore, Maryland, their last stop before freedom. [6]

Print image of Baltimore harbor.Baltimore served as the Crafts' last stop before they reached Philadelphia. (Credit: J. Wells Champney)

December 24, 1848: Baltimore, Maryland

Arriving in Baltimore on Christmas Eve, the Crafts eagerly awaited their final train to Philadelphia. However, an officer stopped William, stating that masters had to go into the office to prove ownership of their enslaved person before they could travel north to Philadelphia. Upon hearing this news, William reflected, "we felt that our very existence was at stake, and that we must either sink or swim."

The officer informed Ellen, in disguise as William's ill master, that he needed to buy bonds in order for William to travel north. The officer explained:

if we should suffer any gentleman to take a slave past here into Philadelphia; and should the gentleman with whom the slave might be travelling turn out not to be his rightful owner; and should the proper master come and prove that his slave escaped on our road, we shall have him to pay for; and, therefore, we cannot let any slave pass here without receiving security to show, and to satisfy us, that it is all right.

Without any way to prove their master-slave relationship, Ellen and William Craft did not know what to do. As the train departure time quickly approached, the conductor of the previous train walked into the office and confirmed to the officer they had been on his train. While the officer remained hesitant to let the Crafts go, when the train's bell rang to signal its departure, the officer stated, "I really don't know what to do; I calculate it is all right… As he [Ellen] is not well, it is a pity to stop him here. We will let him go." With these final words, William and Ellen boarded their final train to freedom.[7]

Clip of a map of Falls township with Ivins Jr. and Sr. highlighted.Census records state "Barclay Ivens" lived in Falls Township, and William Craft adds Ivens lived on the Delaware River. One of these two "B. Ivins" may have been the abolitionist who William and Ellen stayed with outside of Philadelphia. (Credit: Library of Congress)

December 25 - January, 1848: Home of Barkely Ivens, Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

As William saw the lights of Philadelphia in the distance on Christmas morning, he remembered, "I… felt that the straps that bound the heavy burden to my back began to pop, and the load to roll off." They headed straight to a boarding-house run by an abolitionist so Ellen could remove her disguise. The abolitionist landlord, surprised to discover Ellen in disguise, gathered other abolitionists to aid the Crafts. They determined it would be safer for the Crafts to continue their journey north to Boston, where "public opinion … had become so much opposed to slavery and to kidnapping, that it was almost impossible for any one to take a fugitive slave out of that state."

However, due to the exhaustion of the journey, the Crafts rested before continuing to Boston. Mr. Barkley Ivens and his family welcomed William and Ellen into their home to recover. While the Crafts felt reluctant to trust a White man out of fear he would send them back into slavery, William recalled that Ivens’ generosity "was the first act of great and disinterested kindness we had ever received from a white person." As the Crafts regained their strength, the Ivens' daughters taught the Crafts how to read, building on their previous knowledge of the alphabet. By the time they left for Boston three weeks later, the Crafts could write their names. [8]

1850 Census Record of the Haydens and Crafts.This 1850 census record lists William and Ellen Craft (lines 9 and 10) as residing at the Haydens' boarding house. (Credit: United States Census Bureau)

1848-1850: The Haydens' House, 66 Southac Street, Boston, Massachusetts

William and Ellen settled in Boston, with William working as a cabinet maker and Ellen as a seamstress. They lived at Lewis and Harriet Hayden's house, a boarding house where other fugitive slaves and residents of the city lodged.

During this time, they shared their story widely. As abolitionist William Still wrote, "the story of their escape was heralded broadcast over the country." They spoke at anti-slavery meetings in Boston and in towns throughout New England, frequently sharing the stage with abolitionists, including William Lloyd Garrison and Samuel May, and other fugitive slaves, such as Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown.

The need for protection became all the more prevalent with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in September 1850, which drastically altered William and Ellen Craft's future in the United States. William Still wrote that with the passing of this law, "even the bravest abolitionist began to fear that a fugitive slave was no longer safe anywhere under the stars and stripes… and that William and Ellen Craft were liable to be captured at any moment by Georgia slave hunters." [9]

Newspaper clip from the Boston Courier.This newspaper clip announces a warrant had been issued for William Craft. (Credit: Boston Courier, October 26, 1850)

October 25-November 1, 1850: Court Square, Boston, Massachusetts

On October 25, Judge Woodbury issued a warrant under the Fugitive Slave Law for the arrest of William and Ellen Craft. Two men from Macon, Willis Hughes and John Knight, applied for this warrant after arriving in Boston days earlier. They planned to return these freedom seekers to slavery on behalf of their masters. The abolitionist paper The Liberator provided an account of abolitionists' efforts to protect the Crafts from these men. Placards posted across the city announced the slave catchers' arrival and provided a description of them. Crowds formed outside of the men’s hotel, as well as outside the courthouse. Members of the Boston Vigilance Committee sought ways "to baffle the pursing bloodhounds, and relieve the city of their hateful presence." Some members, led by Reverend Theodore Parker, met with Hughes and Knight, advising the two men to leave the city, but they refused.

Police arrested Hughes and Knight a few times, charging them with slander against William Craft and for threatening to kidnap both William and Ellen. Yet, Knight and Hughes successfully posted bail each time. When Knight made bail the third time, the Boston Daily Times described how a crowd of Black and White supporters of the Crafts "assembled in Court square, many of them apparently for the purpose of making some violent demonstration when Knight should make his appearance." [10]

Profile of George S. HillardGeorge (pictured above) and Susan Hillard housed Ellen Craft as the slave catchers hoped to capture her and her husband. (Credit: Massachusetts Historical Society)

October 25-November 1, 1850: The Hillard's House, 62 Pickney Street, Boston, Massachusetts

While working with Miss Dean, an "upholsteress," Ellen first heard about the warrant for her and William from Susan Hillard. Mrs. Hillard brought Ellen to her house as her husband, George, insisted that Ellen be under his protection, telling his wife, "I am perfectly willing to meet the penalty, should she be found here, but will never giver her up." While grateful to the Hilliards for their willingness to protect Ellen, William Craft asked their mutual friend, Dr. Bowditch, to take Ellen to the home of abolitionist Ellis Gray Loring, outside of the city in Brookline. Even though the Lorings were out of town, Mary R. Carson and her aunt, who were currently staying at the house, invited Ellen in. Mary Carson recalled,

I watched her with perfect admiration, she showed such great self control, such perfect sweetness of temper and grace of manner. She could hear nothing from her husband all day, and, of course, might suppose him in every danger, but she kept back her tears and kept up her sweet looks till late in the afternoon, when a messenger came with news of her husband.[11]
1852 map with areas highlighted next to a portrait of Lewis Hayden. William Craft initially barricaded himself at his shop at 51 Cambridge Street and then moved to Lewis Hayden's House. (Credit: Boston Public Library)

October 25-November 1, 1850: William's Shop, 51 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Meanwhile, William Craft armed himself at his shop and residence on Cambridge street before moving to Lewis Hayden's House on Southac Street for better protection. The Boston Chronotype reported that at one point, William "was guarded by no less than two hundred of the colored citizens of Boston, all of whom were 'armed to the teeth,' and pledged to defend William and his wife as long as life lasts." Years later, William Craft recalled,

One night… Lewis Hayden and I had a keg of gunpowder under his house in Phillips Street [formerly Southac Street], with a fuse attached ready to light it should any attempt be made to capture us.

J.T. Stevenson, a wealthy Bostonian, also sent a message to William Craft stating he would buy William and Ellen's freedom if they "would submit peaceable to an arrest." According to the Boston Herald, William responded

that he represented some hundreds of fugitives all liable to arrest and many of them not so well able or prepared to resist; that if he consented to be taken on such conditions others would have no security and would have to flee to Canada and perhaps starve. If therefore his liberty could be purchased for two cents he would not do it, but stand his ground and try the strength of the law.

On October 27, Dr. William Bowditch took William to the Lorings to be reunited with his wife, whom he had not seen since the Judge signed the warrant for their arrest. Since the Lorings were not home, William Craft refused to unknowingly endanger them by staying at their house. Mary R. Carson wrote the Crafts stayed at another house that evening before returning to Boston the following day.

Over the course of a few days, the Crafts hid from the slave catchers at various locations throughout Boston, some of which are unknown. However, William likely returned to the Hayden's house while Ellen moved to a house in the South End, possibly Rev. Theodore Parker’s house. Despite their schemes to apprehend the Crafts, the slave catchers did not capture William and Ellen Craft and left the city on November 1.[12]

Portrait of Theodore Parker.The Crafts' friend Rev. Theodore Parker married them before they left Boston. (Credit: Massachusetts Historical Society)

November 1850: The Haydens' House, 66 Southac Street, Boston, Massachusetts

For their own safety and with the support of Boston abolitionists, the Crafts decided to leave Boston for England. In recalling their time in Boston, William Craft wrote,

We shall always cherish the deepest feelings of gratitude to the Vigilance Committee of Boston (upon which were many of the leading abolitionists), and also to our numerous friends, for the very kind and noble manner in which they assisted us to preserve our liberties and to escape from Boston.

On November 7, before they left the city, William and Ellen remarried "according to the laws of a free State." Abolitionist and friend Reverend Theodore Parker agreed to marry them, possibly at the Hayden House. After the ceremony, Parker gave William a revolver and a dirk-knife to protect himself and his wife. [13]

Aerial view of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax served as the Crafts' last stop before traveling to England. (Credit: Library of Congress)

November-December, 1850: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Leaving Boston, the Crafts travelled north, first stopping in Portland, Maine. Then they continued to St. John's, New Brunswick, followed by Windsor, Nova Scotia, where they took a coach to Halifax. While on this journey, the coach broke down resulting in the Crafts missing their steamer for England by two hours.

Forced to wait two weeks for the next steamer headed to England, the Crafts stayed in Halifax. Arriving at an inn, Ellen got them a room, knowing the landlady may not give a room to William due to the color of his skin. Seeing William join Ellen shocked the landlady and pro-slavery guests. The landlady allowed the Crafts to spend the night but requested they leave the next day out of fear she may lose customers. The Crafts agreed as long as she provided them with an alternative place to stay.

Since no other inn or hotel in the town accepted them as guests, the landlady found a Black family for the Crafts to stay with. Reverend Cannady and his wife welcomed Ellen and William into their home, allowing them to recover after getting ill from their journey.

When the end of the two weeks neared, the Crafts faced another obstacle of obtaining tickets. Not until Mr. Francis Jackson, a friend from Boston and a member of the Vigilance Committee, contacted an acquaintance in Halifax to assist them did the Crafts acquire tickets to Liverpool.[14]

Picture of the American exhibit at the Great Exhibition.The Crafts attended the Great Exhibition to advocate against slavery. This picture depicts the United States' exhibit. (Credit: British Library)

c. 1850-1870: England, United Kingdom

Once the Crafts arrived in Liverpool, they stayed with Reverend Francis Bishop and his wife for two to three weeks until Ellen recovered from the journey. Having received a letter from Samuel May about William and Ellen Craft, Mr. Estlin invited the Crafts to his family's home in Bristol.

In England, they began a new life together, having five children. Mr. Estlin and others helped the Crafts go to school. They attended Ockham School in Surrey for a few years, both as learners and as teachers in their respective crafts: carpentry and sewing.

They also continued to speak out against slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law. The Crafts occasionally joined their friend William Wells Brown at speaking engagements around Great Britain. In June 1851, William and Ellen, along with Brown, attended the Great Exhibition to advocate against slavery. British abolitionist William Farmer wrote to William Lloyd Garrison about the Crafts at the exhibition, describing how the Crafts and Brown walked arm in arm with their British anti-slavery friends: "This arrangement was purposely made in order that there might be no appearance of patronizing the fugitives, but that it might be shown that we regarded them as our equals, and honored them for their heroic escape from Slavery." This sight proved shocking to some witnesses, especially American slaveholders attending the Exhibition.

Ten years later, in 1860, they published the narrative of their self-liberation entitled Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; Or the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery. This book provides a first-hand account of the Crafts' escape to freedom in 1848 and their attempted capture in Boston in 1850 followed by their journey to England.[15]

Newspaper clip about Woodville Co-operative Farm School.This newspaper clip describes the Co-operative Farm School the Crafts opened in Georgia. (Credit: Evening Post, New York)

1870s: Co-operative Farm School, Woodville, Georgia

After living in England for almost twenty years, the Crafts decided to move back to the United States. William, Ellen, and their family first stopped in Boston to meet with friends, and then they traveled south to settle in Georgia, their home state. With the help of friends, the Crafts founded the Woodville Co-operative Farm School in 1873 to educate and employ newly emancipated men and women. While operating this school, funders accused William of personally spending money intended for the school, resulting in William suing them for libel in 1878. This action proved fruitless, and it also resulted in the loss of friends. [16]

Print portraits of Ellen and William CraftPortraits of Ellen and William Craft. (Credit: William Still, 1886)

c.1880s-1900: Charleston, South Carolina

Due to the lack of financial support, as well as low cotton prices, the Crafts could no longer afford the farm and moved to Charleston to live the rest of their lives with their daughter and her family. Ellen died in 1891 and William died in 1900.

The Crafts' ingenious story of escape became well known and proved to be an example for others fleeing slavery. Once free, they used a public platform to advocate against slavery, and through their book they hoped to encourage "a deeper abhorrence of the sinful and abominable practice of enslaving and brutifying our fellow-creatures." William and Ellen Craft's lives embody the drive and relentless spirit of many freedom seekers.[17]

Beacon Hill and West End neighborhoods of Boston


[1] William Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (337 Strand, London: William Tweedie, 1860),, 13, 2, 16, 27, 29.

Image: William Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records: With a Life of the Author. Narrating the Hardships, Hairbreadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom (United States: William Still, 1886),, 368.

[2] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 29, 30, 31.

Image: Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.

[3] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 41, 42, 43-45; “The Crafts: An Extraordinary Path to Freedom,” The Savannah College for Arts and Design,; Marion Smith Holmes, “The Great Escape from Slavery of Ellen and William Craft,” Smithsonian Magazine, June 16, 2010,

Image: Rand Mcnally And Company, and Tennessee Virginia, “The Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia Air Line; the Shenandoah Valley R.R.; Norfolk & Western R.R.; East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia R.R. its leased lines, and their connections” (Chicago, 1882), Map, Library of Congress,

[4] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 45-46, 48-50.

Image: “Daily U.S. Mail Steam-Packet Line,” Savannah Republic (Savannah, Georgia), January 12, 1850, Genealogy Bank.

[5] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 54-56; Holmes, “The Great Escape from Slavery of Ellen and William Craft,” Smithsonian Magazine.

Image: George N. Barnard, “Charleston, S.C. The Post Office (old Exchange and Custom House, 122 East Bay),” 1865 [April], Library of Congress,

[6] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 58, 61, 68.

Image: United States Congress, House of Representatives, “Skeleton map showing the rail roads completed and in progress in the United States and their connection as proposed with the harbor of Pensacola, and its relative position to the various important ports on the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast and in the West Indies” (Washington?, 1848), Map, Library of Congress,

[7] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 70, 71, 73; William Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records: With a Life of the Author. Narrating the Hardships, Hairbreadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom (United States: William Still, 1886),, 369.

Image: Edward King and James Wells Champney, “The Great South: a Record of Journeys In Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, And Maryland” (Hartford, Conn.: American Pub. Co., 1875),, 733.

[8] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 79, 82, 83, 85-86; “The Crafts: An Extraordinary Path to Freedom,” The Savannah College for Arts and Design.

Image: William E. Morris, and Robert Pearsall Smith, “Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania: from surveys” (Philadelphia: R.P. Smith, 1850), Map, Library of Congress,

[9] Stephen Kantrowitz, More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889 (New York: Penguin, 2012), 185; Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records, 370; Kathryn Grover and Janine V. Da Silva, "Historic Resource Study: Boston African American National Historic Site," Boston African American National Historic Site, (2002) 132; “The Crafts: An Extraordinary Path to Freedom,” The Savannah College for Arts and Design; Barbara McCaskill, "William and Ellen Craft (1824-1900; 1826-1891)," New Georgia Encyclopedia, July 16, 2020, accessed 19 August 2020,; “The Fugitives in Kingston,” The Liberator (Boston, Massachusetts), February 9, 1849, Genealogy Bank; “William and Ellen Craft,” The Liberator, March 2, 1849, Genealogy Bank; “Welcome to the Fugitives,” The Liberator, April 6, 1849, Genealogy Bank.

Image: United States Census Bureau, "United States Census, 1850," database with images, Genealogy Bank, Boston, ward 6, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.

[10] “The Fugitive Slave Law,” Boston Courier, October 26, 1850, Genealogy Bank; “John Knight’s Account of the Attempt to Recover Craft,” Daily Atlas (Boston, MA), November 22, 1850, 2, Genealogy Bank; Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 89-90; Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records, 371; McCaskill, "William and Ellen Craft (1824-1900; 1826-1891);" “A Story of the Fugitive Slaves the Escape of William and Ellen Craft” Worcester Daily Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), January 26, 1890, 6, Genealogy Bank; "Local Affairs," Boston Daily Times, October 29, 1850. 2, Genealogy Bank.

Image: “The Fugitive Slave Law,” Boston Courier, October 26, 1850.

[11] Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records, 373; "A Story of the Fugitive Slaves the Escape of William and Ellen Craft" Worcester Daily Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), January 26, 1890, 6, Genealogy Bank; Grover and Da Silva, "Historic Resource Study: Boston African American National Historic Site," 133-134; Harold Parker Williams, "Brookline in the Anti-Slavery Movement," Brookline Historical Publication Society no.18 (1899),

Image: Massachusetts Historical Society, "Illustration: George S. Hillard,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 19, January 1, 1881,

[12] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 89, 90; Grover and Da Silva, "Historic Resource Study: Boston African American National Historic Site," 133-135; “Fugitive Slave Excitement,” Massachusetts Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), October 30, 1850, 2, Genealogy Bank; "News Article," Boston Herald, November 1, 1850, 4, Genealogy Bank; “A Story of the Fugitive Slaves the Escape of William and Ellen Craft” Worcester Daily Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), January 26, 1890, 6, Genealogy Bank; Vincent Yardley Bowditch, Life and Correspondence of Henry Ingersoll Bowditch (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1902),, 373; Kantrowitz, More Than Freedom, 186; “Proposal to Buy William and Ellen Craft,” Pennsylvania Freeman (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), November 28, 1850, Genealogy Bank; “John Knight’s Account of the Attempt to Recover Craft,” Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), November 22, 1850, 2, Genealogy Bank; “Fugitive Slave Matters,” Worcester Palladium (Worcester, Massachusetts), November 6, 1850, Genealogy Bank.

Image: J. Slatter, B. Callan, Matthew Dripps, Lemuel Nichols Ide, and Ferd, Mayer & Co., "Map of the city of Boston, Massts., 1852." (New York/Boston, M. Dripps/L.N. Ide 1852), Map. Digital Commonwealth,

[13] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 93; Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records, 371; “Marriage of the Two Fugitive Slaves,” Spirit of Jefferson (Charles Town, West Virginia), November 12, 1850, 3, Genealogy Bank; Grover and Da Silva, "Historic Resource Study: Boston African American National Historic Site," 135.

Image: Massachusetts Historical Society, “Theodore Parker,”

[14] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 101-102, 104-106, 106-107.

Image: A. Ruger, “Panoramic view of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia” (N.P, 1879), Map, Library of Congress,

[15] Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, 108-109; “From the London Morning Advertiser. William and Ellen Craft,” The Liberator, September 26, 1851, 4, Genealogy Bank; Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records, 375; McCaskill, "William and Ellen Craft (1824-1900; 1826-1891);" Holmes, “The Great Escape from Slavery of Ellen and William Craft,” Smithsonian Magazine; “Arrival of William and Ellen Craft in England,” The Liberator, January 24, 1851, Genealogy Bank.

Image: Louis Haghe, Joseph Nash, and David Roberts, “Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851, from the originals painted for ... Prince Albert, by Messrs. Nash, Haghe and Roberts,” (London: 1854), British Library,

[16] McCaskill, "William and Ellen Craft (1824-1900; 1826-1891);" “Two Schools for Negroes,” Evening Post (New York, New York), January 3, 1876, Genealogy Bank; “The Colored School of William and Ellen Crafts” Evening Post (New York, New York), March 21, 1874, Genealogy Bank.

Image: “Two Schools for Negroes,” Evening Post (New York, New York), January 3, 1876.

[17] McCaskill, "William and Ellen Craft (1824-1900; 1826-1891);" Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, iii-iv.

Image: Still, Still's Underground Rail Road Records, 368.

Boston African American National Historic Site

Last updated: January 7, 2023