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Mary Ritner Boarding House/John Brown House

Members of the Ritner family of Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, were Underground Railroad activists who made their property available during the summer of 1859 to abolitionist John Brown and his associates while they planned their ill-fated raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry on October 16 of that year. Abram Ritner, son of the Commonwealth's anti-slavery Governor Joseph Ritner, is described as both a "conductor" on the UGRR and as an actual conductor on the region's interstate railroad, which was one of the earliest established in the country. Purchased in 1849, the Ritner home was operated as a boarding house as early as 1852 by Mary Ritner, Abram Ritner's widow. She is reported to have aided scores of freedom seekers there. While in Chambersburg, John Brown pruchased tools and brought in weapons which were transported to his attack headquarters in Maryland, a few miles from Harper's Ferry. Over his stay in Chambersburg, Brown was visited by Frederick Douglass whom Brown unsuccessfully tried to recruit for the attack.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 225 East King St, Chambersburg, 17201

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Ann Hull

Location Type: Site

UGRR Operatives: John Brown,Mary Ritner