Tubman’s Underground Railroad Routes

<i>Map of part of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware from the best authorities</i>

A 1861 map of part of eastern Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. The superimposed dashed red lines traces two main byways that Harriet Tubman used on her southern Underground Railroad routes. She followed the creeks, rivers, and waterways of the Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Baltimore. Tubman also followed the Choptank River into the small towns of Delaware and then traveled north to Wilimington. Source: Library of Congress, LCCN Permalink.

Harriet Tubman relied on her own deep knowledge of the terrain and waterways of the Eastern Shore to assist her family and friends to feedom. Her southern Underground Railroad routes included the Choptank River and the Chesapeake Bay. Sailing to Baltimore numerous times, she was never intercepted despite the busyiness of the Bay and its inlets. Overland routes through Maryland included the small villages of Preston, Federalsburg, East New Market, Denton, and Greensboro. In Delaware, Tubman moved through Willow Grove, Camden, Dover, Smyrna, and New Castle. In these small towns, Tubman received shelter from ardent abolitionists and Underground Railroad stationmasters, including the Reverend Samuel Green in East New Market and Henry Cogwill in Willow Grove.

Her main northern Underground Railroad route included stops in Wilmington, Delaware; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City; and small towns in upstate New York. She found allies in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, dedicated people willing to assist her. Tubman relied on this network of individuals to provide safe houses, clothing, food, and money for the freedom seekers. Those who helped her were both everyday people whose names are lost to us and well-known abolitionists and conductors including Thomas Garrett (Wilmington), Lucretia Coffin Mott (Philadelphia), William Still (Philadelphia), Sydney Howard Gay (New York City), Stephen and Harriet Myers (Albany), and Frederick Douglass (Rochester).[1]


[1]Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Routes, Wilbur H. Siebert Underground Railroad Collection, Ohio History Connection, accessed March 10, 2019, https://www.ohiomemory.org/digital/collection/siebert/id/26822/rec/2.

Click on the star icons to see the Underground Railroad stations that Harriet Tubman used in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Canada.

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
Tubman’s Underground Railroad Routes