Come and take a journey to the past with me.

Where Can You Find the Largest Monument to the Underground Railroad?

04 June 2010

The nation's largest monument to the Underground Railroad can be found in Battle Creek, Michigan.  The 28 foot long and 14 foot high bronze statue was made possible by the generosity of the WK Kellogg Foundation and Glenn A. Cross Estate.  Sculptor Ed Dwight's monument can be found near WK Kellogg's House, entrance off of W. Van Buren Street.  The lovely park like setting with flower-lined pathways showcases the beauty of the statue.  A information kiosk is on site to provide further information.

This statue honors the men and women who operated the Underground Railroad.  Specifically,  Harriet Tubman and Erastus and Sarah Hussey.  Harriet Tubman, best known conductor of the Underground Railroad, travelled the country helping slaves, but never came to Battle Creek.

Erastus and Sarah Hussey were local conductors of the Underground Railroad.  Erastus Hussey claimed to have helped 1000 slaves as they passed through Battle Creek.  Battle Creek, Michigan was one of the underground railroad stops that fugitive slaves used on their way to Canada. 

The statue depicts scenes of families escaping by horse drawn wagon, moving through a forest and seeking refuge in a cellar.
During the 1840's and 1850's historians estimate that 1500 fugitive slaves passed through Battle Creek.

If you are ever in Battle Creek, add the Underground Railroad Monument to you list to see.  And if the jeopardy answer is 'you will find the largest monument to the underground railroad here'  You can say, "What is Battle Creek, Michigan?"


Betty DeRamus said...

One 19th century history of Calhoun County called Battle Creek a place where fugitive slaves "could have been escorted through the town to the accompaniment of a brass band and a hallelujah chorus without fear of arrest." It was definitely a town whose people believed in freedom by any means.

Barbara Poole said...

Brenda, I am now proud that my ancestors settled in that area. What nice history, and I do watch Jeopardy.

Brenda Leyndyke said...

Betty, Thanks for the info-I learned something new.

Barbara, There is a lot to be proud of in Battle Creek's history.

Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogist said...

Thanks for this info. I know where the Kansas passage was, but lived in Michigan and never new about this one. Of course that was in the 80's, and I was much more into boys than history. (Heck I often didn't even know their history)LOL

Brenda Leyndyke said...

I, too, have learned more about this recently.

Mavis said...

Thanks, interesting information that I didn't know about Battle Creek, MI's role.

Brenda Leyndyke said...

I think a few people are surprised by Battle Creek's role. I know I was when I first moved here.

Kammy's Korner said...

Hi Brenda! Almost 3 years ago, we purchased a property near Parma, MI that we recently discovered was part of the underground railroad. We own a "home" next door to our house that was once Gidley Station (Townsend E. Gidley) and it is mentioned in a newly published book by Linda Hass whichfocuses on the underground railroad in JAckson county. We have a root cellar on our property and I was wondering if it had a connection to this monument? Do you know what cellar this monument was modeled after? IF you're interested in seeing it in present day it's on my blog here:http://www.kammyskorner.com/2016/06/root-cellar-landscaping-dramatic-before.html The house we live in was originally built by Peter Ver Valin from Poughkeepsie, NY. Townsend Gidley was also from Poughkeepsie. Hussey mentions Gidley as the main underground railroad stop between Battle Creek and Jackson. Maybe none of this is news to you. It is to me, so I"m just trying to find more out! :) Thanks for any help!

Kammy's Korner said...

Not sure if you can contact me through that comment:
kammyskorner at gmail dot com

Post a Comment