The mob from neighboring Dorchester County would tar and feather Leverton, the Quaker abolitionist, then run him out of the state.
But if they could lay hold of Hubbard, the free black man, they would carry him to Cambridge and hang him merely on suspicion.
[ A Caroline Digital History Project collaboration with the Caroline County Historical Society ]
The secret but highly successful Leverton-Hubbard Underground Railroad (UGRR) Network near the village of Preston in Caroline County helped numerous enslaved African Americans escape to freedom from c. 1840 to 1858.
Most biographers of Harriet Tubman believe that the Leverton-Hubbard UGRR Network assisted Tubman’s escape in 1849 from nearby Poplar Neck in Caroline County.
The network was led by the Levertons, a Quaker family, and Daniel Hubbard, a free black. Operating like a railroad, self-liberating slaves were assisted between the homes or “stations” of network “agents” by “conductors.”
The Leverton-Hubbard UGRR Network Station House (a.k.a. the Jacob and Hannah Leverton Dwelling) was the epicenter of 1,300 contiguous acres owned by multiple white and black UGRR agents that served as a refuge from slave catchers. No similar enclave is documented in Maryland.
William T. Kelley, an agent in the Leverton-Hubbard UGRR Network in the 1850s, recalled the Network in a 1902 letter. Kelley wrote: “Jacob Leaverton (sic) and his wife, Hannah… were noted abolitionists. Their home was the main stopping place for the Underground Railroad in our neighborhood…. Whenever [self-liberators] did come to us… often showing evidences of cruelty… stained with blood… we fed, we clothed, and directed them onwards toward the North Star, which we particularly requested them to learn…. They were conveyed from here to the next station or settlement of Friends by Arthur Leaverton (sic)…. [Other] fugitives were directed to Daniel Hubbard’s house… a worthy, free colored man, a ship carpenter…”.
Kelley further described one self-liberator at the Leverton-Hubbard Station House: “…a bright colored girl walked up… She had bloodstains on her garments caused by punishment…. She was taken in, fed and clothed, [and Jacob Leverton that night drove her north by wagon].”
Other sources described the dramatic end of the Leverton-Hubbard Network. An article in the Easton Gazette of January 23, 1858 entitled “Departure of a Conductor of the Under Ground” stated that a mob from neighboring Dorchester County, intent on “tar and feathers,” forced Arthur Leverton to “make tracks for parts unknown.”
The Friends Intelligencer of March 27, 1858 reported: “The mob not being glutted in their thirst for revenge, pitched upon two free colored men, one of whom was Daniel Hubbard…. There was a party of fifty which could be increased to five hundred, who were ready to carry him to Cambridge, and hang him merely on suspicion.” UGRR agent Kelley stated that both Hubbard and Leverton “barely escaped lynching.”
Arthur Leverton fled to Indiana and Daniel Hubbard to Philadelphia. They sold their farms in Maryland for 50% of value and never returned. Arthur’s father, Jacob Leverton, had already died of pnemonia contracted during a legal suit brought by an aggrieved slaveowner, and Jacob’s widow Hannah also left for Indiana. A UGRR agent captured a few months later in 1858 in Caroline County was sentenced in Dorchester County to 44 years in prison.
Stand in the Place
Daniel Hubbard & Arthur Leverton
The Tubman Byway is a self-guided driving tour that winds for 125 miles through the beautiful landscapes and waterscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Harriet Tubman would still recognize many places in the mosaic of waterways, forests, and fields. Stops along the byway make it possible to learn about the lives of enslaved and free blacks, abolitionists, and slave holders, as well as escape routes used by Tubman and her fellow freedom seekers.
The mill was situated amid a secret network of safe houses: the Levertons, the Hubbards and the Kelleys on the west side, and Harriet Tubman’s parents Ben and Rit Ross at Poplar Neck on the east side. The mill dam provided a possible crossing point over Hunting Creek for fugitives headed to the Ross home at Poplar Neck, to Marsh Creek Church or Preston and beyond. Site #23 on the Harriett Tubman Byway Tour.
Leverton-Hubbard UGRR Station House
The Leverton-Hubbard UGRR Station House (Jacob and Hannah Leverton Dwelling) is the only documented surviving UGRR station house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This is Site #22 on the Harriett Tubman Byway Tour, located at 3531 Seaman Road near Preston. The dwelling is privately owned and not open to the public but can be viewed from Seaman Road.