Blog-4

Melanie with Karen Coffey

Exploring Underground Railroad Stations in Liberty, Indiana

(Written January 2009)

This week I’ve been researching for my historical novel set in Liberty, Indiana. The story is about a Quaker woman who ran a station on the Underground Railroad so the past few days I’ve been living at the beautiful Carriage Lamp B & B in Liberty and immersing myself in what life would have been like here in 1850.

Liberty is a special place, steeped in history, and the people of Liberty have a beautiful heritage of ancestors who fought quietly for freedom by risking their lives to harbor runaway slaves on their way to freedom in Canada before the Civil War.

I’ve explored old cemeteries and waterways, crawled into secret rooms and hiding places, learned how to cook on an open hearth, hiked along a canal path, read mounds of old articles, and met some amazing people who have opened up their homes and family history for me.

A special thanks to Karen Coffey, researcher extraordinaire at the Liberty Public Library, who opened up doors and gave me a personal tour of the area as well as an incredible amount of information about her family and the history of the Underground Railroad in Liberty.

My sister said that what I’m doing sounds too much like writing a research paper, but I reminded her that I used to like writing research papers!

Here are some of the almost 300 pictures I’ve taken:

LIberty's Quaint Downtown
The Wonderful Logue Family. Their Home Was a Major Station on the UR with Hiding Places in Floor, Closet, Staircase, Dumbwaiter.
Entrance to Logue’s Attic Was Through a Closet and Rope Ladder If They Saw Slave Hunters Approaching, The Runaways Could Climb Through a Trapdoor in Roof, Down an Exterior Ladder, and Race into The Woods Out Back
Levi Coffin’s Home, “The President of the Underground Railroad”
Secret Door in Levi Coffin’s Home Runaway Slaves Would Hide in Garret, Bed Would Hide Door
Hiding Place in Levi Coffin's Home
Runaway Slaves Were Hidden and Transported under the False Bottom of This Wagon
The Huddleston House Was Filled with 19th Century Relics
Quaker Carriage from 1830s
Anna (my main character) Lives on a Creek Just Like This
Indoor Well and Springhouse
Karen Coffey, Researcher Extraordinaire