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    1. [NE Railroads] "Black History Month" (U. Railroad)
    2. Ms Betty Fredericks
    3. Hello,   We have had "Black History Month" each February for a while now.      In this morning's  MassMoments e-mail,  there is a story which is about one person who was involved with the "Underground Railroad."   This web site gives a better mention of how long the "Underground Railroad" went on  (1780-1862):   An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a "society of Quakers, formed for such purposes." The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed "The Underground Railroad," after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called "stations" and "depots" and were run by "stationmasters," those who contributed money or goods were "stockholders," and the "conductor" was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.   I became more interested in the "Underground Railroad"  while trying to find out more about my ancestors'  large HUTCHINSON Farm in what is now Winchester, MA.      After the original farmhouse burned down in 1880's a replacement farmhouse was built.    It was definitely not as nice,  but I liked living in it in the 1940's as a child.    My father's grandmother had inherited it in 1930's,  and her adult, disabled son lived there with her.     One day he showed me the "secret room" up in the attic.    I wondered for many years why a .secret room.  was needed.    So I wondered whether it was because of the Underground RR.    But the house was built too late for that.    It was just 2 yrs. ago when someone gave me a good suggestion.    If it was a large farm with many farmworkers and servants,  the families needed .secret room.  to keep their valuables in.     (I have found out that I seem to be the only one who my uncle showed the .secret room. to.     You had to go into the closet of the Master Bedroom, open a small door,  go up tight, steep stairs into the very small room with a shelf and drawers.)   FYI:    The "History of Billerica" mentions that a "black employee" was in the town very early on,  and possibly they were in the "History of Chelmsford" -  both inc.  1655.    I believe the man in Billerica was freed after the death of his owner.   Betty                     (near Lowell, MA)   (on Lists and Boards for 10 yrs.;   now an Admin for 9 Lists and 3 Boards, including a Board for  New-England-Research, already a List for NewEngGen)   (remember to search for "New England"  in  "Find a List")

    02/14/2012 07:15:25