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Parsons Pitney
Underground Railroad?

We've bought an 1850 colonial farmhouse in need of cosmetic help. This is also our first home. We've spoke with neighbors who insist that the previous, previous owner claimed it was part of the underground railroad. . . there is also 4 concrete/cement slabs in the yard that have a wire coming out of it(with the wire coming out of it I'm a little hesitant to open it up), what could this possibly be? Any ideas on how I could find the history of this house, its obviously not in its original condition but before we side the house I'd like to find out if I should be preserving it, thanks for your help.

Re: Underground Railroad?

You didn't mention your location, but Quakers were often involved with the underground railroad. If their is a meeting house around, they might have records. Research at local libraries, historical societies and maybe the courthouse if the people were caught and prosecuted could shed light.
As far as the slabs, how big are they and how are they arranged.

Parsons Pitney
Re: Underground Railroad?

Wowza, I've got some hunting to do. . . as for the concrete, they're about 8inches wide maybe 3 feet long and all fused together, when your in our basement there is a opening in the foundation in the direction of where they're placed in the yard, the path has crumbled fallen rock in that area, haven't gotten the courage to attempt moving the crumbles. When I was speaking with one of the neighbors they said that there was a spiral staircase and a turntable but the basement now has new concrete floor. There is also a quarry a hop skip and jump away from our house, sorry if this sounds so out there being a new home owner I maybe just grasping for anything, I'd love to preserve the history of this home that has not yet been destroyed. We're located in Lancaster County, Pa.

A. Spruce
Re: Underground Railroad?

Unfortunately, the person most qualified to answer this question is no longer on this forum. She was well educated and experienced with historic structures and homes of which you describe and would have been able to direct you in your search.

Re: Underground Railroad?

The concrete planks sound like they might be covering an old well or septic/cess pool. Moving them to check might tell. If done recently, the county may have records of an abandoned well.
The gravel up to the house with an opening in the foundation sounds like it could have been a coal chute.

Re: Underground Railroad?

I don't know how your County/State keeps their records but the history of our homes are kept at our local courthouse.(Clerk of Court's Office) You can go there and ask to do research on your home. You can ask how far the records go back.

Then you can go to or call the local Historical Societies if they have one in your area and see if they have any old information on your home.

You can also go to your Public Library and check out their local history area and see if they have any information on your home.

You could also call your local Chamber of Commerence and see if they have any records or know where history records would be located in your area.

Your State generally has good history records so maybe they will have local records.

Check with Rootsweb.com for records for your State/County as records for your area are posted and you are also able to post a question on the boards for your area.

Good Luck!

Re: Underground Railroad?

You have more patience than I have...I would have opened it up when I first saw it. I would check with a local government official though, I think this is your best bet.

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