Franklin Street Wharf - Portland, ME
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 43° 39.502 W 070° 14.961
19T E 399261 N 4834687
Quick Description: There are sixteen underground railroad markers arrayed throughout downtown Portland. This one marks the beginning of a walking trail leading through the series.
Location: Maine, United States
Date Posted: 6/10/2015 6:22:30 AM
Waymark Code: WMP1HB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 9

Long Description:
This marker is located at a small plaza on Commercial street at the land end of the Maine State Pier. It is one of sixteen that make up a walking trail highlighting the people, places and events associated with the Underground Railroad and the anti-slavery movement in Portland.

Franklin Street Wharf

Landing spot for many passengers on the underground railroad and embarkation point for their transit to Canada and England.

Anti-slavery sympathizers were well organized to greet stowaways from southern cargo vessels, find them safe housing in Portland, supply clothing and passes and send them on to Canada. The wharfs and ships of Portland employed large numbers of African Americans, providing well paying jobs, thus adding to community stability.

Below is a bit of the history associated with this site with regard to its place on the underground railroad.

Franklin Street Wharf

It was fairly common for slaves to come to Maine traveling as stowaways on vessels from southern ports. Consequently, Portland became the center of several hidden routesto Canada. In the fall of 1857, Her Majesty's Brig "Albion Cooper" loaded with lumbar from Savannah, Georgia docked in the stream opposite the Franklin Street Wharf. The vessel commanded by Captain Smith had stopped in Portland two days after leaving Savannah after discovering a runaway slave was concealed on the ship.

When he arrived in Portland, Captain Smith consulted Samuel Waterhouse, a clothing dealer on Fore Street. Samuel Waterhouse along with Daniel Fessenden, Edward P. Banks, Samuel A. Whittier, and Charles H.L. Pierre arranged for a small mob of anti-slavery supporters and African American men to board the ship under the cover of night to rescue the runaway. They took him to the "head of Hancock Street” concealing him until the next morning when he could be sent to Canada.

The boats running between Portland and the Canadian provinces were made use of to help runaways to their freedom, especially as they were often provided with boat tickets. Sailing vessels were also able to furnish free passage and carried the majority of the passengers that went from Portland.

The shipping industry served as a primary employer of African American men providing the best paying jobs available as stevedores, long-shore men, and sailors. Before 1860, up to 30% of the U.S. maritime forces were comprised of African American men. Compared to their white counterparts, black men were generally older, more reliable, stable family men who were the pillars of their communities and often deeply committed to the temperance movement.
From the Portland Freedom Trail

Address and /or location:
Eastern Promenade Trail Commercial Street & Franklin Street Portland, ME USA 04101

Who put it there (Sponsor): Maine Freedom Trails, Inc

Date (Erected or Dediated): 2007

Visit Instructions:
1) A new photo taken by you. Make it a quality one. You do not have to be in it, nor your hand held.
2) Some new insight to the history, and/or your personal experience finding the site.
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