James A. Banks et al., United States Adventures in Time and Space (New York: Macmillan McGraw-Hill, 1997).
Levi Coffin, a Quaker from Indiana , was one of many people who helped slaves to escape. His wife, Catherine Coffin fed, clothed, and hid the slaves in their house. What they did took great courage. If caught, they could have been hanged. Because their work was so secret, we will never know how many people actually worked or escaped on the Underground Railroad.
In 1849, Harriet Tubman heard that she and other slaves on her Maryland plantation were to be sold further south. Tubman knew that life was even harder for slaves on the large cotton plantations there. She told her husband, John, ‘There's two things I've a right to: death or liberty. One or the other I mean to have. No one will take me back alive.' Tubman fled from the plantation in the middle of the night and headed for the house of a white woman known to help escaping slaves. The woman gave her two slips of paper with the names of families on the route north who would help her. These were Tubman's first ‘railroad rickets.' Tubman traveled at night, mostly through swamps and woodlands. After traveling 90 miles, she reached the free soil of Pennsylvania. Tubman returned many times to guide her family and many others to freedom. She was given the nickname, ‘Moses,' after the Hebrew prophet who led his people out of slavery in Egypt. Thousands of dollars were offered for Tubman's capture. More than 300 slaves owed their freedom to her.