Underground Railroad Tour

I'm on my way to Canada

by Dr. Joshua McCarter Simpson (1860)

(Sung to the tune of Oh! Suzannah!)

I'm on my way to Canada that cold and dreary land,

The dire effects of slavery I can no longer stand,

My soul is vexed within me more To think that I'm a slave,

I'm now resolved to strike the blow for freedom, or the grave.

Oh, righteous father, wilt thou not pity me,

And aid me on to Canada, where colored men are free.

I heard the Queen of England say If we would all forsake

Our native land of slavery and come across the lake,

That she was standing on the shore with arms extended wide,

To give us all a peaceful home beyond the rolling tide.

Farewell old master, that's enough for me,

I'm going straight to Canada where colored men are free.

Grieve not my wife, grieve not for me, Oh, do not break my heart

For nought but cruel slavery would cause me to depart,

If I should stay to quell your grief, your grief I would augment,

For no one knows the day that we asunder may be rent.

Oh, Susannah don't cry after me, I'm going up to Canada where colored men are free.

I served my master all my days, without a dime's reward,

But now I'm forced to run away to flee the lash abhored,

The hounds are baying on my track, the master just behind,

Resolved that he will bring me back before I cross the line.

Oh, old master don't come after me

I'm going up to Canada where colored men are free.

Samuel Wilson and his wife Sally (née Nesmith) were descended from the Pilgrims who had settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1719. After 13 years of hard life in New England, the Wilsons set off in 1828 for the milder climate and more fertile soil of Ohio, settling first in Columbia, and then…
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On the Road to FreedomIt started in Petersburg, in Boone Co., Kentucky.  John Fairfield, a white man, and a slave rescuer for hire, engaged in the subterfuge of buying poultry for market for several weeks in an area of the county. Being white and in Kentucky, he was assumed to be pro-slavery and…
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Several years earlier, in 1835, Henry Bibb made his first escape attempt when he was hired out to Mr. Vires, who lived on a nearby farm in Newcastle, Kentucky. Although he was hoping to reach Canada with great ease, Bibb was captured in less than twenty-four hours, whipped and placed in isolation.…
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The Gammon House is one of only 3 existing Ohio “stops” on the Underground Railroad owned by a free person of color. It was built in 1850, the same year that the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, imposing fines and imprisonment on any person aiding a runaway slave. George Gammon and his wife Sarah…
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