Underground Railroad Conference to Feature Talk by Local Historian About Elkton Slave Catcher

An 1857 runaway slave ad from Dorchester County.

One of the speakers at this year at this year’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference is a local historian, Milt Diggins.  The conference, which takes place in Cambridge on June 1st and 2nd, will feature a talk by the author and retired educator.  Milt will present original research into the story of Thomas McCreary, a kidnapper and slave-catcher operating out of Elkton, Maryland, who was active a few years before and after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  This history offers a view of slave hunting and dealing in the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware areas and its political ramifications.  It tells of McCreary’s most famous kidnapping, that of the Parker sisters in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the mention of McCreary in the treason trial of Castner Hanway, a Pennsylvanian who refused to help a posse search for a runaway slave.

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