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Historic Preservation

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

Prince William County offers residents and visitors the opportunity to learn more about the Underground Railroad at two of the County-owned historic sites. Rippon Lodge and Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre are members of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Leesylvania State Park is also a member. The Network to Freedom is a program established by the National Park Service to tell the story of resistance against the institution of slavery in the United States through escape and flight.

Local Connections to the Underground Railroad

Rippon Lodge was named to the Network to Freedom because Thomas Blackburn owner of Rippon Lodge from 1775 to 1807 placed ads for the return of enslaved African Americans that fled his property. The advertisements were placed in the Alexandria Gazette and offered rewards for runaway slaves. 

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre is also a Network to Freedom site. Many enslaved African Americans were imprisoned tried and executed at the courthouse in the 19th century. Learn more about the stories of resistance here in Prince William County and the many tragic events at the courthouse.

The Network to Freedom program is sponsored by the National Park Service. Experts with the parks provide many resources to help citizens explore the divisive issue of slavery and how it influenced the history of the United States. They also provide support to local jurisdictions in developing education and interpretive programs at sites included in the Network to Freedom. 

Prince William County recommends you continue your exploration of this topic by visiting the Journey Through Hallowed Ground. This project offers resources travel information and literature about historic events in our nation.


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