Underground Railroad Sites in St. Mary's County

September is International Underground Railroad Month. Visit some of St. Mary's County's nationally recognized Underground Railroad sites and learn about their history and the roles they played in the Underground Railroad.

The Old Jail Museum

A National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site. The Old Jail was built in 1876 and was in use through 1945. Runaway slaves were often held in public jails until their owners retrieved them or they were sold in compensation for the cost of care. Five stories of runaway slaves are connected with this jail.

Watch the Museum Division's Wayback Wednesday video about the Old Jail Museum here.

Read about the history and role of the Old Jail Museum in connection with the Underground Railroad here.

Click here for more information on the Old Jail Museum.

Historic Sotterely Plantation

National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site. Historic Sotterley's 1830's slave cabin exemplifies typical slave housing in the Tidewater region yet also features unique architectural elements. The interpretive program incorporates the story of the Kane Family's time at Historic Sotterley which spanned the pre and post -Civil War Eras. The site also features a main dwelling and numerous outbuildings dating from the early 18th through the early 20th centuries. Tours focusing on African-American life at Historic Sotterley by advance arrangement.

What Historic Sotterley is doing during International Underground Railroad Month:


- The Big Picture Facebook Live event, every Thursday in September at 2PM, will be dedicated to stories of flight and resistance at Sotterley.

- Sotterley Speaker series video that took place August 26, with Angela Crenshaw from the Harriet Tubman Visitor Center and museum can be accessed and viewed on Sotterley’s website.

- Guided Tours for September will include specific stories about Sotterley’s people seeking Freedom through flight and resistance. Fri-Sundays only, 1, 2 and 3. Limit 10, call ahead.

- Sotterley’s production of The Choice, can be accessed through Sotterley’s website. Based on the 48 men, women, and children who sought freedom in 1815 from enslavement at Sotterley.

- Sotterley’s grounds and exhibits remain open Sunday’s 12-4 and Monday -Saturday 10-4. 1850s Slave Cabin and exhibit and Land, Lives, and Labor exhibit.

Click here for more information about Historic Sotterley.

Point Lookout State Park, Civil War Museum and Lighthouse

National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site. During the Civil War Era, Point Lookout was first a hospital for wounded Union soldiers and then a Civil War prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. The hospital staff is known to have assisted with the escape of several Maryland slaves while United States Colored Troops served as guards at the prison camp. Outside of Point Lookout stood a “contraband camp” where runaway slaves who crossed the Potomac River from Virginia, took refuge under the protection of federal authorities. Now a state park, the site includes a Civil War museum.

Click here for more information on Point Lookout State Park, Civil War Museum and Lighthouse.

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