The Underground RailroadThe Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, but a system of loosely connected safe havens where those escaping the brutal conditions of slavery were sheltered, fed, clothed, nursed, concealed, disguised, and instructed during their journey to freedom. Although this movement was one of America's greatest social, moral, and humanitarian endeavors, the details about it were often cloaked in secrecy to protect those involved from the retribution of civil law and slave-catchers. Ohio's history has been permanently shaped by the thousands of runaway slaves passing through or finding permanent residence in this state.
The Underground Railroad in Pickaway CountySeveral Underground Railroad conductors and stations were active in Circleville between 1835 and 1860, among them clergymen William Hanby and Immanuel Buchwalter, businessman Phillip Doddridge and black workman George Stanhope (Stanup). In southeastern Pickaway County, Jonathon and George Dreisbach were conductors operating out of Saltcreek Township.
After passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made any interference with the capture and return of fugitive slaves a serious Federal crime, Colonel Samuel Moore of Circleville became active in the Underground Railroad.
Benjamin Hanby (1833-1867), composer of the Anti-Slavery ballad, My Darling Nellie Gray, spent nine of his formative years in Circleville. The Moore House at Court and Mound streets and the Doddridge House at the southwest corner of Scioto and Mound streets are two stations in Circleville that have survived.