July 29, 2020
The line between freedom and slavery in antebellum Gettysburg was remarkably thin. Slaveholders frequently crossed the border in pursuit of freedom seekers and free people of color who could pass as fugitives. Catherine “Kitty” Payne and her children, Eliza, Mary, and James, were a legally emancipated family living in Adams County, Pennsylvania, when Samuel Maddox, Jr., had them seized as slaves in July 1845.
July 15, 2020
The first African American regiment to be raised in the North, east of the Mississippi River, the 54th Massachusetts ranks among the famous fighting units of the American Civil War. But did you know that when the 54th Massachusetts first departed Boston for the seat of war, there were more men from Pennsylvania within its ranks than from any other state? At least 124 of its soldiers were from south-central Pennsylvania, with two identifying Gettysburg as their place of birth
June 01, 2020
In the face of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate invasion, African Americans fled en masse, fearing enslavement. Abraham Brian, a farmer on Cemetery Ridge, left with his family. Basil Biggs, a veterinarian, made a hasty retreat, as did Owen Robinson, a retailer of oysters and ice cream. They knew better than anyone that Gettysburg was not safe for people of color.