28. Gilpin Point
Sailing Away to Freedom
Forty-year-old Joseph Cornish was enslaved by Captain Samuel LeCompte, married to a free black woman, and the father of five children. On December 8, 1855, Cornish most likely knew about the secret network Harriet Tubman relied upon in Philadelphia and New York, when he started out on “foot for Gilpins Point.” He had heard there was a vessel about to sail. He “worked his passage” to Baltimore, and then he made his way to Underground Railroad agent William Still in Philadelphia on Christmas Day. From there, Cornish was forwarded to agent Sydney H. Gay in New York City. He eventually made his way to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, where Harriet Tubman, her brothers and many others from Maryland’s Eastern Shore were settling into their freedom.
In the mid-19th century, Gilpin Point was one of the busiest wharves along the Choptank River. It served as a landing for passenger ships and merchant vessels. It sat just upriver from Dr. Anthony C. Thompson’s plantation where Harriet Tubman’s parents lived and where Harriet herself conducted several of her most famous escapes.
Holly Park Drive
Harmony, MD 21655
GPS Coordinates: 38.809594,-75.896881
- Network to Freedom program site
- Picnic area