12. Buttons Creek

The Art of Disguise

Jane Kane was enslaved by Horatio Jones, whom she described as “the worst man in the country.” Jones’ plantation sat along Buttons Creek and the Blackwater River, west of this landing on property that is now part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Harriet Tubman’s brother, Ben Ross, had hoped to marry Jane, but Jones refused to allow them to do so. Ben arranged for Jane to join him when he and his brothers planned to flee during the Christmas holidays in 1854.

Just before the escape, Ben hid a suit of men’s clothing in one of Jones’ gardens. On Christmas Eve, Jane put on the clothes and slipped quietly away from the plantation. Though she was soon discovered missing, the other slaves on the farm failed to recognize that the “young man” walking up from the garden, “as if from the river,” was actually Jane. Cleverly disguised in men’s clothing, she successfully executed a daring plan to flee her heartless master. She was soon on her way to be with Ben and to secretly rendezvous with Harriet Tubman at Poplar Neck in Caroline County.

This site can be viewed by canoe, kayak or small boat on one of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge’s water trails. Stop at the boat launch on Route 335 near the state park.



MD Route 335 and Blackwater River, Church Creek, MD 21622

GPS Coordinates: 38.439327,-76.1451

Practical info
  • Kayak/canoe launch
  • Parking

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