“Disguised as a Man”
The escape of Jane Kane on Christmas Eve 1854, occurred along Buttons Creek, on land that now is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The fiancée of Harriet Tubman’s brother, Ben Ross, Jane cleverly disguised herself in men’s clothing, successfully executing a daring plan to flee her heartless master.
Ben arranged for Jane, to join him when he planned to flee with his brothers during the Christmas holidays in 1854. Jane 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.
Ben and Jane hoped to marry, but Jones refused to allow them to do so. 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. She was soon on her way to be with Ben after a secret rendezvous with Harriet Tubman.
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.
GPS Coordinates: 38.439327,-76.1451