Pritchett Merideth Farm
“Betrayed by a Black Underground Railroad Conductor”
One of the very few successful slave escapes from the Bucktown area, the flight of the “Dover Eight” made national headlines. On March 8, 1857, eight slaves from Dorchester County escaped, but they were caught and trapped in Dover, Delaware. Henry Predeaux, Thomas Elliott, Denard Hughes, James and Lavinia Woolford, Bill and Emily Kiah, and an unidentified eighth man followed instructions given to them by Harriet Tubman. The group first sought help and shelter from Reverend Sam Green in East New Market. Then they found assistance from Harriet’s father, Ben Ross, at Poplar Neck in Caroline County. The group then found their way to Thomas Otwell, a black Underground Railroad conductor in Delaware, to lead them closer to freedom.
Harriet believed in Otwell enough to entrust him with this group’s safety. Instead, he lured them to the Dover jail to collect the $3,000 reward for their capture. Through quick thinking and a show of force, the group successfully broke out of the jail and fled to Wilmington, then Philadelphia and on to Canada. Unfortunately, local slaveholders sought swift and stern justice. The Rev. Green was arrested and jailed on suspicion of aiding the group’s escape. Ben Ross nearly experienced the same fate. Elliott and Hughes temporarily joined John Brown’s small army in Canada before the raid on Harper’s Ferry.
GPS Coordinates: 38.451665,-76.030015