On February 15, 2017, please join the York Civil War Roundtable in its 20th Anniversary Year, welcoming authors Scott Mingus and James McClure to our meeting for their combined presentation on the Underground Railroad in York County, Pennsylvania. The monthly meeting is at 7 p.m. at the York County History Center, 250 E. Market Street in York. Admission and parking are both free, and the meeting is open to the public.
Untold thousands of African-American freedom seekers passed through York County between 1800 and 1865, peaking in the four decades before the Civil War. Many had run away from owners in Maryland and Virginia, although some are known to have traveled all the way from Louisiana to reach south-central Pennsylvania. Along the way, they faced hunger, lack of shelter and fresh clothing, unfriendly residents, potential slave catchers, unfamiliar terrain, and other dangers. Some were captured and returned to captivity. Others found helping hands who assisted them on their dangerous journeys northward. Some made it to freedom unassisted, relying solely on their own strength and wits.
Local bloggers and authors Jim McClure and Scott Mingus will present an interactive presentation on the Underground Railroad in York County, examining the cultural, moral, and social issues underlying the workings of the secretive Underground Railroad. Scott will discuss 10 local men associated with the Underground Railroad. In a few cases, not all of the sites are known with certainty.
Interspersed between the discussion of York County UGRR sites, Jim will lead the audience in some open dialogue on some of the key moral questions. What would you do, as an 1800s resident, if a group of ragged refugees showed up unexpectedly at your door seeking shelter and food? Would you deliberately break the laws of the United States if they conflicted with your moral judgments? Would compassion and generosity outweigh the risk of temporarily losing your own freedom and gaining a criminal record? Or, would you not only obey the laws but also seek personal gain by turning in runaways for the rewards allowed under the Fugitive Slave Law and openly advertised in regional newspapers?
Come be challenged and informed as Jim and Scott dive into these topics!
James McClure has been editor of the York Daily Record/ York Sunday News since 2004. Before that, he was the managing editor of the York Daily Record for 15 years. He also serves as Atlantic Region editor for Gannett. Previously, he was East Region Editor for Digital First Media. In that capacity, he was the senior editor on the on-site DFM teams that covered the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the Boston Marathon bombing. McClure is the author or coauthor of seven books on York County history. He writes regular entries, or posts, in his York County journalism/ history blog, York Town Square.
Scott Mingus is a scientist and executive in the paper industry, and holds patents in self-adhesive postage stamps and bar code labels. The Ohio native graduated from the paper science and engineering program at Miami University. The York, Pa., resident has written eighteen Civil War books. His biography of Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith was nominated for or won multiple awards, including the Dr. James I “Bud” Robertson, Jr. Literary Prize. He also wrote several articles for Gettysburg Magazine. Scott maintains the Cannonball blog on the Civil War history of York County.