Blairsville's location along the Conemaugh River at the southern edge of Indiana County provided many opportunities for growth. From its beginning in the early 1800s, the town benefitted from road, canal and railroad traffic. Many of the people who settled in the area had strict religious convictions and they became a strong force in the Underground Railroad movement.
In those days the bounty hunters tracking the fugitive slaves often made comments about how swiftly the runaways moved. It was almost as if they had a railroad. The methods used by abolitionists to hide and move the freedom seekers made their pursuers refer to it as an underground railroad.
Records were seldom kept due to the severe fines and threats of jail terms that accompanied anyone found guilty of breaking the law. At that time, the law forbid aiding and abetting any slave trying to reach freedom in Canada.
Our story is the Passport to Freedom which traveled through Indiana County, starting in Blairsville and moving northward, one hiding place at a time.