THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
GUM SPRINGS, SPRING BANK AND ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
“Did You Know???”
Did you know that Gum Springs is four miles south of Alexandria, Virginia?
Did you know that Spring Bank is two miles south of Alexandria, Virginia?
Did you know that both locations were ideal because of their proximity to Route 1, the main travel artery in the nation from north to south at that time in history?
Did you know that West Ford (1785-1863) prior to buying Gum Springs, owned 160 acres of land adjacent to Mount Vernon?
Did you know that in 1833 West Ford sold the land and purchased 214 acres of Gum Springs Farm?
Did you know that in 1790 when Alexandria belonged to The District of Columbia, and the first federal census was taken, there were only 52 Blacks living in Alexandria?
Did you know that by 1810 the population had increased to 836 free Blacks, and those were only the ones that were recorded? How many more Blacks, free or slaves, may have been living in Alexandria undiscovered or undisclosed?
Did you know the name of the first Black community in Alexandria? It was called “The Bottoms”. Soon after, others sprang up with names like “Hayti”, “Uptown”, and “The Berg” or “Fishtown”. There was also “The Hill”, “Cross Canal”, “The Hump” and “Colored Rosemont”
Did you know that the Black population continued to expand until 1846 and Alexandria retroceded back to The Commonwealth of Virginia?
Did you know that The Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863 did not free all slaves, merely those in the rebellious southern states? All slaves did not become free until the end of the Civil War.
The Underground Railroad on U.S. Route 1
North of Richmond, Virginia, The Underground Railroad starting from The Woodlawn Plantation was traveled by following the markings on trees in the forks in the road, fences and by the type of trees passed by on the journey into Alexandria, VA.
(c) American Heritage Legacy Tour, 2006