[Footnote 1: Siebert, The Underground Railroad, p. 32.]
[Footnote 2: Ibid., pp. 32 and 37.]
The role played by the Negroes in this migration exhibited the development of sufficient mental ability to appreciate this truth. It was chiefly through their intelligent fellows that prior to the reaction ambitious slaves learned to consider the Northwest Territory the land of opportunity. Furthermore, restless freedmen, denied political privileges and prohibited from teaching their children, did not always choose to go to Africa. Many of them went north of the Ohio River and took up land on the public domain. Observing this longing for opportunity, benevolent southerners, who saw themselves hindered in carrying out their plan for educating the blacks for citizenship, disposed of their holdings and formed free colonies of their slaves in the same section. White men of this type thus made possible a new era of uplift for the colored race by coming north in time to aid the abolitionists, who had for years constituted a small minority advocating a seemingly hopeless cause.
A detailed description of these settlements has no place in this dissertation save as it has a bearing on the development of education among the colored people. These settlements, however, are important here in that they furnish the key to the location of many of the early colored churches and schools of the North and West. Philanthropists established a number of Negroes near Sandy Lake in Northwestern Pennsylvania. There was a colored settlement near Berlin Crossroads, Ohio. Another group of pioneering Negroes emigrating to this State found homes in the Van Buren township of Shelby County. Edward Coles, a Virginian, who in 1818 emigrated to Illinois, of which he later became Governor, made a settlement on a larger scale. He brought his slaves to Edwardsville, where they constituted a community known as “Coles’ Negroes." The settlement made by Samuel Gist, an Englishman possessing extensive plantations in Hanover, Amherst, and Henrico Counties, Virginia, was still more significant. He provided in his will that his slaves should be freed and sent to the North. It was further directed “that the revenue from his plantation the last year of his life be applied in building schoolhouses and churches for their accommodation,” and “that all money coming to him in Virginia be set aside for the employment of ministers and teachers to instruct them." In 1818, Wickham, the executor of this estate, purchased land and established these Negroes in what was called the Upper and Lower Camps of Brown County, Ohio.
[Footnote 1: Siebert, The Underground Railroad, p. 249.]
[Footnote 2: Langston,_From the Virginia Plantation to the National Capitol_, p. 35.]
[Footnote 3: Davidson and Stuve,_A Complete History of Illinois_, pp. 321-322; and Washburne, Sketch of Edward Cole, Second Governor of Illinois, pp. 44 and 53.]