Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad was the name given to the system by which escaped slaves from the South were helped in their flight to the North. It is believed that the system started in 1787 when Isaac T. Hopper, a Quaker, began to organize a system for hiding and aiding fugitive slaves. Opponents of slavery allowed their homes, called stations, to be used as places where escaped slaves were provided with food, shelter and money. The various routes went through 14 Northern states and Canada. It is estimated that by 1850 around 3,000 people worked on the underground railroad. Some of the most best known of the people who provided help on the route included William Still, Gerrit Smith, Salmon Chase, David Ruggle, Thomas Garrett, William Purvis, Jane Grey Swisshelm, William Wells Brown, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, Lucretia Mott, Charles Langston, Levi Coffin and Susan B. Anthony. Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Dorchester County, Maryland in about 1820. In 1848 Tubman decided to try and escape from her plantation. Her husband, John Tubman, refused to go with her as he believed it was too dangerous. Her two bothers accompanied her but later they became frightened and decided to return to the plantation. The underground railroad also had people known as conductors who went to the south and helped guide slaves to safety. One of the most important of these was the former slave, Harriet Tubman. She made 19 secret trips to the South, during which she led more than 300 slaves to freedom. Frederick Douglass Frederick Washington Bailey, the son of a white man and a black slave, was born in Tukahoe, Maryland, on 7th February, 1817. He never knew his father and was separated from his mother when very young. Douglass held several public posts including assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission (1871), marshall of the District of Columbia (1877-1881) and U.S. minister to Haiti (1889-1891). In 1881 he published the Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass died in Washington on 20th February, 1895.