Beginning Date
Friday, April 5, 1861
Starting Point
Mid Points

Sometime in March 1861, a family of four--"Onesimus" Harris, his wife Ann and children George and Charles--escaped from St. Ferdinand township, on the northern outskirts of St. Louis. The family was recaptured by U.S. officers in April 1861, and remanded by U.S. Commissioner Stephen Corneau to bondage. The arrest of the Harris family set off what Chicago newspapers described as a "stampede" of other runaway slaves and free black residents in Chicago

Escape Numbers
Escape Numbers Comment
newspapers estimate that hundreds of Black Chicagoans flee in the days after rendition of the Harris family