Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dr. Robert Mitchell

Portrait of Robert Mitchell, 
Courtesy of:
Indiana County Genealogical and Historical Society
Dr. Robert Mitchell House

Another site significant to the Underground Railroad Movement was the residence of Dr. Robert Mitchell, one of the most notable abolitionists and Underground Railroad conductors of western Pennsylvania in the pre-Civil War era of the 1840s and 1850s.  He is described by many historians on the Underground Railroad, and is mentioned in both Switala’s Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania book and in the earlier Stephenson history of Indiana County, with its detailed analysis of the Underground Railroad. His prominence in Indiana County extends beyond his abolitionist work, and he was also a Pennsylvania House of Representatives member and an Associate Judge. When the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850, Mitchell was fined $10,000 in Federal Court for his violation of these laws.  This site is located on Philadelphia Street, in a building which primarily houses apartments. It is as unassuming as the Ralston House, but it is inspiring to think that this was once the home of a man who believed that “every yoke should be broken and the oppressed should be free”.  

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