Hopewell Furnace: A Haven For Freedom Seekers

Of all the Civil War era stories at Hopewell Village, those of the African-American population, the Underground Railroad, and the struggle for freedom and equality remain the most compelling.

Before the Civil War and in the early days of the fighting, Hopewell provided a haven for those self liberating from slavery. Some like Dorothea and Quash appear to have rested at Hopewell on their journey north to New York or Canada. Others like Isaac Cole stayed in the vicinity, established a family and legacy, and left us descendants that continue to enrich the area to this day.

At Hopewell, life for African-Americans in the mid 19th century was startling different than that experienced by urban African-Americans. In matters of education, employment, housing, religion, and medical care, European Americans and African Americans at Hopewell enjoyed equal treatment. African Americans held every position at the furnace except that of Ironmaster and Founder.