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Wilmington Marker Commemorates Underground Railroad

Publication Date: 
January 15, 2010
News 14 Carolina
Julie Fertig

Professor Emeritus William Gould is featured at the unveiling of a historical marker commemorating the Underground Railroad in Wilmington, North Carolina. Gould's great-grandfather escaped slavery by fleeing from Wilmington in 1862:

Hundreds of people gathered to commemorate the role Wilmington played in helping slaves escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

William B. Gould was part of the largest known slave escape in the area. Gould's diary describes how he fled from the Orange Street Landing in Downtown Wilmington back in September 1862. Gould was one of 22 slaves who confiscated three sailboats and rode 28 nautical miles all the way to the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The men then enlisted in the Union Navy.

Gould's grandson [sic], William B. Gould IV, recalled the journey.

"It wasn't until they reached the Atlantic Ocean that they dared hoist their sail so that they would be seen by the Union military and be able to swear allegiance, as he did to the cause of Uncle Samuel," Gould said.

Note: See related research project: Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, a site that is intended to complement Professor William B. Gould IV's book about his great-grandfather, Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor. Here the reader may view the diary itself and see aspects of it that cannot be replicated in a typescript or book. The reader may also view a photo gallery of images related to the diary, William B. Gould, and his family.