ASHTABULA — The 2021 Hubbard House pilgrimage took a different look on the history of the Underground Railroad movement in northeastern Ohio as visitors visited the graves of freed men and women who are buried in the area.

"This year's Hubbard house Underground Railroad Museum pilgrimag is a shared history and trauma of being enslaved and, whether through self-emancipation or the Emancipation Proclamation (how) they made their way to Ashtabula County and freedom," said a statement provided to more than 50 people that participated in a self guided tour on Saturday morning, said HHURM Executive Director Sally Bradley. 

The Hubbard House was one of the northern points of the Underground Railroad through which escaped slaves would make their final trip to freedom across Lake Erie to Canada.

The museum has held pilgrimages for decades and approach each one a bit differently. The 2021 version included visits to cemeteries in Ashtabula, Jefferson, Pierpont and Andover, Bradley said of the program organized by Andrew Pochatko.

The lives of Martha Gohegan, Richard Johnson, Charles and Anson Garlick, William Henry Jones, Levi Johnson and Leonard Mabane were all brought to life during the tour and through written and spoken word.

"They (participants) received a map and information about each place they go to and a disc," Bradley said of the tour's format.

"They also received a goody bag," she said.

The written information detailed the history on how some slaves escaped on their own, or through the Underground Railroad, while others purchased their freedom.

The written information provided a glimpse into the life of Martha Goehgan, who was born into slavery in Kentucky and was eventually buried in a pauper's grave at Edgewood Cemetery.

The pilgrimage closes the summer season when the museum is open on weekends and into a time when it is open only through tour requests, Bradley said.

"This is the last event that we have for the year," she said.

The museum is scheduled to open again in the spring but there may be some black history month programs during the winter.

Bradley said the summer was amazing.

"We had people from Poland, Germany, Israel, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Alabama," she said.

"I would say we had at least 75 people per month," Bradley said of the visitors. She said there were also organized tour requests as well.

Bradley said a cooperative relationship between the Hubbard House and the Lakeside and Edgewood high school multi-media departments has been developed with the assistance of a grant from the Ashtabula Foundation.

She said the students are going to create 90-second informational pieces that will provide historical content for the museum's website and Facebook page and also appear on the schools' websites.

Visitors on Saturday came from all over northeastern Ohio and from as far as California, Bradley said.

Peggy Taylor of Mentor said she came to the event to see Bradley, a relative, and intends to become a member of the museum. She said she was one of the first African American students to integrate her school in Greenville, Ala., and has been active in seeking justice for African Americans for many years.

Source : https://www.starbeacon.com/news/hubbard-house-pilgrimage-focuses-on-freed-slaves-history/article_0305dcfa-23d2-11ec-ad2d-af08d2d16ea5.html