Who's Who in Pennsylvania's Underground Railroad

F Surnames

Fitch, John W.
Location: Harrisburg, Dauphin County ; Role: Aided Slave-catchers

Documentation: S.S. Rutherford, "The Underground Railroad," in Publications of the Historical Society of Dauphin County, 1928, p. 5.

S. S. Rutherford recorded an incident from October 1845 in which Fitch led a party of eleven Maryland slaveholders from Harrisburg to the William Rutherford farm, where ten fugitive slaves had taken shelter in his barn. The Maryland slaveholders were identified as Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Potts. According to Rutherford, the slaveholders were tipped off to the location of the fugitives by "a mulatto named James Millwood, a waiter in Cloverly's Hotel, corner of Second Street and Market Square, where Messrs. Buchanan and Potts stopped when they came to Harrisburg."

The 1850 census of Harrisburg shows John W. Fitch as aged 36, born in New York, employed as a livery helper. He lived with Sarah D. Fitch, age 34, and Rachael Thompson, a 35 year-old African American domestic servant. (1850 Census, Harrisburg West Ward, p. 31)

Finnegan, Thomas
Location: Adams County (area of operation) ; Role: professional slave catcher; kidnapper of Kitty Paine and family, 1845

Documentation: Debra Sandoe McCauslin, Reconstructing the Past: Puzzle of a Lost Community, 2005, Gettysburg, PA, page 51-52.  The National Era (Washington DC), 25 February 1847.

Thomas Finnegan, who had helped kidnap manumitted slave Kitty Paine and her children from Adams County in 1845, was captured in Gettysburg in 1846.  He was tried for kidnapping and sentenced to five years in prison at hard labor.  Previously, Finnegan had been involved in attempted kidnappings of free Blacks in Harrisburg (see Chronology, February 1845).

Fitzhugh, Claggett
Location: Quincy, Franklin County ; Role: helped capture John Edwin Cook

Documentation: G. Craig Caba, Episodes of Gettysburg and the Underground Railroad, 1998, p. 58-59, 82.

Maryland born ironworks manager who lived near Quincy.  He gained fame from his capture of John Brown conspirator and raider John Edwin Cook in 1859.  He may also have worked with Dan Logan of nearby Mt. Alto in catching slaves.

Fogle, Christopher
Fogle, Jane
Location: Brookville, Jefferson County ; Role: UGRR stationmaster

Documentation: W. J. McKnight, MD, A Pioneer Outline History of Northwestern Pennsylvania, 1905.

German-born Christopher Fogle operated a tannery in Brookville, where he and his wife Jane sheltered fugitive slaves.  Fugitives were received from various places, including Isaac P. Carmalt, near Punxutawney.  In addition to the tannery, they also hid slaves in various houses around town, and in the woods when slave catchers were in Brookville.  From Brookville, Fogle would forward slaves to William R. Coon in Clarington, Barnett Township.

Fulton, James, Jr. 1813 - 1850
Location: Ercildoun, Chester County ; Role: UGRR stationmaster

Documentation: R. C. Smedley, History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and the Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania, 1883, reprinted 2005, pp 134-137.

The families of James Fulton and Gideon Pierce operated UGRR stations in close proximity and with careful coordination of activities.  Smedley notes that the two stations operated as one.  Fugitives to Ercildoun often came by way of Jeremiah Moore's farm in Christiana.  Some fugitives were sent to Ercildoun by Lindley Coates.  From Ercildoun, fugitives were forwarded by wagon to Nathan Evans in Willistown, Chester County.  Evans would, in turn, take fugitives to Philadelphia. (Smedley, p. 346)

Fulton, James
Fulton, James Jackson
Location: Toby Township, Clarion County ; Role: UGRR conductor

Documentation: A. J. Davis, History of Clarion County, Pennsylvania, 1887, p. 122.

Rev. John McAuley, a Seceder Presbyterian minister in Rimersburg, brought fugitives to the home of James Fulton, a trusted member of his congregation, who lived just north of town.  Fulton had been born in County Derry, Ireland, and lived on a farm next to his son, Robert Fulton, a Pennsylvania-born shoemaker.  James Fulton fed, sheltered and cared for the runaway slaves until an opportunity to transport them by wagon to the home of Benjamin Gardner, Sr., of Licking Township.  James Fulton's role was documented by his son, Jackson, who helped him, and who spoke with many of the runaways.  Jackson Fulton said his father aided fugitives from 1847 to 1855.

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This page was last updated on June 22, 2020.