On the Green near the clock tower, a marker honors Hudson's role in the anti-slavery movement. This marker, dedicated in May 2000, was erected by the Hudson Library & Historical Society and The Friends of Freedom Society, Ohio Underground Railroad Association.
Hudson was founded in 1799 by New England pioneers who brought with them a hatred of the institution of slavery. Records indicate that town founder David Hudson (1761-1836) used his home as a station on the Underground Railroad as early as 1826. Early settler Owen Brown (1771-1856) was an active Abolitionist and Underground Railroad "stationmaster," as well as father to abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859), who lived in Hudson for twenty years. It was in Hudson that John Brown famously vowed during a prayer meeting that he would dedicate his life to abolishing slavery.
In the late 1820s, the anti-slavery community in Hudson became heavily divided over what should happen to the freed once slavery ended. Two distinct and passionate factions emerged: The colonizationists believed that the enslaved should be gradually freed and sent to a colony in Africa, while abolitionists argued for immediate emancipation and American citizenship. This contentious debate thrust the town and Western Reserve College into the national spotlight and divided the town.
The following are some of the significant sites in Hudson associated with Hudson's involvement in the anti-slavery movement and the Underground Railroad. The walking tour includes locations in the downtown area close enough for a comfortable walking tour; sites further away include directions. Most are private homes, not open to visitors.
This Underground Railroad virtual walking tour is dedicated to the memory of former Hudson Library archivist James Caccamo (1952-2002) in honor of his passion and dedication to this subject. Jim's book and research was instrumental in developing this walking tour.