Source: News-Journal, August 16, 1973, Centennial Section
Underground Railway in Wabash County In 1843
In 1843-48, runaway slaves were piloted through Indiana from Virginia, Kentucky, and other southern states. The retelling of these experiences is credited to the Hon. Daniel Sayre, who was Postmaster of Wabash in 1880.
There were three stations on the underground line in Wabash County. They were Maurice Place's, in North Manchester; A.A. Peabody's, at LaGro, and Fred Kindley's in New Holland.
Col. Sayre says he did not know the route from North Manchester, and also commented that while fugitives were often captured between Jonesboro and North Manchester, he had never heard of one captured after he reached North Manchester.
According to Col. Sayre, there were very few pioneers who would not hide a slave, and the slave hunters from Kentucky were universally hated by the people. They carried big guns but were still fearful of their lives.
The following is an account of how the slaves traveled unobserved through the county: "Well, it was mainly done by traveling at night. There weren't any roads to speak of, and by traveling an indirect route, we were able to dodge any pursuers. The county was so sparsely settled that we were in little danger of meeting anybody.
I helped a part of 20 slaves, once, to North Manchester...the party consisted of young men, principally, though there were three women, one with a babe in her arms.
At another time, seven fugitives were taken through LaGro, in a big Pennsylvania wagon, ostensibly loaded with lumber..."
Col. Sayre says he does not remember of anyone being arrested for harboring the runaways, although it was well known that Kindley, Peabody, and Place were connected with the Underground.
No proof was obtained which seemed to warrant their arrest. Many older citizens were said to have assisted with the escapes.
Source: T.B. Helm, History of Wabash County (1884), p. 335
Mr. Kindley was an active helper in the work of the 'Underground Railroad," his house being one of the stations on the route. The 'runaways' would be brought from Jonesboro and taken from Kindley's neighborhood to Manchester. Some of the Friends near New Holland were John S. Pike, Isaac Sharp, Jonah Iva, John Lewis, Jonathan Lewis, Samuel Weeks, Jacob Slyter, and in fact, the whole neighborhood. At Manchester they would be confided to Dr. Willis, James Frame, etc., and thence to Warsaw to Dr. Andrew Willis, etc.
Source: T.B. Helm, History of Wabash County (1884), pp. 116-7; Daniel Sayre, as quoted in Wabash Plain Dealer, Sept. 2, 1880
UNDERGROUND RAILWAY REMINISCENCE
Probably no man now living in Wabash County  is better acquainted with its early pioneer history than Hon. Daniel Sayre, Postmaster of Wabash. He has been a resident of the county since 1832, and has a fund of information that seems almost inexhaustible. A reporter of the Plain Dealer dropped in upon him, Tuesday, and engaging in conversation got Daniel to tell something of the famous Underground Railroad, by which so many slaves were piloted through Indiana, from Virginia, Kentucky and other Southern States, in 1843-48.
"There were three stations on the underground line," said he, "in Wabash County, and two that I knew of in Grant County. They were Charley Atkinson's, near Jonesboro; Mose Bradford's near Marion; Fred Kindley's , near New Holland; A.A. Peabody's at La Gro; Maurice Place's, at North Manchester. I never knew the route from North Manchester. Place kept it a secret, and while it happened occasionally that a fugitive was captured between Jonesboro and North Manchester, I never heard of one being overtaken after he reached Manchester. There were very few of the early pioneers but would hide a runaway slave, and the professional slave hunters from Kentucky who rode through the country on horseback and armed with big revolvers were universally execrated. Indeed, so bitterly hostile were the people that the slave hunters were quite fearful of their safety. Of course, they had their confederates among us, who made money out of the information they gave the hunters, but these, too, were held in general contempt.
"How did you get the fugitives unobserved, through the county?" "Well, it was mainly done by traveling at night. There weren't any roads to speak of, just simply a path marked out (we used to call them trails), and by traveling an indirect route, we were able to dodge any pursuers. The county was so sparsely settled that we were in little danger of meeting anybody. I helped a party of twenty slaves once, to North Manchester, who were being closely pursued, but our superior knowledge of the country enable us to pilot them safely. We had to take a different route for it, however. The party consisted of young men, principally, although there were three women, on of whom had a babe in her arms. At another time, seven fugitives were taken through La Gro, in a big Pennsylvania wagon, ostensibly loaded with lumber, but with runaways stowed away between the lumber and the wagon bed.
"I lived, in those days, on what is now known as the Stratton farm, north of La Gro. One morning, just before day-break, I was awakened by a knocking at the door, and getting up found a black man, about forty-five years of age, who stated that he was a runaway, hungry and tired. I gave him a loaf of bread and part of a boiled ham, telling him where to conceal himself until the following night. In less than an hour afterward, two rough looking riders, with horse pistols in their belts, called me out of the house to inquire if I 'had seen anything of a runaway nigger.' I told them I had, when they demanded to know which way he went. Throwing both hands up, one pointed to the right and the other to the left, I answered, 'that way." One of the riders then drew his pistol, and said: "G--d damn your soul, if you don't tell me which way he went, I will shoot you."
"My rifle hung near the door of my cabin, and I had it in my hands in a jiffy. Drawing a bead on the ruffian, I said: 'Now, d--n you, if you don't leave these premises in sixty seconds, I kill you.' Both were arrant cowards, and the way they hustled off the clearing was ludicrous. I was never molested afterward. That night I went through the woods with the fugitive to Manchester, where he was given over to Place's charge, and eventually made his way to Canada.
"I don't recall the arrest of any one in this vicinity for aiding runaway slaves. It was well known that Kindley, Peabody and Place were connected with the underground railroad, but so adroit were they that no proof could be secured to warrant their arrest. There were a good many of the older citizens actively enlisted in the work of helping runaway slaves, but nobody knew of it. The scheme was to pilot the poor wretches to a 'station,' where they were placed in charge of another 'conductor,' and nobody ever knew of your connection with their escape except the station keeper."
Source: Frazer Arnold, Town of My Fathers--Reminiscences of a North Manchester Boyhood (1950), pp. 12-13.
Herb's father [Halderman], who had a house with a huge barn in the north part of town, was a tough-knit, determined little man, kindly and rather silent. As a young fellow in pre-Civil war days, he had been a leader in the "Underground Railway" which smuggled runaway Negro slaves from the South to Canada and freedom. I understood that his barn had been one of the stations of the Underground.