• [Civil Bend, Iowa, Underground Railroad] "Wood For Sale!" Broadside References Important Stop For John Brown, Others

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    Letterpress broadside, 8 x 11 1/2 inches. Circa 1860. Harrison Spurlock of Civil Bend advertises the availability of "137 Cords of Dry Elm Wood" available at "Lott Hammond's, one-mile northwest of Blanchard's School-House." The author was likely William Henry Harrison Spurlock (1836-1911), and his associate was Lott Hammond (1815-1870); both lived in the Civil Bend area at the time of the 1860 census. Civil Bend, in Fremont County at Iowa's far southwestern corner, was never a large settlement and is now considered a ghost town.

    Ira Blanchard (1809-1872) was an abolitionist who settled in this ephemeral river-bottom village in 1849. He built a schoolhouse and encouraged local Black children to attend. Hostile arsonists torched the school in 1850, but it was rebuilt in 1851. Blanchard's home, being on the banks of the Missouri River across from Nebraska, was a heavily frequented stop on the Underground Railroad.

    John Brown and groups of escaped slaves frequently stayed at the Blanchard home after crossing the Missouri River at Nebraska City and making their to Civil Bend in 1859.

    Today, the only physical reminder of this stop on the Underground Railroad are historic markers at the Blanchard Cemetery, which stood adjacent to the Blanchard Home. 


    Folds, minimal foxing, trimmed.

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