Total population and enslaved population figures from U.S Census Bureau
(U.S. Census Record, MD 1850)

The Underground Railroad touched all parts of society, enslaved and free, black and white. Runaway slaves looked to friends, family and strangers for assistance. Slave owners and supporters of slavery worked to capture escapees for financial gain and to preserve their local system.

This exhibit explores previously unknown stories of slave owners, fugitives and accomplices to show how slavery and the flight to freedom shapes the lives of all Marylanders. The Maryland State Archives produced this exhibit as part of its ongoing effort to study the legacy of slavery in Maryland.

For more information, please visit: The Study of Legacy of Slavery at the Maryland State Archives

Additional support provided by the U.S. Department of Education 2010-2013

Exhibit Produced by:

Maya Davis
Rachel Frazier
Christopher E. Haley
Owen Lourie
Emily Oland Squires
Graphics by Design
Atlantic Exhibits

Special Thanks to:

David Armenti
Timothy D. Baker
Maria Day
Jarrett Drake
Christopher Kintzel
Corey Lewis
Alexander Lourie
Edward C. Papenfuse
Linwood M. Rowe III
Joyce Riddle
Wesley Sparks

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Benjamin Ducket born at Marietta, a plantation and manor house in northern central Prince George's County, Benjamin Duckett was enslaved by the Duval Family. Benjamin Duval (d. 1801) built Marietta upon a 150 acre tract purchased from part of a larger survey known as "Darnall's Grove." Gabriel Duval (1752-1844), Benjamin Duval's son, purchased the property from his father in 1784. During the first decades of the nineteenth century, Gabriel Duval established himself as a country gentlemen among the economic elite in the county. As an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1811-1835), Duval resided in Washington, D.C. for several weeks each year. Likewise, his duties on the Circuit Court saw him travel widely throughout Maryland and Delaware.

He also conducted a private practice from a small law office on his plantation. Duval, like many Maryland elites, bred race horses, and traveled to competitions around the state. Gabriel Duval moved in the highest social circles, and James Madison spent a day and night at Marietta while on a country jaunt during his presidency (1809-1817). Official duties and visitors aside, life at Marietta was centered on families. Foremost in this way were the planter's family: the Duvals. Yet, the slave quarters at Marietta were home to numerous families as well. The total number of slaves at Marietta during the Antebellum years fluctuated between thirty-five and fifty. Along with Gabriel, other Duvals living at Marietta during the nineteenth century held African Americans there. Included among these slaveholders were Gabriel's son, Edmund (d. 1831), Gabriel's sister Delila, and his orphaned grandchildren, Marcus, Edmund, Mary, and Gabriella, who came to live with him and his wife Jane (d. 1834) in 1832. Life at Marietta remained active throughout the Antebellum Era.

To learn more visit: Beneath the Underground Railroad