Side A: Activity of the Underground Railroad is believed to have begun in Brookfield Township around 1838 with the first known runaway slaves, two women, to pass through in 1843. Freedom seekers moved north using a system of routes known by operators, or “conductors”. Trumbull County reputedly had over 150 miles of Underground Railroad routes, which would have made it the largest network in Ohio. The slaves that passed through Brookfield Township came mostly from the Youngstown, Poland, and the Canfield areas. From Brookfield they were sent north to Hartford, Kinsman, Burghill, and Vienna ultimately headed to Canada.
Side B: As you are reading facing west, the Hinkley Hotel is on the right and the Hart store and Miner home are on the left. They were stations of the Underground Railroad. Most Underground Railroad journeys were made at night and all were hazardous. The Fugitive Act of 1850 allowed slave owners or their agents to travel north to retrieve their “property” and rewards were posted for the return of runaways. Joel Miner had a barn on his property in the area, which is believed to have sheltered many of the nearly 60 slaves that came through Brookfield. Members of Brookfield’s abolitionist community who aided runaways include Ambrose Hart, a Mr. Coon, the Sutliff family, and Robert Montgomery.