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This 8-mile long waterway, completed in the 1830s, connected Parsons Creek and Blackwater River with Tobacco Stick Bay (known today as Madison Bay) and opened up some of Dorchester's more remote territory for timber and agricultural products to be shipped to Baltimore markets. And the small ports were places for connecting the enslaved with the world outside the Eastern Shore, places on the path north to freedom.
Near the canal is the Jacob Jackson Home Site, 480 acres of flat farmland, woodland, and wetland that was the site of one of the first safe houses along the Underground Railroad.
Bazel Church is located nearby on a 1-acre clearing edged by the road and otherwise surrounded by cultivated fields and forest.
According to tradition, this is where African Americans worshipped outdoors during Tubman's time.
Harriet Tubman Day Freedom Scholarship 2011 recipient, Mr. Harriet Tubman welcomes over three-million viewers since its grand opening and counting. Harriet Tubman fought tirelessly for the Union cause, for the rights of enslaved people, for the rights of women, and for the rights of all.
She was born enslaved, liberated herself, and returned to the area of her birth many times to lead family, friends, and other enslaved African Americans north to freedom.
Jackson was a free black man to whom Tubman appealed for assistance in 1854 in attempting to retrieve her brothers and who, because he was literate, would have been an important link in the local communication network.
The Jacob Jackson Home Site has been donated to the United States.
The James Cook Home Site is where Tubman was hired out as a child.Harriet Tubman lived and worked enslaved in this area from her childhood until she escaped to freedom at age 27 in 1849.She returned to Dorchester County approximately 13 times to free family, friends, and other enslaved African Americans, becoming one of the most prominent "conductors" on the Underground Railroad.She remembered the harsh treatment she received here, long afterward recalling that even when ill, she was expected to wade into swamps throughout the cold winter to haul muskrat traps.A few miles from the James Cook Home Site is the Bucktown Crossroads, where a slave overseer hit the 13-year-old Tubman with a heavy iron as she attempted to protect a young fleeing slave, resulting in an injury that affected Tubman for the rest of her life.
The Refuge provides vital habitat for migratory birds, fish, and wildlife that are components of this historic landscape. The Refuge has helped to conserve the landscape since 1933 and will continue to conserve, manage, and restore this diverse assemblage of wetlands, uplands, and aquatic habitats that play such an important role in telling the story of the cultural history of the area.