Dr. Hickey’s Home’s Underground Railroad History

August 25, 2014

Many friends and patients have watched the renovation of Susan’s and my home in Mechanicsburg. The house was built by a prominent Mechanicsburg physician in 1850, the same year that the U.S. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law. The house has a secret third floor room over the attic staircase that could be used for concealment.

Escaped slave Addison White arrived in Mechanicsburg in August 1856 and was sheltered in an outlying farmhouse until his master arrived in April 1857 with Federal Marshals to reclaim him. Several altercations later, the Clark County Sheriff was shot and the Greene County Sheriff arrested the Marshals near Xenia. The case was settled when the people of Mechanicsburg paid $900 for Addison White’s freedom. He went on to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War and is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, not far behind our new old house.

Mechanicsburg is full of Underground Railroad history, many citizens having been active in the abolitionist movement.

Slaves were not the only thing concealed on the third floor of my home. The physician who built the house with local bricks and wood milled in the front yard on the Little Darby was the first president of the Mechanicsburg Temperance Society. When installing third floor air ducts we discovered a hand blown beer bottle tucked away behind one of the rafters. A long time ago, someone had a cold one up there and concealed the evidence. Maybe it was the good doctor himself.

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