Rising Sun News

Barkshire Family Underground Railroad State Marker Dedication

Posted by Bryce Kendrick on January 9, 2019

A public dedication ceremony for an Indiana state historical marker commemorating the Barkshire Family and their efforts to help freedom seekers along the Underground Railroad is scheduled for Friday, January 18, 2019. The marker will be unveiled at 11:30 am at the corner of 4th St. and Poplar St. in Rising Sun, Indiana according to this release provided by the Indiana Historical Bureau

A reception and program will follow the unveiling at the Ohio County Historical Society Museum at 212 S. Walnut St., Rising Sun, Indiana 47040. Attendees can park along the street for the marker unveiling portion and at the museum for the reception.

The text follows for the state marker entitled “Barkshire Family”:

African American Samuel Barkshire was freed from slavery in Boone County, Kentucky in 1833. He and his family moved here in 1836. The Barkshires defied fugitive slave laws to provide aid and comfort to those escaping bondage in the South. Their Rising Sun home, just north of the Ohio River, became an important hub for connecting freedom seekers to routes of escape. The Barkshires faced threats of violence and re-enslavement by slave hunters, yet they persisted. Some prominent abolitionists and local residents assisted the family’s Underground Railroad activity. One ally was Nancy Hawkins who formerly held the Barkshires in slavery in Kentucky, relocated along with them in 1836, and then aided African American freedom seekers.

The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremony for this state historical marker that commemorates a group of Underground Railroad activists who helped freedom seekers along the Ohio River for over thirty years. African American Samuel Barkshire acted as the coordinator and point of contact for Rising Sun’s Underground Railroad Network and was joined in this cause by his family and their own former slaveholder. This is only the second state historical marker in Ohio County. The first marker was installed in 1961 and commemorates Lochry’s Defeat.

State historical markers commemorate significant individuals, organizations, places, and events in Indiana history. These markers help communities throughout the state promote, preserve, and present their history for the education and enjoyment of residents and tourists of all ages. For over 100 years the Indiana Historical Bureau has been marking Indiana history. Since 1946, the marker format has been the large roadside marker, which has the familiar dark blue background with gold lettering and the outline of the state of Indiana at the top. Over 650 of these markers have been installed over the years.

For more information about the Indiana Historical Marker Program and other resources about Indiana, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s website at http://www.IN.gov/history or call (317) 232-2535. For more information about the marker dedication ceremony commemorating the Barkshire Family, please contact Ohio County Historian Cliff Thies at cthies@ohiocountyhistory.org. And to learn more about this topic, visit Hillary Delaney’s article on the Indiana History Blog.