In the years before the Civil War, the issue of slavery divided Connecticut’s mill towns. People took sides. Some — most, maybe — were willing to accept slavery so long as it was confined to the South (although slavery would not end completely in Connecticut until 1848). Others opposed it, becoming either Free Soilers or Abolitionists. Some even became conductors on the Underground Railroad. Here are the stories of some of the residents of the mill towns who actively opposed slavery. They may have been the minority, but we should remember them for their courage.


Orrin and Jerusha Robinson and the Methodist Melee on Main Street

John Brown: Conductor on the Underground Railroad

John Ashbel Conant: Mill Worker, Abolitionist, Prohibitionist, Conductor on the Underground Railroad