Lewelling House - Quaker Museum
MAY - SEPTEMBER
SUNDAY 1-4 P.M.
WEEKDAYS BY APPOINTMENT
(319) 385-2460 or Email - Lewelling House
$1.00 STUDENTS $2.00 ADULTS
FOR THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
Once known as the main ticket office of the underground railroad, the Lewelling Quaker House
contains grim reminders of the anti-slavery movement. A trap door and other hiding places for the runaways who
were fleeing the evils of slavery.
When Henderson Lewelling built his stone house he intended it to be a refuge. A tunnel, extended under the house
to a basement fireplace, was designed to thwart the slave owners looking for their lost slaves.
The first recorded incident of slaves through Salem was in 1839 when an advertisement with a reward appeared in the Iowa
Territorial Gazette, for runaway slaves lost or stolen near Salem.
In 1848, the first scene of an exciting "slave escape case" was held here in this house, when runaways were caught by the men hired
to find them. Justice Gibbs started to hold court in his law office, which was in the north rooms. These same slaves escaped
their captors. Following this, Ruel Daggs, the well-known "slave owner from Missouri," appeared with armed men to threaten the
Stone House and the town. But he returned home empty-handed. This same man sued nineteen men of Salem for $10,000 for their
part in the flight of his"chattels."
Henderson Lewelling came to Salem in 1840 and built the Old Stone House in the south part of town. He, as an orchard and nursery man, planted a large orchard on his farm near the south edge of Salem.
He planted a cherry seed in 1845 and in 1846 he grafted into this seedling, a Blackheart Cherry scion. With this tree he loaded up 800 other fruit trees and started for the Oregon Country. After
a long heart breaking trip he reached the promised land and set out his orchard. He sold this special cherry tree in 1849 to David Chamberlain for $15.00. He canoed down the Williamette River to the mouth of the Columbia River.
Then he went down the Columbia to Cowlitz Landing, the present site of the town of Toledo, Washington. G. K. Haines, curator of the Oregon Historical Society at Portland said "This was the start of the great fruit industry of Oregon and Washington
and it all came from the trees hauled by ox teams from the little town of Salem, Iowa."
You will hear about this and much more concerning the Underground Railroad and the importance of Salem, Ia when you
visit the Lewelling House Quaker Museum.
We hope you will take the time to stop and tour the Lewelling House - Quaker Museum while
here in Salem. It's a little piece of America's history.
View of the yard at Lewelling House
Flag that stands in the yard