Underground Railroad Quilt Block Meanings
A Little Bit of Background Information
Back in the days when slavery was prevalent, and the Civil War was quickly approaching there were people who were bound and determined to help slaves reach their goal of freedom. Thank Goodness for these people.
So, how did the Underground Railroad begin? It is believed that it might have been started by Quakers. Two Quakers in particular were thought to have saved 3,000 slaves themselves. The home of Levi and Catherine Coffin's home was used for years as a station, or stop along the way to freedom.
These were indeed courageous people that made up the Underground railroad. The punishments were stiff for helping a slave escape. For the white people helping the slaves the punishment could be whipping, prison time, or hanging. The punishment for the black person was even worse...whipping, hanging, or burning.
This particular quilt square sends the message for the slaves to pack their wagon, or to prepare to leave on a wagon to begin their trip on the Underground Railroad to freedom. It could also mean that there were compartments built into the wagon to hide slaves.
This pattern tells them to take a mountain trail out of view of the area. They need to follow the trail of bear tracks to the food and water that has been left for them.
The log cabin quilt square represents the message that the person in that spot is safe to speak to. It can also represent that they need to seek shelter. In many cases it indicated that this was a safe house.
The North Star quilt block tells them to follow the North Star to safety
This quilt means to follow the flying geese to safety. The slaves could follow the geese to water, food, and a place to rest.
The Sailboat quilt block tells the slaves to take a sailboat across the Great Lakes to safety.
This square mean that they need to walk a zig-zag path. They need to avoid walking in a straight line to avoid the people hunting them. The zig-zaging walk and doubling back would help conceal the fact that the slave was trying to escape. If I slave was walking south no one would bother them.
The Bow Tie block means to dress in disguise. The slaves need to change clothes.
The Rose Wreath quilt square sadly was informing the slaves that someone had died on the journey. It was traditional for slaves to leave handmade flower wreaths on the graves.
This code tells the slaves to box up their belonging that they want to take with them on their trip on the Underground Railroad.
Monkey Wrench Quilt Pattern
Historians believe the first quilt the seamstress would display had a money wrench pattern. It meant gather your tools and get physically and mentally prepared to escape the plantation.
Underground Railroad Quilt Squares
Which quilt square is your favorite?
- The Underground Railroad: Many Paths to Freedom
The Underground Railroad was a secret network that developed in the U.S. before the Civil War. The purpose of the
- The Underground Railroad: A Code of Secrecy, Part II
The Underground Railroad was an informal network of people and safe places that enabled fugitive slaves to move in secrecy, from bondage in the South to freedom in the North.
- The Underground Railroad - A Road to Freedom
The Underground Railroad was a secret network of roads and people who aided escaped slaves in reaching freedom from the late 1700's to the 1860's.
- The Underground Railroad: ...
The Underground Railroad was an informal network of people and safe places that enabled fugitive slaves to move in secrecy from bondage in the South to freedom in the North.
- A Cabin In Indiana On The Underground Railroad Where...
The abolitionist and anti-slavery citizens of Indiana played a significant role in securing freedom to Canada for thousands of slaves during the days of the Underground Railroad. Oh..Let freedom ring!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Susan Hazelton