No Destination: Arnold Gragston


Although not a destination, Arnold Gragston deserves a post. I learned of him from a historic marker in Germantown, Kentucky. First, Germantown is a fine community located on the Bracken-Mason county line. The community, though small, was laid out in 1784 and later settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch (recall that the Pennsylvania Dutch are of German descent).

Arnold Gragston was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Though a slave himself, he risked his own life by transporting other slaves from near the farm where he was in servitude (Germantown) to Dover and across the river to freedom in Ripley, Ohio. Gragston would make three to four trips across the river each month, always returning to his own servitude. It is estimated that he helped some three hundred slaves to freedom. Eventually, however, Gragston (believing he could be of no more good in Mason County) did not ferry himself back to Kentucky. Ultimately, he moved to but returned to Germantown in the 1880s. Gragston tells his story here.

Pictured below is the Ohio River from the port of Dover.
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