Skip to main content

Cass County Underground Railroad research collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RHC-34

Collection Description

The collection consists of photocopies of original documents and articles, and newspaper clippings ca. 1841-2008, related to the Underground Railroad, and genealogies of Underground Railroad operatives, free African Americans, and fugitives seeking freedom and their descendents.


  • 1960-2000


Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

For information on copyright or permissions for this collection, contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.

Administrative History

Sondra Mose-Ursery, community historian, founder of the Vandalia Underground Railroad Foundation, and former mayor of Vandalia, Michigan compiled this collection while researching the Underground Railroad in Cass County, Michigan. The collection documents Cass County, Michigan as a unique community where a number of Quaker abolitionists provided refuge to free African Americans and African Americans fleeing slavery in the south. Free and enslaved African Americans arrived in Cass County from Quaker settlements in central and northern Indiana. Many were offered tenant residency in Cass County in exchange for their labor. Cass County Underground Railroad conductors escorted freedom-seekers who wished to continue their journey to the next Underground Railroad stations in Schoolcraft, Flowerfield, and Kalamazoo and Calhoun (Battle Creek) Counties and on to stations ending in Detroit and Canada.

This collection and other efforts inspired by Mose-Ursery led to the creation of the Cass County Free Soil Underground Railroad Tour. In 2001 the National Park Service's National Network to Freedom recognized the Cass County Free Soil Underground Railroad Tour as an official Network to Freedom program. Mose-Ursery's collecting also inspired the local community to organize a drive to save the neglected home of one of Cass County's Underground Railroad conspirators, Quaker James E. Bonine.


1.25 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Sondra Mose-Ursury on August 15, 2008.

Cass County Underground Railroad research collection, RHC-34
Special Collections & University Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States