Charles Townsend | Underground Railroad
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On episode 11 of the Little Beaver Historical Society Podcast, we talk with Beaver County historian Charles Townsend about his family’s early abolitionist activism and the Underground Railroad in Beaver County.
Charles Townsend III is a native of Beaver County, and one of its most ardent historians. In 1999, he was one of the first to create a local website dedicated to Beaver County history. Charles is also the founder and editor of Milestones: The Journal of Beaver County History, first published in 1975 by the Beaver County History and Landmarks Foundation.
Charles is a descendant of the prominent Townsend family, who arrived in Beaver County in the early 1800s, establishing some of the county’s first and largest industries and businesses. The Townsends were Quakers, and Charles’ great-great grandfather Milo Townsend and other family members were fierce abolitionists as early as the 1830s. Along with others in the area who vowed to end slavery, acted as “conductors” of the region’s Underground Railroad, helping countless fugitive slaves find safe passage and freedom in Canada.
Charles is a board member of the Beaver County History and Landmarks Foundation and the Little Beaver Historical Society.
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