The William and Ellen Craft Story

Ellen Craft in disguise

Sisters Virginia Craft Rose and Ellen Craft Dammond had remarkable ancestors on both sides of their family.  Their maternal ancestors were the Fossetts of Monticello.  Their paternal ancestors were William and Ellen Craft, an enslaved couple from Macon, Georgia, who made a daring escape to freedom in 1848.  Ellen disguised herself as a white male slaveholder and boarded a train with her husband, who posed as her enslaved valet.  Despite many near disasters, the Crafts arrived safely in Boston.  There they befriended abolitionists, with whom they traveled across New England giving antislavery lectures. Fearing re-enslavement after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the Crafts fled to England.  In almost twenty years there, they raised a family and published an account of their escape from slavery, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.  In 1868, the Crafts returned to the United States and set up a school for freedmen in Georgia.