The Boston Vigilance Committee Treasurers Accounts

Dr. Irving H. Bartlett collection, 1830-1880

W. B. Nickerson Cape Cod History Archives

Cape Cod Community College Archives

Original Record


This page comes from the Treasurers Accounts of the Boston Vigilance Committee. The Boston Vigilance Committee kept clear records of those involved in Boston’s Underground Railroad network, as well as some of those who sought shelter in Boston. In this record, we see William Cooper Nell’s active involvement in Boston’s Underground Railroad network, as he provided “services to fugitives” and helped others escape north to Canada.


Questions to Consider

  1. Several times this page states William C. Nell provided “services to fugitives.” What do you think those services might have been?
  2. Take a closer look at this page; do you recognize any other names? Who were they and what did they do?
  3. What is the importance of using records such as these Treasurers Accounts to tell the history of the Underground Railroad in Boston?

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Smith Court Stories

Smith Court Stories is a collaborative project of the Museum of African American History and Boston African American National Historic Site – a unit of the National Parks of Boston.

The creators of Smith Court Stories acknowledge that Smith Court in Beacon Hill sits on the historical Massachusett tribe territories.