From Ohio History Central
Almond Hervey Burrell was a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Ohio.
Burrell was born on September 18, 1809, in Maine. He married Almira Wilson on May 28, 1832, and eventually fathered two sons with this wife. In 1838, Burrell moved his family, including his two parents, to Alexander Township, in Athens County, Ohio. In 1839, Almira Burrell died, leaving Almond Burrell to care for his two young sons and his parents. Despite his age, Burrell enrolled in Ohio University, earning a college degree. He then became a schoolteacher and also studied medicine under Dr. Timothy Blackstone. In 1842, Burrell married Blackstone's daughter, and the new couple eventually had four children of their own. Burrell soon ended his teaching career and opened a medical practice.
Burrell became an abolitionist early in his life. Upon arriving in Ohio, he began to give lectures on slavery's brutality. People who opposed slavery's demise, usually because of racism or economic fears, routinely threw eggs and chicken bones at Burrell. By 1846, Burrell also had opened his home to fugitive slaves who were seeking freedom along the Underground Railroad. In 1847, the Burrell family moved to Amesville, Ohio, where Almond Burrell continued his abolitionist activities.
In 1850, Burrell relocated to Mount Pleasant, Ohio and finally to Nelsonville, Ohio. It appears that Burrell ceased his work on the Underground Railroad at this time, as few fugitive slaves passed through Nelsonville. Due to declining eyesight, Burrell also stopped practicing medicine. For several years he sold books and, in 1868, moved to New Lexington, Ohio, where he and his sons opened a headstone business.
Burrell died on February 10, 1886.
Burrell represents the growing tensions over slavery between Northerners and Southerners during the early nineteenth century. While many Northern states had provisions outlawing slavery, runaway slaves did not necessarily gain their freedom upon arriving in a free state. Federal law permitted slaveowners to reclaim their runaway slaves. Some slaves managed to escape their owners on their own, while others sometimes received assistance from sympathetic Northerners, such as Burrell.