Chauncey Fowler

From Ohio History Central

Chauncey Fowler was a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Mahoning County, Ohio.

Little is known of Fowler's youth. His father, Jonathan Fowler, migrated to Ohio in 1799 from Connecticut. In all likelihood, Chauncey Fowler was born in Connecticut, and he traveled westward with his parents and siblings. As an adult, Fowler became a physician. He married Mary Holland, and the couple eventually had four sons and at least one daughter. Fowler raised his family in Canfield in Mahoning County.

Fowler also participated in the Underground Railroad. He actively assisted fugitive slaves in attaining their freedom in Canada. According to reports, Fowler always provided runaways in his care with clothing and ample supplies of food.

Fowler's participation on the Underground Railroad placed this abolitionist's life in jeopardy. In 1845, Fowler and Jacob Barnes, a friend, attended an anti-slavery meeting in Ellsworth, Ohio. Following the meeting, Fowler and Barnes discovered that pro-slavery men had placed their wagon on top of a pole and shaved their horse's tail. While the two men were returning to Canfield, a mob chased them, supposedly intending to tar and feather the abolitionists. The men rode together on a single horse, and the mob quickly closed on the men. Barnes jumped from the horse into a tree, managing to conceal himself from the pro-slavery men. Fowler was able to ride the horse to safety in Canfield. Barnes joined him the next morning.

Fowler 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 Fowler.

See Also


  1. "100 Years in Youngstown: Fowlers Figure in All Important Events of Valley's History." The Youngstown Telegram. 14 June 1934.