From Ohio History Central
Aaron Benedict was a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Alum Creek, Ohio.
Benedict was born on January 21, 1817, in Alum Creek. He spent his youth helping his family farm their land. Aaron Benedict eventually inherited his father's property and continued to farm it as an adult. Following the American Civil War, Benedict began to raise and breed bees. He became widely respected for his bee research and eventually moved to Kelleys Island in Lake Erie, where he opened an apiary.
Benedict was also a devout abolitionist, assisting fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. Slave owners eventually established a one thousand dollar reward for Benedict's capture. On several occasions, Benedict hired attorneys for accused fugitive slaves. He once convinced a slave owner to free a slave mother and her four children, whom the owner had recaptured near Alum Creek. Benedict threatened the owner with arrest, convincing him to leave the five fugitives alone. Benedict also helped another fugitive, John Green, to free family members still held in bondage in Kentucky. Unfortunately for Green, slave catchers eventually seized his wife and children and returned them to slavery despite Benedict's efforts.
Benedict died on February 17, 1905.
Benedict 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 slave owners 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 Benedict.