Underground Railroad Code Words and Phrases
Abolitionist a person who demanded immediate emancipation of slaves
Agent coordinator, plotting course of escape, making contacts
Baggage: Escaping slaves
Bundles of wood: Fugitives to be expected
Canaan - Canada
Drinking gourd - Big Dipper and the North star
Forwarding: Taking fugitive slaves from station to station
Freedom Train: The Underground Railroad
Gospel Train: The Underground Railroad
Heaven or Promised land - Canada
Load of Potatoes: Escaping slaves hidden under the farm produce in a wagon
Moses: Harriet Tubman
Parcel: Fugitives to be expected
Preachers - leaders, speakers underground railroad
River Jordan: The Mississippi
Shepherds - people escorting slaves
Station - place of safety and temporary refuge, safe-house
Station Master - keeper of safe-house
Stockholder - donor of money, clothing, or food to the Underground Railroad
Code Phrases
"The wind blows from the South today": A warning to Underground Railroad workers that fugitive slaves were in the area.
"When the sun comes back and the first quail calls": A particular time of year good for escaping (early spring)
"The river bank makes a mighty good road": A reminder that the tracking dogs can't follow the scent through the water.
"The dead trees will show you the way": A reminder that moss grows on the NORTH side of dead trees (just in case the
stars aren't visible)
"Left foot, peg foot": A visual clue for escapees left by an Underground Railroad worker famous because of his wooden leg.
"The river ends between two hills": A clue for the directions to the Ohio River
"A friend with friends" - A password used to signal arrival of fugitives with Underground Railroad conductor
"The friend of a friend sent me" - a password used by fugitives traveling alone to indicate they were sent by the Underground Railroad network
"Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus" (words to a song) - used to alert other slaves that an escape attempt was coming up
Underground Railroad words and phrases taken from: and http://www.beavton.k12.or.us/Greenway/leahy/ugrr/code.htm