PRINCETON — Anna-Lisa Cox has submitted her first draft of research on two Underground Railroad sites in Gibson County to the National Parks Service.
Cox, a historian and author, updated the Gibson County Visitors Bureau and Tourism Commission meeting Thursday on her research and the status of possible inclusion on the National Parks Service's Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Cox said she is currently writing more following the first draft, after the National Parks Service said it needs about 10 pages, fully cited.
"The bar has been raised really high by the federal government and by the National Parks Service about what makes an official site on the Underground Railroad," she said.
They are looking for newspaper accounts and eyewitness' writings, which Cox said can be hard to find. Underground Railroad sites were secret, so no one was talking about them in the papers.
"It can't be oral histories," she said. "It can't be a strange room in someone's basement or attic."
Cox said she is hoping for two stars on the map in Gibson County and inclusion means national attention and qualification for various grant programs.
"They want to make sure they've really got this proven," she said.
Stanley Madison, commission president and Lyles Station director, said he is looking forward to being able to share this part of history with local and area students.
"It's going to really bring more tourists to our area," he said. "It's going to help us develop who we are in Southwest Indiana."
Cox's research is focusing on the famous attempted escape, involving the family of Peter Still.
Black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier were early Underground Railroad conductors in Gibson County who were down the line from abolitionists David and Mary Stormont. The two couples worked to help abolitionist Seth Concklin move the wife and children of Peter Still to safety out of Alabama.
"This something truly Gibson County can be so proud of," Cox said. "There are a lot of communities out east that would love to claim the Still family tried to escape through them. And they can't claim that. It's a big, big deal."