The Kennebec Historical Society’s June public presentation, “Risking Lives and Fortunes, Maine’s Underground Railroad,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at South Parish Congregational Church, 9 Church St., Augusta. Mark Alan Leslie will speak, according to a news release from the society.

Mark Alan Leslie Photo courtesy of the Kennebec Historical Society

With America embroiled in the Civil War and the issue of slavery tearing apart friends and neighbors, many Mainers, including families Kennebec County, put their lives and fortunes at risk by helping escaping slaves get to Canada in the 1860s. From Kittery to Fort Fairfield, like-minded abolitionists formed an extensive underground railroad connection that broke the law, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

Jail time and heavy fines faced anyone caught in this endeavor, but brave families from the Nasons to the Farwells and Lambs refused to buckle to the dangers. The result was thousands of slaves, often chased by slave hunters, made the treacherous trip to freedom.

Leslie, winner of six national magazine writing awards, began his career as a journalist, reporting for the then-Waterville Morning Sentinel and then as an editor for the Lewiston Sun, Portland Press Herald and Sunday Telegram. He was the founding editor for Golf Course News, a publication that shot to the top of golf industry publications. Leslie has written 11 books, including three historical novels, four modern-day mystery/thrillers, two golf books, a devotional and a Christian self-help book.

Leslie’s talk  will weave this story, complete with photographs and narratives, that helped him write the Publishers Weekly Featured Book, True North: Tice’s Story. The Kennebec Historical Society June Presentation is free to the public (donations gladly accepted) and will be followed by some light refreshments.

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