When the word went out on Beacon Hill “SLAVE CATCHERS FROM THE SOUTH ARE DOWN ON CHARLES STREET,” abolitionists knew what to do. About 600 families lived on Beacon Hill at the time and most were black households. They had prepared tunnels between homes and back alleyways a slave catcher would not dare to explore because they were dark,  often inhabited by free men ready to pounce, and they had multiple left and right turns where one could escape if followed.