Beulah Oocouch (Aucauch) Saulsbury Vanderhoop

1814 – November 4, 1892 | Aquinnah
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Beulah Oocouch (Aucauch) Saulsbury Vanderhoop, an Aquinnah Wampanoag, and her husband, Willem (William) Adriaan Vanderhoop, an Afro-Dutchman from Suriname, were known “maritime conductors” on the Underground Railroad in the 1850s. Beulah, the daughter of Naoma Aucauch and John Salisbury, lived her entire life in Aquinnah, and ran a farm with her husband and nine children. (1) Together, they are believed to have assisted as many as eight refugees from slavery escape to freedom, including Randall Burton (alias John Mason) and Edgar Jones. Beulah Vanderhoop’s daring acts included providing disguises, hiding refugees from slavery in her garret and arranging for their swift transportation via boat to the major Underground Railroad juncture, New Bedford (2)(3). To be sure, the Vanderhoops worked in cooperation with other tribal members to defy the Fugitive Slave Act, which required Northerners to return refugees from slavery to the South or risk heavy fines, but their decisive and consistent leadership stands out. (4)

Beulah’s great-grandson, Charles Vanderhoop, states that the family of an unidentified man the Vanderhoops helped rescue returned after the Emancipation Proclamation made it safe to do so, to show gratitude and offer financial support. When they found that Beulah was ill, they stayed on to look after her and the grounds while she recovered. (5)


1. The 1860 Indian Census of Gay Head (Aquinnah), Mass. (From the transcript Indians of Massachusetts: GAY HEAD TRIBE in Mass. Senate No. 96 publication, March 1861.*) (Digitized and prepared for the web by C. Baer, 1999)

2. “A Slave Case.” Vineyard Gazette. 09.29.1854

3. “Rev. Theodore Parker’s Thanksgiving Sermon.” The Liberator. V. 24. No. 49. 12.08.1854

4. “The ‘Bath’ Slave Case.” The Liberator. V. 24. No. 40. 10.06.1854

5. Beulah Vanderhoop and The Gay Head Underground Railroad - told by Great-Grandson Charles Vanderhoop. Martha’s Vineyard Oral HIstory Channel. 10.13.2021


The Rescue of Randall Burton

1854 | Aquinnah

The Rescue of Edgar Jones

1854 | Aquinnah