When the steamboat Northern arrived in 1863 carrying labor and equipment to defuse a Dakota Indian uprising, it also towed a raft of 76 ex-slaves that had been found drifting. The ex-slaves (considered contraband at the time) called themselves "Pilgrims." They were met by hostile white dock workers and were taken to Fort Snelling for their protection. Soon, they were joined by a second group of 218 escaped slaves. While some settled near the fort, the remainder, led by dynamic preacher Robert T. Hickman returned to Saint Paul. Three years later they founded Pilgrim Baptist Church, one of the oldest continuous black congregations in the state.