Thomas Garrett

"No labor during a long life has given me so much real happiness as what I have done for the slave." - Thomas Garrett, famous abolitionist

The Famous Abolitionist Thomas Garrett: A Brief Synopsis

Thomas Garrett was a famous abolitionist and stationmaster on the Underground Railroad, where he was said to have assisted over two thousand slaves on their way to freedom.

The Famous Abolitionist Thomas Garrett: Date of Birth, Parents and Rescue of a Servant

Thomas Garrett was born on 21 August 1789 in Pennsylvania and raised as a Quaker along with his twelve brothers and sisters. His parents, Thomas Garrett and Sarah Price were already opposed to slavery, but the kidnapping of one of the family's African-American servants in 1815 became a catalyst for aiding slaves in the future. Thomas Garrett located the wagon in Philadelphia and rescued the servant before she was sold illegally in to slavery.

Abolitionist and stationmaster of the Underground Railroad, Thomas Garrett
Thomas Garrett, the famous abolitionist(public domain)

The Famous Abolitionist Thomas Garrett: Family, Businesses and The Underground Railroad

Thomas Garrett married Margaret Sharpless in 1813, who died shortly after the birth of their fifth child in 1828; two years later he remarried Rachel Meldenhall and had one child together; a boy named Eli. Thomas Garrett owned an iron and coal warehouse, a shoe company a hardware store, and for in excess of twenty years used his house as a station for the Underground Railroad to feed and shelter fugitive slaves as they travelled to Canada.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE FAMOUS ABOLITIONIST THOMAS GARRETT

Name: Thomas Garrett
Birth: 21 August 1789
Death: 25 January 1871
Cause: Bladder Disease
Famed for: Assisting over two thousand slaves escape to Canada by using his house as a station for the Underground Railroad
Religion:Quaker
Parents: Thomas Garrett and Sarah Price
Siblings: Philip, Margaret, Charles, Thomas Garrett, Sarah, John Knowles, Anna, Edward, Benjamin, Isaac
Spouse: Margaret Sharpless M1813 D1828 Rachel Mendenhall M1830
Children: Six

The Famous Abolitionist Thomas Garrett: Rescuing Slaves

In 1845, the Hawkins family, consisting of a freeman, his enslaved wife and six children, had been captured whilst at a different station on the Underground Railroad. The paperwork the slave hunters held was not sufficient, and the family were released by the judge; giving Thomas Garrett opportunity to intervene and swiftly send them away to Pennsylvania. Unfortunately the owners of the slaves sued Thomas Garrett under the Fugitive Slave Act, and he was subsequently fined several thousand pounds. However, Thomas Garrett famously addressed the court suggesting that they send any slaves in need his way; a statement that caused one of the jurors to shake his hand.

Though this left him penniless, Thomas Garrett continued his work assisting fugitive slaves and would still spare any money he could for friend and poverty-stricken conductor Harriet Tubman. This money would not be spent on herself, but used to buy food for the slaves she shepherded to Canada. He would also frequently provide Harriet with a new pair of shoes from his shoe company as the many miles that she travelled would wear them away. Thomas Garrett was said to have assisted over two thousand slaves via his station along one of the routes of the Underground Railroad, and lived to see slavery abolished and the African-American men given the ability to vote.

Sources:

  1. Linda Rabben - Give Refuge to the Stranger: The Path, Present, and Future of Sanctuary by
  2.  James A. McGowan - Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett
  3. Chilterns Quaker Programme
  4. National Park Service
  5. Archives of Maryland

The Biography of Famous Abolitionist Thomas Garrett

  • The Biography of Thomas Garrett, for Education and Learning
  • Thomas Garrett's Efforts to End Slavery
  • Thomas Garrett's Childhood and Upbringing

 

 

  • Quick Facts About the Abolitionist Thomas Garrett
  • Information About Thomas Garrett and The Underground Railroad

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