Thomas Garrett 

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.

See below for more information about 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.

Date of Death:
Thomas Garrett died on 25 December 1871 due to kidney disease.

Spouses, Children 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.

Trade and The Underground Railroad:
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.

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.


 

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