Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett

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McFarland, Jan 1, 2005 - History - 226 pages
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Thomas Garrett, a Quaker from Wilmington, Delaware, had a genial disposition unless provoked to defend his strong anti-slavery beliefs. Unlike most other white abolitionists who viewed slavery in more abstract and constitutional terms, Garrett, like free black abolitionists and the slaves themselves, saw slavery in very personal terms. He believed so strongly in the Underground Railroad and in helping slaves escape that he chafed under the Quaker belief in non-violence when force seemed to be the only way to win freedom for the slaves he was trying to help. When he died in 1871, Wilmington's black community saluted him as their Moses.
Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett was an important work in antebellum reform when it was first published in 1977. Author James McGowan disputed earlier arguments that white abolitionists were unified in their opposition to slavery and that they were largely responsible for the success of the Underground Railroad while the escaped slaves were helpless and frightened passengers who took advantage of a well-organized network. The present volume has been revised to include new information on Garrett's relationship with Harriet Tubman and the abolitionist newspaper editor William Lloyd Garrison. It also gives readers a new perspective on Thomas Garrett, recognizing his shortcomings as well as the uncompromising nature of his Quaker faith.
  

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The author notes the Upper Darby historical records regarding the demolition of the original Garrett Farm House are inaccurate and has a photo of the property he visited in 1975. The records of the historical society are correct, the original farmhouse belonging to Thomas Garrett Sr, where Thomas jr grew up was torn down in 1969. i was in that house and was there when they tore it down . The house in his photo is not the original Riverview Farm House. The property the author pictured is Thonview, Garrett rd near Shadeland. which was the home of Samuel Garrett, a half brother of Thomas, whose property bordered the original Riverview Farms. An updated and corrected marker has since been placed at Thornview stating Samuel lived there, not Thomas. Thomas Garrets childhood Riverview Farm house was torn by the School of the Holy Child in 1969. 

Contents

Foreword by William C Kashatus
1
Preface
5
The Underground Railroad
11
Early Accounts of Garretts Life
17
Upper Darby Ancestry
24
Quakers and Quakerism
28
The Road to Damascus
31
The Move to Wilmington
37
Thomas Garrett the Man
82
How Important Was Thomas Garrett?
93
Thomas Garrett and Harriet Tubman
98
How Many Runaways Did Garrett Assist?
115
The End of the Line
129
Letters to William Still J Miller McKim
134
Letters to William Lloyd Garrison
154
Letters to Eliza Wigham Mary Edmundson
162

Wilmington
40
Rachel Mendinhall Garrett
46
The Trial of 1848
52
Miscellaneous Letters
184
Chapter Notes
211
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

James A. McGowan was editor of the "Harriet Tubman Journal" and author of several books, including "Station Master on the Underground Railroad: The Life and Letters of Thomas Garrett".

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