Delaware's most prominent abolitionist and stationmaster on Delaware's Underground Railroad, Thomas Garrett, assisted in aiding a runaway slave family to escape from New Castle to Pennsylvania. He and fellow abolitionist, John Hunn, stood trial in 1848 before the federal court seated at the New Castle Court Houseon charges violating the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. The trial was presided over by United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.

Garrett and Hunn were found guilty and fined thousands of dollars, losing homes, businesses, and personal property. But, in the court room, Garrett defiantly proclaimed that he would continue with his efforts in helping those oppressed by slavery regardless of the cost.