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The People: Emeline & Sam Hawkins

Known Facts about Emeline Hawkins Emeline Hawkins was formerly a slave belonging to James Glanding of Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. While she was James Glanding’s property, she gave birth to her first two children, Chester and Samuel. (Note: even though Sam and Emeline Hawkins considered themselves man and wife, they could not be legally married […]

The People: Thomas Garrett

Thomas Garrett, a birthright Quaker, was born August 21, 1789 in Upper Darby, PA. He was an iron merchant by trade. After moving to Wilmington, DE, he married his first wife, Mary Sharpless and the couple had five children. After Mary’s death, he married Rachael Mendenhall and they had one son. Thomas Garrett is best […]

The People: John Hunn

Born in 1818, John Hunn was a Quaker abolitionist and stationmaster in the Delaware Underground Railroad network. In 1845, he assisted the Hawkins family in their escape by giving them food and shelter. This was the first time Hunn directly helped runaways. In the federal court trials of 1848, John Hunn, along with Thomas Garrett, […]

The People: Robert Purvis

Robert Purvis’ interest in abolition started early in his childhood due to the teachings of his father and other abolitionists. Born in 1810, in Charleston, SC, he was of African American, Hebrew, and English heritage. Educated in the North at Amherst College, he settled in Philadelphia, PA and became active in the anti-slavery cause. Purvis […]

The Journey: Camden, Delaware

Sam Hawkins acquired the assistance of Samuel D. Burris, a free Black conductor in the Delaware Underground Railroad. During a raging snowstorm, Burris lead the Hawkins and four other male runaways out of Maryland into Delaware. Emeline, Sam and the youngest children traveled in a wagon while the others walked. At Camden, Delaware free African […]

The Journey: Middletown, Delaware

On Friday, December 5, 1845, Emeline and her family arrived at the farm of Quaker abolitionist John Hunn. The Hunn family immediately gave the weary group food, clothing, and shelter. Emeline and her family hid in the house and barn until the weather cleared and they could continue their journey. Neighbors who noticed the unfamiliar […]

The Journey: Jail at New Castle Court House, Delaware

The Hawkins family, the Middletown constable and the slave owner’s agent arrived at the New Castle jail at 2:00am, December 6, 1845. The New Castle sheriff, Jacob Caulk, examined the commitment papers declaring them illegal. The Middletown magistrate did not sign and seal the documents; therefore, the sheriff could not legally hold the family in […]

The Journey: Wilmington, Delaware

After receiving permission from the judge, Thomas Garrett procured a wagon and had the family transported to his home in Wilmington. There they joined Samuel Burris and the other freedom seekers, and within a few days escaped over the Delaware state line into Pennsylvania. << Previous Location   Next Location >>

The Journey: Byberry Township, Pennsylvania

Emeline, Sam and the six children traveled to Byberry Township, Pennsylvania. They were helped by Robert Purvis, leader of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Emeline and her family settled in freedom on a farm close to his property.

The People: Chief Justice James Booth, Jr.

James Booth, Jr. was born in 1789 in New Castle, De. A graduate of Princeton, he was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1812. He had a long and successful law practice and in 1841 was appointed Chief Justice of Delaware. During his tenure as Chief Justice, the case of the Hawkins family was brought […]