Pages Tagged With: "Flight to Freedom"

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 People: Samuel D. Burris

Samuel D. Burris (1813-1863), a free Black man from the Willow Grove area of Kent County, Delaware, risked his own welfare, and that of his wife and five children, while serving as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Burris willingly assisted enslaved people to safely navigate through Delaware into Pennsylvania. During the 1830s and 1840s, […]




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 […]




Flight to Freedom: Emeline’s Story – Begin the Journey




Information: New Castle Court House Museum

Located in the historic district of the City of New Castle is the New Castle Court House Museum. Administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, it is one of the oldest courthouses in the United States and is a registered National Historic Landmark Site. The original 1732 court is built over the remains […]