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Digital Bookshelf: Letters and Diaries

Thomas Garrett to William Still, November 6, 1856

Original Citation
Thomas Garrett to William Still, November 6, 1856, reprinted in William Still, The Underground Railroad (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 380.

William Still, a free black man who headed the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee and Thomas Garrett, a Quaker living in Delaware, were friends and partners in the Underground Railroad. This letter from Garrett to Still in 1856, reprinted in Still's book, The Underground Railroad (1872) offers a rare glimpse inside the operations of the northern freedom network. The fascinating practical challenges of their work, principally over money, are apparent here in a way that folklore and legends simply have not conveyed.

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WILMINGTON, 11th mo., 6th, 1856.

RESPECTED FRIEND: -WILLIAM STILL: - Thine of yesterday, came to hand this morning, advising me to forward those four men to thee, which I propose to send from here in the steam boat, at two o'clock, P. M. to day to thy care; one of them thinks he has a brother and cousin in New Bedford, and is anxious to get to them, the others thee can do what thee thinks best with, after consulting with them, we have rigged them up pretty comfortably with clothes, and I have paid for their passage to Philadelphia, and also for the passage of their pilot there and back; he proposed to ask thee for three dollars, for the three days time he lost with them, but that we will raise here for him, as one of them expects to have some money brought from Carolina soon, that belongs to him, and wants thee when they are fixed, to let me know so that I may forward it to them. I will give each of them a card of our firm. Hoping they may get along safe, I remain as ever, thy sincere friend,




Citation for this page

"Thomas Garrett to William Still, November 6, 1856 ," Underground Railroad Digital Classroom, Dickinson College, 2008,

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