Thomas Garrett - Abolitionist, Businessman

Thomas Garrett - Drexel Hill/Upper Darby

Thomas Garrett was born to a prosperous family in Drexel Hill, Upper Darby. The house, Thornfield, where he was born and lived until 1822, still stands and is recorded on the National Register of Historic Places.

In a Quaker family already inclined towards abolitionism, Thomas became especially dedicated after a family servant was kidnapped by men, who planned to sell the woman as a slave in the South.

Garrett split with his Orthodox Quaker family and moved to Wilmington in the neighboring slave state of Delaware to pursue his struggle against slavery. While building a prosperous iron and hardware business, he also served as stationmaster on the last stop of the Underground Railroad, the pathway to the North for blacks seeking freedom from slavery.

Facing heavy fines for his activities, Garrett continued his mission until the Civil War ended slavery. He is known for having assisted 2500 slaves to freedom.

Garrett died in 1871 and his body was carried to his internment along the streets of Wilmington, to the Quaker Meeting House on 4th Street by freed slaves.