Delaware April 07, 2018
This Obscure Little Delaware Cemetery Is The Resting Place Of One Of History’s Most Famous Americans
Behind a small church in the middle of Delaware’s busiest city is the final resting spot of a true American hero — Thomas Garrett. Garrett was one of the most prominent supporters of the Underground Railroad’s mission to bring fugitive and runaway slaves to freedom, and he left behind a legacy of equality, kindness, and character that we should all strive to honor. His grave is located in a small cemetery at Wilmington’s Friends Meeting House.
For more than 200 years, the Wilmington Friends Meeting House on Quaker Hill has been a vocal advocate for those who need an ally on their side.
This welcoming church was the spiritual home of many famous Delawareans, including John Dickinson and the founders of the Meeting, William and Elizabeth Shipley.
Perhaps the most famous Delawarean to seek refuge in these hallowed walls was Thomas Garrett, a prominent abolitionist and Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad.
Garrett was a close friend and supporter of Harriet Tubman, one of the railroad's most famous conductors. He provided Tubman and her allies with lodging, food, clothing, financial support, and anything else he could to assist their missions of bringing fugitive slaves to freedom. He was also instrumental in bringing Tubman's parents to the North for safety.
Though the exact number of fugitive slaves Thomas Garrett brought to safety is unknown, in his own words, he "only helped 2,700" reach their freedom before the end of the Civil War.
Garrett's grave is located in the back of the Friends Meetinghouse, in a small cemetery with similarly aged graves.
Many people come to pay respects to the man who risked his life and his fortune to help thousands of enslaved Africans make their way to freedom above the Mason-Dixon line.
You can visit the Friends Meetinghouse for First Worship every Sunday at 10 a.m.
To arrange a tour or find out more information about this historic church and cemetery, call 302-652-4491. The Friends Meetinghouse is located at the intersection of 4th and West Streets in Wilmington.
For more about the history of the Underground Railroad in Delaware, read
7 Incredible Places Around Delaware That Were Once Part Of The Underground Railroad.