Thomas Garrett, Jr. was born August 21, 1789 in Upper
Darby, Pennsylvania. His parents, Thomas, Sr. and
Sarah Price were both Quakers.
Thomas Garrett had eleven siblings,
one of whom was his brother Edward.
Jr. worked in the iron trades, during which time he married and
raised a family. Garrett became a wealthy iron merchant when he
moved his family from Upper Darby to Wilmington, Delaware in the
Garrett’s family involvement in the anti-slavery movement dated
back to the middle 1700’s. He joined the Pennsylvania Abolition
Society, which aided runaway slaves.
Garrett family farm and homestead, known as “Thornfield”, helped
to conceal and transport fugitive slaves. Thomas, Jr. worked
closely with his younger brother Edward to pass freedom-seeking
slaves through Upper Darby, by way of the Underground Railroad.
There are four known letters that attest to Thomas’ bravery as
an ‘agent’. He once estimated that he helped to free more than
not always praised for his anti-slavery work. A reward for his
arrest was set at $10,000 by the state of Maryland. A Federal
Court was brought against him in 1848. He was later fined by a
Supreme Court Justice after telling the court he in fact aided
the fugitive slaves and would continue to do so. Garrett fell
into bankruptcy when fined and other personal losses became
unbearable. With the help of friends he was able to reestablish
had stated he wanted to be carried to his grave by Negroes. When
he died on January 25, 1871 his request was honored. His
mourners hailed him as “Our Moses” during his Quaker funeral
I, F. Raymond Shay, Mayor of Upper Darby Township, along with
Township Council proclaim January 25, 2002 as
“THOMAS GARRETT, JR. DAY”
in Upper Darby
Township. I urge all citizens of both this Township and others
to recognize and honor the tremendous efforts set forth towards
the anti-slavery movement.
F. Raymond Shay, Mayor
Upper Darby Township
Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Signed and Sealed. January 17, 2002
Resolution requested by the Harriet Tubman
Historical Society, Wilmington,
Thomas Garrett Day birthday August 21st and
memorialized January 25th.