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Havertown Man Descendent of Abolitionist

Robert E. Seeley of Havertown is a descendent of abolitionist Thomas Garrett, who is credited with helping more than 2,500 fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Robert E. Seeley of Havertown is a descendent of abolitionist Thomas Garrett, who is credited with helping more than 2,500 fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Last week Seeley attended the opening of the First State Heritage Park Welcome Center and Galleries’ exhibit “An Illegal Activity: The Underground Railroad in Delaware” inside the Delaware Public Archives building in Dover. 

The exhibit opened Wednesday, which marked the 200th birthday of Underground Railroad conductor Samuel D. Burris, the son of George Burris, a free black man. Thomas Garrett, an iron merchant originally from Upper Darby, became that stationmaster in Wilmington on the Underground Railroad’s last stop in Delaware, reports the Delaware State News.

At the event Seeley was dressed in traditional 19th century garb, including a "black top hat reminiscent of his ancestor’s signature chapeau."

Seeley told the Delaware State News that some of his family’s properties were utilized on the Underground Railroad and are still intact.

“It’s about who you could trust and a lot of the time, it’s family,” he was quoted as saying.  

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