Underground Railroad

The town of Salem in Salem County, New Jersey was an escape route for self-emancipating slaves fleeing from Delaware, Maryland and other Southern areas. These fugitives found sanctuary and help from Abigail Goodwin a Quaker in Salem who operated a major Underground Railroad station with her sister Elizabeth from their home at 47 Market Street.

Slaves fleeing north through underground railroad

Abigail devoted her life to helping the oppressed and she has been noted as one of the most important Underground Railroad agents in the whole movement. She often raised money and sent it to abolitionists to purchase slaves in the Carolinas and free them. Abigail provided lodging, food, clothing and money to the fugitives who come to her home to continue their journey. She was often approached by slave hunters who would pretend to be travelers or business people but she was not fooled by the impostors and would send warnings ahead to other stations. 

home of abigal goodwinAbigail, Elizabeth, and the whole Quaker community were the lynch pin of the Underground Railroad Movement in New Jersey and responsible for helping hundreds if not thousands of slaves find freedom in the north. The fugitives would cross the Delaware River proceed east along the Cohansey River to Greenwich in Cumberland County and then travel north to Salem to find sanctuary from slave hunters, during this time in the mid 1800's Salem County had a population of 2,075 free blacks and a large number of Quakers all who aided them in their escape. 

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