Catherine Coffin was at the heart of the Newport railroad line. She organized a sewing society that stitched clothes for fugitives. Agents would meet ragged runaways to assess clothing needs and sizes and then choose garments from the Antislavery Sewing Society depository at the Coffin house.
How did Levi Coffin help the Underground Railroad?
During the Civil War he visited numerous contraband camps and continued to aid slaves in their quest for freedom on the Underground Railroad. After the war ended, Coffin raised over $100,000 for the Western Freedman’s Aid Society to provide food, clothing, money, and other aid for recently freed blacks.
What did Levi Coffin achieve?
Levi Coffin, (born October 28, 1798, New Garden [now in Greensboro], North Carolina, U.S.—died September 16, 1877, Cincinnati, Ohio), American abolitionist, called the “President of the Underground Railroad,” who assisted thousands of runaway slaves on their flight to freedom.
What role did Hoosiers Levi and Catharine Coffin played in the Underground Railroad?
During the 20 years they lived in Newport (now Fountain City), the Coffins worked to provide transportation, shelter, food and clothing to more than 1,000 freedom seekers.
How did Levi Coffin hide slaves?
A part of the legendary Underground Railroad for fleeing slaves of pre-Civil War days, this registered National Historic Landmark is a Federal style brick home built in 1839. Escaping slaves could be hidden in this small upstairs room and the beds moved in front of the door to hide its existence.
When did Levi Coffin get married?
Historians have estimated that the Coffins helped approximately 2,000 escaping slaves during their twenty years in Indiana and an estimated 1,300 more after their move to Cincinnati. (Coffin didn’t keep records, but estimated the number to be around 3,000.)
Is Levi Coffin black or white?
He was a white-American abolitionist and unofficial president of the Underground Railroad. Levi Coffin, from New Garden, N.C., was the only son among seven children. The young Levi received the bulk of his education at home, which proved to be good enough for Coffin to find work as a teacher for several years.
Where did Levi Coffin hide slaves?
The Coffins began sheltering fugitive slaves in Indiana during the winter of 1826–27, not long after their arrival at Newport. Their home became one of several Underground Railroad stops in a larger network of sites that provided aid to runaway slaves as they traveled north to freedom in Canada.
Who was Levi Coffin parents?
Coffin’s active participation in the Underground Railroad caused his fellow abolitionists to nickname him the ” president of the Underground Railroad. ”
Levi & Catharine Coffin House
Mount Hope Cemetery, located near Rochester, is home to the graves of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. The graves of the deceased frequently get visits from those who wish to express their respect and gratitude by leaving mementos of appreciation on their tombstones. “I voted” stickers may be found on Susan’s headstone on nearly every election day. Rochester boasts an incredible amount of historical significance. Were any of these places on your list to visit? If you know of any more Underground Railroad locations in Rochester that are not listed here, please let us know.
Walk up tour tickets are subject to availability. Purchasing online or by calling the site is recommended to ensure tour registration.
- Fountain City was officially recognized as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. There are a variety of structures and dwellings in this town, which was established in the early 1800s and reflects a diverse spectrum of architectural styles. As a family, participate in a fun and fascinating treasure hunt as you attempt to locate and identify significant historical features. Your responses should be returned to the Levi and Catharine Coffin Interpretive Center in order to get a souvenir. Beginning in July 2020, families will be able to participate in this scavenger quest. Simply visit the Levi and Catharine Coffin Interpretive Center gift store and inquire about how to take part in the program. The cost per household is $2.
- When you bring a group of 15 or more people, you will receive $1 off normal entry. Booking a time and date for your group’s visit in advance is highly recommended. To make a reservation, please contact 765.847.1691 or send an email to [email protected]
- Special discounts are offered for educators and education organizations, as well as for military personnel and Access Pass users, among other things. See all of the available deals.
- Schools and homeschool organizations of at least ten Indiana K-12 students that book a field trip in advance and are accredited are eligible for free entry. Call (765) 847.1691 to make an appointment for your visit. Admission for non-Indiana school groups is $2 per person if they arrive with a pre-arranged appointment. Abolitionism, the Underground Railroad in Indiana, slavery, and the law are just a few of the academic themes explored. See the PreK-12 Education Program Guide for more information on field trip and school program opportunities. Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide Check out the guide.
Commercial Photography And Videography
- If you are a photographer interested in scheduling a shoot at the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site, please check our commercial photography policy and application process before proceeding. Find out more
“President of the Underground Railroad,” Levi Coffin was an American abolitionist who helped thousands of fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. He was born October 28, 1798, in New Garden, North Carolina, and died September 16, 1877, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A agricultural childhood presented Coffin with little opportunities for formal schooling, and he graduated from high school without a diploma. But he went on to become a teacher, and in 1821 he established the first Sunday school for slaves in New Garden.
- Coffin, a devoted Quaker, was an outspoken opponent of slavery, despite his Southern origin and upbringing.
- Coffin and his wife, Catharine, then converted their home into a depot, using most of the riches he was amassing as a wealthy trader to fund their voyage north by concealing and transporting “passengers” on their northern trek.
- Catharine also created a sewing circle that convened in the Coffins’ house and worked together to make clothing for the fugitive slaves who were being held there.
- A second mansion for the Coffins, erected in Newport in 1839, has been restored to its former glory.
- Following the commencement of the American Civil War, he continued his association with the Underground Railroad and later tried to assist the abolitionists who had been freed from slavery.
A significant amount of essential material regarding Americanabolitionism may be found in his autobiography,Reminiscences of Levi Coffin(1876). Jeff Wallenfeldt was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
Aboard the Underground Railroad- Levi Coffin House
Levi Coffin House – Underground Railroad’s “Grand Central Station”
“President of the Underground Railroad,” Levi Coffin was an American abolitionist who helped thousands of fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. He was born on October 28, 1798, in New Garden, North Carolina, and died on September 16, 1877, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A agricultural childhood presented Coffin with limited opportunities for formal schooling, and he graduated from high school with a diploma. Still, he pursued a teaching career and built the first Sunday school in New Garden for slaves in 1821.
- Coffin, who was born and raised in the South, was a devoted Quaker who opposed slavery.
- Once they had established themselves as a depot, Coffin and his wife, Catharine, used most of the income that he had amassed via his business to go into hiding while still transporting “passengers” on their trek to the north.
- Catharine also created a sewing group that convened in the Coffins’ house and worked together to provide clothing for the escaped slaves.
- A second residence for the Coffins in Newport, constructed in 1839, has been renovated.
- Following the commencement of the American Civil War, he resumed his association with the Underground Railroad and later tried to assist the abolitionists.
- In 1867, he was a delegate to the International Anti-Slavery Conference in Paris.
- Jeff Wallenfeldt has made the most current revisions and additions to this page.
“President of the Underground Railroad,” Levi Coffin was an American abolitionist who supported thousands of fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. He was born on October 28, 1798, in New Garden, North Carolina, and died on September 16, 1877, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Coffin was up on a farm, where he had limited opportunities for formal schooling. But he went on to become a teacher, and in 1821 he founded the New Garden Sunday School for slaves. His school, however, was forced to close after terrified masters banned their slaves from attending.
- The Underground Railroad was a path used by fleeing slaves to make their way from the South to Canada, which was found when he came to Newport (now Fountain City) in Indiana in 1826.
- Many of the Coffins’ neighbors chose not to give sanctuary for the escaped slaves, but they did provide provisions to the more than 3,000 fugitive slaves that passed through the Coffin residence.
- The Coffins are thought to have been the inspiration for the characters Simeon and Rachel Halliday in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic abolitionist novelUncle Tom’s Cabin.
- The year was 1847, and Coffin had relocated to Cincinnati, where he started a business that sold only things created entirely by free labor.
- A delegate to the International Anti-Slavery Conference held in Paris in 1867, and he traveled to England in 1864 to solicit cash for freedmen.
Memoirs of Levi Coffin(1876), his autobiography, gives a wealth of information regarding American abolitionism. Jeff Wallenfeldt has made the most current revisions and updates to this article.
- Levi Coffin, (born October 28, 1798, New Garden, North Carolina, United States—died September 16, 1877, Cincinnati, Ohio), American abolitionist who was known as the “President of the Underground Railroad” for assisting hundreds of escaping slaves on their journey to freedom. Coffin was up on a farm, and his environment gave him with limited opportunities for formal schooling. He did, however, go on to become a teacher, and in 1821 he founded a Sunday school for slaves in New Garden. His school, however, was forced to close after masters became concerned about their slaves’ attendance. Coffin, a devoted Quaker, was an outspoken opponent of slavery despite his Southern origins and upbringing. When he relocated to Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana, in 1826, he realized that he was on a path of the Underground Railroad, which transported escaped slaves from the southern United States to Canada. Coffin and his wife, Catharine, then converted their home into a depot, using much of the riches that he was amassing as a wealthy trader to conceal it while transporting “passengers” on their northern voyage. Many of the Coffins’ neighbors chose not to give sanctuary for the escaped slaves, but they did so by donating provisions to the more than 3,000 fugitive slaves that passed by the Coffin house. Catharine also created a sewing group that convened in the Coffins’ house and worked together to provide clothes for the escaped slaves. The Coffins are believed to have been the basis for the characters Simeon and Rachel Halliday in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic abolitionist novelUncle Tom’s Cabin. The Coffins’ second home, erected in Newport in 1839, has been meticulously repaired. In 1847, Coffin relocated to Cincinnati, where he started a business that sold only things created entirely by free labor. He remained active in the Underground Railroad until the commencement of the American Civil War, after which he dedicated his time to assisting the abolitionists. In 1864, he traveled to England to gather finances for the freedmen, and in 1867, he served as a delegate to the International Anti-Slavery Conference in Paris. His autobiography,Reminiscences of Levi Coffin(1876), includes a wealth of information regarding American abolitionism. Jeff Wallenfeldt has most recently amended and updated this article.
Levi and Catharine Coffin
- “President of the Underground Railroad,” Levi Coffin was an American abolitionist who helped thousands of fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. He was born October 28, 1798, in New Garden, North Carolina, and died September 16, 1877, in Cincinnati, Ohio. A agricultural childhood presented Coffin with little opportunities for formal schooling, and he graduated from high school without a diploma. But he went on to become a teacher, and in 1821 he established the first Sunday school for slaves in New Garden. His school, however, was forced to close after slave owners expressed concern about their slaves attending. Coffin, a devoted Quaker, was an outspoken opponent of slavery, despite his Southern origin and upbringing. The Underground Railroad was a path used by fleeing slaves to go from the southern United States to Canada, which was found after he relocated to Newport (now Fountain City) in Indiana in 1826. Coffin and his wife, Catharine, then converted their home into a depot, using most of the riches he was amassing as a wealthy trader to fund their voyage north by concealing and transporting “passengers” on their northern trek. Many of the Coffins’ neighbors chose not to give sanctuary for the escaped slaves, but they did so by donating provisions to the more than 3,000 fugitive slaves that passed by the Coffins’ residence. Catharine also created a sewing circle that convened in the Coffins’ house and worked together to make clothing for the fugitive slaves who were being held there. Several scholars believe that the Coffins were the basis for the characters Simeon and Rachel Halliday in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic abolitionist novelUncle Tom’s Cabin, written in 1852. A second mansion for the Coffins, erected in Newport in 1839, has been restored to its former glory. In 1847, Coffin relocated to Cincinnati, where he established a business that sold only things produced entirely by free labor. Following the commencement of the American Civil War, he continued his association with the Underground Railroad and later tried to assist the abolitionists who had been freed from slavery. In 1864, he traveled to England in order to gather cash for the freedmen, and in 1867, he served as a delegate to the International Anti-Slavery Conference, which was held in Paris. A significant amount of essential material regarding Americanabolitionism may be found in his autobiography,Reminiscences of Levi Coffin(1876). Jeff Wallenfeldt was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
Underground Railroad in Indiana
- The North Star Program at Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana, is a one-of-a-kind “first-person” program that teaches kids aged 12 and up about the Underground Railroad
- Discover more about it here. The Freedom Trails of Indiana
- Information on the Underground Railroad from the Indiana Historical Bureau, as well as historical markers, research, and more links. Visitors can learn about the beliefs of the Quakers, local Quaker history, and local Quaker sites of interest while touring the Quaker communities in Richmond and Wayne County. The Underground Railroad in Indiana
- The Underground Railroad in Indiana
- Aspects of the Underground Railroad in Wayne County, Indiana- Indiana DNR, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology
- Underground Railroad Sites in Wayne County, Indiana- Indiana DNR, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology
Underground Railroad in Ohio and the Midwest
- The North Star Program at Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana, is a one-of-a-kind “first-person” program that teaches kids aged 12 and up about the Underground Railroad. Learn more about it here. Freedom Trails in Indiana
- A collection of publications, historical markers, research and supplementary connections from the Indiana Historical Bureau on the Underground Railroad. Visitors can learn about the beliefs of the Quakers, local Quaker history, and local Quaker sites of interest while touring the Quaker communities of Richmond and Wayne County. Indiana’s Underground Railroad
- Indiana’s Underground Railroad
- Underground Railroad Indiana
- Underground Railroad Indiana Educational programs on the Underground Railroad are offered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- Underground Railroad sites are located in Wayne County, and are maintained by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.
Underground Railroad: General Information
- By Wilbur Henry Siebert and Albert Bushnell Hart, The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom is a book about the Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom. Embark on a journey via the Underground Railroad, according to a National Register travel plan. Discover the History of the Underground Railroad courtesy of the National Park Service. Underground Railroad: R.I.D.E. the Underground Railroad A Chronology of the History of the Underground Railroad
- The Underground Railroad in the Ohio River Valley is a game that you may play online. In addition to the book The Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery (by Scholastic), there is a teacher’s handbook. Sites of the Underground Railroad on an Interactive Map
- Map of Underground Railroad paths as depicted by Wilbur H. Seibert
- Source: The National Park Service has created a map of Underground Railroad routes. Maryland and the Underground Railroad: A Journey to Freedom
- The Columia University Libraries are hosting Sydney Howard Day’s “Record of Fugitives,” which is a collection of his writings. The National Park Service has established a “Network to Freedom.” “The Underground Railroad” is a fantastic website created by National Geographic that offers visitors the impression of traveling via the Underground Railroad
- Africans in America: The Underground Railroad is a PBS documentary that is part of their Africans in America series. The Underground Railroad: Tracks to Freedom- Follow writer Chris Lackner as he walks by foot from Mays Lick, Kentucky, to North Buxton, Ontario, in an attempt to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad and its ties to Canada. Bike Route Along the Underground Railroad
Locate the Levi Coffin House
By Wilbur Henry Siebert and Albert Bushnell Hart, The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom is a historical novel. Along the Underground Railroad, a travel itinerary that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. by the National Park Service, you may learn about underground railroad history. It is imperative that the Underground Railroad be re-established. Underground Railroad Timeline: A Chronology of Significant Events The Underground Railroad in the Ohio River Valley is an interactive game that may be played online.
Underground Railroad Sites on an Interactive Map Illustrated map of Wilbur H.
By the National Park Service, they have drawn a map of Underground Railroad paths.
Africans in America: The Underground Railroad, a PBS documentary that is part of their Africans in America series; The Underground Railroad: Tracks to Freedom- Follow writer Chris Lackner as he walks by foot from Mays Lick, Kentucky, to North Buxton, Ontario, in an effort to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad and its ties to Canada.
Levi Coffin – Ohio History Central
According to Ohio History Central Copper etched picture of Levi Coffin (1798-1877), a Quaker who sympathized with fleeing slaves and was shown in this photograph of the original copper engraving. From 1826 through 1846, he and his wife Catharine provided assistance to more than two thousand fleeing slaves at Fountain City, in Wayne County, Indiana. As a key actor in the Underground Railroad network that assisted thousands of runaway slaves in their attempts to escape to freedom in the years leading up to the American Civil War, Levi Coffin is remembered today.
- He belonged to the Society of Friends, which he founded.
- In fact, by the time he reached the age of fifteen, Coffin had already began assisting escaped slaves.
- In 1847, Coffin relocated to the city of Cincinnati.
- During this time, he also became a participant in the Underground Railroad.
- The majority of northern states had either banned slavery or passed legislation to phase down the practice gradually.
- As a result, the supporters of the Underground Railroad set up safe homes in both free and slave states to shield African Americans throughout their journey.
- In recognition of Coffin’s active engagement in the Underground Railroad, his fellow abolitionists dubbed him the “president of the Underground Railroad.” Levi Coffin also aided African Americans in a variety of different ways.
- During the Civil War, he exerted more pressure on the federal government to establish the Freedmen’s Bureau.
On September 16, 1877, he passed away in Cincinnati. A memorial commemorating Coffin’s accomplishments was raised above his tomb by African Americans in Cincinnati some years after his death to commemorate his achievements.
- Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. Levi Coffin’s recollections of his time as the rumored President of the Underground Railroad. Arno Press, New York, NY, 1968
- Coffin, Levi, and William Still. Coffin, Levi, and William Still. Fleeing for Freedom: Stories of the Underground Railroad is a collection of short stories about people fleeing for freedom. Ivan R. Dee Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2004
- Hagedorn, Ann. Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad is a book about the heroes of the Underground Railroad. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002
- Roseboom, Eugene H. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002
- The period from 1850 to 1873 is known as the Civil War Era. The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society published the book in 1944.
Levi and Catharine Coffin House in Fountain City was stop on the Underground Railroad
Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by the author Levi Coffin in the 1960s. Levi Coffin’s recollections of his time as the alleged President of the Underground Railroad are included. ’68; Levi Coffin and William Still (co-authors of ’68); New York, NY: Arno Press Tales of Freedom on the Underground Railroad is a collection of stories about people fleeing for their lives to find freedom. In 2004, Ivan R. Dee published a book in Chicago, Illinois, titled Hagedorn. “Beyond the River” is a nonfiction book that tells the story of the Underground Railroad heroes who went undetected for decades.
Between 1850 until 1873, the United States was in the Civil War.
Levi and Catharine Coffin
Levi and Catharine Coffin are married. Levi Coffin was born on October 28, 1798, on a farm in New Garden, North Carolina, as the only son of Levi and Prudence Coffin. He grew up on a farm with his father and mother. In his Quaker upbringing, Levi received the vast majority of his education at home, where he was taught by his father and six sisters. One of his earliest contacts with slaves occurred while he was a little lad working with his father in the woods. They came upon a group of slaves who were tied and chained together while they were on their way to be sold in Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, and they decided to investigate.
- Following the ceremony, Levi stayed behind and conversed with the slaves, learning that one of the slaves was a freedborn who had later become an indentured servant to Edward Lloyd.
- Levi’s father wrote to Edward Lloyd about his former servant’s location after hearing Stephen’s intriguing narrative, and Stephen was finally released from slavery in Georgia as a result of this correspondence (indianahistory.org).
- Levi relocated to Newport, Indiana, today known as Fountain City, in 1826 to be closer to his family, and he quickly established himself as a major trader in the area (indianahistory.org).
- Coffin is reported to have never been too busy to provide a hand on the Underground Railroad, and his prosperous companies only served to forward the cause of emancipation of slaves.
- In their house, the Coffins were always prepared for extra guests, as they had over one hundred visitors every year on average.
- A Sunday school for slaves in New Garden was created by Levi and his cousin, Vestal Coffin, in 1821.
- The bible was the only thing he could think of when I asked my friend about why he assisted an escaped slave, knowing full well the ramifications of his actions.
- I read in the Bible as a youngster that it was proper to take in the stranger and administer to those in need, and I always believed it was always safe to do the right thing, “Coffin remarked.
- During and after the Civil War, Coffin was a prominent member of the Western Freedmen’s Aid Society, an organization that assisted freed slaves in obtaining an education and providing for their needs.
At the age of seventy-nine years and nine months, Levi Coffin passed away on September 16, 1877, and is currently interred at Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery.
Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site – The Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad
A connection between the Underground Railroad and the historic house of Quaker couple Levi and Catharine Coffin in Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana, was made through the Underground Railroad. The Coffin family relocated to Newport from North Carolina in 1826. The Coffins, who grew up in a staunchly anti-slavery family and were active in the emancipation of enslaved Africans in Guildford County, North Carolina, organized an Underground Railroad campaign among free Blacks and Quakers residing in and around Newport.
- She would have preferred to have lived at the Coffins’ first house in Newport, which was located one block south of the site of Levi’s dry goods business.
- The mansion eventually earned the title of “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad,” and it became a major stopping point for many freedom seekers on their way to Canada.
- Levi Coffin wrote an autobiography, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, which was first published in 1876 and is still in print.
- In chapter five of his biography, Coffin mentions Eliza and her kid traveling to his house in Newport, where they stayed for a number of days before returning home.
- Her visit appears to have been one in which she prioritized relaxation after such a difficult escape and travel into Indiana in order to evade capture.
- The Greenville Settlement was located just north of Newport, on the border between Indiana and Ohio.
- In this chapter, we discover that Catharine Coffin is the one who gave Eliza the name we know her by today, which she chose to keep as part of her new identity as a free woman after her mother’s death.
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Levi Coffin House – The History List
Photograph courtesy of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources / Public Domain. Hundreds of escaped slaves were housed in this eight-room mansion, which was the third residence of Levi and Catharine Coffin in Newport and served as a safe haven for them on their voyage to Canada. Levi and Catharine Coffin’s home was dubbed “The Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad” because of its location on the Underground Railroad. The Coffins and others who worked on this secret “railroad” were breaking the laws of the United States of America at the time.
Because it was a Quaker home, the Coffin house would have lacked many of the ornamental characteristics associated with the period, such as thin columns, delicate beading, and dentil trim.
Most of the rooms in the house have at least two exits, there is a spring-fed well in the basement for easy access to water, there is plenty of space upstairs for extra visitors, and there is a large attic and storage garret on the side of the rear room that serve as convenient hiding places when the need arises.
- Freedom-seekers frequently took three primary routes to cross from slavery to freedom on their trek north: through Madison or Jeffersonville in Indiana, or through Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Each and every slave who passed through the Coffins’ “station” finally achieved freedom as a result of the Coffins’ efforts.
- It has been selected one of the top 25 historic locations in the country to visit by Travel + Leisure magazine.
- LEVI AND CATHARINE COFFIN are married.
- Their efforts to provide transportation, lodging, food, and clothes for hundreds of freedom seekers spanned the 20 years they resided in Newport (now Fountain City).
Having observed the brutality of slavery as a youngster growing up in the southern United States, Levi, along with his wife Catharine, “did not feel compelled to follow human rules that came into direct confrontation with the law of God.” While many Quakers were opposed to slavery, only a small number were ardent abolitionists, and even fewer endangered their lives and freedom to actively aid slaves in their attempts to escape bondage.
- The Coffins received money, additional food, clothes, and security for their work from members of the Newport community who were afraid to actively assist freedom seekers.
- As an alternative to concealing his labors, he made light of the fact that he was the “President of the Underground Railroad” and spoke out against slavery in the public arena.
- The cause was also dear to Catharine’s heart, which she shared.
- In 1847, the Coffins relocated to Cincinnati so that Levi could run a wholesale warehouse that supplied items to free-labor merchants in the area.
- Levi was committed to assisting African Americans right up until the day of his death.
It took him the majority of his final years appealing for donations to assist provide food, clothes, and educational materials for the newly liberated slaves who were placed into refugee camps after the war ended. Hours:
- January through April 2: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.
- Closed on Mondays
- April 3 through May (unless by appointment)
- Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Closed on Sundays and Mondays
- January through April 2: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday, 1 to 5 p.
During the month of May, it is advised that you phone ahead before visiting the site on Tuesday through Friday afternoons. We anticipate a large volume of visits from nearby schools and will not be able to provide public tours until the afternoon. Please call us at 765.847.1691 to see if we have any availability for you.
- Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.
- Closed on Mondays
- Open from June through December (unless by appointment)
- Free admission.
In 2017, the Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site is closed on the following holidays: Easter Sunday (April 16), Columbus Day (October 9), Veterans Day (November 10), Thanksgiving Day (November 23), Lincoln’s Birthday (November 24), Christmas Day (December 25), and Washington’s Birthday (January 1). (Observed on Dec. 26). More information about the Levi Coffin House at the Indiana State Museum may be found here.
List of trips to this site
- The Underground Railroad – a driving tour through historic America
Shop for gifts for history lovers:
- Shirts, hats, mugs, stickers, and other merchandise with the “History Nerd” logo
- Historic papers, tees, mugs and static clings are all part of our 1776 collection, which also includes other items. The Declaration of Independence was produced by hand on a historic press in Philadelphia. Gifts from historic locations comprise the Historic America Collection.
It was an informal network of individuals and residences across the United States that assisted runaway slaves – slaves who had fled from plantations in the South – in their attempts to seek safety in the northern tier of the country, Canada, and to a lesser degree, Mexico and the Caribbean It was not a railroad in the traditional sense, but rather a network of roads that slaves used to go from one place to another.
- However, in line with the image of a railroad, the persons who assisted the escape slaves were referred to as “conductors” or “station masters,” and their residences were referred to as “stations” or “depots,” respectively.
- Although the escaped slave was occasionally escorted by a conductor, in most cases the station master merely handed the fugitive slave with directions to the next station.
- fugitives, slave hunters, and abolitionists are all represented.
- Before the American Revolution, when slavery was legal in all of the colonies, the majority of escaped slaves sought refuge in communities in marshes, forests, and mountains.
- Abolitionists in the South who crossed the Mississippi River to the North, notably in the cities of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, could live as free men and women by the year 1810.
- The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made it a federal criminal for any free person to aid a fugitive slave in his or her escape.
- However, several northern states enacted legislation that either overrode or undercut the federal legislation.
Juries in the Northern United States frequently found in favor of fleeing slaves regardless of the evidence, thereby awarding them emancipation.
By the 1830s, there was a burgeoning abolitionist movement in the northern United States.
While the majority of abolitionist organizations were based in the North, a small number of Southerners thought that slavery was immoral and created abolitionist groups in their own localities as well.
Despite the fact that many individuals opposed slavery, only a small number of people were committed enough to the cause to assist runaway slaves in escaping their owners.
Sectional tensions and the Fugitive Slave Act are two issues that need to be addressed.
Abolitionist organisations were illegal in the South, and their publications were prohibited.
Individuals who hide fugitives may be subject to fines or imprisonment.
It was a shock to thousands of African Americans who had been living in freedom in the North that they were now at risk of being seized and returned to slavery in the South.
The Fugitive Slave Act, on the other hand, had a negative impact on most of the northern states.
Northerners who had previously turned a blind eye to the reality of slavery were now witnessing them play out in their own backyards and neighborhoods.
People were becoming more ready to aid fleeing slaves and provide them safe passage to Canada, where they would be out of reach of federal marshals and slave hunters, despite the hazards.
No single individual was familiar with all of the participants; each station master was simply aware of the location of the next station, who lived there, and whether or not there were any more stations in the vicinity.
The Underground Railroad’s informal and private character has left much of its history unknown to historians, who have only recently discovered it.
Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin.
He and his wife Catherine claimed to have assisted around 3,000 men and women in their attempts to escape slavery.
His ancestors were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), who were abolitionists against slavery.
Coffin was given the opportunity to aid escaped slaves when he was a young man.
Indiana was a free state, and Newport was home to a large number of Quakers as well as escaped slaves during the American Revolution.
The town’s strategic position, as well as the fact that it was populated by black and white people who were opposed to slavery, made it a popular destination for men and women fleeing enslavement.
In 1847, the Coffins relocated to Cincinnati, where he established a warehouse to enable him to sell items produced by free employees rather than slaves.
Following the Civil War, Coffin worked to gather funds in Europe and the United States’ northern states to assist African Americans in establishing businesses and farms following their freedom.
Levi Coffin was only one of many men and women who worked persistently to aid escaped slaves, and some historians believe that Levi Coffin inflated his achievements and that his celebrity was not wholly earned.
A free black man from New Jersey, William Still, acquired a similar title – “Father of the Underground Railroad” – and, in his own memoirs, commended the fortitude of the fugitives themselves, who took far more risks than the white abolitionists who assisted them.
A story of the Underground Railroad
Levi Coffin wrote about his experiences assisting escaped slaves in his memoirs, which was released after the Civil War. He also shared his story of how he initially became involved in assisting slaves in their escape to freedom.
From 1798 until 1877 Levi Coffin was the eldest son of Levi and Prudence (née Williams) Coffin and the only son of the couple. His parents and grandparents were Quakers who farmed in Guilford County, North Carolina. Because he was required to labor on the farm, he had minimal formal educational training. Although he was schooled at home (together with his six sisters), he was not well enough educated to pursue a career in education. “Reminiscences of Levi Coffin,” a book he wrote in 1876, chronicles his life and accomplishments.
- His fifteenth birthday led him to a corn-husking operation, where he observed a group of slaves who had been brought to the husking by a slave broker named Stephen Holland.
- Coffin made arrangements with a “trusty igger, whom I knew well,” to transport Stephen to his father’s home the following night.
- In 1821, he collaborated with his cousin Vestal Coffin to establish a Sunday school for enslaved people.
- Although there were powerful persons who aggressively discouraged slave owners from allowing their slaves to attend the school, it was forced to close as a result of the actions of these individuals.
- Because of increasing persecution in North Carolina, Coffin and his Quaker colleagues made the decision to go to Newport (Fountain City), Indiana, where African Americans might live in freedom.
- Coffin was devoted to the peaceful abolition of slavery and the eradication of all forms of servitude.
- Escaping slaves could only travel securely during the hours of night, and they relied solely on the North Star as a navigational aid.
- Due to the fact that they resembled the pauses that a train may make on its path to liberation, these “stops” on the road to freedom became known as the Underground (secret) Railroadstations.
- During the 20 years that Levi and his wife Catharine resided in Newport, it is believed that they assisted more than 2,000 slaves in their journey to freedom.
- Simeon and Rachel Halliday were played by Catharine and Levi Coffin, respectively.
People who had previously “stood apart from the work” eventually joined in, donating clothing to the fugitives and assisting the Coffins in transporting slaves to freedom, but were “apprehensive about sheltering them under their roof; so that part of the work devolved on us,” according to Levi Coffin.
Beginning in 1847, he established a warehouse in Cincinnati, where he dealt in free fruit, supplying merchants that sought to sell the commodities.
During this time, he continued to labor with the Underground Railroad, assisting another 1,300 slaves in their journey to freedom from slavery.
During the Civil War, many slaves were emancipated, and he made contributions to the Freedmen’s Aid Associations, which were founded to assist freed slaves after their independence.
In 1867, he traveled to Paris to participate in the International Anti-Slavery Conference. He passed away in 1877. His home has since been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site & Interpretive Center
Our hours are limited because of the requirements of COVID-19 and social distancing, so we are only offering special timed, indoor tours for a limited number of people every day from Wednesday through Sunday. From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. The site requires pre-registration, which can be done by calling the number at 765.847.1691. In recent years, The History Channel named the Coffin House as one of the nation’s top 25 historical sites, and the Coffin House was included on that list.
The Indiana Office of Tourism Development named the Indiana State Museum as one of the state’s top museums in 2011.
Following that, you can take a tour of the building to learn even more about the Coffins’ role in assisting fugitive slaves in their efforts to find freedom.
Take on the challenge of lifting a cotton bale and learn about how slaves labored for about a week to harvest enough cotton to fill one bale.
Take a look at some of the unique features, such as a basement kitchen and an indoor well, that allowed the Coffins to provide food and water to freedom seekers at any time of day or night.
A total of more than 2,000 fugitive slaves were herded into freedom through the Coffin House during its operation.
There is a fee for admission.
The young married couple packed their belongings and left their home in Guilford County, North Carolina, vowing to devote their lives to assisting slaves in their journey to Canada, where they would be guaranteed freedom.
Many of them were family members or friends.
This work was being carried out by formerly enslaved people who were residing there.
The newly freed slaves themselves were constantly in danger of being apprehended and sold back into slavery.
They believed it was a moral issue that outweighed the federal laws passed by Congress, which was dominated by slave-owning southerners at the time.
Levi Coffin appeared to have a natural ability to compel others to take an active role in the pursuit of their dreams.
Coffin on a regular basis to sew or prepare garments that had been collected for the fugitives.
Because three escape routes crossing the Ohio River converged at Newport, there was a lot of traffic on the Underground Railroad there.
Three routes were used to transport the fugitives northward to Canada, where they would be sure of their safety.
This made it possible to shift fugitives from one route to another, which caused the slave hunters to become extremely perplexed.
The slave hunters used to claim that they could track their property all the way to Newport, but once they got there, no trails could be found.
Construction of the Coffins’ permanent home began in 1839, but they were persuaded to sell their business and relocate to Cincinnati, where they established a wholesale warehouse that dealt exclusively in cotton goods, sugar, and spices that were not produced using slave labor.
The Coffins lived in this house until 1860, but they did not return to live here again.
The significance of this was recognized by the United States Department of Interior in 1966, when the house was added to the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
This was made possible by the efforts of hundreds of people and businesses.
The Levi Coffin House Association manages the property, and the association’s dues, admissions, souvenir sales, and volunteer guides all contribute to the property’s success.
Fortunately, the house had been maintained in good condition, and virtually nothing of the original structure had been lost.
The most difficult task involved removing a 1910 hotel addition as well as six coats of paint.
Much of the original glass can be seen in the windows. The furnishings are all older than 1847 and are as authentic as possible to the time period and to the lifestyle of a Quaker family in the area.