This house was the residence of Abigail and Elizabeth Goodwin, two members of the abolitionist movement and participants in the Underground Railroad. Abigail was thrown out of the Orthodox Quaker Meeting in Salem for joining a group of radical Quakers fighting for the total abolition of slavery. Abigail later became involved with William Still of the Vigilant Committee of the Philadelphia Branch of the Underground Railroad. By 1830s she was a well-known abolitionist. Due in part to her efforts many slaves living in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia were aware of this region as a safe haven for runaways. She Urged Quaker friends in the Salem area to donate food, clothing, and money to give to runaway slaves. She gave food, clothing and money to the runaways and continually solicited these items from neighbors and friends. A contemporary of Goodwin wrote, “Abby denied herself even the necessary apparel and few beggars came to our doors whose garments were so worn, forlorn, and patched-up as Abby’s. She also made clothing for runways and wrote, “I should like to know if the fugitives are mostly large…I want to know in regard to the clothes that I intend making…They ought to be fitted out for Canada with strong, warm clothing in cold weather, and their sad fate alleviated as much as can be.” She took a personal interest in individual slaves, even going so far as to purchase slaves and set them free, a practice that was not sanctioned by the abolitionist organizations she belonged. Goodwin wrote, “I don’t like buying them, or giving money to the slave-holders either; but this seems to be a peculiar case, can be had so cheap, and so many young ones that would be separated from their parents.” In 1872, noted abolitionist leader, William Still published his book “The Underground Railroad.” In a section devoted to the story of Abigail Goodwin, Still wrote, “Abigail Goodwin, of Salem, N.J. was one of the rare, true friends to the Underground Rail Road, whose labors entitle her name to be mentioned in terms of very high praise.” The current owner of the house on Market Street is a direct decendent of the Goodwin family.
Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.
Location: 47 Market Street, Salem, Salem, 08079
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Elizabeth A. Karns
Location Type: Site
UGRR Operatives: Abigail and Elizabeth Goodwin,William Still
Religious Denominations: Quaker