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Tilly Escape Site, Gateway to Freedom: Harriet Tubman's Daring Route through Seaford, DE

Seaford's Gateway Park in this case was Harriet Tubman's "Gateway to Freedom" in October of 1856. In Baltimore, Harriet was able to find the slave, Tilly, the fiancée of an already escaped slave in Canada, and brought her across the Chesapeake, to Seaford, Delaware by steamboat. The steamboat probably landed at the present site of the City of Seaford's Riverwalk, like most steamers with passengers. This area was the center of town in the time. Harriet and Tilly spent the night at the hotel at the top of the hill, where Gateway Park is today. They were nearly arrested by slave traders the next morning, but safely continued on their way by train to Camden, Delaware and then by carriage to Thomas Garrett in Wilmington. Tubman expert, Dr. Kate Larson, referred to the Tilly story in her book, Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, as "one of her most complicated and clever escape attempts". The Tilly Story is especially unique in that Thomas Garret immediately documented the story in detail, as he wrote the letter of Oct 24,1856 to Eliza Wigham in Scotland, immediately after hearing it, while the story was fresh in his mind and in Harriet Tubman's.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: Gateway Park and Riverwalk, Seaford, 19973

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Seaford Historical Society

Location Type: Site

UGRR Operatives: Harriet Tubman