McKim, James M.


The Philadelphia abolitionist thanks a Delaware Quaker abolitionist for a donation to “the Cause”


Autograph ID: 4418
Condition: Very good, mail folds
Description: “(1810-1874) Presbyterian minister, abolitionist, father of architect Charles F. McKim. Educated at Dickinson College & Princeton, ordained pastor of a Presbyterian church at Womelsdorf, Penna. in 1835. A few years before, Garrison’s “Thoughts on Colonization” had made him an abolitionist. He helped form the American Anti-slavery Society, and in Oct. 1836, left the pulpit to lecture under its auspices for emancipation. In 1840, he moved to Philadelphia to work for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society as lecturer, organizer, and corresponding secretary. At times, he served as editor of the “Pennsylvania Freeman”. In 1849, he “received” Henry “Box” Brown, an escaped slave from Richmond, who arrived in Philadelphia in a small shipping box and emerged into freedom. McKim was depicted in the “The Resurrection of Henry Box Brown at Philadelphia”, a widely published lithograph by Samuel W. Rowse, sales of which helped raise funds for the Underground Railroad. McKim was often connected with slave cases that came before the courts, especially after passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. In 1859, McKim and his wife escorted Mary Brown, wife of John Brown, to Virginia, after his failed raid at Harper’s Ferry. The McKims were accompanied by Hector Tyndale, another Philadelphia abolitionist. After visiting her husband in jail in Charlestown, Virginia (today Charles Town, W. Virginia), Mary Brown, with the McKims and Tyndale, stayed in Harper’s Ferry until after John Brown’s execution on Dec. 2, 1859. The McKims prayed and held hands with Mary Brown until the hour of execution passed. Afterward, they assisted her in claiming Brown’s body and escorted her northward, McKim escorting her to North Elba, N.Y. (present-day Lake Placid) for the funeral service and burial. In 1862, after the capture of Port Royal, So. Carolina, he was instrumental in calling a public meeting of Philadelphia citizens to consider and provide for the wants of the 10,000 slaves suddenly liberated. This led to the organization of the Philadelphia Port Royal Relief Committee. He was a strong advocate of enlisting colored troops, and as a member of the Union League, aided in the establishment of Camp William Penn and the recruiting of 11 regiments. In Nov. 1863, the Port Royal Relief Committee was enlarged into the Pennsylvania Freedman’s Relief Association, McKim its corresponding secretary. After President Lincoln announced the emancipation of the slaves in the South in 1863, he joined the Freedmen’s Aid Commission and traveled extensively, working to establish schools in the South. In 1865, he joined the American Freedman’s Union Commission to promote general and impartial education in the South. In July 1869, having accomplished all that seemed possible at the time, the Commission decided unanimously, on McKim’s motion, to disband. In 1865 he assisted in founding “The Nation of New York”.

8 x 5 ALS “J.M.McKim”, Anti-Slavery Office, Philadelphia, June 27th (1860), to “Friend [Thomas] Worrell”, thanking him, “on behalf of the Cause” for his $2 donation and “the kind words which accompanied it”, trusts that his “boy will prove better than you fear”. With stamped envelope addressed by McKim to Worrell in Loveville, Delaware, postmarked June 27 1860.

Thomas Worrell (1808-?) Pennsylvania Quaker, married Miriam Lamborn 1833, their 1st child Emma, born in 1834. They moved to Delaware ca. 1840 when Thomas purchased a woolen mill at Mill Creek in loveville. During the Civil War, the mill produced kersey, a thick wool cloth sold to the Army for overcoats. Aside from that, Worrell’s products were primarily sold in the South, despite the fact that he was a staunch and active abolitionist. Thomas & Miriam attended anti-slavery conventions, and Thomas worked closely with abolitionists like Wm. Lloyd Garrison. The Worrells used their Mill Creek home as a safe-house on the Underground Railroad. In the late 1860’s, Worrell sold the mill and they moved into a home in Wilmington near the Friends Meeting House and school. Thomas and Miriam remained very involved in educational opportunities for Black citizens of Delaware, and daughter Emma became a leader of the women’s suffrage movement in Delaware. ”

Type: Letter

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