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The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

ABIGAIL GOODWIN.

Contemporary with Esther Moore, and likewise an intimate personal friend of hers, 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.

A.W.M. a most worthy lady, in a letter to a friend, refers to her in the following language: 

“From my long residence under the same roof, I learned to know well her uncommon self-sacrifice of character, and to be willing and glad, whenever in my power, to honor her memory.  But, yet I should not know what further to say about her than to give a very few words of testimony to her life of ceaseless and active benevolence, especially toward the colored people.

“Her life outwardly was wholly uneventful; as she lived out her whole life of seventy-three years in the neighborhood of her birth-place.”

With regard to her portrait, which was solicited for this volume, the same lady thus writes:  “No friend of hers would for a moment think of permitting that miserable caricature, the only picture existing meant to represent her, to be given to the public.  I cannot even bear to give a place in my little album to so mournful and ridiculous a misrepresentation of her in face.”

* * * * *

“You wonder why her sister, E., my loved and faithful friend, seems to be so much less known among anti-slavery people than Abbie?  One reason is, that although dear Betsy’s interest in the subject was quite equal in earnestness, it was not quite so absorbingly exclusive.  Betsy economized greatly in order to give to the cause, but Abby denied herself even necessary apparel, and Betsy has often said that few beggars came to our doors whose garments were so worn, forlorn, and patched-up as Abby’s.  Giving to the colored people was a perfect passion with her; consequently she was known as a larger giver than Betsy.

“Another and greater reason why she was more known abroad than her sister E., was that she wrote with facility, and corresponded at intervals with many on these matters, Mr. McKim and others, and for many years.”

* * * * *

Abigail was emphatically of the type of the poor widow, who cast in all her living.  She worked for the slave as a mother would work for her children.  Her highest happiness aad pleasure in life seemed to be derived from rendering acts of kindness to the oppressed.  Letters of sympathy accompanied with bags of stockings, clothing, and donations of money were not unfrequent from her.

New Jersey contained a few well-tried friends, both within and without the Society of Friends, to which Miss Goodwin belonged; but among them all none was found to manifest, at least in the Underground Rail Road of Philadelphia, such an abiding interest as a co-worker in the cause, as did Abigail Goodwin.

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