Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Liberation of Jane Johnson
In 1855, an enslaved woman and her two sons found freedom, aided by abolitionists William Still, Passmore Williamson, and other Underground Railroad activists. They escaped from their Southern owner while being transported through Philadelphia and settled later in Boston. The incident, which occurred nearby, and Williamson’s subsequent imprisonment and famous trial attracted national attention, further intensifying the North-South conflict.
Erected 2009 by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Women. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1855.
Location. 39° 56.78′ N, 75° 8.433′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker is on the Walnut Street Promenade just east of Delaware Expressway (Interstate 95), in the median. Marker is at Penn’s Landing, at the Independence Seaport Museum. It can be reached by car via South Columbus Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Exiles for Conscience Sake (here, next to this marker); Glomar Explorer (within shouting distance The Pennsylvania Slave Trade (within shouting distance of this marker); Monument to Scottish Immigrants (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Courage of the Scottish Immigrants (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Monument to Scottish Immigrants (about 600 feet away); St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia (about 600 feet away); History of Scotland (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
Also see . . . The Story Behind The Price of a Child. “Arriving by train from Washington D.C. on the morning of July 18, 1855 was Col. John H. Wheeler of North Carolina; his slave, Jane Johnson; and her two sons, Daniel and Isaiah. Wheeler was the American minister to Nicaragua, and his party was passing through, on their way to New York and then to Nicaragua. Unknown to Wheeler, Jane, who’d seen one son sold away, had no intention of traveling to Central America or remaining a slave. Her plan was to leave Wheeler and escape with her children to freedom as soon as they were safely north of slavery.” (Submitted on May 14, 2010.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 7, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 14, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,078 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on August 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3. submitted on May 14, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 10, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.