John Hunn (farmer)

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John Hunn
Personal details
Born (1818-06-25)June 25, 1818
Kent County, Delaware
Died July 6, 1894(1894-07-06) (aged 76)
Camden, Delaware
Spouse(s) Mary Jenkins Swallow
Residence Camden, Delaware
Religion Quaker

John Hunn (June 25, 1818 – July 6, 1894) was an American farmer and abolitionist from Odessa, in New Castle County, Delaware. He was a "station master" of the Underground Railroad in Delaware.

Early life and family[edit]

Hunn was born June 25, 1818 in Kent County, Delaware, son of Ezekiel and Hannah Alston Hunn. He married first Mary Swallow and among their children was John, later the Governor of Delaware. Their farm, "Happy Valley," was near Middletown, Delaware and they were members of the Appoquinimink Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers. He married second Anne Jenkins.


Hunn was the Chief Engineer of the Underground Railroad in Delaware. He was responsible for the operation of a portion of the network that transported thousands of escapees through Delaware to Wilmington and thence to Pennsylvania and freedom. A man of great modesty, he declined to take credit for his heroic efforts.[citation needed]

In 1845 he assisted Samuel Hawkins in the escape of his family from slavery in Maryland. Along with Thomas Garrett, he was convicted and fined in 1848 by the U.S. District Court in the New Castle Court House, presided over by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. Later he was fined twice for $10,000.00 each by the State of Delaware, but was advised the fines wouldn’t be imposed if he would promise not to continue his efforts to aid fugitives in their escape from slavery. Instead, Hunn "vowed never to withhold a helping hand from the down-trodden in their hour of distress."[citation needed] His land holdings and all his possessions were sold at sheriff’s sale and his family was left utterly destitute, but he continued his efforts to abolish slavery.

Following this eviction, he lived for a time with family at Magnolia, Delaware. During the Civil War he worked with the Freedmen's Bureau in Port Royal, South Carolina.[citation needed]

Death and legacy[edit]

Hunn died July 6, 1894 at Camden, Delaware and is buried at the Camden Friends Meetinghouse.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]