Saint or Demon?: The Legendary Delia Webster Opposing Slavery

Overview

Who was Delia Webster? A fascinating, complex, controversial, and long-overlooked operator on the Underground Railroad, Webster was a crusader passionately opposed to American slavery, which she described as "a system as bad as the Devil and wicked men can make it." At various points in her life Webster taught school in Vermont, New York City, and Lexington, Kentucky, and in schools for black children in southern Indiana. In Kentucky, she operated a 600-acre "free labor" farm, an antislavery experiment where ...
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Overview

Who was Delia Webster? A fascinating, complex, controversial, and long-overlooked operator on the Underground Railroad, Webster was a crusader passionately opposed to American slavery, which she described as "a system as bad as the Devil and wicked men can make it." At various points in her life Webster taught school in Vermont, New York City, and Lexington, Kentucky, and in schools for black children in southern Indiana. In Kentucky, she operated a 600-acre "free labor" farm, an antislavery experiment where escaping slaves could safely hide in caves overlooking the Ohio River and free territory. Delia Webster boldly confronted Kentucky slaveholders who had her committed to a slave-jail for her actions, and later to the Kentucky State Penitentiary, which was extremely rare for a female offender. Later, she suffered two additional jail terms for aiding and abetting escaping slaves. Despite the support of colleagues like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Webster paid a psychic and physical price for her antislavery activities, to judge from the conflicting media accounts of the time. Was she "an abductor, an agent, and a spy," "a desecrator of her sex," and "a vile wretch," or was she a "strong-minded woman and an original abolitionist," "a lover of justice and a hater of oppression," "a New England schoolteacher, pious and much abused," and "a defenseless woman because she loved humanity"?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780944473429
  • Publisher: University Publishing Association
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances K. Eisan has retired to historical research and writing after nearly fifty years as teacher, administrator and publisher of history/genealogy.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Delia Webster and Her Times 1
Ch. 2 A Journey Ends at A Strange Hotel 36
Ch. 3 Delia Webster Stands Trial 58
Ch. 4 A Penitentiary Experience 71
Ch. 5 An 1854 Dream on Mt. Orison 91
Ch. 6 A Legal Fiasco 129
Ch. 7 Renaissance and Decline 145
Ch. 8 A Lagniappe of Time 167
Epilogue 173
Appendix 179
Selected Bibliography 190
Index 201
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