Active abolitionist in 1840's and 1850's.
Date of Birth12/17/1817
Date of Death1/18/1904
Delia Webster was born on December 17, 1817 in Vergennes, Vermont, an area with strong anti-slavery sentiment. She attended Vergennes Classical School, and later studied at Oberlin College. Oberlin had a reputation for its abolitionist activities and was a station on the underground railroad. Webster left Oberlin due to an unknown dispute with the college.
In 1843 Webster then moved on to Lexington, Kentucky where she founded the Lexington Female Missionary Society, a girl's school. In 1844, she and the Methodist minister Calvin Fairbank succeeded in transporting a black family (Lewis Hayden, his wife, Harriet, and their young son, Joseph) across the border to freedom in Ohio. Webster and Fairbank were, however, caught on the return trip. Webster was sentenced to two years in the state penitentiary, though Kentucky's governor pardoned her after she spent two months in jail. As a condition of her release, she proclaimed that she was not an abolitionist, which was obviously a false statement.
Webster returned to Vermont and wrote a book (published 1845) with her father about her trial. After a few years in the north, she moved to Madison, Ind., on the Kentucky border, where she tutored children and became a governess. She then bought a farm in Kentucky, where newspapers soon reported that many slaves had disappeared. She left Kentucky in 1854 after raids on the farm, threats, and scandal. She continued to lecture and write for a while. Webster died in Iowa in 1904 at the age of eighty-six.
Organizations or Movements
- Attended courses at Oberlin College