By Kristen Johanson
HAVERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A Havertown man is reaching out to local politicians, and President Obama, in hopes of getting his ancestor pardoned.
Robert Seeley is fighting for three men he never met. His ancestor, Thomas Garrett and two of Garrett’s friends dedicated their lives to freeing slaves, assisting them with food, clothing and shelter during the Underground Railroad.
“He had a vision from God to put an end of slavery, then he moved his family down to the slave state of Delaware, where he would help over 2,700 people to freedom on the Underground Railroad.”
In Delaware, it was illegal to assist any slave to freedom. All three men were caught, tried and convicted. Now, more than 200 years later, Seeley is petitioning for their innocence.
“What he did was the right thing to do, it was the beginning of Civil Rights. And now we an issue for a pardon, for three heroes that were convicted for a crime for humanity.”
“Issuing federal pardons is a power that rests entirely with the president. Mr. Seeley did reach out to my office to inform us of his efforts to obtain pardons for Samuel Burris, John Hunn and Thomas Garrett—three abolitionists who risked their lives assisting runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. These three men were heroes and history should reflect that. I support Mr. Seeley’s work and hope the Administration will seriously consider Mr. Seeley’s pardon request,” U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said in a statement.