Built in 1839 and now a National Historic Landmark, this house was owned by Levi
Coffin (1798-1877), a Quaker abolitionist. Because of his outstanding
role in the operation of the Underground Railroad, Coffin has been termed
its "president." It is believed that Coffin and his wife Catharine
helped more than 2,000 fugitive slaves escape to freedom, using this house
as a principal depot. Coffin was born in North Carolina and in 1826 moved
to Fountain City, at that time called Newport, where he operated a general
merchandise store. In 1847 the Coffins moved to Cincinnati and opened
a store that dealt in goods made by free labor and continued with their
antislavery activities. Immediately after the issuance of the Emancipation
Proclamation, Coffin worked to aid freedmen. In 1864 he went to England
and was instrumental in the formation of an Englishman's Freedmen's Aid
Society which contributed money, clothing, and other articles to newly
freed African Americans. In 1867 Coffin attended the International Anti-Slavery
Conference in Paris. Following this event he lived in retirement until
his death in 1877. Coffin's accounts on his activities as the "president"
of the Underground Railroad were published in an 1876 book
entitled Reminiscences of Levi Coffin .
Levi Coffin House
The Levi Coffin House is located in Fountain City, Indiana, at 113 U.S. 27 North.
It is open to the public from June 1-August 31, Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00-4:00
pm. From September 1-October 31 it is open on Saturdays only, 1:00-4:00
pm. For more information on the Levi Coffin House and the Underground
Railroad in Fountain City call 765-847-2432 or visit the Richmond/Wayne
County Convention and Tourism Bureau.
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