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Shadrach Minkins
Birth: 1814
Norfolk City
Virginia, USA
Death: Dec. 13, 1875
Quebec, Canada

Folk Figure. African-American fugitive slave whose rescue by abolitionists from federal marshals in Boston in 1851 created a political crisis over enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Born in Norfolk, Virginia (the exact year is not certain), Minkins escaped from slavery in Norfolk in 1850 to settle in Boston, where he became a waiter. Later that year, Congress enacted the Fugitive Slave Law, which allowed federal agents to seize escaped slaves living in free states such as Massachusetts and return them to their owners. United States marshals arrested Minkins on February 15, 1851; but he was rescued by members of the anti-slavery Boston Vigilance Committee, who used force to take him from the marshals. From Boston, Minkins was spirited to Canada, where he settled in Montreal. The rescue of Minkins brought calls for President Millard Fillmore to use federal troops to help marshals enforce the law. Fillmore's response, however, was a cautious proclamation calling on the citizens of Boston to respect the law and aid in recapturing Minkins. Fillmore also ordered Minkins' liberators to be prosecuted. This incident in his home state deeply embarrassed Secretary of State Daniel Webster, who hoped to be elected President in 1852 with Southern support. Safe in Canada, Minkins worked first as a waiter, then operated restaurants of his own and finally became a barber. He married in 1853 or 1854. He and his wife Mary had four children, two of whom, Mary and Jacob, survived. Minkins died in Montreal and is buried in an unmarked grave in Mount Royal Cemetery. (bio by: Michael Walter) 
Mount Royal Cemetery
Montreal Region
Quebec, Canada
Plot: Section B-2 (unmarked)
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Michael Walter
Record added: Jun 27, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14750402
Shadrach Minkins
Added by: Lucy Caldarelli
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- elaine bailey
 Added: Dec. 13, 2013
I had not heard of Mr. Minkins until I was doing research on Daniel Webster and found his name and his connection to the "Fugitive Slave Law". He was a brave man who went through quite a lot just to live a life of freedom and independence. I admire his ...(Read more)
- Anonymous
 Added: Nov. 20, 2013

- 2kjmom
 Added: Dec. 13, 2012
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