Civil War & Reconstruction Trail to Freedom Henry Box Brown

Henry Box Brown

Henry “Box” Brown was enslaved in Louisa County, Virginia.  He was saddened when his wife and children were sold to another master.  After that traumatic event, he had a “heavenly” idea to “mail himself to a place with no slaves.”  With the help of a white storekeeper, he shipped himself via a box to a Quaker merchant. The start of Henry’s trip was March 23, 1849.  He traveled for 27 hours via wagon, railroad, steamboat, wagon again, ferry, railroad again, and delivery wagon.  Despite a sign on the box, “this side up,” he landed on his head at Aquia Landing and had to remain still until his box was loaded.  When he finally was removed from the box in Philadelphia, he sang a Psalm from the Bible in praise for his freedom.