Archives and Special Collections
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013
Passmore Williamson was born on February 23, 1822, in Westtown, Pennsylvania. Williamson was a member of the Society of Friends and believed strongly in the abolitionist movement. He served as secretary for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. The actions of Passmore Williamson gained notoriety in July 1855 when Williamson and William Still boarded a ship in Camden to remove the slave Jane Johnson and her children from John Wheeler’s possession. Wheeler’s political connections meant a speedy arrest for Williamson. He was imprisoned in Philadelphia’s Moyamensing Prison. Presiding Judge Kane convicted Passmore Williamson of Contempt of Court. He served time from July 27 to November 3, 1855. The case highlighted the ongoing battle in America between the abolitionist movement and the rights of the slaveholders. During his time in Moyamensing Prison, many famous abolitionists visited him in prison. Passmore Williamson died in February of 1895.