We recently received a press release from the West Nottingham Historical Commission advising that the organization is planning to erect a historical marker noting the forceful 1851 kidnapping of Rachel Parkier, an African-American. A slave catcher from Elkton, Thomas McCreary, was involved inthe abduction, which alarmed Pennsylvania and galvanized popular opinion against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Click here to read a webpage on the kidnapping. The press release follows.
Press Release from the West Nottingham Historical Association
We need your help!
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) has approved an historical marker for the Kidnapping of Rachel and Elizabeth Parker. In preparation and dedication of this historical event, the West Nottingham Township Historical Commission is trying to locate any descendants of Rachel and Elizabeth Parker, also Joseph Miller.
Rachel and Elizabeth Parker, young black women, were kidnapped from Nottingham in December 1851. Falsely accused of being escaped slaves, the sisters were taken to Baltimore, MD and imprisoned for more than a year. The local community reacted to the Parkers’ abduction with indignation. Pennsylvania officials also sprang to their defense. This swift reaction brought attention to the incident and, tragically, cost Joseph Miller, one of the would-be rescuers, his life. He is buried in Union (Fremont) Methodist Church cemetery.
We only know the following information:
Rachel and Elizabeth were daughters of Ned and Rebecca Parker (who were free Blacks). Elizabeth worked for Mathew Donnely.
Rachel worked for Joseph Miller. Joseph Miller married Rebecca Kirk, had several children and resided in West Nottingham Township.
Elizabeth (Parker) Miller lived at 427 W. Barnard St., West Chester, PA.
In 1918, Rachel Parker died at the home of her daughter. This daughter, Lucy, lived in Oxford and was married to James Jones.
If you have any information on descendants, please contact any member of the West Nottingham Township Historical Commission. You may phone 610-932-3305, 717-529-2962 or Historical Commission Secretary at 610-932-8823.
We welcome any and all information. We are eager to include any descendants in the celebration of this historic event.