Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures

William Webb

William WebbWilliam Webb2William Webb
(1812- 1868)

William Webb was a fervent abolitionist.  He escaped slavery by leaving the vicinity of his owner while they were both traveling and then posing among prisoners.  Webb was a very personable man and his easy manner with others made his escape and subsequent life possible.

Webb worked to establish a line of communication between Mississippi and the north.  Through this communication network, he was able to transmit news to slaves throughout the South.

Webb held a variety of jobs in different Midwestern cities, ultimately settling in Detroit.  

He hosted a meeting on March 12, 1859 with two of the nation’s most important abolitionists Frederick Douglas – abolitionist leader orator, writer, activist – and John Brown – white abolitionist minister and revolutionary.  The intent of the meeting was to discuss ways to bring an end to slavery with like-minded men in Detroit.  A Michigan Historical Marker marks the spot of the home at Congress and St. Antoine in Detroit.  Webb’s home served as a regular location for political meetings and as a station on the Underground Railroad.

Webb died in 1868 and is buried in Section P, Lot 25.