Joseph P. Scarlet

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Joseph P. Scarlet

Birthplace: Robeson Township, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: July 08, 1882 (61)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Scarlet and Elizabeth Scarlet
Husband of Amanda Elvina Scarlet
Brother of Levi Scarlet

Occupation: Farmer, butcher, grocer
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Joseph P. Scarlet

From Friends' Intelligencer and Journal, Volume 45 (Google eBook) Friends' Intelligencer Association, 1888 - Society of Friends. P. E. Gibbons. Page 490-491

"The motive of the persecution," says Levi Scarlett [of Christiana, brother of Joseph P. Scarlett, a member of the Society of Friends; who in the year 1851 lay several months in the Moyamensing jail in Philadelphia, waiting a trial for high treason] "was to break down the Abolitionists in their opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law. Men, however, who had taken those strangers, the runaway slaves, into their own houses, for years, were not prepared to yield a ready submission to a law which made it a punishable act to receive a runaway slave, and which, when he was tried for his freedom before a Commissioner, gave the Commissioner ten dollars if he was sent into slavery, but only five if he was set free."

From The Christiana riot and the treason trials of 1851: an historical sketch (Google eBook) by William Uhler Hensel. The New Era Print. Co., 1911 - Christiana (Pa.) - 134 pages. Page 42

Peter Woods, sole surviving sufferer and prisoner of the occasion, was working for Joseph Scarlet when he and his employer were arrested. He tells his story thus to the author of this history:

"The day the fight happened I was up very early. We were to have 'a kissing party' that night for Henry Roberts; and as I wanted to get off early I asked my boss, Joe Scarlet, if he would plough if I got up ahead and spread the manure. I started at it at two o'clock. The morning was foggy and dull. About daylight Elijah Lewis's son came running to me while I was getting my work done, and said the kidnappers were here. They came to Ellis Irvin's farm, and then to Milt Cooper's which is known as the Leaman farm. The morning of the riot I got there about seven or eight o'clock. I met some of them coming out of the lane, and others were on a run from the house. I met Hanway on a bald-faced sorrel horse coming down the long lane, and his party with him. The other party, the marshal and his people, took to the sprouts, licking out for all they could, and then took the Noble road. There were about sixty of our fellows chasing them. The strange party got away. I got hurt by being kicked by a blind colt on the hip. The shooting was all over. Gorsuch had been killed before I got there. The Gorsuch party was riding away as fast as they could. I guess I am the last man living of our party.
"When Scarlet was arrested they were rough in arresting him. They took him by the throat, and pointed bayonets at him all around him. I said to myself if you arrest a white man like that, I wonder what you will do to a black boy? ..."

From Blood flowed first at Christiana Riot Posted on April 5, 2011 by Lancaster Newspapers

Of the 141 people arrested, 39 were charged with treason, the most ever accused of that crime in U.S. history. Those accused of treason included Hanway, Lewis, Scarlet and a fourth white man and 35 black men.

Because it was believed blacks could not organize on their own, Hanway, as the first white man to arrive on the scene, was assumed to be the leader. Thus, he was the first to be tried.

The trial, held in Philadelphia on the second floor of Independence Hall, drew national attention. It prompted a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier that praised the accused. It was attended by abolitionist Lucretia Mott. Press reports were read by a friend of the Gorsuch family, actor John Wilkes Booth.

The government’s case soon fell apart, and the trial ended with Hanway’s acquittal. Eventually, charges against all of the defendants were dropped; an outrage Booth likely may have recalled more than thirteen years later as he aimed his pistol at the head of President Abraham Lincoln.

The North proclaimed victory, while the ruling left the South embittered.

War drew closer.

From A True Story of the Christiana Riot (Google eBook). David R. Forbes. Sun Printing House, 1898 - Riots - 154 pages. Page 36. "Thaddeus Stevens scores a point ..."

THE KIND of testimony relied upon by the Government and its agents to convict peaceable, orderly, and respectable men of the crime of treason, and so "stop the discussion of Slavery both in and out of Congress," may be learned from the opening of Thaddeus Stevens in the examination of Hanway, Lewis, and others, before an Alderman in Lancaster city. These statements were sustained by the evidence introduced. It was fit that such a case should be upheld by subornation and perjury. They were in keeping with the whole proceedings. Never was a more overbearing and high-handed attempt made by tyrants and cowards to intimidate freemen ; and there never went unhung a gang of more depraved wretches and desperate scoundrels than some of the men employed as "officers of the law'" to ravage this county and ransack private houses, in the man-hunt which followed the affray.


From: July 20 1882, The Bucks County Gazette,  Bristol, Pennsylvania, United States Of America

"death of Joseph P. Scarlet in Philadelphia Saturday recalls an ex citing episode of the days ... in the neighborhood of Christiana certain slaves ... Their arrival was followed by a riot in whch Edward Gorsuch was killed and the rest were wounded by men .... For hiding these colored men and giving them aid and Mr Scarlet ..."

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Joseph P. Scarlet's Timeline

March 15, 1821
Robeson Township, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
July 8, 1882
Age 61
Philadelphia, Philadelphia , Pennsylvania, United States
Age 60
West Laurel Hill, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States