Camden Local Talks About History Of Brinkley Hill
CAMDEN, Del– A local man named Ryan Pickett is someone who brings lesser known historical figures to the forefront so their stories can be heard.
“William Brinkley was an American hero that had to work in the shadows,” said Pickett.
One person he has been researching is William Brinkley, also from Camden owned a place called Brinkley Hill, a popular stop on the underground railroad.
“Famous people such as Harriet Tubman, we have information that Tubman had stayed there– we’ve heard it from her and we’ve also seen it from letters he’s written,” Pickett said.
Pickett tells us that it wasn’t just Brinkley who helped slaves find refuge, his brother Nathaniel Brinkley and Abraham Gibbs also helped him along the way.
“Not only were they an important part of the underground railroad by letting people stay there and housing them but they also risked their lives taking them places,” said Pickett.
Pickett also tells us that not many know where Brinkley Hill is located, which makes this story harder to tell.
“Anybody that drives past Camden on the highway, drives right past it. It’s an area where there is really nothing to show that it ever existed except a tiny cemetery called Demby Cemetery,” Pickett said.
Pickett says he would love to see schools teach about Brinkley, so that more people know who he is.
He would also like to see Camden formally recognize the role Brinkley Hill played in history, and all that it was apart of.
“I think at the very least there needs to be some kind of documentation or historical marker that’s going to let people know that this isn’t some stretch of land on the road– this is a place Harriet Tubman stayed and helped people,” Pickett said.
Pickett also tells us that in 1857 Brinkley wrote a letter to William Still detailing all the slaves they helped escape, it was over a hundred total.
Pickett is also a middle school teacher and is thinking about involving his students in the process of creating a historical marker.