Levi Coffin was born in Greensboro, on 28th October, 1798. After a brief education he became a school teacher. A member of the Society of Friends, Coffin attempted in 1821 to start a school for slaves but their owners refused to allow them to attend.
In 1826 Coffin moved to Newport, Indiana. This was on the route where fugitive slaves made their way from the South to Canada.
Coffin soon became involved in helping the runaways and it has been estimated that over 3,000 slaves stayed at his home during their journey.
Coffin moved to Cincinnati in 1847 where he opened a store selling goods made exclusively by freed slaves. He also visited England to raise funds for the cause and in 1867 he was a delegate to the International Anti-Slavery Conference in Paris.
Levi Coffin, who autobiography, Reminiscences, was published in 1876, died in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 16th September, 1877.