Cabrini University Dedicates Underground Railroad Table
~ from Cabrini University Dedication Program
Vachel Catlin, born in 1814, traveled from the South to western Pennsylvania around 1834 through the network known as the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of diverse people offering shelter and aid to escaped enslaved people from the South. Vachel’s family was able to bring with them only one piece of furniture, a small wooden table. Vachel became a barber and opened up the first barbershop in West Newton, PA.
The table was passed through family members and sat near the front window of a barbershop run by George Catlin, a descendent of Vachel Catlin.
After over seventy years of being a barber, George retired and gave his family table that sat in his barbershop to a good friend and customer, John Sarnosky who kept it in his home until his death in 1980. At that time, the table was given to his grandson Johm Bachkay who was studying to be a priest at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA. Fr. John was ordained in 1983. The table traveled with him to his many church assignments. After his retirement in 2021, he donated the Catlin family table to Cabrini University.
The University community is honored and thrilled to be recipient of this significant piece of our nation’s history.