Marlborough Quaker Meetinghouse c. 1801, Cemetery & Village

The Underground Railroad Story in Kennett Square, Chester County, PA

Marlborough Quaker Meetinghouse c. 1801, Cemetery & Village

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania 19348, United States

Created By: Kennett Underground Railroad Center


The Thomas Mitchell Kidnapping and "Indignation Meeting." Born enslaved, Mitchell had been living as a free African American for 12 years. In 1849 slave hunters broke into his Unionville home and kidnapped him. Local Quakers followed them to Baltimore where they found him in chains. After being purchased with $600 raised by neighbors to buy his freedom, Thomas was reunited with his family. On September 11, 1849 an" Indignation Meeting" was held in East Marlborough “ express our indignation at such deeds of daring outrage ....”

Slave hunting was increasingly common after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Often free blacks were abducted and forced into slavery, as African Americans had virtually no legal rights.

• At TRAFFIC ROUNDABOUT take 1st exit to the R onto E. Doe Run Road; proceed .3 mile to stop sign.

• LEFT at Stop Sign onto Marlborough Road. Proceed .9 mile to Marlborough Village..

• LEFT into Marlborough Meetinghouse & Cemetery driveway, just after cemetery wall & fence. Not open to the public except for meeting activity and scheduled tours

361 Marlborough Rd, Kennett Square.

This Meetinghouse was built in 1801 on land donated by two Quaker farmers, Richard Barnard and Isaac Baily. Looking out over the valley down the hill from behind the meetinghouse, one sees a typical bucolic Chester County landscape.

The meetinghouse was the site of the so-called ‘Marlborough Riot’. The Marlborough Meeting community did not approve of members speaking at Meeting to espouse abolitionist concerns. This was a common position in Quaker Meetings: that Meeting communities should deal with spiritual and not secular concerns. A number of Friends were ‘read out’ of Marlborough and helped found the LPFM.

• Turn LEFT out of Meeting parking area and take first RIGHT onto Marlborough Springs Rd

• With a slight left, Marlborough Springs Rd feeds into Lenape Unionville Rd. Proceed 1.8 miles

• At traffic circle, take 3rd exit onto Rt 52 North/S. Wawaset Rd.

• Take first driveway on LEFT, before historical marker.

Meetinghouses frequently became forums for anti-slavery. Elevated criticism amongst some of the members resulted in the 1852 “Marlborough Riot”, which led to the establishment of the Progressive Friends.

This point of interest is part of the tour: The Underground Railroad Story in Kennett Square, Chester County, PA


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