In Progress - Underground Railroad Story, Chester County, PA

What was the Underground Railroad?

In Progress - Underground Railroad Story, Chester County, PA

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania 19348, United States

Created By: Kennett Underground Railroad Center

Tour Information

From the earliest European settlement of what is now the United States to the close of the American Civil War in 1865, enslaved people, unwillingly transported from Africa, provided much of the labor to build this country. These people could be bought and sold like any other form of property. As long as their was slavery, there were enslaved people who sought to free themselves by escape. After the American Revolution, many northern states, including Pennsylvania, ended slavery within their own borders, while others, including near-by Delaware and Maryland, became even more dependent on slave labor. By the 1780s, enslaved people tried to escape to a place were they could be free. Some stayed locally in the Kennett area, while others went to Philadelphia, New York or New Bedford, and by the 1830s, many escapees headed for the safety in Canada.

Why Kennett?

Chester County, Pennsylvania, shares its southern boundary with Delaware, and is close to the Maryland. Both Delaware and Maryland were slave states so freedom seekers from those states, or from the lower South, had to keep moving north. This closeness, the presence of a large Quaker population opposed to slavery, organized anti-slavery societies, and a relatively large number of African-Americans,: all of these factors made Chester County an important stop for freedom seekers on their way north.


Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

1
Longwood Progressive Friends Meetinghouse and Cemetery c. 1855

Local Quakers differed over how to respond to slavery. In 1853, a group of 58 men and women founded the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends. Their Meetinghouse became a beacon to reformers throughout the United States for mov... Read more
2
John (1786-1880) and Hannah (nee Peirce, 1797-1876) Cox residence c. 1797

The Coxes were delegates to state and national anti-slavery conventions and John was president of the Kennett Anti-Slavery Society, which was established in 1837. They sold a portion of their orchard for the building of the Longwood Progres... Read more
3
Bartholomew Fussell (1794-1871) residence c. 1823

He was a Quaker physician who opened a Sabbath school for African-American students in Maryland, helped organize the 1833 American Anti-Slavery Society, and aided over 2,000 fugitives. In 1846 he proposed the formation of The Female Medical... Read more
4
Marlborough Quaker Meetinghouse c. 1801, Cemetery & Village

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.  
5
Eusebius (1802-1865) and Sarah (nee Painter, 1804-1849) Barnard residence c. 1810

*Eusebius (1802-1865) and Sarah (nee Painter, 1804-1849) Barnard residence c. 1810 | Pocopson Park trails and picnic area | Pennsylvania Historical Marker    Locust Grove Schoolhouse and Lyceum c. 1870 The farm was a station on the Under... Read more
6
Locust Grove Schoolhouse and Lyceum c. late 1800s

  The farm was a station on the Underground Railroad with the Barnard family providing shelter to freedom seekers and escorting them to their next safe haven. Eusebius was described as “a man of great force of character”. A member of L... Read more

 

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