The Pines

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Chris Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College


In the years leading up to the Civil War, the Kennett area was known as “that hotbed of abolitionism” because of the help many local residents gave to fugitive slaves. These Underground Railroad “stationmasters” sheltered fugitives in their homes, called “stations.” One of the most prominent of these stationmasters was Dr. Bartholomew Fussell, whose house still stands at the intersection of Baltimore Pike and McFarlan Road, just east of historic Kennett Square. Fussell’s house, “The Pines,” is one of the most historic of the many Underground Railroad houses in the Kennett area.

While studying medicine in Maryland as a young man, Fussell conducted a Sunday School for slave children, some of whom later were pleasantly surprised when they found themselves at his home on their way north.

Besides the Fussells, two other families sheltered fugitive slaves in this old farmhouse before the Civil War: Chandler and Hannah Darlington and Sumner and Mary Anne Stebbins.  All were active members of Longwood Progressive Meeting, just up the road, now the Chester County Visitors Center.

History of the Underground Railroad in Chester and the Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania, Smedley, R.C. 1883.