Newspaper Articles Archive

Mary Larkin Dugan was president of the Kennett Underground Railroad Center for over a dozen years, and was the leader of this effort to keep alive the memory of the UGRR—its struggles, its stories, and its heroes– in this area.  With Mary Dugan’s death in April 2013, we lost a friend, advocate and historian.  In this website, we have reproduced articles written by Mary Dugan and her associates.

       She began this series with an arrangement with the Kennett Paper. She photographed local houses known to have been part of the Underground Railroad in this area which were then published with captions explaining the history and significance of these structures.   This series was continued with thirty-seven articles written by Christopher Densmore, a Kennett Underground Railroad Center. This series was continued with twenty-seven article by KURC board member, Terry Maguire and an article by Marlene Drewes who became acting president of the KURC following Mary Dugan’s death. The newspaper series ended in 2015.

        The newspaper series has been re-edited for the KURC webpage, and historical pictures have been added. The graphics come from published works, primarily from R.C. Smedley’s History fo the Underground Railroad In Chester and the Neighboring Counties of Pennsylvania (first published in 1883; a reprint is available from the KURC) and William Still’s History of the Underground Railroad (first published in 1871 and reprinted numerous times).  There are no current plans to resume the newspaper stories, though from time to time we may add additional stories based on the research of KURC members.  If you know of similar accounts concerning  the Underground Railroad and related topics that should be added to this website, please contact the KURC through info@kennettunderground.org


A Prophet Not Easily Discouraged

Terence Maguire, for the Kennett Underground Railroad Center   Strong advocates of abolition and those actively involved in Underground Railroad activity were often not appreciated by their neighbors.  In many instances members of Quaker meetings took the harsh step of “reading out” such zealots from their midst—in a sense, excommunicating them.  Wilmington Monthly Meeting considered […]

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A Visit to President Lincoln

Chris Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College We would like to tell you about a little-known bit of history: how Longwood Meeting may have influenced Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Not many people know about the visit of some Longwood Progressive Friends to President Lincoln. In June 1862, when the country had […]

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America’s First Woman of Industry: Part I

Terence Maguire, for the Kennett Underground Railroad Center In the modest graveyard of Fallowfield Friends Meeting, in the tiny village of Ercildoun, lies of one of Chester County’s greatest citizens: Rebecca Pennock Lukens.  While not an agent of the UGRR, she was a pioneer and role model for social justice. Rebecca was born in 1794, […]

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America’s First Woman of Industry: Part II

Terence Maguire, for the Kennett Underground Railroad Center Taking over from her deceased husband, Rebecca Lukens had some help.  Brother-in-law Solomon Lukens ran the inside mill operations, and Charles Brooke, an ironmaster from Hibernia, advised her.  Rebecca, however, was in charge.  She met with and made decisions about customers, set prices, and organized the company. […]

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Bayard Taylor’s Lakeside: The House that Isn’t

Chris Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College Kennett Square author Bayard Taylor’s 1864 novel, Hannah Thurston: A  Story of an American Life,  is the story about how Hannah Thurston, a Quaker, abolitionist and woman’s rights advocate, finds her true happiness in marriage to the sophisticated, traveled and very rich Maxwell Woodbury. The novel is […]

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Be Thou Gentle as Doves: Thomas Garrett Outwits the Slave Catchers (Again)

Chris Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College Sometimes foiling the slave catchers, serious business as it was, was  a game of wits.  Thomas Garrett of Wilmington, Delaware, told Joseph Dugdale of an incident where a fugitive from Maryland had been captured in Wilmington and was sitting in the local magistrate’s office, his hands bound […]

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Book Banning in Maryland

Terence Maguire, for the Kennett Underground Railroad Center In 1872 William Still published The Underground Railroad, the first book detailing the largely secret efforts of whites and blacks to undermine the institution of American slavery.  Still, a Black man, was a leader for the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery.  He was not the […]

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Coin of a Different Realm

Terence Maguire, for the Kennett Underground Railroad Center The Underground Railroad operated during the first half of the 19th C., a time during which gender roles were pretty tightly defined.  Typically men acted as conductors—the people who led or drove freedom-seekers from one station to another. Of course the greatest and most famous conductor was […]

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