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Richard Potter Home Site

 

The Richard Potter Home Site is relevant to the Underground Railroad because it was in the post Civil-War residence (ca. 1866-1878) of Richard Potter in Denton, Maryland that he wrote his kidnapping narrative.His ownership is documented by the 1870 census for Denton and Caroline County land records.[1]

In Denton Maryland, in1853, African American and white residents celebrated the rescue and return of Richard John Potter, a free black youth who had been kidnapped from Greensboro, Caroline County, MD and sold into slavery to Delaware. Born free around 1838 in Greensboro, Richard was indentured in 1848 by his mother, Sydney Potter, to Batchelder C. Skinner, a farmer living near Greensboro.Finding that he no longer could use Richard's labour, Skinner leased him, illegally, to Edward Taylor, another farmer near Greensboro, sometime around 1852.Taylor was cruel and abusive.When Richard's parents sued in court to cancel their son's indenture, Taylor schemed to sell Potter as a slave.In a trap set by Taylor, Potter was kidnapped from Taylor's farm and sold to a man named Vaughn, who lived near Concord, in Sussex, DE. With search parties hot on Potter's trail, Vaughn decided to kill him.Fortunately, young Richard fled from the Vaughn home and found refuge with a sympathetic neighbour, Mrs. Short.Potter was rescued and brought back to Denton, Caroline Co., and while resting on the steps of the local hotel at this site on Courthouse Square, he was greeted by his joyful parents and cheering crowds. Potter's indenture, kidnapping, and rescue are vividly documented in his memoir, The Narrative of the Experience, Adventures, and Escape of Richard Potter, first published in 1866


 

[1] Caroline County Land Records Liber P, folio 534; 29//149 in 1858; 30/268, Liber 30, Folio 39, Maryland State Archives.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 9 N. 4th Street, Denton, Caroline, 21629

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Town of Denton Town Administrator

Location Type: Site