The Friends Meeting House in Wilmington was erected between 1815 and 1817. Like many Quaker congregations, members of the Wilmington Meeting House were active in the Underground Railroad. In 1787, Delaware passed a law prohibiting the importation and exportation of slaves. The following year, Delaware Quakers formed the Delaware Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, an organziation that was active throughout the first half of the 19th century. Delaware bordered the free state of Pennsylvania and thus Wilmington was the last stop before freedom for many escaping with the assistance of the Underground Railroad.
Friends Meeting House
Photo courtesy of Wilmington Monthly Meeting
Thomas Garrett, one of the most famous abolitionists, lived in Wilmington and worshipped at the Friends Meeting House. Garrett was responsible for assisting nearly 2,700 escaping slaves by means of the Underground Railroad. Found guilty of violating the Fugitive Slave Law in 1848,
he was fined heavily and lost all of his property. He is buried in the burial grounds adjacent to the building.
Isaac Flint, another member of this congregation, purchased the freedom of Samuel D. Burris, a conductor on the Underground Railroad and free African American, when he was sentenced to servitude for assisting a freedom seeker in Kent County.
Copy of original photo in the collections of the Historical Society of Delaware, courtesy of Quaker Hill Historic Preservation Society.
The Friends Meeting House is located at 4th and West sts. in Wilmington, Delaware.
Visitors are welcome to attend services at 10:00am every Sunday. The main floor is open to visitors at other times by appointment only. Call 302-652-4491, visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.