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Postponed: Open House at Friends Meeting in Odessa

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

UPDATE: The open house is postponed until a later date.

The annual open house at the Appoquinimink Friends Meetinghouse, 624 Main St. (Route 299), Odessa, is Friday, March 20 from noon to 5 p.m.

For nearly 250 years, this brick meetinghouse has welcomed worshippers. In the antebellum period, pre-1860, Quakers welcomed Freedom Seekers in need of shelter on their journey from slavery to the North.

Recognized after extensive research into the activities of nearby Friends John Hunn and John Alston, the National Park Service accredited this site as contributing to the story of the Underground Railroad.

Odessa, or Cantwell’s Bridge as it was called prior to 1855, was a hotbed of abolitionist sentiment. Within the meetinghouse there is an under the eaves compartment disguised by a wooden panel where it is believed runaways were sequestered.

As a place of worship, the meetinghouse was a sanctuary against slave chasers. The area Friends’ farms, homes and meetinghouse provided safe havens, comfort and assistance to continue along the perilous journey to reach the promised land, Canada, first through Wilmington’s Thomas Garrett, Quaker, and thence to William Still, free Black in Philadelphia.

It is reported that Harriet Tubman traveled the nearby road and almost surely, according to historical evidence, visited this modest site off the beaten path.