“Enslaved and Free Blacks Working Side by Side”
Hunting Creek divides Dorchester and Caroline Counties. A series of water-powered grist and sawmills operated here from the 1680s until 1979. In addition to the mill, Linchester supported a general store, post office and homes. Mills and dams provided important crossing points over creeks for freedom seekers heading north through the county. The mill is situated amidst a secret network of safe houses: the Levertons, the Hubbards and the Kelleys on the west side, and Harriet Tubman’s parents Ben and Rit Ross at Poplar Neck on the east side.
The milldam provided a possible crossing point over the creek for fugitives headed to the Ross home at Poplar Neck, to Marsh Creek Church or Preston and beyond. Such crossing points helped freedom seekers stay dry, particularly important in cold weather, and to avoid unwanted attention. Businesses like this employed free and enslaved African-Americans, who interacted through work and social relationships, and often provided a constant flow of information and key support to freedom seekers. Daniel Hubbard, for example, a known Underground Railroad conductor who lived less than a mile away, probably worked at the mill and may have helped build it.
GPS Coordinates: 38.701374,-75.897358