23. Linchester Mill
Enslaved and Free Blacks Working Side by Side
Daily life around Linchester Mill provided fertile yet dangerous ground for those seeking freedom. Whites and blacks, free and enslaved, would have regular contact here, at the general store or the post office. Free and enslaved African Americans worked side-by-side, providing a constant flow of information and support to freedom seekers. Quakers and free blacks who lived near the mill secretly helped fleeing slaves pass through the area.
A series of water-powered grist and sawmills operated here from the 1680s until 1979. The mill was 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. Daniel Hubbard, a known Underground Railroad conductor who lived less than a mile away, probably worked at the mill and may have helped build it. The milldam provided a possible crossing point over Hunting 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.
Route 331 and Linchester Road
Preston, MD 21655
GPS Coordinates: 38.701374,-75.897358
- Braille Trail
- Picnic area
- Mill tours by appointment
- Information about the area