25. Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Secret Meeting Place
This is the site of the original Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church, an African-American church community established in 1849 when local Quakers sold this land to free blacks, so they could build their own church. The congregation later moved to the town of Preston, where they still meet for services. This cemetery is still used by the church.
The cemetery may have served as a meeting place for fugitives on the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was known to have used a cemetery as a rendezvous point for some of her escapes north. Laws restricted blacks from meeting in groups, and Tubman preferred to meet those who were fleeing with her in secret places away from their homes. She “was never seen on the plantation herself.”
Choosing a meeting place, sometimes miles distant, protected Harriet from discovery should any of the fleeing slaves get caught by their masters. A group of slaves gathering in a cemetery might not arouse the same attention as a group of black people gathering in a home, or even secretly in the woods, which was specifically forbidden by law.
2246 Marsh Creek Road
Preston, MD 21655
GPS Coordinates: 38.720533,-75.926176