Welcome to stop 10.
The house at 234 North Union Street is the Gilmore-Pennock House. Built in 1866, this Federal style house was home to Reverend John S. Gilmore, the first pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Kennett Square. In 1898, it was sold to Mary Pennock, wife of a local banker and well-known ornithologist, Charles Pennock. Charles was an eccentric who apparently suffered amnesia and disappeared for seven years. He resurfaced in Florida under another name and returned to Kennett, where he resumed his business pursuits and bird studies. The new porch was built to look like the original porch.
Keeping with the rather loose theme of birds, which fascinated Charles Pennock, here is a story by Chris Densmore, of the Quaker, Thomas Garrett and his amazing exploits.
Be Thou Gentle as Doves:
Thomas Garrett Outwits the Slave Catchers (Again)
Sometimes foiling the slave catchers, serious business as it was, was a game of wits. Thomas Garrett of Wilmington, Delaware, told Joseph Dugdale of an incident where a fugitive from Maryland had been captured in Wilmington and was sitting in the local magistrate’s office, his hands bound with rope. Garrett walked into the magistrate’s office and addressed the captive in a commanding voice, “Jim, what is thee doing here instead of tending to your business?” He cut the ropes, and in the same commanding voice said, “Begone with thee.” The captive didn’t have to be told twice, and ran “like lightning through a thundercloud.” If he followed the usual route, he was headed to Chester County.
The magistrate began to apologize, “Why Mr. Garrett, I had no idea this was your man!” Garrett, appearing enraged and indignant, stomped his foot on the floor and declared, “Such conduct is insufferable.” Quite possibly, Garrett had never laid eyes on the captive before and the “business” that the captive should attend to was escaping slavery. The insufferable conduct had nothing to do with the magistrate’s legal handling of the case, but meant that slavery itself was insufferable. Good Quaker as he was, he avoided lying. If the magistrate assumed that Garrett had the right to do what he did, Garrett was happy to keep up that impression. The ruse was soon found out, but by that time Jim, or whatever his real name might have been, was nowhere to be found.
To quote Scripture, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Kindly continue to move on down North Union Street to number 220. This home catches the attention of most visitors to Kennett Square. We will tell you a little bit about it as we continue the walk.