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  • T. Maguire, D. Burston

Dinah and Isaac Mendenhall


Two of the most faithful and committed supporters of the Underground Railroad in Chester County were the husband and wife team of Dinah and Isaac Mendenhall. Often the first station in Chester County for the UGRR, with freedom-seekers sent by their in-law Thomas Garrett of Wilmington, their work was much celebrated in Robert Smedley's History of the Underground Railroad In Chester and Neighboring Counties (1883) and in subsequent publications by Frances Cloud Taylor (1976), James McGowan (1977), Bill Kashatus (2002), and others.

However, there was no official commemoration by the state of Pennsylvania of their noble efforts-- until this fall. The effort to remedy this situation was led by Carol Luzak (below right), a descendant of the Mendenhall family and author Robyn Young (below left), who used her considerable experience at applying for and shepherding efforts to plant historical markers in the appropriate places.

On a cold Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10, 2018 they spoke, along with Bill Lewis, a representative from the PA Historical & Museum Commission, of the importance of this remarkable couple in the struggle for freedom over 160 years ago. Other members of the Mendenhall family attended, along with members of organizations that had contributed financially to this project. The Kennett Underground Railroad Center, which had made a contribution, was represented by Board members John O'Neal and Sandy Reber and KURC volunteer Loraine Lucas, the latter two of whom contributed photographs of the event. Light refreshments and socializing followed the dedication ceremony

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