Sumner Stebbins and the Fussell House
by Chris Densmore
After Dr. Benjamin Fussell moved from “The Pines,” the next occupant
was Dr. Sumner Stebbins (1809-1884). Stebbins had studied
medicine under Dr. Fussell, and like his mentor was one of the
founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. In 1842, he
married Mary Ann Bennet Pierce (1811-1897), the daughter of Joshua
Pierce who, with his brother, began the collection of rare trees that
came to be known as Pierces Park. Dr. Sumner and Mary Ann B.
Stebbins were founders of Longwood Meeting in 1853. The Longwood
Meetinghouse was built on land provided by the Pierces. The whole of
Pierces Park eventually passed down to Sumner and Mary Ann B.
Stebbins. A few years after Mary Ann’s death, the Pierces Park and
the Pierce House were purchased to become the basis for Longwood
Gardens. Next time you visit the Pierce House at Longwood Gardens
or pass The Pines, say hello to Sumner and Mary Ann B. Stebbins, old
abolitionists of Chester County.