Chester County figured very prominently on the Underground Railroad, aided largely by its many Quaker inhabitants, many of whom worked diligently for the freedom of the slaves.
There were numerous routes through the county that were used to send the slaves northward to freedom. Many crossed the Susquehanna River at points near Havre de Grace and were forwarded by Lancaster County conductors; more still came through Wilmington. The northern route through Chester County generally involved the efforts of James Fulton, Gideon Pierce, Thomas Bonsall, Thomas Vickers, John Vickers, Esther Lewis and her daughters, Dr. Edwin Fussell, William Fussell, Norris Maris, Emmor Kimber, Elijah Pennypacker and Lewis Peart.
Elijah Pennypacker's White Horse Farm in Schuylkill township, built around 1770, became a major depot on the Railroad in 1840, aiding hundreds on their way to freedom. In many cases, Pennypacker personally carried fugitves on to Daniel Ross's place in Norristown and other points to the north and east.