Northeast Times

Byberry Hall receives state historical marker

A state his­tor­ic­al mark­er was un­veiled on Sat­urday to hon­or By­berry Hall, which was built by Robert Pur­vis. Mem­bers of the Pur­vis fam­ily gath­er by the plaque dur­ing Sat­urday’s ded­ic­a­tion. JACK MC­CARTHY / FOR THE TIMES

A state his­tor­ic­al mark­er was un­veiled on Sat­urday morn­ing to hon­or By­berry Hall, situ­ated on the grounds of By­berry Friends Meet­ing at By­berry and Thornton roads, which was built in 1846-1847 by noted ab­ol­i­tion­ist Robert Pur­vis and oth­ers to serve as a com­munity meet­ing place and safe ven­ue for anti-slavery act­iv­ists to gath­er.

Many of the na­tion’s lead­ing ab­ol­i­tion­ists spoke in By­berry Hall, and By­berry be­came a cen­ter for anti-slavery activ­it­ies in the mid-19th cen­tury.

Pur­vis (1810-1898) was some­times re­ferred to as the “Pres­id­ent” of the Un­der­ground Rail­road.

Born in 1810 in Char­le­ston, S.C., he moved with his fam­ily to Phil­adelphia in 1819. In 1843, he moved to By­berry Town­ship, then a largely rur­al com­munity. He used his home in By­berry as a sta­tion on the Un­der­ground Rail­road and by his own es­tim­ate helped more than 9,000 slaves es­cape to the North. 

By­berry Hall is now part of the By­berry Monthly Meet­ing prop­erty and ad­min­istered by the trust­ees of the By­berry Monthly Meet­ing of Friends. ••

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