Appoquinimink Meeting in Odessa, Delaware
Under the care of Wilmington Monthly Meeting
West Main Street (Route 299), Odessa, Delaware
[Just west on Main Street at Odessa Route 13 traffic light]
Meeting for Worship every First and Third Sundays of each
month at 11:00 a.m.
the Appoquinimink Meeting:
Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) were
early settlers of the area surrounding Odessa, coming in with
groups organized by William Penn, seeking religious freedom
Land." In 1763, Friends in the Georges Creek area applied
(PA) Monthly Meeting for ".the establishment of a Meeting
midst." They met in homes until Georges Creek Meeting
House w as built
(later called Hickory Grove Meeting) northeast of present
Georges. They affiliated with Duck Creek (Smyrna) Monthly
known records of Georges Creek or the early Appoquinimink
References are found in Duck Creek records in the Friends
Library, Swarthmore College, PA. The minutes for the Sixth
1781, noted that a request from Georges Creek Friends was
read "for the
indulgence of this meeting to remove their present place of
Appoquinimink Bridge." This had to be approved by Western
Meeting as well, and the process took until Eight Month 1782.
Month 1783, Duck Creek Meeting minutes noted that "the
Appoquinimink have erected a house wherein they now meet."
In 1785 the present brick Meeting House was built by David
wife was Mary Corbit. They were not married under the care
but by a minister, so were temporarily "read out of meeting." Perhaps
because of that, or slow legal processes, the Meeting House
were not deeded to the Meeting until 1800.
The first school at Appoquinimink (also known as Cantwell's
later Odessa) was established by Friends much earlier, in
conducted by them until the late 1800's. It was used as a
Zoar Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built on land to
be sold to
them by the Meeting. Later, Daniel Corbit gave land and built
parsonage for them across the street, and the former school
Appoquinimink Meeting thrived until 1828 when the disagreement
Quakers as to Hicksite versus Orthodox philosophy occurred.
Appoquinimink members, including the Corbits, sided with the
Friends in Philadelphia, but Duck Creek Meeting became Hicksite
the property. The Alston family tried to carry on, but in
Meeting was closed. The building became subject to vandalism
The Meeting was a station on the Underground Railroad. A member
Meeting, John Hunn, owned the farm to the west and was arrested
Thomas Garrett for harboring fugitive slaves. Tried in New
was fined to the extent that he had to sell his farm. Though
his papers before he died, Harriet Tubman is quoted as saying
she hid in
the Meeting House at times. Tubman was interviewed by Earl
wrote a biography of her in the late 1800's. The Meeting House's
story has a removable panel leading to spaces under the eaves.
originally had a cellar reached by a small side opening at
In 1900, Mary Corbit Warner (Mrs. E. Tatnall
Warner) moved the Corbit
family headstones from the Hicksite property to a smaller
brick walls just east of and adjacent to the original cemetery.
then Corbit descendants have been buried in this private plot.
was given to Wilmington Monthly Meeting in 1970. A fund was
set up by
the Corbit family for its care.
In 1938, James Finley, with financial aid from Roseanna Evans
Sharp, restored the building. It was reopened for worship
however, the property title had escheated to the State. In
interested Friends requested the State to restore the title
Friends and Wilmington Monthly Meeting received the title
Appoquinimink became a Preparative Meeting under Wilmington's
In 1972 the Meeting House, said to be the
smallest brick house of
worship in the United States, was placed on the National Register
Historic Places. Appoquinimink Preparative Meeting has held
Meeting for Worship regularly for a number of years.
All are Welcome!