the mid-eighteenth century by Captain David Clark,
Clearfield Farm was the home of his grandson John Clark
(1761-1821), Governor of Delaware from 1817-1820. John Clark
served as Colonel in the Delaware Militia and as Justice of
the Peace before being elected Governor in 1816. After his
term expired, Clark moved into the town of Smyrna to become
President of the Commercial Bank of Smyrna. Following his
death, the property was inherited by his granddaughters.
Local folklore identifies the plantation as a stop on the
Underground Railroad. The property was listed on the
National Register of Historical Places in 1973.
Location: Near Smyrna - On the grounds of the Delaware
Correctional Center. Approximately one mile south of the
intersection of Paddock Road and Smyrna Landing Road.
Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers
program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at
historically significant locations and sites across the
state. For more information, please contact Russ McCabe at
NPS Underground Railroad Special Resource Study 1995.
station was located at the Clearfield Farm in Blackbird
Hundred. The plantation house of Clearfield Farm, former
residence of Governor John Clark (1817-1820) is a rural 2 ˝
story---4 bay wide Georgian design. The mansion house was
built 1755 received an addition in 1840.
Governor Clark’s death on August 14, 1821, the house and
farm passed on to Daniel Corbit of Cantwell Bridge or
Odessa. William Still’s critical work The Underground
Rail Road (1871: p. 715) identifies Quaker, Daniel
Corbit (1796-1877) as an Abolitionist stationmaster. Daniel Corbit was the uncle of Governor’s Clark’s orphaned
granddaughters Sarah Clark Corbit and Mary Pennell Corbit.
Daniel Corbit became the girls’ guardian. “The houses,
outhouses and orchards” of the girls’ Clearfield Farm were
also transferred to Daniel Corbit in 1821. Corbit had the
Clearfield Farm and his Odessa property surveyed at the same
time. (New Castle County Warrants & Surveys: A2 58 and 58A).
Clearfield property has a number of hiding places. The
south end bedroom on the second floor of the original part
of the house has a crawl space in the attic. The fireplace
at the south end of the basement under the original part of
the house appears to be non-working. Adjacent to the
fireplace is a 10 foot by 8 foot dungeon. On the second
floor of the 1840 addition, there are 2 hidden inner rooms
without doors. One room is 8 foot and the other room is 8
foot by 9 foot. One room has a sliding panel that matches
the paneled wall, and the other room has a cut-out opening
of 4 foot by 1 ˝ foot on its southeast wall. A piece of
furniture could have been used to hide the opening. The
house is a short distance from a branch of Duck Creek. (Dr.
Daniel Corbit’s Freedom Center Complex: Restore and
renovate for a multi-cultural rehab and prevention treatment
facility for DCC inmates and youth-at-risk. Exhibit art room
for DCC Prison Arts Program. The Harriet Tubman