Great Geneva was the finer of the two homes built by the Hunn family of Kent County at the large tract called Forest Landing. This home relates to the Underground Railroad in its importance in the life of abolitionist and Underground Railroad agent, John Hunn, a Quaker, who was dubbed “chief engineer” of the Delaware Underground Railroad by William Still. Likely born here in 1818, Hunn was orphaned by the age of three and was raised by his legal guardians, sister Patience Hunn Jenkins and her husband, George Washington Jenkins. Patience inherited Great Geneva upon the death of their father, Ezekiel. John Hunn assisted a great number of freedom seekers in the mid-19th century, most notably the Hawkins family in 1845, for which he and Thomas Garrett of Wilmington were sued by the Hawkins’ enslavers in federal district court, found guilty and heavily fined. Despite the financial burdens, Hunn continued his work on the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, Hunn and his daughter relocated to St. Helena Island in South Carolina to join the Port Royal Relief Committee, where they helped to provide education and vocational training to the newly freed residents.
Great Geneva’s Flemish bond brick pattern with glazed headers showcases the prosperity of the Hunn family who built it in ca. 1765. Family members settled in Kent County in the 17th century and Jonathan Hunn purchased the tract called Great Geneva from Alexander Humphreys in ca. 1765. Members of the Society of Friends, Hunn family members met with other local Quaker families for worship at the Murderkill Friends Meeting House, established near Magnolia, Delaware in ca. 1760. There are several family members buried in the graveyard of the meetinghouse, which is all that survives at the site.
Although Forest Landing, located at the confluence of Tidbury Creek and the St. Jones River, started out as an industrial center in the late 18th century, by the early 19th century it had become the main shipping port for Dover. It also supported the African American community called “Hunntown.”