An Underground Railroad Safe House
— Cultural Heritage - Routes to freedom passed through many Seaway Trail comminuties —Not Underground, Not a Railroad Freedom seekers used whatever means available to make their journey. Some stowed away on canal boats and lake steamers. Some were transported hidden in wagons. Usually, however, they simply traveled on foot, under the cover of darkness, carrying few possessions, following creek beds to avoid detection, and following leads to safe houses like the McClews' to rest and eat. The Abolitionists Charles and Anna Maria McClew were part of a secret network of people who helped freedom seekers make their way through the Niagara Frontier to Canada. Abolitionists throughout the Niagara region not only assisted people fleeing from slavery but also fought for abolition of slavery through political channels. Charles McClew The McClews moved to this property in 1850 and built this house and barns. They used native wood, made the bricks on site, and used stones cut from the Erie Canal excavation to cap the foundation wall. Safe House There is a concealed room beneath the McClews' barn where people escaping slavery were able to rest and recuperate. The entrance to the room can still be seen today. Boat and Bridge Crossings Rowboats were used to secretly ferry people across the Niagara River to Canada and freedom. After the first Suspension bridge was built to Canada near the Whirlpool Rapids in 1847, most fugitives escaped either by stealthily walking across the bridge or, after the original bridge was replaced by the Suspension Railway Bridge in 1855, by hiding in baggage or cattle cars of the trains. Creek Route Creekbeds offered pathways that were easy to follow even at nighttime and were often edged with concealing vegetation. People who were escaping from slavery were sometimes hidden in wagons filled with produce that was being taken to market in Lockport or Niagara Falls. Underground Railroad in New York People who were escaping from slavery followed several routes from the south to the north, and from the interior of the state to its border with Canada. Freedom Timeline 1865 Slavery abolished by the 13th Amendment. 1863 Emancipation Proclamation decrees that all slaves in Rebel territory are free. 1861-65 United States Civil War 1860 Abraham Lincoln Elected. 1850 Compromise of 1850, which encompasses the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, passes U.S. Congress, allowing bounty hunters and Federal Marshals to seize fugitive slaves within states where slavery has been legally abolished. Freed men and women were in danger of being recaptured. 1837 Slavery is abolished by a Law of Complete Emancipation in New York State. 1820 Missouri Compromise forbids slavery in any new territories north of latitude 36°30'. 1808 U.S. bans slave trade. 1793 Fugitive Slave Act outlaws efforts to impede the capture of runaways. Seaway Trail, Inc. Corner Ray & West Main St., Sacketts Harbor, NY 13685. www.seawaytrail.com This project was funded in part by the federal Highway Administration and administered by the New York State Scenic byways Program of the New York State Department of Transportation and Seaway Trail, Inc.
|Placed By||Seaway Trail, Inc|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at 9:06am PST -08:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||17T E 684484 N 4796553|
|Decimal Degrees||43.29920000, -78.72558333|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 43° 17.952', W 78° 43.535'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||43° 17' 57.12" N, 78° 43' 32.1" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 2390 McClew Rd, Burt NY 14028, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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