897855

 
 
 
897855 A Branch of Connecticut Northrops 1619 to Present
 
 

Northrops

Family Tree
 
Before the founder England
 Joseph Northrup            
1619(1639)-1669 Milford
 Joseph Northrup             narrrow
1649 Milford ~ ???1700
 James Northrop              
1693 Milford ~ 1747
 James Northrop
             
1719 Ridgefield ~ 1784
 Amos Northrop              
1778? Milford 1855 Warren
 Alvin Northrop                
1803 Ridgefield, Kent, Milford, Salem ~1875 or 86
 George Elmore  Northrop
1844 Cornwall~1906 Southport
 George Ives  Northrop     
1871 Southport ~ 1923 Southport
 Alvin Jennings  Northrop  
1905 Southport/Norwalk ~ 1980 Fairfield

Hannigan

Ives

Jennings

Keeler

Webster (offsite)

This is a work in process and there are still other possible fathers for Amos.

Other Amos Father Possibilities arrow

 

Amos Northrop b ~ 1779-80 Undergroundrailway Connecticut

Connecticut Abolitionists

With an act of Gradual Emancipation, the slave trade in Connecticut was prohibited in 1788. but, it remained legal to hold slaves until as late as 1848. The Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1838.

While some believed slavery to be a sin against God and humanity.

The earlier contoversy over the marriages to "two of the tawny brethren" at the Cornwall Mission School (by Sarah Northrup & Harriet Gold) had solidified much sentiment against non-whites in Litchfield County, Connecticut any beyond.

The impact was described as " a calamitous, moral shock ; a sort of aesthetic, volcanic upheaving"and 'The effect was quite shocking ; almost pestilential. Every class of society was thrown into spiritual convulsions."

It was in this environment that the Abolition movement worked. in in January, 1837 the only location they could secure for their convention was a barn, filled to the rafters in Wolcottville (later the center of Torrington). The convention included Roger S. Mills of New Hartford, Rev. Daniel Coe of Winsted, the Rev. Nathaniel Colver, agent of the American society, Erastus Lyman of Goshen, Gen. Daniel 13. Brinsmade of Washington, Gen. Uriel Tuttle of Torringford, and Jonathan Coe of Winsted ; Rev. R. M. Chipman of Harwinton ; Dr. E. D. Hudson of Torringford. Dea. Ebenezer Rood, Ironicocaly it was the intolerance and misbehavior of a furious and threatening village mob outside that led the Torringford people to offer the use of their meetinghouse for the remainder of the convention. They were still opposed everywhere and some were excommunicated from the churches, for no crime but speaking against slavery ; Some withdrew from the churches because they deemed it sinful to hold fellowship with those who voted to uphold a system, History of Torrington, Connecticut: from its first settlement in 1737, with ... By Samuel Orcutt

So in 1839 In embracing the Amistad captives' plight , Abolitionists hoped to publicize and reinvigorate their cause. -- to refocus the case on human rights and to challenge the institution of slavery on moral and constitutional grounds (New Haven attorney Roger Sherman Baldwin. (a member of North Church later assisted by former President John Quincy Adams), provided legal services to the Amistad captives. , )

from http://www.nps.gov/history/nR/travel/amistad/connecticutabolitionists.htm

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ABOLITION UNDERGROUND RAILWAY
The first undergroud RR in CT began around 1820 in New Haven,

"the first anti-slavery society in Connecticut was started in Georgetown in Oct. 1838...
On Dec. 4, 1838, the Georgetown Anti-Slavery Society was formed. President, Eben Hill; Secretary, William Wakeman; Treasurer, John C. St. John. Among those who were members of this Society were Sturges Bennett, Aaron Bennett, William Bennett, Sauruch Bennctt, Jonathan Betts, Alonzo Byington, Edwin Burchard, Walter Bates, Ezra Brown, Charles Cole, Benjamin Gilbert, William Gilbert, Matthew Gregory, Bradley Hill, Edmund Hurlbutt, John B. Hurlbutt, Aaron Jelliff, William Jelliff, Aaron Osborn, Gregory Osborn, Timothy Parsons, William Wakeman, Timothy Wakeman, and many others who years later became Republicans and voted for Abraham Lincoln. "

http://www.historyofredding.com/HGchurches.htm

The Underground Railroad in Litchfield County (And surrounding areas)

-Quotes from "The Underground Railroad in Connecticut" by Horatio T. Strother, 1962.

Perhaps a relative of Rev Hezekiah Gold m to Elizabeth Wakeman? Gold was Minister in Cornwall for many years

 

The Underground Railroad consisted of a series of places where slaves were able to take refuge on their trek to freedom. Started by the Quakers, abolitionists and black free men soon became involved. This secret avenue to freedom was taken by an increasingly large number of daring runaways from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the decade between the Fugitive Slave Act and the outbreak of the Civil War. New Milford has three documented houses (Gaylordsville has one and Washington, two) that were part of the Underground Railroad. Still standing today, they are:

Charles A. Sabin House Lanesville Road, Wanzer Farm New Milford
Agustine A. Thayer House Grove Street New Milford
Elisha Bostwick House Grove Street New Milford
James Stuart House Gaylordsville
Frederick W. Gunn House Washington
Daniel Platt House Washington

 

-p. 121-122- " As a conductor, Wakeman (of Norwalk), was bold and tireless, taking his "packages of hardware and dry good" to places as distant as Plymouth and Middletown - trips of forty and fifty miles as the crow flies, farther than that by road....

-p. 122- "The Plymouth operators, to whom Wakeman presumably made his deliveries, included Joel Blakeslee, Ferrand Dunbar, and William Bull. They not only handled passengers from Wilton; they also had to keep watch for unaccompanied fugitives on foot who had lost their way on the western line between New Haven and Farmington. The Plymouth "minute men" had to set these wanderers on the right track, which took them a dozen miles eastward to Farmington."

-p. 123 -Thus it is known that New Milford was a center of Underground work; but whether fugitives came to this town by traveling northward from the vicinity of Wilton, or eastward via a lateral from the Hudson River line in New York, or both, remains unclear."

-"There are several stations here, (New Milford), one of which was the house of Charles Sabin. Another was the home of Augustine Thayer. He and "his good wife devoted their lives to the Abolition cause. They helped many poor slaves on their way, rising from their beds in the night to feed and minister to them and secreting them till they could be taken under cover of darkness to Deacon Geradus Roberts' house on Second Hill and from there to Mr. Daniel Platt's house in Washington."

-p. 123-124 - Frederick W. Gunn of Washington, Connecticut, who founded the private school bearing his name, "The direction or runaways on the road to freedom, however, remained Gunn's private affair.

-p. 124-"Daniel Platt and his wife....accomodating "many a trembling black refugee" on their farm. ...Their son, Orville,...later recalled that "the slaves stayed, as a rule, but a short time, though some remained several weeks until it was learned through the channels of communication among the Abolitionists that their whereabouts was suspected." They were then forwarded to either of two destinations - to Dr. Vaill on the Wolcottville Road or to Uriel Tuttle in Torrington."

-p. 124-125 - "Yet, curiously, Uriel Tuttle was the only Underground stationmaster here of whom a record survives.

-p. 125- "At Winchester, a few miles north of Torrington and close to Winsted, there was a small but active antislavery society. Noble J. Everett was its secretary; Jonathan Coe, a member who lived in nearby Winsted, managed a well-patronized Underground station at his house. Another station many have been the home of Silas H. McAlpine, poet, philanthropist, and abolitionist of Winchester; in the foundation wall of his house was a hidden crypt that was possibly a hiding place for fugitives, but there is no positive evidence that it was so used."

-p 126 - "Beyond this point, there were stations to the north in Colebrook and to the northwest in Norfolk. Who were the Undergroung agents in Colebrook remains unknown, but there were certainly several of them. One may have been J. H. Rodgers, secretary of the ninety-member antislavery society in 1836.

-"It is also reported that there was a network of Underground byways in this vicinity and that residents of Norfolk were responsible for paving many of them."

-p. 126-127- " For the fugitive traveling through northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk was the last stop in the state. From here, he was sent across the Massachusetts border to New Marlboro, thence over to the Housatonic River line through Stockbridge and Pittsfield to Bennington, Vermont."

-from Appendix 2 - "Underground Railroad Agents in Connecticut" (Probable agents are indicated by *) Litchfield County Blakeslee, Joel - Plymouth Bull, William - Plymouth Coe, Jonathan - Winsted Dunbar, Daniel - Plymouth McAlpine, Silas H. * - Winchester Pettibone, Amos - Norfolk Roberts, Geradus - New Milford Sabin, Charles - New Milford Thayer, Augustine - New Milford Tuttle, Uriel - Torrington

-Quotes from "Barkhamsted Heritage-Culture and Industry in a Rural Connecticut Town", edited by Richard G. Wheeler and George Hilton, 1975.

-p. 235 - "Lamont's Christmas Tree Plantation - Located at the site of one of Barkhamsted's earliest houses, which saw use as an inn on the route from the Salisbury iron works toward Granby.....The house, known 50 years ago as the Oscar Tiffany place, was bought in 1952 by Thomas and Marguerite Lamont...Legend has it that the house was also a stop on the Underground Railroad."1

Scan of Colebrook River, from an old postcard
(Kind of tickles me, Cotton Mill in town and they were hiding slaves?)
-Quotes from "Colebrook Stories", by Alan DeLarm, 1979.

-"Chamberlain's hotel, The Colebrook River Inn, was at one time used as a station in the underground railroad." -"The Davidson house on the Old Colebrook Road is also said to have been an underground railroad station."

-Quotes from "Howard Peck's New Milford - Memories of a Connecticut Town", edited by James E. Dibble, 1991.
-p. 58-60- "Seventy-five years after the Bostwick place was erected it became one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. It is known that there was a hiding place beneath the floor of the attic. This compartment could hold two persons, and as it was near a chimney could provide warmth during the cold winter season. ..."

-"Another alleged station in this system was a home in the Lanesville section of this town. It is located about four miles south of the village center and has been known as the Wanzer Farm......(they were Quakers)"

-"Fugitives from slavery in the deep South entered New Milford at several places. Some were directed from New York State, directly west of New Milford. It would seem natural that they might have entered through the Town of Sherman, although little has been written or recorded as to that being the case. However, it has been stated that one known station on the system was in Sherman, a short distance north of the center of town in an old colonial residence lying on the westerly side of the present road leading north from the center toward the New York State line or to Gaylordsville. This station was in the Stuart family. The residence is still standing, a landmark and heritage to be preserved. James Stuart was reportedly the agent. It is alleged that there was a small out-building on the premises just north of his dwelling where the escapees would be housed and it would seem likely that some of them would come over the hills to New Milford."

-"Again, near the village, was the home of Augustine A. Thayer, known to his cronies as "Baccus."....from a New York newspaper....a reward of five hundred dollars offered for the apprehension of two runaway slaves. It was expressed by one of the men present that it would not surprise him, "if they would be found at that moment at Baccus' home."

-"Many of the fugitives were aided over the hills to Washington, about five or six miles east of New Milford. One of the most ardent supporters of the movement there was Frederick W. Gunn. ...With Mr. Gunn was Daniel Platt, as devoted an agent on the system as there was anywhere. Mr. Platt and his wife rescued and aided many a poor soul fleeing to Canada."

-"The route continued from Washington north to Litchfield, then on to Torrington, which was the birthplace of John Brown. It is reported that as early as 1837 there was an organization composed of forty members of an antislavery group in that town. Colebrook and Norfolk were the actual jumping off places in Connecticut. From these towns the fugitives crossed the line into Massachusetts, crossed the Housatonic River to Stockbridge, to Pittsfield, into Vermont, to Bennington, Burlington, Rutland, and on into Canada and freedom."

Underground Railroad notes from various sources:

" mentioned that the Christmas shop in the town of Bethlehem was used to hide runaway slaves. If I remember correctly, I was told it was a printing shop and the slaves would spend the night there before moving on to the next station, most likely in Litchfield.

I heard from a friend that a home north of the rotary in Goshen was a station in the 1800's. I quote from the Goshen history, 1897, page 363: "The store built and occupied by Wadhams and Thompson, and later by Moses Wadhams, was purchased by A. Miles and Sons, who also had a store at West Goshen. Moses W. Gray entered their employ as clerk, in 1841. At this time, Mr. MIles and one son lived at West Goshen, and another son at the Center, with whom Mr. Gray boarded. At his death, Mr. Gray managed the store for about three years, when he purchased a one-half interest and continued to manage it for several years under the firm name of Miles and Gray. He then purchased the interest of his partner and conducted the business alone, the sign over the door bearing the name of M. W. Gray. In 1857, he sold his stock of goods, and, removing to Chicago, enaged in the wholesale grocery business......" -I have talked to a previous landowner, and he told me there is a room in the basement that is undetectable, unless you know it is there. Convienent having a freight business with a hidden room for that special cargo.

I also heard that a house in South Kent has "extra rooms" on the fireplace foundation in the basement. I know which house, but nothing more than that.

Another reference I have, and have no idea where it came from, is Blueberry Hill Farm, between Norfolk and Colebrook, on Rock Hall Road. Supposedly there are false panels behind the fireplace, concealing an entrance to another room.

Mentioned in a Register Citizen article, (I didn't get the date), the Cook homestead on Charles Street in Torrington was used as a station. Runaways were hidden in a section of a dining room closet.

Also, a Register Citizen article, dated 12-31-94, by Bryan T. Morytko, mentions the following: Harwinton - Rt. 4, the Chiarmonte and the Hinnan houses, the Hinnan home have a secret place in the attic floor, next to a chimney, large enough for three people. Torrington - Torringford Street (very active antislavery society in this area) - three or four houses on this street, including the Florian home, with a secret basement room Winchester - the Silas H. McAlpine home (already mentioned above)

These are notes about Underground Railroad sites from visitors to my web site. Some are not exactly in northwestern Connecticut, but close enough.
(Every little piece of the puzzle helps!)

From Kevin Purcell, of Fairbanks, Alaska: "I can remember two houses in Northern Westchester that were rumored to be stops on the Underground. One is located on Route 138 east of Goldens Bridge, it is a large colonial just before the Increase Miller Elementary School on the north side of the road. The other is on Route 100 south of Somers, New York. It is a larger stone house that had one of the old stone mile markers out front."

New quote - added August 29, 1999

-from "Mysteries and Histories of Goshen", June 21, 1938, by Mrs. Lora Ives. Handwritten manuscript

-"At my father's place, known as Whist Pond Manor......The Manor house was built in 1772 by Nathaniel Parmelee. It contained a secret chamber by the great stone chimney, to which access was easy from the downstairs closet, under the stairs in the front hall, by moving a board in the ceiling, also by a movable panel in a shallow closet upstairs, and by a loose board in the attic floor. The chimney kept the room warm in winter and it is supposed to have been used to secrete English refugees in Colonial days, also for runaway slaves during and before the Civil War. The place called Bald Ledge where the Sterlings lived for several years at the north end of the street, is said to have a similar room."

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Connecticut Abolitionists

The slave trade in Connecticut was prohibited in 1788. However, it remained legal to hold slaves until as late as 1848. The state had passed an act of Gradual Emancipation--children born to enslaved parents after March 1, 1784, would be freed at the age of 25 (later dropped to age 21). As a result slavery was slowly phased out. Meanwhile, African Americans and their allies organized to build schools and churches, and petitioned the General Assembly and local governments demanding the right to vote.

...
The Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1838. By 1839, Connecticut abolitionism found itself at a crossroads. After several disheartening legal defeats like the Crandall case, Connecticut abolitionists were in search of a new cause to bring slavery to the public's eye. Abolitionists embraced the publicity given to the Amistad captives' plight as a means to publicize and reinvigorate their cause.
Jocelyn was supported by New Haven attorney Roger Sherman Baldwin. Baldwin, a member of North Church, offered his legal services to the Amistad captives. For two years, Baldwin successfully defended the Africans' right to freedom (first assisted by some fellow Yale graduates, later by former President John Quincy Adams). As abolitionists, Baldwin and Adams seized the opportunity to refocus the case on human rights and to challenge the institution of slavery on moral and constitutional grounds. Baldwin and Jocelyn were also instrumental in securing first local, then national support for the captives.

from http://www.nps.gov/history/nR/travel/amistad/connecticutabolitionists.htm

" In opposition to the southern demand that all discussion should cease, and acquiescence to their wishes be granted, the anti-slavery societies began to multiply and send forth their publications.

Such is the simplest outline of historical facts to the time when Torrington began to take part in the subject of anti-slavery. Litchfield county, at the time, was a ruling county in the state, in several respects, and as anti-slavery principles took deepest root in the strongest minds as well as to find a lodgment in the lesser, a number of persons in the county were invited to meet in Wolcottville in January, 1837, for the purpose of organizing a county society.

Torrington, CT"

When the friends of the cause began to look around for a place for the meeting of the convention, they found every church, public and private hall, closed against them, and heard whisperings of threatnings against any who might have the noble daring to encounter the pro-slavery element of the village and of the town. At this juncture a barn was offered for the use of the convention, and it was promptly accepted, and fitted for the occasion.1 It was not the first time that strangers found the shelter in a barn, " because there was no room in the inn." In that barn the friends of impartial liberty and justice, gathered in goodly numbers ; some of them the most reliable and respectable citizens of Litchfield county. The barn was filled ; the floor, scaffolds, hay-mow and stables. It was an intense cold day in January, and there was much suffering from the severity of the weather. The convention was called to order, and Roger S. Mills of New Hartford, appointed chairman. The Rev. Daniel Coe of Winsted, offered prayer. After appointing a committee to nominate permanent officers, the convention was addressed by the Rev. Nathaniel Colver, agent of the American society, and others. The county society was then organized and the following officers appointed : president, Roger S. Mills: vice presidents, Erastus Lyman of Goshen, Gen. Daniel 13. Brinsmade of Washington, Gen. Uriel Tuttle of Torringford, and Jonathan Coe of Winsted ; secretary, Rev. R. M. Chipman of Harwinton ; treasurer, Dr. E. D. Hudson of Torringford. While thus peacefully engaged, though suffering with the cold, and counseling together for the relief of the oppressed and the elevation of humanity, a furious mob was collecting in the village, and elevating their courage for their deeds of violence by the intoxicating cup. A class of men from the adjoining town, as well as from Torrington, had gathered for the very purpose of disturbing this meeting if it should attempt to exercise the liberties of religious and civil citizens. This mob, after parading the streets, making hideous and threatening noises, gathered around the barn, and by their deafening shouts, the blowing of horns and the ringing the alarm of fire by the bell of the Congregational church, and the display of brute force, broke up the meeting, which hastily took an adjournment. Then the old puritan spirit was manifested by the Torringford people, who offered the use of their meetinghouse to the convention, and it repaired to that place, and continued the session two days. The opposition in Torringford though violent was undemonstrative for lack of the mob element and rum ; and partially from the fact that the fury of the mob had run its race in Wolcottville. When the convention left the barn, the shouts, thumping of pans and kettles, and the furious ringing of the church bell, characterized pandemonium broken loose. When the people were leaving Wolcottville in their sleighs, the entire village seemed to be a bedlam. That good man, Dea. Ebenezer Rood, was set upon in his sleigh, to over turn him and frighten his horses. This excited his righteous indignation, and in a voice of defiance he shouted to them : " Rattle your pans, hoot and toot, ring your bells, you pesky fools, if it does you any good," then put his horses on a run and cleared himself from the gang.

That barn has since been removed, refitted, and is now owned by Dr. Wood.

When the meeting assembled in Torringford it was inspired with new life, energy and courage. The beacon fires of liberty and freedom blazed much higher than they would but for the violence manifested in the village. Deacon Rood's spirit of defiance to the mob, took possession of the whole company, and every man and woman, enlisted in the cause, gloried in the name of abolitionist, and felt annointed for the work of preaching " deliverance to the captives in chains." Such was the beginning of anti-slavery agitation, and times, in the town where John Brown, " Ossawattomie Brown," was born.

This society, moved now, as well by the sense that despotism had come to their own doors, and threatened the very sacredness of church and homes, as by the thought of freedom for the slave, proceeded to hold monthly meetings throughout the county. These meetings were held in barns and sheds, in groves and houses, and any where that the people would assemble for such a purpose. It raised funds by systematic method ; distributed tracts, books, and papers. The state Charter Oak Society was organized in 1838, and employed lecturing agents, who besides lecturing, solicited subscribers to the anti-slavery papers, and scattered anti-slavery literature.

They were opposed everywhere, and yet moved on in their work as though every body knew they were right. They were called all sorts of opprobrious names ; were proscribed and derided, as " nigger friends," "disturbers of Israel." Some were unceremoniously excommunicated from the churches, for no crime but speaking against slavery ; the very thing that many of the fathers had done for a hundred years without objection having been made. All argument with anti-slavery men started with the Bible, where the Quakers started nearly one hundred years before, and this brought the question into all the churches as well as committees. Some withdrew from the churches because they deemed it sinful to hold fellowship with those who voted to uphold a system, acknowledged to be guilty of more crime than any other system in the land.

The opposition had but one argument ; namely, it offended the South; slavery was for their interest. This argument had been gradually obtaining adherents, from the time the Constitution of the United States was adopted. Before that some of the southern states was as much anti-slavery as any in the North. When the South changed, the spirit of proscription began to rise in the North. Hence in the first meeting house in Torrington, there was no slave pew, nor nigger pew, but in the second one there were two. These pews were located in the gallerv over the stairs, boarded up so high, that when the colored people sat in them, they could see no part of the congregation, and could be seen by no one in the assembly. Jacob Prince, after being made a freeman by his master, Abijah Holbrook, joined the church in Goshen, and then being placed in such a seat, and treated in other ways by the same spirit, refused to go to church, because, as he said, he was not treated as a brother and thereafter held prayer meetings in his own house on the Sabbath. Whereupon the Goshen church proceeded to, and did excommunicate him for neglect of duty. This same Jacob is said to have been as fine a looking man, head and features, as nearly any one in the town, except the color of his skin.

Two such pews were in the old church in Torringford, but the Rev. Samuel J. Mills (whether as a rebuke to the spirit of cast or not is not known) always seated Henry Obookiah, Thomas Hooppo, and other tawny brethren of the Sandwich Islands, when they visited him from the Cornwall Mission school, in his own pew, in the front of the congregation, quite to the dissatisfaction of some even of that congregation.

A Remarkable Occurrence. In the early stages of the anti-slavery struggle, Miss Abbey Kelley, a young and educated Quakeress of superior talent, and most estimable character, " felt the spirit moving her " to take part in the public discussion of the subject, and came into Connecticut. Dr. Hudson was then the general agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society, and she called on him and made known her purpose to speak whenever opportunity offered. Dr. Hudson kindly extended to her the hand of fellowship in the good cause, and welcomed her to the thorny field, and to the home of his wife Martha Turner Hudson, to whose companionship he committed her, and secured respectable audiences for her at Torringford and other places in adjacent towns. This movement was very disturbing to pro-slavery and conservative orthodoxy. It occurred after Father Mills's death and after Rev. Mr. Goodman was dismissed. From many pulpits in Litchfield county she was proclaimed as " that woman Jezebel who calleth herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants." The watchman of Torringford uttered a cry of distress and requested the women and their lords to meet him at the Academy, to receive his testimony and instructions concerning the sphere of woman. (" Women obey your husbands.") The assemblage was large ; the women filled one side of the room, and the men the other, facing them. The minister presided, and after solemn preliminaries and the reading of St. Paul's epistle, adapted to the occasion, he discoursed vehemently upon the duties of woman, her proper sphere ; and the unwomanly, and unwarrantable work of woman as a public teacher; or to address promiscuous audiences and thus depart from the good old ways of orthodoxy. When he had barely closed his address, as if Providence approved his testimony, the decayed timbers in the deep cellar of the Academy, which sustained the floor, suddenly gave way on the woman's side of the house and the entire floor, and all the women were precipitated into the cellar, in one general mass of tangled confusion, the whole accompanied by screams, groans, and cries; one woman exclaiming, "O Lord forgive us for having attended such a wicked meeting;" a noise almost equal to that of the mob at the anti-slavery meeting at Wolcottville.

Whether the minister of the occasion concluded that the women then had attained their appropriate sphere, is not related in the narration, but the men, after the dum-astonishment had passed away, hastened from on high to drag out their wives, sisters, daughters and mothers, with bruised limbs, torn garments and dissatisfied countenances ; and hastened to their homes, glad to have escaped without encountering any worse sphere of action, though this was not exactly satisfactory. What precise effect this little episode had on the minister's mind, or whether he became celebrated as defining woman's sphere, or whether he afterwards expanded that lecture into a book, is not revealed in the book of Torringford chronicles.

Prior to the anti-slavery agitation, the inhabitants of Torrington and of Litchfield county, and the state of Connecticut as well, had suffered a calamitous, moral shock ; a sort of aesthetic, volcanic upheaving, by an affair which occurred at the Foreign Mission school at Cornwall. This school had been established and mainly sustained by Congregational churches, for the purpose of educating the Indians and Sandwich Islanders as missionaries to their own people. Two young ladies of Cornwall, belonging to the most respectable and best educated families, became so perverted in their aesthetic tastes, as to choose and dare to marry two of the tawny brethren, with the idea of becoming missionaries among the native tribes. The effect was

quite shocking ; almost pestilential. Every class of society was thrown into spiritual convulsions. The mission school was threatened with demolition. Those sons of the forest who had been so wicked as to fascinate the belles of Cornwall and make trophies of them were compelled to depart sans ceremonie. The school was soon after closed or rather driven out of existence, not because it was not doing a good work, but because two of the pupils had married two girls, which girls wanted to marry them.

These items are but a faint illustration of the excitements, hard feelings, desperate threatenings and silly arguments that were entertained concerning slavery and anti-slavery. No attempt is here made to picture the contest. No human language would be equal to such a task ! If the late war of the rebellion could be fully described, there would be, in that description, some features of the terrible curse set forth somewhat appropriately ; but even then, the half would not be told. Now most people see it, and acknowledge the same. No effort is here made to sum up on this great subject. Only a few items are given as historical facts concerning the efforts on the one side in behalf of slavery, and on the other the spirit and courage of those who believed slavery to be a sin against God and humanity.

One thing is strange, that after the terrible sufferings, hardships and distresses through which the pilgrim fathers and their early descendants passed, for the one object and end of religious and political freedom, that any body should have supposed that the American people could have been compelled, by any means whatever, to put their necks under the yoke of slavery and submit to its dictates !


-Quotes from "The Underground Railroad in Connecticut" by Horatio T. Strother, 1962.

-p. 121-122- " As a conductor, Wakeman (of Norwalk), was bold and tireless, taking his "packages of hardware and dry good" to places as distant as Plymouth and Middletown - trips of forty and fifty miles as the crow flies, farther than that by road....

"William Wakeman of Wilton, Fairfield County and Joel Blakeslee of Plymouth, Litchfield County, Connecticut were Agents]"

"[Reverend H. H. Northrop Conducted Slaves in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan]"

"[Route from St. Joseph County to Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and then East not far from the Line Occupied by the Michigan Central Railroad; N. H. Northrop of White Pigeon Preached Anti-Slavery]"

"[Reverend John Smith of Hartland, Windsor County, Vermont, Belonged to the Underground Railroad; Taler Grose and Soloman Northrup Aided Slaves]"

"25 [Samuel Dutton and Amos Townsend were Station Keepers at New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut]"

"[Wesley Cady was an Abolitionist in Central Village, Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut]"

from The Underground Railroad in Connecticut relating to Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham counties, Connecticut; Worcester County, Massachusetts; and Onondaga County, New York

-p. 122- "The Plymouth operators, to whom Wakeman presumably made his deliveries, included Joel Blakeslee, Ferrand Dunbar, and William Bull. They not only handled passengers from Wilton; they also had to keep watch for unaccompanied fugitives on foot who had lost their way on the western line between New Haven and Farmington. The Plymouth "minute men" had to set these wanderers on the right track, which took them a dozen miles eastward to Farmington."

-p. 123 -Thus it is known that New Milford was a center of Underground work; but whether fugitives came to this town by traveling northward from the vicinity of Wilton, or eastward via a lateral from the Hudson River line in New York, or both, remains unclear."

-"There are several stations here, (New Milford), one of which was the house of Charles Sabin. Another was the home of Augustine Thayer. He and "his good wife devoted their lives to the Abolition cause. They helped many poor slaves on their way, rising from their beds in the night to feed and minister to them and secreting them till they could be taken under cover of darkness to Deacon Geradus Roberts' house on Second Hill and from there to Mr. Daniel Platt's house in Washington."

-p. 123-124 - Frederick W. Gunn of Washington, Connecticut, who founded the private school bearing his name, "The direction or runaways on the road to freedom, however, remained Gunn's private affair.

-p. 124-"Daniel Platt and his wife....accomodating "many a trembling black refugee" on their farm. ...Their son, Orville,...later recalled that "the slaves stayed, as a rule, but a short time, though some remained several weeks until it was learned through the channels of communication among the Abolitionists that their whereabouts was suspected." They were then forwarded to either of two destinations - to Dr. Vaill on the Wolcottville Road or to Uriel Tuttle in Torrington."

-p. 124-125 - "Yet, curiously, Uriel Tuttle was the only Underground stationmaster here of whom a record survives.

-p. 125- "At Winchester, a few miles north of Torrington and close to Winsted, there was a small but active antislavery society. Noble J. Everett was its secretary; Jonathan Coe, a member who lived in nearby Winsted, managed a well-patronized Underground station at his house. Another station many have been the home of Silas H. McAlpine, poet, philanthropist, and abolitionist of Winchester; in the foundation wall of his house was a hidden crypt that was possibly a hiding place for fugitives, but there is no positive evidence that it was so used."

-p 126 - "Beyond this point, there were stations to the north in Colebrook and to the northwest in Norfolk. Who were the Undergroung agents in Colebrook remains unknown, but there were certainly several of them. One may have been J. H. Rodgers, secretary of the ninety-member antislavery society in 1836.

-"It is also reported that there was a network of Underground byways in this vicinity and that residents of Norfolk were responsible for paving many of them."

-p. 126-127- " For the fugitive traveling through northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk was the last stop in the state. From here, he was sent across the Massachusetts border to New Marlboro, thence over to the Housatonic River line through Stockbridge and Pittsfield to Bennington, Vermont."

-from Appendix 2 - "Underground Railroad Agents in Connecticut" (Probable agents are indicated by *) Litchfield County Blakeslee, Joel - Plymouth Bull, William - Plymouth Coe, Jonathan - Winsted Dunbar, Daniel - Plymouth McAlpine, Silas H. * - Winchester Pettibone, Amos - Norfolk Roberts, Geradus - New Milford Sabin, Charles - New Milford Thayer, Augustine - New Milford Tuttle, Uriel - Torrington


-Quotes from "Barkhamsted Heritage-Culture and Industry in a Rural Connecticut Town", edited by Richard G. Wheeler and George Hilton, 1975.

-p. 235 - "Lamont's Christmas Tree Plantation - Located at the site of one of Barkhamsted's earliest houses, which saw use as an inn on the route from the Salisbury iron works toward Granby.....The house, known 50 years ago as the Oscar Tiffany place, was bought in 1952 by Thomas and Marguerite Lamont...Legend has it that the house was also a stop on the Underground Railroad."


1
Scan of Colebrook River, from an old postcard
(Kind of tickles me, Cotton Mill in town and they were hiding slaves?)
-Quotes from "Colebrook Stories", by Alan DeLarm, 1979.

-"Chamberlain's hotel, The Colebrook River Inn, was at one time used as a station in the underground railroad." -"The Davidson house on the Old Colebrook Road is also said to have been an underground railroad station."


-Quotes from "Howard Peck's New Milford - Memories of a Connecticut Town", edited by James E. Dibble, 1991.

-p. 58-60- "Seventy-five years after the Bostwick place was erected it became one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. It is known that there was a hiding place beneath the floor of the attic. This compartment could hold two persons, and as it was near a chimney could provide warmth during the cold winter season. ..."

-"Another alleged station in this system was a home in the Lanesville section of this town. It is located about four miles south of the village center and has been known as the Wanzer Farm......(they were Quakers)"

-"Fugitives from slavery in the deep South entered New Milford at several places. Some were directed from New York State, directly west of New Milford. It would seem natural that they might have entered through the Town of Sherman, although little has been written or recorded as to that being the case. However, it has been stated that one known station on the system was in Sherman, a short distance north of the center of town in an old colonial residence lying on the westerly side of the present road leading north from the center toward the New York State line or to Gaylordsville. This station was in the Stuart family. The residence is still standing, a landmark and heritage to be preserved. James Stuart was reportedly the agent. It is alleged that there was a small out-building on the premises just north of his dwelling where the escapees would be housed and it would seem likely that some of them would come over the hills to New Milford."

-"Again, near the village, was the home of Augustine A. Thayer, known to his cronies as "Baccus."....from a New York newspaper....a reward of five hundred dollars offered for the apprehension of two runaway slaves. It was expressed by one of the men present that it would not surprise him, "if they would be found at that moment at Baccus' home."

-"Many of the fugitives were aided over the hills to Washington, about five or six miles east of New Milford. One of the most ardent supporters of the movement there was Frederick W. Gunn. ...With Mr. Gunn was Daniel Platt, as devoted an agent on the system as there was anywhere. Mr. Platt and his wife rescued and aided many a poor soul fleeing to Canada."

-"The route continued from Washington north to Litchfield, then on to Torrington, which was the birthplace of John Brown. It is reported that as early as 1837 there was an organization composed of forty members of an antislavery group in that town. Colebrook and Norfolk were the actual jumping off places in Connecticut. From these towns the fugitives crossed the line into Massachusetts, crossed the Housatonic River to Stockbridge, to Pittsfield, into Vermont, to Bennington, Burlington, Rutland, and on into Canada and freedom."


Underground Railroad notes from various sources:

When the first pages of my web site were posted, I received an email from someone (I wish that person, if they ever read this, would get back in contact with me) that mentioned that the Christmas shop in the town of Bethlehem was used to hide runaway slaves. If I remember correctly, I was told it was a printing shop and the slaves would spend the night there before moving on to the next station, most likely in Litchfield.

I heard from a friend that a home north of the rotary in Goshen was a station in the 1800's. I quote from the Goshen history, 1897, page 363: "The store built and occupied by Wadhams and Thompson, and later by Moses Wadhams, was purchased by A. Miles and Sons, who also had a store at West Goshen. Moses W. Gray entered their employ as clerk, in 1841. At this time, Mr. MIles and one son lived at West Goshen, and another son at the Center, with whom Mr. Gray boarded. At his death, Mr. Gray managed the store for about three years, when he purchased a one-half interest and continued to manage it for several years under the firm name of Miles and Gray. He then purchased the interest of his partner and conducted the business alone, the sign over the door bearing the name of M. W. Gray. In 1857, he sold his stock of goods, and, removing to Chicago, enaged in the wholesale grocery business......" -I have talked to a previous landowner, and he told me there is a room in the basement that is undetectable, unless you know it is there. Convienent having a freight business with a hidden room for that special cargo.

I also heard that a house in South Kent has "extra rooms" on the fireplace foundation in the basement. I know which house, but nothing more than that.

Another reference I have, and have no idea where it came from, is Blueberry Hill Farm, between Norfolk and Colebrook, on Rock Hall Road. Supposedly there are false panels behind the fireplace, concealing an entrance to another room.

Mentioned in a Register Citizen article, (I didn't get the date), the Cook homestead on Charles Street in Torrington was used as a station. Runaways were hidden in a section of a dining room closet.

Also, a Register Citizen article, dated 12-31-94, by Bryan T. Morytko, mentions the following: Harwinton - Rt. 4, the Chiarmonte and the Hinnan houses, the Hinnan home have a secret place in the attic floor, next to a chimney, large enough for three people. Torrington - Torringford Street (very active antislavery society in this area) - three or four houses on this street, including the Florian home, with a secret basement room Winchester - the Silas H. McAlpine home (already mentioned above)


These are notes about Underground Railroad sites from visitors to my web site. Some are not exactly in northwestern Connecticut, but close enough.
(Every little piece of the puzzle helps!)

From Kevin Purcell, of Fairbanks, Alaska: "I can remember two houses in Northern Westchester that were rumored to be stops on the Underground. One is located on Route 138 east of Goldens Bridge, it is a large colonial just before the Increase Miller Elementary School on the north side of the road. The other is on Route 100 south of Somers, New York. It is a larger stone house that had one of the old stone mile markers out front."


New quote - added August 29, 1999

-from "Mysteries and Histories of Goshen", June 21, 1938, by Mrs. Lora Ives. Handwritten manuscript

-"At my father's place, known as Whist Pond Manor......The Manor house was built in 1772 by Nathaniel Parmelee. It contained a secret chamber by the great stone chimney, to which access was easy from the downstairs closet, under the stairs in the front hall, by moving a board in the ceiling, also by a movable panel in a shallow closet upstairs, and by a loose board in the attic floor. The chimney kept the room warm in winter and it is supposed to have been used to secrete English refugees in Colonial days, also for runaway slaves during and before the Civil War. The place called Bald Ledge where the Sterlings lived for several years at the north end of the street, is said to have a similar room."

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Connecticut Abolitionists

The slave trade in Connecticut was prohibited in 1788. However, it remained legal to hold slaves until as late as 1848. The state had passed an act of Gradual Emancipation--children born to enslaved parents after March 1, 1784, would be freed at the age of 25 (later dropped to age 21). As a result slavery was slowly phased out. Meanwhile, African Americans and their allies organized to build schools and churches, and petitioned the General Assembly and local governments demanding the right to vote.

...
The Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1838. By 1839, Connecticut abolitionism found itself at a crossroads. After several disheartening legal defeats like the Crandall case, Connecticut abolitionists were in search of a new cause to bring slavery to the public's eye. Abolitionists embraced the publicity given to the Amistad captives' plight as a means to publicize and reinvigorate their cause.
Jocelyn was supported by New Haven attorney Roger Sherman Baldwin. Baldwin, a member of North Church, offered his legal services to the Amistad captives. For two years, Baldwin successfully defended the Africans' right to freedom (first assisted by some fellow Yale graduates, later by former President John Quincy Adams). As abolitionists, Baldwin and Adams seized the opportunity to refocus the case on human rights and to challenge the institution of slavery on moral and constitutional grounds. Baldwin and Jocelyn were also instrumental in securing first local, then national support for the captives.

from http://www.nps.gov/history/nR/travel/amistad/connecticutabolitionists.htm

" In opposition to the southern demand that all discussion should cease, and acquiescence to their wishes be granted, the anti-slavery societies began to multiply and send forth their publications.

Such is the simplest outline of historical facts to the time when Torrington began to take part in the subject of anti-slavery. Litchfield county, at the time, was a ruling county in the state, in several respects, and as anti-slavery principles took deepest root in the strongest minds as well as to find a lodgment in the lesser, a number of persons in the county were invited to meet in Wolcottville in January, 1837, for the purpose of organizing a county society.

Torrington, CT"

When the friends of the cause began to look around for a place for the meeting of the convention, they found every church, public and private hall, closed against them, and heard whisperings of threatnings against any who might have the noble daring to encounter the pro-slavery element of the village and of the town. At this juncture a barn was offered for the use of the convention, and it was promptly accepted, and fitted for the occasion.1 It was not the first time that strangers found the shelter in a barn, " because there was no room in the inn." In that barn the friends of impartial liberty and justice, gathered in goodly numbers ; some of them the most reliable and respectable citizens of Litchfield county. The barn was filled ; the floor, scaffolds, hay-mow and stables. It was an intense cold day in January, and there was much suffering from the severity of the weather. The convention was called to order, and Roger S. Mills of New Hartford, appointed chairman. The Rev. Daniel Coe of Winsted, offered prayer. After appointing a committee to nominate permanent officers, the convention was addressed by the Rev. Nathaniel Colver, agent of the American society, and others. The county society was then organized and the following officers appointed : president, Roger S. Mills: vice presidents, Erastus Lyman of Goshen, Gen. Daniel 13. Brinsmade of Washington, Gen. Uriel Tuttle of Torringford, and Jonathan Coe of Winsted ; secretary, Rev. R. M. Chipman of Harwinton ; treasurer, Dr. E. D. Hudson of Torringford. While thus peacefully engaged, though suffering with the cold, and counseling together for the relief of the oppressed and the elevation of humanity, a furious mob was collecting in the village, and elevating their courage for their deeds of violence by the intoxicating cup. A class of men from the adjoining town, as well as from Torrington, had gathered for the very purpose of disturbing this meeting if it should attempt to exercise the liberties of religious and civil citizens. This mob, after parading the streets, making hideous and threatening noises, gathered around the barn, and by their deafening shouts, the blowing of horns and the ringing the alarm of fire by the bell of the Congregational church, and the display of brute force, broke up the meeting, which hastily took an adjournment. Then the old puritan spirit was manifested by the Torringford people, who offered the use of their meetinghouse to the convention, and it repaired to that place, and continued the session two days. The opposition in Torringford though violent was undemonstrative for lack of the mob element and rum ; and partially from the fact that the fury of the mob had run its race in Wolcottville. When the convention left the barn, the shouts, thumping of pans and kettles, and the furious ringing of the church bell, characterized pandemonium broken loose. When the people were leaving Wolcottville in their sleighs, the entire village seemed to be a bedlam. That good man, Dea. Ebenezer Rood, was set upon in his sleigh, to over turn him and frighten his horses. This excited his righteous indignation, and in a voice of defiance he shouted to them : " Rattle your pans, hoot and toot, ring your bells, you pesky fools, if it does you any good," then put his horses on a run and cleared himself from the gang.

That barn has since been removed, refitted, and is now owned by Dr. Wood.

When the meeting assembled in Torringford it was inspired with new life, energy and courage. The beacon fires of liberty and freedom blazed much higher than they would but for the violence manifested in the village. Deacon Rood's spirit of defiance to the mob, took possession of the whole company, and every man and woman, enlisted in the cause, gloried in the name of abolitionist, and felt annointed for the work of preaching " deliverance to the captives in chains." Such was the beginning of anti-slavery agitation, and times, in the town where John Brown, " Ossawattomie Brown," was born.

This society, moved now, as well by the sense that despotism had come to their own doors, and threatened the very sacredness of church and homes, as by the thought of freedom for the slave, proceeded to hold monthly meetings throughout the county. These meetings were held in barns and sheds, in groves and houses, and any where that the people would assemble for such a purpose. It raised funds by systematic method ; distributed tracts, books, and papers. The state Charter Oak Society was organized in 1838, and employed lecturing agents, who besides lecturing, solicited subscribers to the anti-slavery papers, and scattered anti-slavery literature.

They were opposed everywhere, and yet moved on in their work as though every body knew they were right. They were called all sorts of opprobrious names ; were proscribed and derided, as " nigger friends," "disturbers of Israel." Some were unceremoniously excommunicated from the churches, for no crime but speaking against slavery ; the very thing that many of the fathers had done for a hundred years without objection having been made. All argument with anti-slavery men started with the Bible, where the Quakers started nearly one hundred years before, and this brought the question into all the churches as well as committees. Some withdrew from the churches because they deemed it sinful to hold fellowship with those who voted to uphold a system, acknowledged to be guilty of more crime than any other system in the land.

The opposition had but one argument ; namely, it offended the South; slavery was for their interest. This argument had been gradually obtaining adherents, from the time the Constitution of the United States was adopted. Before that some of the southern states was as much anti-slavery as any in the North. When the South changed, the spirit of proscription began to rise in the North. Hence in the first meeting house in Torrington, there was no slave pew, nor nigger pew, but in the second one there were two. These pews were located in the gallerv over the stairs, boarded up so high, that when the colored people sat in them, they could see no part of the congregation, and could be seen by no one in the assembly. Jacob Prince, after being made a freeman by his master, Abijah Holbrook, joined the church in Goshen, and then being placed in such a seat, and treated in other ways by the same spirit, refused to go to church, because, as he said, he was not treated as a brother and thereafter held prayer meetings in his own house on the Sabbath. Whereupon the Goshen church proceeded to, and did excommunicate him for neglect of duty. This same Jacob is said to have been as fine a looking man, head and features, as nearly any one in the town, except the color of his skin.

Two such pews were in the old church in Torringford, but the Rev. Samuel J. Mills (whether as a rebuke to the spirit of cast or not is not known) always seated Henry Obookiah, Thomas Hooppo, and other tawny brethren of the Sandwich Islands, when they visited him from the Cornwall Mission school, in his own pew, in the front of the congregation, quite to the dissatisfaction of some even of that congregation.

A Remarkable Occurrence. In the early stages of the anti-slavery struggle, Miss Abbey Kelley, a young and educated Quakeress of superior talent, and most estimable character, " felt the spirit moving her " to take part in the public discussion of the subject, and came into Connecticut. Dr. Hudson was then the general agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society, and she called on him and made known her purpose to speak whenever opportunity offered. Dr. Hudson kindly extended to her the hand of fellowship in the good cause, and welcomed her to the thorny field, and to the home of his wife Martha Turner Hudson, to whose companionship he committed her, and secured respectable audiences for her at Torringford and other places in adjacent towns. This movement was very disturbing to pro-slavery and conservative orthodoxy. It occurred after Father Mills's death and after Rev. Mr. Goodman was dismissed. From many pulpits in Litchfield county she was proclaimed as " that woman Jezebel who calleth herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants." The watchman of Torringford uttered a cry of distress and requested the women and their lords to meet him at the Academy, to receive his testimony and instructions concerning the sphere of woman. (" Women obey your husbands.") The assemblage was large ; the women filled one side of the room, and the men the other, facing them. The minister presided, and after solemn preliminaries and the reading of St. Paul's epistle, adapted to the occasion, he discoursed vehemently upon the duties of woman, her proper sphere ; and the unwomanly, and unwarrantable work of woman as a public teacher; or to address promiscuous audiences and thus depart from the good old ways of orthodoxy. When he had barely closed his address, as if Providence approved his testimony, the decayed timbers in the deep cellar of the Academy, which sustained the floor, suddenly gave way on the woman's side of the house and the entire floor, and all the women were precipitated into the cellar, in one general mass of tangled confusion, the whole accompanied by screams, groans, and cries; one woman exclaiming, "O Lord forgive us for having attended such a wicked meeting;" a noise almost equal to that of the mob at the anti-slavery meeting at Wolcottville.

Whether the minister of the occasion concluded that the women then had attained their appropriate sphere, is not related in the narration, but the men, after the dum-astonishment had passed away, hastened from on high to drag out their wives, sisters, daughters and mothers, with bruised limbs, torn garments and dissatisfied countenances ; and hastened to their homes, glad to have escaped without encountering any worse sphere of action, though this was not exactly satisfactory. What precise effect this little episode had on the minister's mind, or whether he became celebrated as defining woman's sphere, or whether he afterwards expanded that lecture into a book, is not revealed in the book of Torringford chronicles.

Prior to the anti-slavery agitation, the inhabitants of Torrington and of Litchfield county, and the state of Connecticut as well, had suffered a calamitous, moral shock ; a sort of aesthetic, volcanic upheaving, by an affair which occurred at the Foreign Mission school at Cornwall. This school had been established and mainly sustained by Congregational churches, for the purpose of educating the Indians and Sandwich Islanders as missionaries to their own people. Two young ladies of Cornwall, belonging to the most respectable and best educated families, became so perverted in their aesthetic tastes, as to choose and dare to marry two of the tawny brethren, with the idea of becoming missionaries among the native tribes. The effect was

quite shocking ; almost pestilential. Every class of society was thrown into spiritual convulsions. The mission school was threatened with demolition. Those sons of the forest who had been so wicked as to fascinate the belles of Cornwall and make trophies of them were compelled to depart sans ceremonie. The school was soon after closed or rather driven out of existence, not because it was not doing a good work, but because two of the pupils had married two girls, which girls wanted to marry them.

These items are but a faint illustration of the excitements, hard feelings, desperate threatenings and silly arguments that were entertained concerning slavery and anti-slavery. No attempt is here made to picture the contest. No human language would be equal to such a task ! If the late war of the rebellion could be fully described, there would be, in that description, some features of the terrible curse set forth somewhat appropriately ; but even then, the half would not be told. Now most people see it, and acknowledge the same. No effort is here made to sum up on this great subject. Only a few items are given as historical facts concerning the efforts on the one side in behalf of slavery, and on the other the spirit and courage of those who believed slavery to be a sin against God and humanity.

One thing is strange, that after the terrible sufferings, hardships and distresses through which the pilgrim fathers and their early descendants passed, for the one object and end of religious and political freedom, that any body should have supposed that the American people could have been compelled, by any means whatever, to put their necks under the yoke of slavery and submit to its dictates !


-Quotes from "The Underground Railroad in Connecticut" by Horatio T. Strother, 1962.

-p. 121-122- " As a conductor, Wakeman (of Norwalk), was bold and tireless, taking his "packages of hardware and dry good" to places as distant as Plymouth and Middletown - trips of forty and fifty miles as the crow flies, farther than that by road....

"William Wakeman of Wilton, Fairfield County and Joel Blakeslee of Plymouth, Litchfield County, Connecticut were Agents]"

"[Reverend H. H. Northrop Conducted Slaves in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan]"

"[Route from St. Joseph County to Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and then East not far from the Line Occupied by the Michigan Central Railroad; N. H. Northrop of White Pigeon Preached Anti-Slavery]"

"[Reverend John Smith of Hartland, Windsor County, Vermont, Belonged to the Underground Railroad; Taler Grose and Soloman Northrup Aided Slaves]"

"25 [Samuel Dutton and Amos Townsend were Station Keepers at New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut]"

"[Wesley Cady was an Abolitionist in Central Village, Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut]"

from The Underground Railroad in Connecticut relating to Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham counties, Connecticut; Worcester County, Massachusetts; and Onondaga County, New York

-p. 122- "The Plymouth operators, to whom Wakeman presumably made his deliveries, included Joel Blakeslee, Ferrand Dunbar, and William Bull. They not only handled passengers from Wilton; they also had to keep watch for unaccompanied fugitives on foot who had lost their way on the western line between New Haven and Farmington. The Plymouth "minute men" had to set these wanderers on the right track, which took them a dozen miles eastward to Farmington."

-p. 123 -Thus it is known that New Milford was a center of Underground work; but whether fugitives came to this town by traveling northward from the vicinity of Wilton, or eastward via a lateral from the Hudson River line in New York, or both, remains unclear."

-"There are several stations here, (New Milford), one of which was the house of Charles Sabin. Another was the home of Augustine Thayer. He and "his good wife devoted their lives to the Abolition cause. They helped many poor slaves on their way, rising from their beds in the night to feed and minister to them and secreting them till they could be taken under cover of darkness to Deacon Geradus Roberts' house on Second Hill and from there to Mr. Daniel Platt's house in Washington."

-p. 123-124 - Frederick W. Gunn of Washington, Connecticut, who founded the private school bearing his name, "The direction or runaways on the road to freedom, however, remained Gunn's private affair.

-p. 124-"Daniel Platt and his wife....accomodating "many a trembling black refugee" on their farm. ...Their son, Orville,...later recalled that "the slaves stayed, as a rule, but a short time, though some remained several weeks until it was learned through the channels of communication among the Abolitionists that their whereabouts was suspected." They were then forwarded to either of two destinations - to Dr. Vaill on the Wolcottville Road or to Uriel Tuttle in Torrington."

-p. 124-125 - "Yet, curiously, Uriel Tuttle was the only Underground stationmaster here of whom a record survives.

-p. 125- "At Winchester, a few miles north of Torrington and close to Winsted, there was a small but active antislavery society. Noble J. Everett was its secretary; Jonathan Coe, a member who lived in nearby Winsted, managed a well-patronized Underground station at his house. Another station many have been the home of Silas H. McAlpine, poet, philanthropist, and abolitionist of Winchester; in the foundation wall of his house was a hidden crypt that was possibly a hiding place for fugitives, but there is no positive evidence that it was so used."

-p 126 - "Beyond this point, there were stations to the north in Colebrook and to the northwest in Norfolk. Who were the Undergroung agents in Colebrook remains unknown, but there were certainly several of them. One may have been J. H. Rodgers, secretary of the ninety-member antislavery society in 1836.

-"It is also reported that there was a network of Underground byways in this vicinity and that residents of Norfolk were responsible for paving many of them."

-p. 126-127- " For the fugitive traveling through northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk was the last stop in the state. From here, he was sent across the Massachusetts border to New Marlboro, thence over to the Housatonic River line through Stockbridge and Pittsfield to Bennington, Vermont."

-from Appendix 2 - "Underground Railroad Agents in Connecticut" (Probable agents are indicated by *) Litchfield County Blakeslee, Joel - Plymouth Bull, William - Plymouth Coe, Jonathan - Winsted Dunbar, Daniel - Plymouth McAlpine, Silas H. * - Winchester Pettibone, Amos - Norfolk Roberts, Geradus - New Milford Sabin, Charles - New Milford Thayer, Augustine - New Milford Tuttle, Uriel - Torrington


-Quotes from "Barkhamsted Heritage-Culture and Industry in a Rural Connecticut Town", edited by Richard G. Wheeler and George Hilton, 1975.

-p. 235 - "Lamont's Christmas Tree Plantation - Located at the site of one of Barkhamsted's earliest houses, which saw use as an inn on the route from the Salisbury iron works toward Granby.....The house, known 50 years ago as the Oscar Tiffany place, was bought in 1952 by Thomas and Marguerite Lamont...Legend has it that the house was also a stop on the Underground Railroad."


1
Scan of Colebrook River, from an old postcard
(Kind of tickles me, Cotton Mill in town and they were hiding slaves?)
-Quotes from "Colebrook Stories", by Alan DeLarm, 1979.

-"Chamberlain's hotel, The Colebrook River Inn, was at one time used as a station in the underground railroad." -"The Davidson house on the Old Colebrook Road is also said to have been an underground railroad station."


-Quotes from "Howard Peck's New Milford - Memories of a Connecticut Town", edited by James E. Dibble, 1991.

-p. 58-60- "Seventy-five years after the Bostwick place was erected it became one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. It is known that there was a hiding place beneath the floor of the attic. This compartment could hold two persons, and as it was near a chimney could provide warmth during the cold winter season. ..."

-"Another alleged station in this system was a home in the Lanesville section of this town. It is located about four miles south of the village center and has been known as the Wanzer Farm......(they were Quakers)"

-"Fugitives from slavery in the deep South entered New Milford at several places. Some were directed from New York State, directly west of New Milford. It would seem natural that they might have entered through the Town of Sherman, although little has been written or recorded as to that being the case. However, it has been stated that one known station on the system was in Sherman, a short distance north of the center of town in an old colonial residence lying on the westerly side of the present road leading north from the center toward the New York State line or to Gaylordsville. This station was in the Stuart family. The residence is still standing, a landmark and heritage to be preserved. James Stuart was reportedly the agent. It is alleged that there was a small out-building on the premises just north of his dwelling where the escapees would be housed and it would seem likely that some of them would come over the hills to New Milford."

-"Again, near the village, was the home of Augustine A. Thayer, known to his cronies as "Baccus."....from a New York newspaper....a reward of five hundred dollars offered for the apprehension of two runaway slaves. It was expressed by one of the men present that it would not surprise him, "if they would be found at that moment at Baccus' home."

-"Many of the fugitives were aided over the hills to Washington, about five or six miles east of New Milford. One of the most ardent supporters of the movement there was Frederick W. Gunn. ...With Mr. Gunn was Daniel Platt, as devoted an agent on the system as there was anywhere. Mr. Platt and his wife rescued and aided many a poor soul fleeing to Canada."

-"The route continued from Washington north to Litchfield, then on to Torrington, which was the birthplace of John Brown. It is reported that as early as 1837 there was an organization composed of forty members of an antislavery group in that town. Colebrook and Norfolk were the actual jumping off places in Connecticut. From these towns the fugitives crossed the line into Massachusetts, crossed the Housatonic River to Stockbridge, to Pittsfield, into Vermont, to Bennington, Burlington, Rutland, and on into Canada and freedom."


Underground Railroad notes from various sources:

When the first pages of my web site were posted, I received an email from someone (I wish that person, if they ever read this, would get back in contact with me) that mentioned that the Christmas shop in the town of Bethlehem was used to hide runaway slaves. If I remember correctly, I was told it was a printing shop and the slaves would spend the night there before moving on to the next station, most likely in Litchfield.

I heard from a friend that a home north of the rotary in Goshen was a station in the 1800's. I quote from the Goshen history, 1897, page 363: "The store built and occupied by Wadhams and Thompson, and later by Moses Wadhams, was purchased by A. Miles and Sons, who also had a store at West Goshen. Moses W. Gray entered their employ as clerk, in 1841. At this time, Mr. MIles and one son lived at West Goshen, and another son at the Center, with whom Mr. Gray boarded. At his death, Mr. Gray managed the store for about three years, when he purchased a one-half interest and continued to manage it for several years under the firm name of Miles and Gray. He then purchased the interest of his partner and conducted the business alone, the sign over the door bearing the name of M. W. Gray. In 1857, he sold his stock of goods, and, removing to Chicago, enaged in the wholesale grocery business......" -I have talked to a previous landowner, and he told me there is a room in the basement that is undetectable, unless you know it is there. Convienent having a freight business with a hidden room for that special cargo.

I also heard that a house in South Kent has "extra rooms" on the fireplace foundation in the basement. I know which house, but nothing more than that.

Another reference I have, and have no idea where it came from, is Blueberry Hill Farm, between Norfolk and Colebrook, on Rock Hall Road. Supposedly there are false panels behind the fireplace, concealing an entrance to another room.

Mentioned in a Register Citizen article, (I didn't get the date), the Cook homestead on Charles Street in Torrington was used as a station. Runaways were hidden in a section of a dining room closet.

Also, a Register Citizen article, dated 12-31-94, by Bryan T. Morytko, mentions the following: Harwinton - Rt. 4, the Chiarmonte and the Hinnan houses, the Hinnan home have a secret place in the attic floor, next to a chimney, large enough for three people. Torrington - Torringford Street (very active antislavery society in this area) - three or four houses on this street, including the Florian home, with a secret basement room Winchester - the Silas H. McAlpine home (already mentioned above)


These are notes about Underground Railroad sites from visitors to my web site. Some are not exactly in northwestern Connecticut, but close enough.
(Every little piece of the puzzle helps!)

From Kevin Purcell, of Fairbanks, Alaska: "I can remember two houses in Northern Westchester that were rumored to be stops on the Underground. One is located on Route 138 east of Goldens Bridge, it is a large colonial just before the Increase Miller Elementary School on the north side of the road. The other is on Route 100 south of Somers, New York. It is a larger stone house that had one of the old stone mile markers out front."


New quote - added August 29, 1999

-from "Mysteries and Histories of Goshen", June 21, 1938, by Mrs. Lora Ives. Handwritten manuscript

-"At my father's place, known as Whist Pond Manor......The Manor house was built in 1772 by Nathaniel Parmelee. It contained a secret chamber by the great stone chimney, to which access was easy from the downstairs closet, under the stairs in the front hall, by moving a board in the ceiling, also by a movable panel in a shallow closet upstairs, and by a loose board in the attic floor. The chimney kept the room warm in winter and it is supposed to have been used to secrete English refugees in Colonial days, also for runaway slaves during and before the Civil War. The place called Bald Ledge where the Sterlings lived for several years at the north end of the street, is said to have a similar room."

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Connecticut Abolitionists

The slave trade in Connecticut was prohibited in 1788. However, it remained legal to hold slaves until as late as 1848. The state had passed an act of Gradual Emancipation--children born to enslaved parents after March 1, 1784, would be freed at the age of 25 (later dropped to age 21). As a result slavery was slowly phased out. Meanwhile, African Americans and their allies organized to build schools and churches, and petitioned the General Assembly and local governments demanding the right to vote.

...
The Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society was founded in 1838. By 1839, Connecticut abolitionism found itself at a crossroads. After several disheartening legal defeats like the Crandall case, Connecticut abolitionists were in search of a new cause to bring slavery to the public's eye. Abolitionists embraced the publicity given to the Amistad captives' plight as a means to publicize and reinvigorate their cause.
Jocelyn was supported by New Haven attorney Roger Sherman Baldwin. Baldwin, a member of North Church, offered his legal services to the Amistad captives. For two years, Baldwin successfully defended the Africans' right to freedom (first assisted by some fellow Yale graduates, later by former President John Quincy Adams). As abolitionists, Baldwin and Adams seized the opportunity to refocus the case on human rights and to challenge the institution of slavery on moral and constitutional grounds. Baldwin and Jocelyn were also instrumental in securing first local, then national support for the captives.

from http://www.nps.gov/history/nR/travel/amistad/connecticutabolitionists.htm

" In opposition to the southern demand that all discussion should cease, and acquiescence to their wishes be granted, the anti-slavery societies began to multiply and send forth their publications.

Such is the simplest outline of historical facts to the time when Torrington began to take part in the subject of anti-slavery. Litchfield county, at the time, was a ruling county in the state, in several respects, and as anti-slavery principles took deepest root in the strongest minds as well as to find a lodgment in the lesser, a number of persons in the county were invited to meet in Wolcottville in January, 1837, for the purpose of organizing a county society.

Torrington, CT"

When the friends of the cause began to look around for a place for the meeting of the convention, they found every church, public and private hall, closed against them, and heard whisperings of threatnings against any who might have the noble daring to encounter the pro-slavery element of the village and of the town. At this juncture a barn was offered for the use of the convention, and it was promptly accepted, and fitted for the occasion.1 It was not the first time that strangers found the shelter in a barn, " because there was no room in the inn." In that barn the friends of impartial liberty and justice, gathered in goodly numbers ; some of them the most reliable and respectable citizens of Litchfield county. The barn was filled ; the floor, scaffolds, hay-mow and stables. It was an intense cold day in January, and there was much suffering from the severity of the weather. The convention was called to order, and Roger S. Mills of New Hartford, appointed chairman. The Rev. Daniel Coe of Winsted, offered prayer. After appointing a committee to nominate permanent officers, the convention was addressed by the Rev. Nathaniel Colver, agent of the American society, and others. The county society was then organized and the following officers appointed : president, Roger S. Mills: vice presidents, Erastus Lyman of Goshen, Gen. Daniel 13. Brinsmade of Washington, Gen. Uriel Tuttle of Torringford, and Jonathan Coe of Winsted ; secretary, Rev. R. M. Chipman of Harwinton ; treasurer, Dr. E. D. Hudson of Torringford. While thus peacefully engaged, though suffering with the cold, and counseling together for the relief of the oppressed and the elevation of humanity, a furious mob was collecting in the village, and elevating their courage for their deeds of violence by the intoxicating cup. A class of men from the adjoining town, as well as from Torrington, had gathered for the very purpose of disturbing this meeting if it should attempt to exercise the liberties of religious and civil citizens. This mob, after parading the streets, making hideous and threatening noises, gathered around the barn, and by their deafening shouts, the blowing of horns and the ringing the alarm of fire by the bell of the Congregational church, and the display of brute force, broke up the meeting, which hastily took an adjournment. Then the old puritan spirit was manifested by the Torringford people, who offered the use of their meetinghouse to the convention, and it repaired to that place, and continued the session two days. The opposition in Torringford though violent was undemonstrative for lack of the mob element and rum ; and partially from the fact that the fury of the mob had run its race in Wolcottville. When the convention left the barn, the shouts, thumping of pans and kettles, and the furious ringing of the church bell, characterized pandemonium broken loose. When the people were leaving Wolcottville in their sleighs, the entire village seemed to be a bedlam. That good man, Dea. Ebenezer Rood, was set upon in his sleigh, to over turn him and frighten his horses. This excited his righteous indignation, and in a voice of defiance he shouted to them : " Rattle your pans, hoot and toot, ring your bells, you pesky fools, if it does you any good," then put his horses on a run and cleared himself from the gang.

That barn has since been removed, refitted, and is now owned by Dr. Wood.

When the meeting assembled in Torringford it was inspired with new life, energy and courage. The beacon fires of liberty and freedom blazed much higher than they would but for the violence manifested in the village. Deacon Rood's spirit of defiance to the mob, took possession of the whole company, and every man and woman, enlisted in the cause, gloried in the name of abolitionist, and felt annointed for the work of preaching " deliverance to the captives in chains." Such was the beginning of anti-slavery agitation, and times, in the town where John Brown, " Ossawattomie Brown," was born.

This society, moved now, as well by the sense that despotism had come to their own doors, and threatened the very sacredness of church and homes, as by the thought of freedom for the slave, proceeded to hold monthly meetings throughout the county. These meetings were held in barns and sheds, in groves and houses, and any where that the people would assemble for such a purpose. It raised funds by systematic method ; distributed tracts, books, and papers. The state Charter Oak Society was organized in 1838, and employed lecturing agents, who besides lecturing, solicited subscribers to the anti-slavery papers, and scattered anti-slavery literature.

They were opposed everywhere, and yet moved on in their work as though every body knew they were right. They were called all sorts of opprobrious names ; were proscribed and derided, as " nigger friends," "disturbers of Israel." Some were unceremoniously excommunicated from the churches, for no crime but speaking against slavery ; the very thing that many of the fathers had done for a hundred years without objection having been made. All argument with anti-slavery men started with the Bible, where the Quakers started nearly one hundred years before, and this brought the question into all the churches as well as committees. Some withdrew from the churches because they deemed it sinful to hold fellowship with those who voted to uphold a system, acknowledged to be guilty of more crime than any other system in the land.

The opposition had but one argument ; namely, it offended the South; slavery was for their interest. This argument had been gradually obtaining adherents, from the time the Constitution of the United States was adopted. Before that some of the southern states was as much anti-slavery as any in the North. When the South changed, the spirit of proscription began to rise in the North. Hence in the first meeting house in Torrington, there was no slave pew, nor nigger pew, but in the second one there were two. These pews were located in the gallerv over the stairs, boarded up so high, that when the colored people sat in them, they could see no part of the congregation, and could be seen by no one in the assembly. Jacob Prince, after being made a freeman by his master, Abijah Holbrook, joined the church in Goshen, and then being placed in such a seat, and treated in other ways by the same spirit, refused to go to church, because, as he said, he was not treated as a brother and thereafter held prayer meetings in his own house on the Sabbath. Whereupon the Goshen church proceeded to, and did excommunicate him for neglect of duty. This same Jacob is said to have been as fine a looking man, head and features, as nearly any one in the town, except the color of his skin.

Two such pews were in the old church in Torringford, but the Rev. Samuel J. Mills (whether as a rebuke to the spirit of cast or not is not known) always seated Henry Obookiah, Thomas Hooppo, and other tawny brethren of the Sandwich Islands, when they visited him from the Cornwall Mission school, in his own pew, in the front of the congregation, quite to the dissatisfaction of some even of that congregation.

A Remarkable Occurrence. In the early stages of the anti-slavery struggle, Miss Abbey Kelley, a young and educated Quakeress of superior talent, and most estimable character, " felt the spirit moving her " to take part in the public discussion of the subject, and came into Connecticut. Dr. Hudson was then the general agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society, and she called on him and made known her purpose to speak whenever opportunity offered. Dr. Hudson kindly extended to her the hand of fellowship in the good cause, and welcomed her to the thorny field, and to the home of his wife Martha Turner Hudson, to whose companionship he committed her, and secured respectable audiences for her at Torringford and other places in adjacent towns. This movement was very disturbing to pro-slavery and conservative orthodoxy. It occurred after Father Mills's death and after Rev. Mr. Goodman was dismissed. From many pulpits in Litchfield county she was proclaimed as " that woman Jezebel who calleth herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants." The watchman of Torringford uttered a cry of distress and requested the women and their lords to meet him at the Academy, to receive his testimony and instructions concerning the sphere of woman. (" Women obey your husbands.") The assemblage was large ; the women filled one side of the room, and the men the other, facing them. The minister presided, and after solemn preliminaries and the reading of St. Paul's epistle, adapted to the occasion, he discoursed vehemently upon the duties of woman, her proper sphere ; and the unwomanly, and unwarrantable work of woman as a public teacher; or to address promiscuous audiences and thus depart from the good old ways of orthodoxy. When he had barely closed his address, as if Providence approved his testimony, the decayed timbers in the deep cellar of the Academy, which sustained the floor, suddenly gave way on the woman's side of the house and the entire floor, and all the women were precipitated into the cellar, in one general mass of tangled confusion, the whole accompanied by screams, groans, and cries; one woman exclaiming, "O Lord forgive us for having attended such a wicked meeting;" a noise almost equal to that of the mob at the anti-slavery meeting at Wolcottville.

Whether the minister of the occasion concluded that the women then had attained their appropriate sphere, is not related in the narration, but the men, after the dum-astonishment had passed away, hastened from on high to drag out their wives, sisters, daughters and mothers, with bruised limbs, torn garments and dissatisfied countenances ; and hastened to their homes, glad to have escaped without encountering any worse sphere of action, though this was not exactly satisfactory. What precise effect this little episode had on the minister's mind, or whether he became celebrated as defining woman's sphere, or whether he afterwards expanded that lecture into a book, is not revealed in the book of Torringford chronicles.

Prior to the anti-slavery agitation, the inhabitants of Torrington and of Litchfield county, and the state of Connecticut as well, had suffered a calamitous, moral shock ; a sort of aesthetic, volcanic upheaving, by an affair which occurred at the Foreign Mission school at Cornwall. This school had been established and mainly sustained by Congregational churches, for the purpose of educating the Indians and Sandwich Islanders as missionaries to their own people. Two young ladies of Cornwall, belonging to the most respectable and best educated families, became so perverted in their aesthetic tastes, as to choose and dare to marry two of the tawny brethren, with the idea of becoming missionaries among the native tribes. The effect was

quite shocking ; almost pestilential. Every class of society was thrown into spiritual convulsions. The mission school was threatened with demolition. Those sons of the forest who had been so wicked as to fascinate the belles of Cornwall and make trophies of them were compelled to depart sans ceremonie. The school was soon after closed or rather driven out of existence, not because it was not doing a good work, but because two of the pupils had married two girls, which girls wanted to marry them.

These items are but a faint illustration of the excitements, hard feelings, desperate threatenings and silly arguments that were entertained concerning slavery and anti-slavery. No attempt is here made to picture the contest. No human language would be equal to such a task ! If the late war of the rebellion could be fully described, there would be, in that description, some features of the terrible curse set forth somewhat appropriately ; but even then, the half would not be told. Now most people see it, and acknowledge the same. No effort is here made to sum up on this great subject. Only a few items are given as historical facts concerning the efforts on the one side in behalf of slavery, and on the other the spirit and courage of those who believed slavery to be a sin against God and humanity.

One thing is strange, that after the terrible sufferings, hardships and distresses through which the pilgrim fathers and their early descendants passed, for the one object and end of religious and political freedom, that any body should have supposed that the American people could have been compelled, by any means whatever, to put their necks under the yoke of slavery and submit to its dictates !


-Quotes from "The Underground Railroad in Connecticut" by Horatio T. Strother, 1962.

-p. 121-122- " As a conductor, Wakeman (of Norwalk), was bold and tireless, taking his "packages of hardware and dry good" to places as distant as Plymouth and Middletown - trips of forty and fifty miles as the crow flies, farther than that by road....

"William Wakeman of Wilton, Fairfield County and Joel Blakeslee of Plymouth, Litchfield County, Connecticut were Agents]"

"[Reverend H. H. Northrop Conducted Slaves in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan]"

"[Route from St. Joseph County to Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and then East not far from the Line Occupied by the Michigan Central Railroad; N. H. Northrop of White Pigeon Preached Anti-Slavery]"

"[Reverend John Smith of Hartland, Windsor County, Vermont, Belonged to the Underground Railroad; Taler Grose and Soloman Northrup Aided Slaves]"

"25 [Samuel Dutton and Amos Townsend were Station Keepers at New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut]"

"[Wesley Cady was an Abolitionist in Central Village, Plainfield, Windham County, Connecticut]"

from The Underground Railroad in Connecticut relating to Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham counties, Connecticut; Worcester County, Massachusetts; and Onondaga County, New York

-p. 122- "The Plymouth operators, to whom Wakeman presumably made his deliveries, included Joel Blakeslee, Ferrand Dunbar, and William Bull. They not only handled passengers from Wilton; they also had to keep watch for unaccompanied fugitives on foot who had lost their way on the western line between New Haven and Farmington. The Plymouth "minute men" had to set these wanderers on the right track, which took them a dozen miles eastward to Farmington."

-p. 123 -Thus it is known that New Milford was a center of Underground work; but whether fugitives came to this town by traveling northward from the vicinity of Wilton, or eastward via a lateral from the Hudson River line in New York, or both, remains unclear."

-"There are several stations here, (New Milford), one of which was the house of Charles Sabin. Another was the home of Augustine Thayer. He and "his good wife devoted their lives to the Abolition cause. They helped many poor slaves on their way, rising from their beds in the night to feed and minister to them and secreting them till they could be taken under cover of darkness to Deacon Geradus Roberts' house on Second Hill and from there to Mr. Daniel Platt's house in Washington."

-p. 123-124 - Frederick W. Gunn of Washington, Connecticut, who founded the private school bearing his name, "The direction or runaways on the road to freedom, however, remained Gunn's private affair.

-p. 124-"Daniel Platt and his wife....accomodating "many a trembling black refugee" on their farm. ...Their son, Orville,...later recalled that "the slaves stayed, as a rule, but a short time, though some remained several weeks until it was learned through the channels of communication among the Abolitionists that their whereabouts was suspected." They were then forwarded to either of two destinations - to Dr. Vaill on the Wolcottville Road or to Uriel Tuttle in Torrington."

-p. 124-125 - "Yet, curiously, Uriel Tuttle was the only Underground stationmaster here of whom a record survives.

-p. 125- "At Winchester, a few miles north of Torrington and close to Winsted, there was a small but active antislavery society. Noble J. Everett was its secretary; Jonathan Coe, a member who lived in nearby Winsted, managed a well-patronized Underground station at his house. Another station many have been the home of Silas H. McAlpine, poet, philanthropist, and abolitionist of Winchester; in the foundation wall of his house was a hidden crypt that was possibly a hiding place for fugitives, but there is no positive evidence that it was so used."

-p 126 - "Beyond this point, there were stations to the north in Colebrook and to the northwest in Norfolk. Who were the Undergroung agents in Colebrook remains unknown, but there were certainly several of them. One may have been J. H. Rodgers, secretary of the ninety-member antislavery society in 1836.

-"It is also reported that there was a network of Underground byways in this vicinity and that residents of Norfolk were responsible for paving many of them."

-p. 126-127- " For the fugitive traveling through northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk was the last stop in the state. From here, he was sent across the Massachusetts border to New Marlboro, thence over to the Housatonic River line through Stockbridge and Pittsfield to Bennington, Vermont."

-from Appendix 2 - "Underground Railroad Agents in Connecticut" (Probable agents are indicated by *) Litchfield County Blakeslee, Joel - Plymouth Bull, William - Plymouth Coe, Jonathan - Winsted Dunbar, Daniel - Plymouth McAlpine, Silas H. * - Winchester Pettibone, Amos - Norfolk Roberts, Geradus - New Milford Sabin, Charles - New Milford Thayer, Augustine - New Milford Tuttle, Uriel - Torrington


-Quotes from "Barkhamsted Heritage-Culture and Industry in a Rural Connecticut Town", edited by Richard G. Wheeler and George Hilton, 1975.

-p. 235 - "Lamont's Christmas Tree Plantation - Located at the site of one of Barkhamsted's earliest houses, which saw use as an inn on the route from the Salisbury iron works toward Granby.....The house, known 50 years ago as the Oscar Tiffany place, was bought in 1952 by Thomas and Marguerite Lamont...Legend has it that the house was also a stop on the Underground Railroad."


1
Scan of Colebrook River, from an old postcard
(Kind of tickles me, Cotton Mill in town and they were hiding slaves?)
-Quotes from "Colebrook Stories", by Alan DeLarm, 1979.

-"Chamberlain's hotel, The Colebrook River Inn, was at one time used as a station in the underground railroad." -"The Davidson house on the Old Colebrook Road is also said to have been an underground railroad station."


-Quotes from "Howard Peck's New Milford - Memories of a Connecticut Town", edited by James E. Dibble, 1991.

-p. 58-60- "Seventy-five years after the Bostwick place was erected it became one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. It is known that there was a hiding place beneath the floor of the attic. This compartment could hold two persons, and as it was near a chimney could provide warmth during the cold winter season. ..."

-"Another alleged station in this system was a home in the Lanesville section of this town. It is located about four miles south of the village center and has been known as the Wanzer Farm......(they were Quakers)"

-"Fugitives from slavery in the deep South entered New Milford at several places. Some were directed from New York State, directly west of New Milford. It would seem natural that they might have entered through the Town of Sherman, although little has been written or recorded as to that being the case. However, it has been stated that one known station on the system was in Sherman, a short distance north of the center of town in an old colonial residence lying on the westerly side of the present road leading north from the center toward the New York State line or to Gaylordsville. This station was in the Stuart family. The residence is still standing, a landmark and heritage to be preserved. James Stuart was reportedly the agent. It is alleged that there was a small out-building on the premises just north of his dwelling where the escapees would be housed and it would seem likely that some of them would come over the hills to New Milford."

-"Again, near the village, was the home of Augustine A. Thayer, known to his cronies as "Baccus."....from a New York newspaper....a reward of five hundred dollars offered for the apprehension of two runaway slaves. It was expressed by one of the men present that it would not surprise him, "if they would be found at that moment at Baccus' home."

-"Many of the fugitives were aided over the hills to Washington, about five or six miles east of New Milford. One of the most ardent supporters of the movement there was Frederick W. Gunn. ...With Mr. Gunn was Daniel Platt, as devoted an agent on the system as there was anywhere. Mr. Platt and his wife rescued and aided many a poor soul fleeing to Canada."

-"The route continued from Washington north to Litchfield, then on to Torrington, which was the birthplace of John Brown. It is reported that as early as 1837 there was an organization composed of forty members of an antislavery group in that town. Colebrook and Norfolk were the actual jumping off places in Connecticut. From these towns the fugitives crossed the line into Massachusetts, crossed the Housatonic River to Stockbridge, to Pittsfield, into Vermont, to Bennington, Burlington, Rutland, and on into Canada and freedom."


Underground Railroad notes from various sources:

When the first pages of my web site were posted, I received an email from someone (I wish that person, if they ever read this, would get back in contact with me) that mentioned that the Christmas shop in the town of Bethlehem was used to hide runaway slaves. If I remember correctly, I was told it was a printing shop and the slaves would spend the night there before moving on to the next station, most likely in Litchfield.

I heard from a friend that a home north of the rotary in Goshen was a station in the 1800's. I quote from the Goshen history, 1897, page 363: "The store built and occupied by Wadhams and Thompson, and later by Moses Wadhams, was purchased by A. Miles and Sons, who also had a store at West Goshen. Moses W. Gray entered their employ as clerk, in 1841. At this time, Mr. MIles and one son lived at West Goshen, and another son at the Center, with whom Mr. Gray boarded. At his death, Mr. Gray managed the store for about three years, when he purchased a one-half interest and continued to manage it for several years under the firm name of Miles and Gray. He then purchased the interest of his partner and conducted the business alone, the sign over the door bearing the name of M. W. Gray. In 1857, he sold his stock of goods, and, removing to Chicago, enaged in the wholesale grocery business......" -I have talked to a previous landowner, and he told me there is a room in the basement that is undetectable, unless you know it is there. Convienent having a freight business with a hidden room for that special cargo.

I also heard that a house in South Kent has "extra rooms" on the fireplace foundation in the basement. I know which house, but nothing more than that.

Another reference I have, and have no idea where it came from, is Blueberry Hill Farm, between Norfolk and Colebrook, on Rock Hall Road. Supposedly there are false panels behind the fireplace, concealing an entrance to another room.

Mentioned in a Register Citizen article, (I didn't get the date), the Cook homestead on Charles Street in Torrington was used as a station. Runaways were hidden in a section of a dining room closet.

Also, a Register Citizen article, dated 12-31-94, by Bryan T. Morytko, mentions the following: Harwinton - Rt. 4, the Chiarmonte and the Hinnan houses, the Hinnan home have a secret place in the attic floor, next to a chimney, large enough for three people. Torrington - Torringford Street (very active antislavery society in this area) - three or four houses on this street, including the Florian home, with a secret basement room Winchester - the Silas H. McAlpine home (already mentioned above)

 

Mrs. Lora Ives. Handwritten manuscript

-"At my father's place, known as Whist Pond Manor......The Manor house was built in 1772 by Nathaniel Parmelee. It contained a secret chamber by the great stone chimney, to which access was easy from the downstairs closet, under the stairs in the front hall, by moving a board in the ceiling, also by a movable panel in a shallow closet upstairs, and by a loose board in the attic floor. The chimney kept the room warm in winter and it is supposed to have been used to secrete English refugees in Colonial days, also for runaway slaves during and before the Civil War. The place called Bald Ledge where the Sterlings lived for several years at the north end of the street, is said to have a similar room."

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Of Interest
The NorthropName
The Northrop Name - Across the Atlantic
Some Maps
Religious
Professions
General Connecticut Timeline
Town Histories and Information
About early Land Patents
Abolition / Underground Railway and Women's Rights
Witches in Connecticut

Escape to New Jersey
Northrop Distribution

Other Northrops of Note The good, the bad, the ugly
Northrop Aircraft
Cherokee Connection
Northup Autos

Arbor Day Northrop

Clockmakers?

Famous Northrops
check Sarah older sister of Jay Gould married George W. Northrop
The Life and Legend of Jay Gould   By Maury Klein
Elijah square Rule

Isaac the Planner ~~ Turnpikes, Canals, Athens & Esperanza

The Landholders

Northrops Expanding Through New York

 

Did you know -
There are 3,967 people in the U.S. with the last name Northrop.

Statistically the 8512th most popular last name.


There are 4,272 people in the U.S. with the last name Northrup.

Statistically the 8013th most popular last name.
from http://www.howmanyofme.com/search/


There are fewer than 1,526 people in the U.S. with the first name Northrop. The estimate for this name is not absolute.

There are fewer than 1,526 people in the U.S. with the first name Northrup. The estimate for this name is not absolute.


deed from the Ramapoo Tribe of Indians and their associates to the proprietors, viz. : John Belden, Samuel Keeler, Sen., Matthias Saint John, Benjamin Hickcock, John Beebee, Samuel Saint John, Mathew Seamor, James Brown, Benjamin Wilson, Joseph Birch- ard, John Whitne, Sen., John Bouton, Joseph Keeler, Samuel Smith, Junior, Jonathan Stevens, Daniel Olmstead, Richard Olmstead, John Sturtevant, Samuel Keeler, Junior, Joseph Bouton, Jonathan Rockwell, Edward Waring, Joseph Whitne, Daniel Olmstead, Thomas Hyatt, James Benedick, Joseph Crampton, Ebenezer Sension, Matthias Saint John, all of the Town of Norwalk in ye County of Fairfield in her Majesties Colony of Connecticut, in New England, and Thomas Smith, Thomas Canfield and Samuel Smith of ye Town of Milford in ye County of New Haven a 30th day of September in ye seventh year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady, Anne, Queen of England, and in the Year of our Lord God 1708.

14. Norwalk, settled 1649; incorporated Sept., 1651, "Norwaukee shall bee a townee," Algonkin noyank, point of land, or more probably from the Indian name, "Naramauke."

ejnorthrop damnedcomputer.com                 #BEAD75

This home on Pequot Avenue, Southport, Connecticut is a recently restored example of the Northrop Brothers fine carpentry and building in the Southport-Greeens Farms area.

Image Courtesy of David Parker Associates