The Underground Railroad in the Seneca Falls and Waterloo Area
On Saturday, February 13, 2016, Seneca County Historian Walter Gable will present a program on the Underground Railroad in the Seneca Falls-Waterloo area. The program will begin at 1 pm and will take place in the Guntzel Theatre of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls. Gable will use a power point presentation and will provide handouts. There will also be a question and answer period following his presentation.
The Seneca Falls-Waterloo area was a hotbed of anti-slavery activism in the years preceding the Civil War. While certainly not all area residents were anti-slavery in their beliefs, there were a very active number of individuals and groups that were doing as much as they could to support abolitionism. Who were these people? They included Quakers, the upper class “movers and shakers” in the community as well as working and lower middle class members, and both males and females. Gable will show how this activism was a logical outgrowth of the economic transformation taking place in the area and the reforming zeal growing out of the Second Great Awakening. He will identify many ways in which this activism was manifested. These include political activism in the Free Soil party movement, the establishment of woolen mills by anti-slavery businessmen, the welcoming of blacks to settle locally, as well as specific examples of helping “freedom seekers” (i.e., fugitive slaves) escape from their southern slavery. The contributions of several specific sites and groups of people and individuals in the Seneca Falls and Waterloo area will be shown. He will also show the direct ties between the abolition movement and the evolving women’s rights movement.
Much of the specific information for this program comes from the Final Report of the 2005-06 study of the Underground Railroad in Seneca County. This study was a Cultural Resources Survey sponsored by the Seneca County Historian’s Office and funded by a Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Council on the Humanities.
For further information, contact Women’s Rights National Historical Park or Seneca a Museum of Waterways and Industry 315.568.1510