Michelle Henry & Jack Ericson: UGRR, Turn of the Century America and Native American Studies

Slaves & the Courts: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/sthtml/sthome.html

Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 contains just over a hundred pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States. The documents, most from the Law Library and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, comprise an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, a letter, and other works of historical importance. Of the cases presented here, most took place in America and a few in Great Britain. Among the voices heard are those of some of the defendants and plaintiffs themselves as well as those of abolitionists, presidents, politicians, slave owners, fugitive and free territory slaves, lawyers and judges, and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Civil War Treasures New York Historical Society: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/nhihtml/cwnyhshome.html

The images in this digital collection are drawn from the New-York Historical Society's rich archival collections that document the Civil War. They include recruiting posters for New York City regiments of volunteers; stereographic views documenting the mustering of soldiers and of popular support for the Union in New York City; photography showing the war's impact, both in the north and south; and drawings and writings by ordinary soldiers on both sides.

T. Jefferson Papers: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents. This is the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world. Document types in the collection as a whole include correspondence, commonplace books, financial account books, and manuscript volumes.

History of the American West: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/codhtml/hawphome.html

Over 30,000 photographs, drawn from the holdings of the Western History and Genealogy Department at Denver Public Library, illuminate many aspects of the history of the American West. Most of the photographs were taken between 1860 and 1920. They illustrate Colorado towns and landscape, document the place of mining in the history of Colorado and the West, and show the lives of Native Americans from more than forty tribes living west of the Mississippi River. Also included are World War II photographs of the 10th Mountain Division, ski troops based in Colorado who saw action in Italy.

Library of Congress Digital Collections for February 11, 2010
Underground railroad map of the United States, ca. 1838-1860.
g3701e ct001517 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3701e.ct001517

African American Odyssey
The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship explores black America's quest for equality from the early national period through the twentieth century. It showcases the incomparable African American collections of the Library of Congress by displaying more than 240 items, including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, and plays in the largest black history exhibit ever presented by the Library.

The Rev. J.W. Loguen, as a slave and as a freeman : a narrative of real life / Loguen, Jermain Wesley.
http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/loguen/menu.htmlThe Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman (1859) is a third-person account detailing Loguen's early life in slavery, his escape northward, and his ministerial and abolitionist activities in New York state and Canada. The biography was published anonymously, but scholarly sources generally attribute Loguen as the author.

Thomas McIntire, Ex-Slave Narrative

To Senate of the United States. Respected friend. We ask permission to place in thy hands the accompanying statement of "the case of the Seneca Indians" to which we respectfully solicit thy attention ... Signed by direction and on behalf of join
rbpe 1540030b http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/rbpe.1540030b

Thomas Asylum for Orphan & Destitute Indians, Administration Building, Route 438, Cattaraugas Reservation, Irving, Erie County, NY



Significance: The Administration Buildings was the central structure in the new school plan devised following the school's transfer to the New York State Department of Welfare's jurisdiction in 1898. The school was the social and educational center of the Cattaraugas Reservation from the end of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century.

Indian Land Cessions in the United States, 1784-1894, United States Seria Set, Number 4015
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwss-ilc.htmlFound in[[A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates| A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates]] http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lawhome.html Century of Lawmaking

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 3b Varick Transcripts
George Washington to Benedict Arnold, June 21, 1778, two same date --

LOC > THOMAS> Bills, Resolutions>
Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c101:H5367: CUT AND PASTE INTO YOUR BROWSER

Thomas Indian School and Tunisasa Farm

New York State Archives Resources
Guide to Records Relating to Native Americans
Among the innovations introduced to Native Americans by Europeans coming to New York were horses, iron, firearms,--and governmental recordation. The interaction of Native American culture with colonial and state government has been documented from the arrival of Europeans to the present time. The nature, quality, and extent of that recordation varies considerably, but the colonial and State government records of New York provide important information on Native American populations.
This finding aid describes selected State Archives records which are most likely to contain information useful for the study of Native American issues and history. Some of the records were created as a result of State government programs relating exclusively to Native Americans. Most notable among these are records of the Thomas Indian School, 1855-1961; Indian Census and Annuity Rolls, 1881-1950; and an 1845 Population Census of Indian Reservations. Most of the records described, however, are more general in subject scope, containing only sections or files on Native Americans or on programs important to Native Americans.

The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum – located in Peterboro, NY


Underground Sheridan

Sheridan Residents Helped ‘Fugitive’ Slaves Seeking Freedom

By Traci Langworthy

In the years before the Civil War, a confluence of geography and bold moral resolve made Sheridan an important stop on the “Underground Railroad” to freedom. A handful of local residents likely provided assistance to escaped slaves headed to Canada. Their identities remain largely elusive, due to the secret nature of their endeavors. But determined sleuthing is starting to reveal their stories.
The Underground Railroad, or U.G.R.R., began its operation sometime in the 1830’s as a network of safe houses and “conductors” helping slaves from the South work their way northward, to the “free” states and beyond. Railroad terminology provided a sort of code language, used to convey information about places and people without divulging details. Secrecy became all the more important after 1850, when a deeply divided Congress approved the Fugitive Slave Act. Under the new legislation, northerners found to be assisting “fugitives” could be fined as much as $1,000, which was well over the average annual income at that time.

When considered alongside the brutality of slavery and the certain courage of African Americans who dared to flee, the willingness of some northerners to sacrifice so much is partly what makes the story of the Underground Railroad so compelling. Of course, every community also seems to have its intriguing tales of hidden rooms or mysterious tunnels. Sheridan is no exception.

In 1954, when the town was celebrating the 150th anniversary of its settlement, “The Sheridan Settler” newsletter featured a short reminiscence on the U.G.R.R. that had been collected at an unknown date from Mrs. Arvilla Denny Stafford. As the “Settler” reported it, Mrs. Stafford and her childhood friends, the Waite girls, had “found a nice room in the hay mow” one day when they were playing. “Happily they told their parents about the new play room they had found. But they could never find the room again.” The note went on to report that years later, “when the Denny home (then known as the old Davis house) was taken down a dugout was found underneath the floor.” Mrs. Stafford also recalled how, on the days when Mr. Waite and Mr. Denny went fishing in Cattaraugus Creek, they headed out early in the morning in “a three-spring canopy top wagon with the curtains fastened down all around.”

Another intriguing story was passed down in the Cary family and recorded by the late Lucy Jamison. She told of a black man named Ben whom her grandfather, Martin Cary, had found hiding in a thicket one day on Route 39, across the road from the Newell home. Mr. Cary ended up hiring Ben, who stayed at the Cary farm on Route 39 for some time before enlisting in the Union Army.
While further investigation has not yet shed more light on Ben’s story, various sources suggest a potentially rich context for the Denny oral history. Other members of the Denny family are known to have been supporters of abolition. The Denny home recalled by Mrs. Stafford was said to have been located at the end of Waite Road. Maps of the county from 1854 and 1867 show a residence on Route 5, across from the terminus of Waite Road, owned by “A. Denny.” The 1855 state census identifies “A.” as Alanson Denny. It also records a daughter, Arvilla, who was 19 at the time, and likely the woman identified in the “Settler.” She went on to marry Uriah Stafford, whose name appears as owner of the same residence on later maps. While the tale of the “canopy top wagon” may never be confirmed, other sources suggest that Alanson had perhaps an even better way of helping slaves. Beginning about 1845, he operated a lime kiln with George Robinson near the beach on his lakefront farm. Schooners reportedly brought stone for his kiln across the lake from Canada. These vessels could have provided direct passage to Canada for “stowaways” seeking freedom. As reported by local historian George McLaury in the 1904 Centennial History of Chautauqua County, the kiln had the capacity for about 400 bushels of lime. Denny and Robinson transferred ownership of it to Orlando Elmore in 1854 and it ceased operating in 1864.

For further documentation of local U.G.R.R. activity, the most extensive information comes from the colorful reminiscences of Eber Pettit, a “conductor” who operated a “station” at Versailles for nearly a quarter century. Eber worked closely with his father, Dr. James Pettit, a famed patent medicine manufacturer who gave refuge to escaped slaves at his home near Fredonia. After the Civil War, Eber wrote a series of stories about their U.G.R.R. activities for The Fredonia Censor. The stories later appeared in the book Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad, published in 1879. As Eber described it, his home in Versailles was situated at the juncture of six different “lateral” routes, all of which joined the “main line running through Buffalo” to the Niagara River. Escaped slaves following the interior waterways of Appalachia were told to make their way to Pittsburgh, as Pettit related, and follow the north star until they came to water they “could not see across,” or Lake Erie. Instructions then said to “keep within sight” of the lake until they “could see land and houses on the other side.” The other side, of course, was Canada. Along the way, many of these slaves would have passed through Sheridan.
One of the most compelling stories in the Sketches is that of a “Captain Chapman,” who has since been identified as Capt. Hiram Chapman of Versailles, and originally of Sheridan. Born April 9, 1810, Hiram was the son of Thomas and Anna Chapman, early settlers of Sheridan. He learned the ways of sailing from Sheridan’s earliest known lake captain, Zephaniah Perkins. According to Pettit, Chapman was “converted” to the anti-slavery cause soon after he became a ship captain at age 22. His vessel was departing the Cleveland harbor, en route to Buffalo, when a small boat approached it carrying two black men. The “conductors” accompanying the “fugitives” threw a purse containing $15 on board Chapman’s ship, and instructed him to land the men in Canada. The utter elation the men exuded upon their arrival on Canadian ground touched Chapman so deeply that he resolved thereafter to make his vessel “an extension of the track.” Pettit spoke of the captain as he would a frequent accomplice in the cause. Writing in the 1960’s, Chautauqua County historian Elizabeth Crocker surmised that Pettit and his father would often transport slaves to Dunkirk, where they would board them on Chapman’s schooner. Local histories from early in the century identified one of the captain’s ships as the schooner Atlantic. Chapman is buried in Versailles, where he died April 8, 1890, one day short of his 80th birthday. He was predeceased by his wife, Hellen Mariah Parker, and their adopted son, William, who died from a wound he received while in the Union Army.

It is likely that many local residents reading Pettit’s Sketches after the Civil War may have been able to identify other U.G.R.R. operatives in the book. Pettit claimed there were “several” men “living within twenty miles of Fredonia village … who were active agents on the U.G.R.R.” One other with a possible Sheridan connection is a “Farmer Cranston” who operated a station “near Forestville.”
Ultimately, all of the local individuals who assisted escaped slaves will probably never be identified. But even the suggestion of their stories makes for compelling history. The historical society expects to continue researching this topic for years to come and invites local residents to share any information they may be able to add.

NOW AND THEN: Sheridan, N.Y. Historical Society; Fall/Winter 2008 Volume 7, Number 2