Did you know that Utica and Oneida County played a significant role in the underground railroad during the 1830's?

For those that don't know their U.S. history, The Underground Railroad was part of the abolitionist movement to eliminate slavery in America. In the state of New York, organized abolitionism began in Oneida County in the early 1830s. By the Fall of 1835, there were 17 anti-slave societies throughout Oneida County. From that point forward, there were many Underground Railroad stations here as well.

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Fast forward to 2001. The Oneida County Freedom Trail Commission was founded. This group according to CNYHomePage, still conducts tours of various locations throughout the city that were monumental during the Abolitionist Movement.

The tour starts on Bleecker Street at what used to be the Presbyterian Church. In October of 1835, 600 delegates from across the state met here to organize the New York State Anti-Slavery Society. It was soon interuppted by a crowd of Anti-Abolitionists. This went on to be called the 1835 Utica Riot.

 

Rome Played A Role Too

Rome New York was no stranger to the Underground Railroad too. On the corner of James and Turin street, was the home of Oliver Beale Peirce. Peirce had an anti-slavery newspaper. The name of the paper is still unknown, but its motto was “independent but not neutral”.

Peirce also organized the Mohawk Rangers, which became the 81st NY Volunteers.

 

The Heroes Of Oneida County

The people of Oneida County were part of a dramatic chapter in the nation's history. Who was part of history here in Oneida County and Utica? You can find a full description of "Who's Who" from The Oneida County Freedom Trail. Here's a highlight of a few: