Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Tinker Homestead becomes a station
on the Underground Railroad

Although the Tinker Homestead was not a stop on the Underground Railroad, it has become one in the educational sense. Each year I portray Amy Kirby Post as Akwaaba Tours host school groups in reenacting Underground Railroad tours and living history presentations.

Amy Kirby Post
Amy Post became active in the anti-slavery movement in Rochester soon after she arrived in the city, living at 36 Sophia Street (now North Plymouth Avenue) -she signed a petition against slavery in 1837, and her home, a busy station on the Underground Railroad, sometimes housed between ten and twenty fugitive slaves per night.

The 'slaves' sneak through the orchard
The city of Rochester and the surrounding areas helped to play a leading role in the Underground Railroad movement. Rochester, which was conveniently located close to the Canadian border, served as one of the last stops in the Underground Railroad. Rochester was one of the last stops before fugitive slaves could for the first time in their lives be considered free men, upon their arrival in Canada.

Greeting Harriet Tubman at the door

These 'slaves' were not to happy to hear
of using the chamber pot!
There are numerous locations in the Rochester area that were used as safe-houses to safely shelter the slaves before they were placed on board boats (often on the Genesee river). The most common route used the 'lines' that led from Henrietta through Monroe County and into Rochester. Some of the better known 'stations' included:
  • The Henry Quinby farm by Mendon Ponds Park, which today is by the Fieldstone Smokehouse.

  • David H. Richardson's farm on East Henrietta Road near Castle Road. Mr. Richardson was rumored to have "never turned away an escaped slave".

  • The Warrant farm in Brighton, now 1956 West Henrietta Road (approximately one mile from the University of Rochester campus).

  • The old Frederick Douglass home near Highland Park.

  • A cluster of houses where numerous Quakers lived. That is now the area where the War Memorial building is.

  • Harvey Humphrey, Esp. house at 669 Genesee Street.

Other 'stations' were located in all of the areas surrounding Rochester, including Brighton, Pittsford, Mendon and Webster. Were it not for the compassion and generosity of the citizens of Rochester and of countless other communities throughout the United States, it is likely that many of the escaped slaves that eventually made their way to freedom would not have.

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