The UGRR is one of the best known chapters in American history yet in many ways it is the least examined. The facts and documents/primary sources often do not match. This is true in Lake County. Some known facts are 40% of all slaves passed thru Ohio. Another is The Fugitive Slave Law, enacted in 1850 was already a hotbed issue some 40 years earlier in Ohio. Another includes locals Samuel Butler, Phineas Root, Seth Marshall, Eber Howe and Uri Seeley who were active abolitionists of the day. All resided in what was to become Lake County. Four principal UGRR routes led to Fairport and Madison. Research also reveals that Harvey Johnson was not the first slave to pass thru and return to settle in the county. Over 40 blacks were living in Lake County before the Civil War though their stories remain relatively obscure. These are just a few of the UGRR stories to be examined later this month.
The upcoming bus tour sponsored by Lake Metroparks on May 28th will look at our rich past and the history of runaway slaves and their journey thru portions of Lake County. Many crossed over and arrived in Canada either by way of Lake Erie or by crossing over the Detroit River. In our county many attained freedom via the commercial docks of Fairport or Madison. One final destination was Chatham, Ontario - a mecca for black society. Other Canadian communities included Dresden, Port Stanley, Port Burwell and Port Royal
A Local Self Driving Tour -
Start at Big Creek at Liberty Hollow ( A Lake Metroparks property and one home of Eber Howe)
Uri Seeley House - 969 Riverside Road
Moodey House - 208 S. State St.
Judge Hitchcock site - 254 S. State St.
House Home-311 S. South St.
Seth Marshall site - 375 Bank St.
Mathews House - moved to Lake Erie Campus since 1949
Eber Howe's other home - corner of N. State & Jackson St.
Morley House - 231 N. State St.
Sidley House - 463 Casement Rd.
First Congregational Church - 22 Liberty St.
Grand River Lighthouse at Fairport Harbor -129 Second St.
Dock Rd & Arcola Creek - Madison
Unionville Tavern - 7935 S. Ridge Rd.
Need more tour information - contact Lake Metroparks @ 440-639-7275 or visit www.lakemetroparks.com