Bouckville, New York
Making sure that this stop had satellite reception, you can guess what we do all day Sunday. With the exception of a certain Texas team, it's a great day of football for us. Laundry also gets done :-)
Monday and Tuesday the weather continues to be enjoyable and we get out to see more of the countryside. With the exception of one motorhome and one tent camper, we are the only "live" site here. The other seven 5ers and one motorhome are empty during our stay. It makes for a very quiet and dark home - just how we like it!
Chittenango Falls (Haudenosaunee word meaning "where waters divide and move north") is a beautiful day use state park with a 167 foot, multi-layered waterfall. Sculpted by glaciers, the 400 million-year-old bedrock is as spectacular as the rushing water. Even with the current drought, the falls are strong.
What is it about waterfalls that hold us at their edge, just watching and listening......
The tiny town of Peterboro has a big history. Both the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Gerritt Smith Estate National Historic Landmark are here. And unfortunately they are both only open on weekends.
The museum is on the second floor of the community center, but the estate is un-fenced with several interpretive signs. We are able to see everything except the exhibits inside the lodge and barn.
The national park service includes the Network to Freedom: historic sites, facilities and programs associated with the Underground Railroad. This site is part of the network.
Another wonderful opportunity to walk through history, the story of Gerritt Smith and his family is inspiring. An abolitionist, philanthropist, politician and reformer, Smith was also the older cousin of Elizabeth Cady. It was at this home that she met the young abolitionist who would become her husband, Henry Stanton. His daughter, Elizabeth Smith Miller, was an active suffragette and abolitionist, who participated in the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls.
This family not only provided shelter, meals and transportation for slaves escaping along the Underground Railroad, but they also bought slaves who they then freed, and gave money to free blacks to help buy their family members. Smith provided funds to John Brown in support of the raids that would spark the Civil War, and ran for president five times.
In 1974, the New York Times said, "The history of the most important half century of our national life will be imperfectly written if it fails to place Gerrit Smith in the front rank of the men whose influence was most felt in the accomplishment of its results."
|Laundry building, built in 1830 (photo 2002)|
|Restored in 2008|
|Signage throughout the grounds tell the story. There are yet two places where slaveholders cannot come, heaven and Peterboro.|
|The lovely Bird House|
|did not survive long enough for restoration|
Built in 1804, the other building on the property is the Land Office where Gerrit Smith worked 10-12 hours a day, six days a week, for fifty-five years. Over 750,000 acres of land were sold here, providing Smith with great wealth which he used to support numerous reform movements.
|Large land holdings map|
|Checking out the old smokehouse|
|Smith's office now used for docent lectures|
Our loose plan to cross New York was to continue traveling Hwy 20 through the center of the state. That changed when we heard from John and Pam who were heading to the 1000 Islands area later this week. They will be there for two weeks and offered to show us around if we wanted to go north instead.
We did, and so we are. Wednesday we head for Oswego, New York, to spend a couple days on Lake Ontario before our meet-up in Clayton.