By Joan Evans, GWHS
The May meeting of the Greater Winfield Historical Society will be a little different.
A few years ago we invited representatives from local historical societies to join us for an informal round table discussion. We shared ideas, frustrations, names of speakers and other general cooperative thoughts about our societies.
We all felt that it was refreshing, informative and interesting to meet some people who we had not met. Friendships were formed.
We plan to do it again If you were not contacted and are interested in attending this meeting please contact Joan Evans at 315-822-6271 or 315-794-2081.
Everyone is invited to attend and add any comments that you have to offer.
We will be following the same agenda that we used before at the round table discussion. We have invited several members from other societies to join us May 8 at 3 p.m. at Bisby Hall on South Street, West Winfield.
All are welcome. Our monthly business meeting will be May 1 at 3 p.m. in Bisby Hall.
On March 20, the Greater Winfield Historical Society and 30 visitors either in person or on Zoom enjoyed another presentation given by Cheryl Pula.
The topic was the Underground Railroad of Oneida and Herkimer counties.
During the early 1800's the Abolitionist Movement was introduced to America by the British Empire who had abolished slavery in 1833. During the early 1800's there was no formal anti-slavery movement, however fines and prison sentences were imposed for those people harboring escaped slaves.
There were no established escape routes which made the trip to freedom difficult for fleeing slaves. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 established that two states at a time would be admitted to the Union, one as a slave and the other free.
The Dred Scott Decision stated that fugitive slaves were not citizens and had to be returned to their owners because they were considered "property". Bounties were paid to those who caught slaves and returned them to their owners.
Newspapers were used to identify missing slaves. Oneida and Herkimer counties were considered "hot beds" of abolition. Oneida County, especially Utica, was considered a sanctuary city.
Dolgeville in Herkimer County was a very active area for the Underground Railroad. Today there is a mural in the Dolgeville Post Office which depicts the Railroad.
For more information you can watch the recording of the program by using the Historical Society’s link. To listen to the entire program contact Gene Doremus at gene.doremus @gmail.com.