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Broderick Park: Underground Railroad Station in Buffalo, New York

Archaeological Survey donated its time and resources to assist the Friends of Broderick Park association in their application to the National Park Service for designation of the park as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site.  Below is the the historic text portion of the application.  A full copy of the application is on file at the Buffalo History Museum.





Broderick Park was the location of the Black Rock ferry, a major transportation link across the Niagara River between Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Canada.  The ferry operated continuously from the Broderick Park location from 1825 until the service was discontinued in the middle of the 20th century.  Buffalo’s destiny as important national transportation hub was sealed when it was chosen for the terminus of the Erie Canal in the 1820s.  Through the 19th century Buffalo grew to become a busy inland port and a railroad center.  The area around Black Rock ferry contained the busy Erie Canal, Black Rock Harbor, and other waterfront activities.  The dock where the ferry landed and departed for nearby Canada was used as an Underground Railroad station from at least the 1830s until the Civil War.  Fugitive slaves took the ferry and other boats from the Broderick Park location across the river to Canada and freedom.  Many historians have pointed to the ferry location as a vital link in the Underground Railroad and numerous well-documented fugitive slave accounts describing the ferry location attest to its importance.  As a result, Broderick Park is eligible for designation to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Broderick Park is located on the Niagara River in the west side of Buffalo, New York.  For about 150 years, starting in 1825, the Black Rock ferry carried people and cargo from this spot across the river to the Village of Fort Erie, Canada, less than half a mile away.  The ferry transported thousands of emigrants and tons of freight into Canada and through Canada to Michigan (Norton 1879: 91).  Previous to 1825 the ferry dock was about half a mile south of Broderick Park, at a spot just north of the Peace Bridge.

Even before 1825, when the ferry made its return trip from Canada it landed at the Broderick Park location and was then rowed upstream to its original launching point, a huge black limestone rock that gave the neighborhood around it the name “Black Rock”.  The black rock was a triangular limestone outcropping that jutted about 300 feet into the river.  It had a level surface about four feet above the Niagara River and offered a natural harbor and eddy.  In 1825 the black rock was removed during the construction of the Erie Canal and the ferry was moved to the foot of Ferry Street, where Broderick Park is today (Smith, Vol 1. 1884: 23; Smith, Vol 2. 1884: 54; Atkins 1898: 45).

Early lessees of the ferry included Alexander Rea, Major Frederick Miller, Asa Stannard, and Orange Brace (Norton 1879: 100-107).  In 1825, the ferry operators were Lester Brace and Donald Fraser.  They built a horse-powered boat that replaced a scow rowed by a group of men.  Passengers entered Ferry Street from Niagara Street, walked down a steep hill, and crossed over the Erie Canal and Black Rock Harbor on bridges.  The ferry dock was on top of the Bird Island Pier.  The pier was a narrow line of huge stones stretching south from Squaw Island, past Ferry Street, to downtown Buffalo’s waterfront.

In 1840, James Haggart took over the ferry and utilized a steam-powered boat.  A man named Judge Bull was a part-owner of the operation (Atkins 1898: 45-46).  The neighborhood around the ferry dock emerged as the commercial and social center of Black Rock.  Black Rock was a village and then town until 1853, when it was absorbed into the City of Buffalo (Spear 1977: 12-21).

The Black Rock ferry dock became a busy station on the Underground Railroad by the 1830s for a number of reasons.  The idea of escaping to Canada via the ferry may have had its genesis in the War of 1812.  Many Southern officers served in western New York State, an active front in the war.  Throughout the war, armies and raiding parties from both sides of the conflict crossed the river at Black Rock and Fort Erie to attack the other side.  Slaves may have travelled with their masters and if they were anywhere along the waterfront, they could have seen that Canada was less than half a mile away on the other side of the Niagara River.  Others may have heard stories about the ferry and Canada when the Southern officers returned to their plantations (Severance 1899: 187; Graf 1939: 73).

Niagara Falls lies about 15 miles north of Broderick Park.  It was a popular national tourist destination as far back as the 18th century.  Slaves travelling with their masters on vacation would have seen the Niagara River and Canada on the other side and would have brought information back with them (Tobin and Jones 2008: 151).  Among the most useful information would have been the knowledge that Black Rock’s ferry boat captains were often willing to convey fugitives across without question and sometimes at no charge (Tobin and Jones 2008: 151).

The terminus of the Erie Canal, completed in 1825, was at Buffalo’s downtown waterfront.  The canal was the spark that launched Buffalo’s rapid 19th century development as a busy inland port and as a railroad center.  The area around the Black Rock ferry, just north of downtown Buffalo, contained the last section of the Erie Canal, Black Rock Harbor, and other waterfront activities.  With so many boats coming and going and so many workers of all nationalities employed on the docks, it was not unusual for African Americans to be around the ferry dock.  Buffalo had a relatively large population of African Americans as well.  This made it somewhat easier for fugitive slaves to blend in and gain passage on the ferry to Canada, even though slave catchers patrolled the waterfront (Farrisson 1954: 298; Pettit 1879: 58).

Runaway slaves started appearing regularly at Black Rock in the 1830s, especially after slavery was abolished in Canada in 1834.  However, even before 1834, runaway slaves from the United States were considered free in Canada (Russell 2009: 47).

Escaping slaves often started their journey with only the North Star to guide them to freedom in Canada.  Along the way, many of these fugitives received help from free blacks and sympathetic whites who made sure the fugitives were on the right track.  They were directed along relatively safe routes through western Pennsylvania and Ohio and into the western counties of New York State.  Buffalo’s close proximity to Canada made it an obvious last stop en route to a fugitive’s ultimate goal, Canada and freedom (Severance 1899: 187-188; Merrill 1963: 98; Wixom 1903: Document 8).

During the earliest days of the Underground Railroad, when Buffalo and Black Rock were still small towns, many of the fugitives came directly from the “country stations” in western New York to the river ferry.  By the 1850s, as the neighborhood developed, some slaves were hidden close by until an opportune time came for the trip down the hill to the ferry dock (Severance 1899: 195; Graf 1939: 74).

Frank Severance was a prolific author of Buffalo histories and an editor of volumes produced by the Buffalo Historical Society from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries.  His book Old Trails on the Niagara Frontier describes the Black Rock ferry as it related to the transfer of fugitive slaves through Buffalo to Canada.  He wrote, “The most vital part of the Underground Railroad was the over-water ferry” (Severance 1899: 186).  A number of other historians have described the ferry at Black Rock as an important link in the Underground Railroad (Merrill 1963: 98; Wilner 1931: 428).

Numerous and well-documented accounts testify to the importance of the Black Rock ferry, today’s Broderick Park, as a last American stop on the Underground Railroad.  One of the most reliable accounts involved William Wells Brown, a former slave who settled in Buffalo, worked on vessels in Lake Erie, and was heavily involved in the Underground Railroad.  Many of his “riders” were hidden on the boat that he worked on and were dropped off on the Canadian side (Farrisson 1954: 298, 300).  In his autobiography, he related a story of a struggle between slave catchers and townspeople at the ferry over the fate of a fugitive slave family fighting for freedom, for the second time (Brown 1847: Ch. 12; See also S11.  Additional data or comments).

The same account is briefly described in an article entitled “Buffalo Fugitive Slave Case and Riot”, printed in the Daily Commercial Advertiser, a Buffalo newspaper Daily Commercial Advertiser [DCA] 13 July 1835):

“Yesterday afternoon our streets were thronged by a mob under considerable excitement, produced by the arrest of a slave family and their subsequent rescue. As far as we can learn the facts, they are briefly these. One Tait, a slave agent from the south, having learned a family of slaves, consisting of a man, his wife, and a child, were living at St. Catharines, U.C., went over and brought them away in the night. They were followed to this city, when a party of Blacks organized and pursued the kidnappers as far as Hamburg, where they effected a rescue, and bore the liberated individuals off in triumph with the intention of placing them again on the Canadian side, but when at the ferry, at Black Rock, a reencounter took place between them and several citizens, who had been called by the police to assist in arresting them, which resulted in some severe injuries on both sides. One young gentleman named Freemont, attached to Mr. Duffy’s Theatre, received a dangerous contusion on the temple from an iron ball in the hand on one of the Blacks during the melee. The slaves succeeded in making good their escape. Eight or ten of the Blacks engaged in the riot have been committed by Justice Grosvenor, for trial.”

An escape via the Black Rock ferry is recounted in an 1836 issue of The Anti-Slavery Record (American Anti-Slavery Society 1836, See also S11.  Additional data or comments).  Samuel Ringgold Ward was an escaped slave, a newspaper editor, and an abolitionist.  He wrote about the same escape in his autobiography (Ward 1855: 177-179):

“I heard of one who, like the man just spoken of, reached the Erie River at Black Rock, near Buffalo, and in sight of that Canada which had been the object of his fondest desires, and had actually gone upon the ferryboat to be conveyed to his much-wished-for free home. The ferryman was loosing the boat from the shore, when, to his utter dismay, up rode his master upon a foaming steed, and with a look “Like the sunshine when it flashes on steel,” drew his loaded pistol, and plainly told the ferryman–“If you loose that boat to convey my Negro to the opposite bank, I’ll blow your brains out!”

The Negro in an instant seized a handspike, and, holding it menacingly over the ferryman’s head, said, “If you don’t loose the boat and ferry me across, I’ll beat your brains out!”

The ferryman, one of the best of his class, a Yankee, friendly to the Negro, looked a moment, first at the one and then at the other, seeing both equally determined and decided, and expressed his decision. He said coolly, “Wall! I can’t die but once; and if I die, I guess I would rather die doing right. So here goes the boat.”

He loosed it and shoved it off. While this was being done, the slaveholder, seeing his slave, who had always “Fanned him while he slept, and trembled when he woke,” defy him, with a threatening gesture at a white man, was thunderstruck. He sate in mute astonishment. His countenance reflected the state of his surprised mind. He was transfixed, as it were, to his saddle. He gazed with a stupid glare, as if he saw not, while the boat sped her way Canada-wards. The Negro, on the other hand, watched every inch of progress which widened the distance betwixt the two shores, until, not waiting for the boat to touch, he ran back to the stern, and then, with a full bound like a nimble deer, sprang from the boat to the shore in advance of the boat, and, rising, took off his poor old hat, and gave three cheers for the British sovereign.”

Mrs. Betsy “Aunt Betsy” Robinson was among a family of nine that took the Black Rock ferry to Canada in 1837.  They escaped from a plantation in Rockingham County, Virginia, and probably crossed the north fork of the Shenandoah River.  According to her, the family was assisted by many people, both black and white, in the South as well as the North.  They walked through Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania, and southwestern New York to the Village of Black Rock.  The family was brought across the Niagara River to Fort Erie on the Black Rock ferry.  She was still living in Fort Erie in 1899 (Severance 1899: 196-197).

Samuel Murray is described as an active local participant in the Underground Railroad.  Murray was a “free-born negro” who came to Buffalo in 1852 and worked as a porter at the American Hotel, located on Ferry Street, near the ferry dock (Figure 4).  He started work early in the morning and often encountered runaways at the back door asking for help in their efforts to get across to Canada (Priebe 1991: 53, Appendix GG; Wilner 1931: 429; Graf 1939: 79).  Murray was quoted as saying “Many a time I have gone into the hotel and taken food for them.  Then I would walk out Niagara Street to the ferry and see them on the boat bound for Canada” (Severance 1899: 197).

It cannot be conclusively ascertained that the ferry was the runaway’s destination in the following account.  However, it does show Underground Railroad activity in the immediate vicinity.  A letter-writer to the Buffalo Courier newspaper wrote about it in 1887 (Severance 1899: 199-200):

“I remember one attempt that was made to capture a runaway slave.  It was right up here on Niagara Street.  The negro ventured out in daytime and was seized by a couple of men who had been on watch for him.  The slave was a muscular fellow, and fought desperately for his liberty; but his captors began beating him over the head with their whips, and he would have been overpowered and carried off if his cries had not attracted the attention of two Abolitionists, who ran up and joined in the scuffle.  It was just above Ferry Street, and they pulled and hauled at that slave and pounded him and each other until it looked as though somebody would be killed.  At last, however, the slave, with the help of his friends, got away and ran for his life, and the slave-chasers and the Abolitionists dropped from blows to high words, the former threatening prosecutions and vengeance, but I presume nothing came of it.”

An account from Bound for Canaan: the Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America describes another narrow escape via the ferry at Black Rock (Bordewich 2005: 256):

The Mayflower was the venue of a memorable incident in August 1854, when, as it was nearing the dock at Buffalo, the ship’s barber, a fugitive slave named Hoover, recognized his former master in the company of several police officers; Hoover ran to the bow of the Mayflower, and leaped from it onto the stern of the nearest ship-named the Plymouth Rock, no less-and then climbed up from it onto the ferry bound across the Niagara River to Canada, thus making his escape.

The same account was detailed in a Buffalo newspaper entitled Buffalo Democrat.  It was reprinted in Frederick Douglass’ Paper, edited by Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York (Frederick Douglass’ Paper [FDP], 15 September 1854):

“AN ESCAPE. As the steamboat Mayflower was nearing her dock, yesterday afternoon the barer, a negro man, named Hoover, saw standing upon the deck, in company with several police officers a person whom he recognized as his former master, from whose custody. Hoover had escaped many years since. Suspecting that he was in danger if he remained there, Hoover ran forward and as the bow of the Mayflower approached the stern of the Plymouth Rock, he jumped upon the deck of the latter vessel then dropped down into a small boat lying alongside, worked her round under the dock, crawled along until he reached the ferry boat International, which runs to Fort Erie, and was just ready for leaving, ascended quietly to her deck, and, in a few moments, was in Canadian waters, and safe. Hoover is a man of some thirty years of age, has resided in Buffalo for many years, and has a family here. It is remarkable that he should recognize his master, from whom he ran away when only ten years old. Buffalo Democrat”

Eber M. Pettit was an active Underground Railroad agent living in nearby Fredonia, New York.  He wrote Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad, a well-known book among Underground Railroad scholars.  In it, he describes his and others’ experiences helping fugitive slaves escape to Canada.  A number of accounts describe fugitives making use of the ferry and docks at the Broderick Park location.

Around 1859, upon hearing that he was to be sold away from his mother, Charley, a house slave from Loudon County, Virginia, stole his master’s horse and ran away.  He headed towards Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) and with the help of a local hotel owner and a farmer, he got across the Ohio River.  He was helped north by Underground Railroad station agents through Ohio, Westfield, New York, and Buffalo while other abolitionists convinced the slave catchers that he was headed toward Detroit.  Charley eventually crossed the Niagara River at Black Rock (Pettit 1879: 18-23).

In January of 1858, a slave named Dan was escorted from Corning, New York to Dunkirk, New York with his master close behind.  A number of Underground Railroad conductors helped him on his way to Buffalo and Black Rock harbor despite the high risk to themselves of getting caught.  Dan’s owner employed a number of men to watch out for Dan at Black Rock because it was a known station on the Underground Railroad.  Even though the harbor was watched closely by slave catchers, agents managed to get him into a skiff and across the Niagara River just as the slave catchers arrived at the dock.  Dan later returned to the Fredonia area of Western New York and worked for a time on a merchant vessel captained by an Underground Railroad agent (Pettit 1879: 24-26).

Tom Stowe was a slave who worked on a plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Tom’s master owned racing horses, fighting dogs and cocks and Tom was in charge of their upkeep.  He was so good at his job that his owner repeatedly refused very high monetary offers for him.  On one trip with his master, Tom was left alone in Morgantown, Virginia (now West Virginia) to manage the animals.  A local grocer advised Tom that the nearby state of Pennsylvania was a free state, and that Canada was not much farther.  Tom was distrustful of this grocer but that information, and other knowledge he gained from his travels through the north with his master, made him more interested in freedom.  After Tom’s son was sold and his wife died shortly thereafter, he made the decision to leave.  His opportunity came after two years.  His route led him through Pittsburgh, up the Alleghany River, to an Underground Railroad station in Franklin, Pennsylvania, mostly on foot.  He then passed through Warren, Pennsylvania, Jamestown, New York, and to Fredonia, New York.  After a few days, he as driven to Buffalo and, in the early morning, Tom Stowe was put on a boat at Black Rock and rowed across to Canada (Pettit 1879: 27-33).

A slave named Jim and others in his party escaped from a plantation in Virginia at Christmas time, using passes they received from their master.  They were supposed to see relatives on another plantation.  Instead, they changed directions and headed north.  Jim had enough knowledge of the neighborhood around the plantation to convince the others to make an escape attempt.  The party was able to get food from other slaves and they eventually crossed over the frozen Ohio River.  When they reached Lake Erie, they were assisted by Underground Railroad agents on the road along Lake Erie, across Cattaraugus Creek, north to Buffalo. They were helped across the Niagara River to Canada at Black Rock (Pettit 1879: 89-96).

Benjamin Drew was an American abolitionist who travelled to Canada to interview former slaves who had made their way to Canada by the 1850s.  His book, The Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada, documents their escape accounts.  At least one of his interviewees crossed into Canada by way of the Black Rock Harbor and the Black Rock ferry.

James Adams was a slave from Virginia.  When he was 17 years old he decided to escape slavery with several others.  They set out on foot on the road north on August 12, 1824.  They crossed a nearby river and hid in the woods for four days.  They were aided by white sympathizers who hid them on their properties at night.  James and his fellow fugitives walked for many days through wilderness, aided by a compass.  They travelled through Ohio to Cleveland.  At Cleveland, with a steamboat captain’s permission, they boarded the ship and sailed to Buffalo.  The captain walked the fugitives to the Black Rock ferry which they took to Canada.  In 1856, James Adams resided in St. Catharines and owned his own house (Drew 1856: 19-28).

A letter-writer to Frederick Douglass’ Paper, described a close call for a group of fugitive slaves (Frederick Douglass’ Paper [FDP], 4 January 1855):

Buffalo, Dec. 11, 1854

“MR. EDITOR: – A few mornings since, I was awakened at an early hour by an immense noise and confusion at my door. Being suddenly awakened, I sprang up, and ran down stairs to ascertain the cause of such strange excitement. When, to my surprise, I found notwithstanding the “immense heavy snow drifts” that a train of cars belonging to the Underground Railroad had just arrived, bringing eight passengers, six men and two women, all direct from “Old Kentuck.” Of course the doors of the depot were thrown open, and in they marched, rank and file, led by T.R. Esq., one of the conductors on the road. After a few moment’s conversation, we conducted them to a public house kept by one of our people. When they had an opportunity of thoroughly warming and refreshing themselves the inner as well as outer man they were allowed to remain with us until one o’clock, when a sleigh was provided, and the eight happy souls, in charge of Phoenix Lansing, esq., one of our active and energetic townsmen, were driven to Black Rock, and in a few moment’s more were safely landed on the other side of Jordan when one universal shout of joy ascended to Him who had been their guide and guardian from a land of slavery and despotism to a land of liberty and light. But the most singular circumstance in connection with this matter is, that just as they had landed on the Canada side, the cars on the Great Western Railroad arrived from the West, and to the surprise and astonishment of our friends, the first man that stepped from the cars, was a Kentuckian, the next door neighbor to the owner of three of our party. You may imagine the feelings of our friends at so strange and unexpected a meeting. “But,” says they to their neighbor, “WE are all here.”

Yours, I hopes of another arrival,



A correspondence to the Provincial Freeman describes a fugitive slave making an escape into Canada from Black Rock (Provincial Freeman [PF] 6 October 1855):

“Not long since a colored man, living in the State of New York, named Isaac Parker, became involved in a quarrel and fight with a white neighbor, and was imprisoned. Meantime his opponent sent intelligence to his master, in Hardy County, Virginia, and immediately his young masters, Henry and William Harness came North, with all speed, to secure him, when he would leave prison; but being on the alert, he reached Canada, at Black Rock , near Buffalo, and was there accosted by them, who, in company with the Constable in that vicinity, sought to arrest him; they proceeded on board the cars of the Buffalo and Brantford railway, and again attempted an arrest, without specifying a charge, declaring, however, that they had a warrant for him. Nothing daunted, he refused to go with them; left the cars, followed by them, and proceeded by the towpath towards this place; then a conference was held by all the parties. The slaveholders and their ally, the Canada Constable, drew weapons and threatened. Parker, who is a large, muscular black man, told them not to touch him, and walked on, determined to slay the first one who attempted to interfere with him. So the chivalry knowing their man, thought better of it, and left him alone in his glory. Parker left Virginia several years ago, and came to Canada, but returned to New York, where the above imprisonment for assault, &c., took place. Two weeks ago, he returned to Canada, and after the contest on this soil, with the three cowards, two Yankees and one Canadian, he has determined to stay at home.”

The Black Rock ferry continued to operate from the same dock until the middle of the 20th century; competition from the Peace Bridge forced the owners of the ferry to discontinue service.  The Frontier Mills was built on the Bird Island pier in the 1830s within the Broderick Park boundaries.  It was vacant by 1900 and was torn down by 1916.  The section of the Bird Island pier associated with Broderick Park was being built up by the 1920s and the Buffalo Sewer Authority built the sewage treatment plant at the north end of the park in 1938.  In the 1950s, the New York State Thruway was constructed on and along the alignment of the old Erie Canal.

Today, the park is utilized by fishermen, sight-seers, and other park goers.  Broderick Park currently covers about 4.5 acres.  The property containing the ferry dock and its associated buildings was probably about one acre in size.



Recent aerial view of, from left to right, the location of the ferry dock, Broderick Park, Black Rock Harbor, I-190 highway, West Ferry Street (Robert Rich Way), and Niagara Street.  Photo angles are marked in red for the June 11, 2010 photos that follow.



Photo 1.  View of Broderick Park near the entrance, facing west.  A plaque describing the park as an Underground Railroad station lies in the foreground.  Canada lies in the background, across the Niagara River.


Photo 2.  The former location of the Black Rock ferry dock, facing west.  This is the view that many fugitive slaves would have seen as they prepared to embark on the ferry or other boats from here to Canada, in the background.



Photo 3.  The former location of the Black Rock ferry, facing south.  The Peace Bridge lies in the background.



Photo 4.  Broderick Park, facing north.



Photo 5.  Broderick Park, facing south.  Bird Island Pier extends south from here into Lake Erie.  Black Rock harbor lies to the left and the Peace Bridge and Lake Erie lie in the background.



Photo 6.  A plaque is located at the entrance to Broderick Park.  It describes the site as an Underground Railroad station, erected by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.


A plaque was erected at the entrance of Broderick Park by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.  The text reads “UNDERGROUND RAILROAD RIVER CROSSING From this site and from other places along the Niagara River escaping slaves were conducted across the boundary from the United States to freedom in Canada”.

The Motherland Connextions ( conducts tours to Broderick Park every year in collaboration with the Juneteenth Festival. The Underground Railroad tours hosted by Motherland Connextions also includes the Michigan Street Baptist Church, and Harriet Tubman’s documented crossing route into Canada. The tour also takes a trip to the site of Tubman’s first home in Canada after she escaped slavery, as well as her church of worship, the British Methodist Episcopal Church (BME) “Salem Chapel”.

In 1990 Ms. Lillion Batchelor, founder of The Buffalo Quarters Historical Society, hosted the first annual educational slave crossing re-enactment.  The re-enactments went on for ten consecutive years, until Border Patrol closed access to the Niagara River, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Media accounts show that the re-enactments attracted spectators from all over the world, including World News film crews.  Although these re-enactments are not currently taking place, they have played a significant role in the awareness of Broderick Parks’ rich history in The Underground Railroad.

S7.  Include a bibliography.  Discuss historical sources of information and how you used them.

Historical sources of information were gathered from the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, and reputable internet websites.  A particularly useful tool was the Google Books website (  Several of the fugitive narratives used in this document are located on that site and are searchable.  A large number of fugitive accounts were included in the document in order to demonstrate the importance of the location to the Underground Railroad.  Historic maps and images were used to develop the location’s context, especially during its period of significance.


American Anti-Slavery Society

1836                   The Runaway.  The Anti-Slavery Record.  Vol. II No. VI.  Published for the American Anti-Slavery Society by R.G. Williams, New York.

American Atlas Company

1894                     Atlas of the City of Buffalo New York.  American Atlas Company, New York.

Atkins, Barton

1898                   Modern antiquities: comprising sketches of early Buffalo and the Great Lakes, also sketches of Alaska. The Courier Company, Buffalo, N.Y.

Bordewich, Fergus M.

2005                   Bound for Canaan: the epic story of the underground railroad, America’s first  integrated civil rights movement. Amistad, New York.

Brown, William Wells

1847                     Narrative of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave. Anti-slavery Office, Boston.

Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

2010                     Vertical Files.  Grosvenor Room, Central Library.  Buffalo, New York.

Daily Commercial Advertiser (DCA) [Buffalo, New York]

1835                   “Buffalo Fugitive Slave Case and Riot.”  13 July.  Buffalo, New York.  Electronic document,, accessed May 28, 2010.

Dey, J. Ogden and David H. Vance

1825                   Map of the Western Part of the State of New York.  Electronic Document,, accessed May 28, 2010.

Drew, Benjamin

1856                   A north-side view of slavery. The refugee: or, The narratives of fugitive slaves in Canada. Related by themselves, with an account of the history and condition of the colored population of Upper Canada.  J.P. Jewett and Co., Boston.

Farrisson, William E.

1954                   William Wells Brown in Buffalo.  The Journal of Negro History.  Vol. XXXIX, No. 4 October, 1954.


Frederick Douglass’ Paper (FDP) [Rochester, New York]

1854                   “An Escape.”  15 September.  Rochester, New York.  Electronic document,, accessed May 28, 2010.

1855                   “Still They Come.  Underground Railroad.”  4 January.  Rochester, New York.  Electronic document,, accessed May 28, 2010.

Graf, Hildegaarde F.

1939                   Abolition and Anti-Slavery in Buffalo and Erie County.  Thesis (M.A.) State University of New York at Buffalo.

Merrill, Arch

1963                   The underground, freedom’s road, and other upstate tales. distributed by Seneca Book Binding Co., Rochester, N.Y.

New York State Archives [NYSA]

1834                   Erie Canal Survey, Showing Buffalo Niagara River.  A0848-77, Canal System Survey Maps, 1832-1843, Map no. E1-6.  Electronic Document,, accessed May 28, 2010.

Norton, Charles

1879                   The Old Black Rock Ferry.  Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society: January, 1879.  pp. 91-112.  Buffalo, New York.

Pettit, Eber M.

1879                   Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad.  W. McKinstry and Son.  Fredonia, New York.

Priebe, Paula J.

1991                   The Underground Railroad in Western New York.  Thesis, Ms. on file, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Provincial Freeman (PF) [Chatham, Canada]

1855                   “Correspondence. For the Provincial Freeman.”  6 October. Chatham, Canada West.    Electronic Document,, accessed May 28, 2010.

Russell, James W

2009                   Class and race formation in North America. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

Sanborn Map Company

1925                  Fire Insurance Map of Buffalo, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Pelham, New York.

Severance, Frank H.

1899                     Old Trails on the Niagara Frontier.  [s. n.] Buffalo, New York.

Smith, Perry H.

1884                   History of the City of Buffalo and Eire County, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.  Two Volumes.  D. Mason and Company, Syracuse, New York.

Spear, A.W.

1977                   The Peace Bridge: 1927-1977 and Reflections of the Past.  Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, Peace Bridge Plaza, Buffalo, New York.

Tobin, Jacqueline, and Hettie Jones

2007                   From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad.  Doubleday.  New York.

Ward, Samuel Ringgold

1855                   Autobiography of a Fugitive Negro: his anti-slavery labours in the United States, Canada and England. John Snow, Toronto.

Wilner, Merton M.

1931                   Niagara Frontier: A Narrative and Documentary History, v.1.  S.J. Clarke Publishing   Co., Chicago.

Wixom, Elbert Cook

1903                   The Under Ground Railway of the Lake Country of Western New York.  Thesis (M.A.).  Cornell University.  Ithaca, New York.