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Great Lakes Seaway Trail Scenic Byway


Charles & Anna Maria McClew

Charles & Anna Maria McClew

Freedom seekers used whatever means available to make their journey. Some stowed away on canal boats and lake steamers. Some were transported hidden in wagons. Usually, however, they simply traveled on foot, under the cover of darkness, carrying few possessions, following creek beds to avoid detection, and following leads to safe houses like the McClews' to rest and eat.

Charles and Anna Maria McClew were part of a secret network of people who helped freedom seekers make their way through the Niagara Frontier to Canada. Abolitionists throughout the Niagara region not only assisted people fleeing from slavery but also fought for abolition of slavery through political channels.

The McClews moved to this property in 1850 and built this house and barns. They used native wood, made the bricks on site, and used stones cut from the Erie Canal excavation to cap the foundation wall.

There is a concealed room beneath the McClews' barn where people escaping slavery were able to rest and recuperate. The entrance to the room can still be seen today.

Website: https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=78802

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Great Lakes Seaway Trail Scenic Byway

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NY, Niagara Co, Newfane

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Charles M. McClew

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Website:Historical Marker Database;

Updated: 8-4-2020