Freedom Hill

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This unassuming hill rising from the water of Lake Ontario played an important part in the history of our area. This is what now is called Freedom Hill. Caution! This site is on private property. Do not  trespass!

 

Originally this hill was not called Freedom Hill. We see in this map from the 1904 New Century Atlas Wayne County New York that at that time it was called Nigger Hill. A sad reminder that in the not so distant past, racism was institutionalized and widespread. Sometime after this, it was renamed Freedom Hill.

 

For many freedom seekers (in the 1850s they were called fugitive slaves) this place was both an end and a  beginning.

It was an ending of their dangerous journey out of slavery helped by conductors on the Underground Railroad. Once they boarded the schooner (such as Free Trader pictured waiting off of Freedom Hill in our village’s mural), it was a beginning of the final journey to freedom. Imagine how they must have felt boarding that schooner and for the first time in their life tasting freedom and safety!

 

Why was this location chosen to meet and board the schooner?

You can see from this map, there were three reasons: Location, Location, Location

  • Firstly, the area was about 3 miles west of Sodus Point in a remote location where the risk from bounty hunters finding the freedom seekers  would be unlikely.

 

  • Secondly, the hill jutted out far enough into the lake and was close enough to Sodus Bay that during the day they could see a schooner leaving the channel. They would then have plenty of time to get in a rowboat and meet the schooner on its way to Canada. If at night, the hill was a perfect place to light a fire or swing lanterns to let the Captain of the schooner know to stop and pick them up.

 

  • Thirdly, the remote location meant that the risk to Captain and crew of  the Schooner being caught assisting the freedom seekers was minimal. The bounty hunters did not have their own vessels and the schooners were the fastest thing on the lake at that time anyway.

 

To read more about The Free Trader and history of the underground railroad in our area, click this link:

http://historicsoduspoint.com/murals/underground-railroad-in-sodus-point-mural/