The Underground Railroad was part of the abolitionist movement to eliminate slavery in America. In the state of New York, organized abolitionism began in Oneida County in the early 1830s. Local activists were inspired by the words and examples of Beriah Green and his students at the Oneida Institute. By the Fall of 1835 there were 17 anti-slave societies throughout Oneida County. Soon there were many Underground Railroad stations as well.

The people of Oneida County were part of a dramatic chapter in the nation's history. Black and White men and women not only voiced opposition to slavery, but stood behind their words. They did so at their peril, for Federal law could punish anyone who assisted an escaped slave. But in both the rural and urban areas of Oneida County, individuals and communities sheltered fugitives, and encouraged some of them to settle amongst them.

The Abolition Convention of 1835

Historic Events

In 1832 Alvan Stewart, a lawyer who became the president of the Utica Anti-Slavery Society, issued a call for a state convention to be held in Utica on

Utica Rescue

Mechanics' Hall

On December 29th, 1836, a dramatic scene occurred in the office of Judge Chester Hayden, the First Judge of the County.  Full story...

One of the few remaining landmarks of early Utica is Mechanics' Hall on the 

October 21, 1835, for the purpose of forming a state antislavery society.  Full story..

northwest corner of Liberty and Hotel streets. It was erected by the Utica Mechanics Association in 1837. Full story...