Connecticut Attractions January 24, 2019
8 Incredible Places Around Connecticut That Were Once Part Of The Underground Railroad
Many escaped slaves made their way through Connecticut on their quest for freedom. The Underground Railroad provided a string of safe houses where these weary and frightened travelers could seek safe shelter on their long journey. Here are nine incredible places in the Nutmeg State that served as stops along the Underground Railroad.
1. Francis Gillette House - 545 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield
Francis Gillette sheltered fugitive slaves on his property most likely in the outbuildings that are no longer standing. Gillette was an influential politician who served as the chairman of the Connecticut Board of Education and also as a U.S. Senator. In the early 1990s, this house was moved north from its original location. The home is a private residence and not open to the public.
2. Samuel Deming House - 66 Main St., Farmington
Samuel and Catherine Deming were avid supporters of the abolitionist cause. With others, Samuel Deming arranged to bring Mende Africans of La Amistad to Farmington and supervised their stay. His wife, Catherine joined efforts to raise money and get petitions signed to help the cause. Their home was a safe haven for escaped slaves who were traveling the Underground Railroad. The house is privately owned and not open to the public.
3. Elijah Lewis House - 1 Mountain Spring Rd., Farmington
Elijah Lewis was a known abolitionist in the town of Farmington. His secret hiding place for travelers was at the base of the chimney. A large stone could be removed revealing a cavity big enough to hold a grown man. This home is privately owned and not open to the public.
4. Washband (Washburn Tavern - 90 Oxford Rd., Oxford
The Washband Tavern operated for four generations and is reported to be a stop along the Underground Railroad. Hiding spots for slaves would have existed in the cellar of this bustling tavern. This home is privately owned and not open to the public.
5. John Randall House - 41 Norwich-Westerly Rd., North Stonington
Darius H. Randall lived in this home during the Civil War and served in the Union Army. He was appalled by the treatment of African-American troops and transferred into U.S. Colored Troop Regiment and where he served as a 2nd Lieutenant. His beliefs lend credence to the local lore that places the house on the Underground Railroad. The probable hiding spot was a root cellar accessible by trap door through the kitchen. This home is privately owned and not open to the public.
6. Lyman Homestead - Lyman Rd., Middlefield
The Lyman family publicly declared their hatred for slavery in an 1850 edition of Sentinel and Witness newspaper. Their involvement with the Underground Railroad was publicly known unlike many of the others who helped with the movement.
7. Hart Porter House and Outbuilding - 465 Porter St., Manchester
According to local lore, Hart Porter's homestead, that was built in the 1840s, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The small outbuilding has a full basement that can only be accessed by a trap door and is thought to be where the escaped slaves were hidden. This home is privately owned and not open to the public.
8. Uriel Tuttle House - 3925 Torringford St., Torrington
Uriel Tuttle was the president of the Litchfield County Anti-Slavery Society and the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society. A letter found after his death recognizes his efforts to help fugitive slaves by giving them refuge, money, and transport to the next stop. This home is privately owned and not open to the public.
The Connecticut Freedom Trail was established to document sites that embody the struggle of African-Americans to obtain equality. The Connecticut Freedom Trail includes other possible stops on the Underground Railroad, you can view all of the sites
Are you intrigued with Connecticut history? Did you know about these stops along the Underground Railroad? Our state is loaded with historic sites and there is
one wonderful town that has more than 150 pre-Civil War homes.