The Underground Railroad: Malone

    Can you imagine living peacefully, running a successful business and having all of that ripped away simply because of your race?  The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, nicknamed the Bloodhound Law, did just that. This law deemed that even if people of color had escaped or had been born free, they could be sent South based solely on the claimant’s word, whipped and enslaved. To force people to comply, stiff penalties and prison time were given to those who refused to turn in the so called runaways.

Luther Bradish

     Coupled with this, New York State said being in the state didn’t mean you were free. Therefore, Southerners could vacation or work here for six months and their “property” could not be released.
     Franklin County and Malone played a part in fighting this law. First, Luther Bradish, our Lieutenant Governor–who lived in Moira and helped establish St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, spoke out against this atrocity. (for more information see: http://franklinhistorian.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-07-03T16%3A24%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=7  ).
     And of course, our own Congregational Church as a part of the Underground Railroad created a tunnel in its basement to hide fleeing slaves.

Note the bend at the far left

     I always pictured this tunnel as a subway tunnel traveling under the streets. However, it’s a tiny little reinforced hole traveling from the west side of the church to the north. It turns, underground at a sharp sixty degree bend, and to hide in it, you’d have to be desperate.

Neil slipping into the tunnel
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  1. Sally says:

    Thank you so much, Miz Carol. You are very kind to have tracked this down after all this time. I have printed your article and included it with my research. God Bless you!

  2. It is sad–and so sad that ethnicity still plays a role in our lives. When will people realize we are all God's children and cherished deeply?

  3. And desperate they must have been, Carol. What an interesting historical tidbit; I did not know that the Bloodhound Law was so…well, ferocious. What a tragic mark on our history slavery is, yet America–through the church, good people, and the right leader at the right time–overcame her tragedy. Thank God!

    May He bless you richly!

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