FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Program
NYS Historic
Subject
People
Location
182 County Road 67, Stillwater, NY
Lat/Long
43.04919, -73.677384
Grant Recipient
Town of Saratoga
Historic Marker

FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Inscription

FREDERICK DOUGLASS
AFRICAN-AMERICAN SOCIAL
REFORMER SPOKE AT DEAN'S
CORNERS SCHOOL HOUSE
JUNE 9, 1849 TO A CROWD
OF QUAKER ABOLITIONISTS
WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION 2015

On June 9, 1849, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass spoke at the Dean’s Corners School House to a group of Quakers. The Quakers residing in the Town of Saratoga were very active in the Underground Railroad during the 1800s. In 1836, they formed the Quaker Springs Anti-Slavery Society to support freedom seekers. Douglass wrote about his address in the June 22, 1849, edition of his paper, The North Star.

After attending a New England Convention, Frederick Douglass and his friend C.L. Remond visited a series of towns to give lectures. Their first stop was Plymouth, Massachusetts where they held three meetings which were all well attended. On June 4, they left for Weymouth where they were unfortunately less well received. Defenders of slavery harassed the meeting by throwing eggs through the windows, and Frederick considered the meeting a failure which had little impact on its audience. The next day Douglass and Remond parted ways with Douglass continuing his speaking tour in Warren. On June 8, Douglass lectured in Schuylerville, NY where he had a quieter and more successful meeting than that in Weymouth.

Frederick Douglass addressed a meeting primarily attended by members of the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, in a schoolhouse on Dean’s Corners, located in what is now Stillwater, New York. Frederick discussed the negative influence a number of pro-slavery Quaker ministers were exerting, giving the example of a preacher named Nicholas Brown who claimed he visited the south and saw that slaves were better off than freed people in the north. Frederick also remarked on the support of many in the Society of Friends for the presidential campaign of Zachary Taylor, who was a slave-owner and who worked to preserve slavery in the south, as well as various condemnations of anti-slavery associations by various preachers. At least one audience member tried to defend the preacher Nicholas Brown and Frederick Douglass replied sharply regarding the conditions of the freed African Americans of Philadelphia.

The next day Frederick Douglass lectured at a Quaker meeting-house in Saratoga, addressing a large and attentive audience. (North Star, 1849) In 2015, a historic marker funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation was erected at Dean’s Corners in Stillwater to commemorate Frederick Douglass’ lecture.