Tarrytown Connection

Over the past couple weeks of research, I have been able to find a lot more data and sources to more firmly prove the existence of a second underground railroad. I have been exploring the into the characteristics of an educated individual who helps out fugitive slaves as well as being a prominent member in local society and or involvement with the local church. In my investigation, I found a strong correlation between individuals containing these characteristics and helping out with escaping fugitive slaves. Henry Forster is a perfect example of such influential character who had been mentioned last year but not fully researched. As a cobbler and religious man, Foster was considered an intellectual and according to documentation had played a key role in the aid of escape of fugitive slaves. As for new leads, I found one of the biggest connections so far in my research. I stumbled upon another church organization called AME Zion Church that works closely with Taj’s first Baptist church in the transportation and corroboration of fugitive slaves. Rather than extending along the coast, I believe that there have been many different branches of this railroad sprouting like a tree and conjoining in the far north. One thing is clear, the black freemen were given minimal credit for their instrumental role in helping fellow African Americans escape the hardships of slavery. What is not initially apparent when researching Henry Foster is his involvement with a church congregation in Tarry town. Foster Memorial AME Zion Church was “founded in 1860, by Amanda and Henry Foster, Rev. Jacob Thomas, and Hiram Jimerson. Amanda Foster, considered the “Mother of the Church,” was the driving force in the formation of the congregation whose first meetings were held in her confectionery store” (nygeo.com). The church poses a large question as to the possibility of an expansion in our focused study. According to another source, During the Civil War, “members of Foster AME helped to provide food and shelter to fugitive slaves escaping to Canada, and also provided assistance to those fugitive slaves who decided to settle in Tarrytown. Like most AME churches, Foster AME is a religious and social crossroads for the black community, providing a meeting place for worship and a place for public interaction” (nps.gov). It can most likely be deduced that the church congregation did not simply stop aiding the escape of claves after the end of the civil war. I want to look further into this connection and research more into the possibility of other branches in this underground network spanning across New England. For the the time being I think that I am on a good path and I am up to date with everything I need to be in order to be prepared for our presentation. I have recently started looking into the documents that we as a class have had a privilege to view documenting relevant underground railroad cites. “It’s amazing how secretive they remained, even after the [Civil War],” said Diana Ross McCain, a historian who recently reviewed 13 supposed sites in Connecticut (Courant.com).



7 thoughts on “Tarrytown Connection

  1. 16jk

    It is good that you stated about AME Zion church in detail.
    Why the document you are looking at is important?
    It would be better for you to relate your knowledge to the goal of this project.


  2. cxcoco

    Great new discovery. How is the AME church relate to Flora’s case? Has Flora or Exeter ever recieved help from that church through Henry Foster? It will be better if you can find more correlation between the church and the Flora’s case.


  3. frankwxxxx

    Great informational and evidential piece you found, great effort finding it. What is the significance of this document regard to the relationship and connection with the Flora case we are investigating? Try to be more specific about how this information will help about our project.


  4. hykshannon

    this is a great piece of information to expand on. Since it is so broad; however, which part of our presentation do you think it should fit in? I think it would be better if you can depict a tighter bond within the AME Zion Church with our project.



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