Friday, May 4, 2018

New York - Day 4

Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake
Friday, 4 May 2018

This morning there were nearly 30 snow geese at the park.
today's route
I drove over to Auburn, near the head of Owasco Lake, to the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.  I got there shortly after the program started and it was well worth my time.  The guide (a frustrated actor if there ever was one) explained in detail the events of her life in their historic context, which was very helpful.  After that, most went with him to visit the buildings on site, but I spent time with the exhibits they had, filling in some of the details I missed by coming in late.

A remarkable woman.  Illiterate but a sterling example of doing the best she could with what she had.  What she had were brains and bravery and a strong sense of duty to her family.  She escaped from slavery and, instead of laying low to protect herself, went back over and over to rescue her extended family members, and anybody else who said they wanted to escape.  She's absolutely documented as having rescued 70 former slaves, but the actual number is almost certainly far higher.

In addition, she volunteered for the Union Army in the Civil War, acting as a cook, nurse, and spy, but she was also the first and only woman of any color to lead an armed military raid during the Civil War.  During the raids she led, they liberated more than 750 slaves and destroyed Confederate commissary goods and arms, while sustaining zero injuries.

After the war, she established a home for homeless folks of any color, after she learned blacks weren't being allowed into the homes already established.  That building still stands in Auburn.

She had to work for many years to finally receive a government pension for her military service, but when she died she was buried with full military honors.  A remarkable woman.

I intended to go to Moravia after that, and I did go, but I got confused about which road went where so I had to take a detour.  I was interested in Moravia because I learned it was the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore, a Whig, and Moravia remained a bastion of the Whigs.  Voting records even up to the early 1980s show Whigs living there.  There's a plaque in memory of Pres. Fillmore in the Fillmore Glen State Park on the edge of town.

The whole village is in the National Register of Historic Places and most of the buildings are very old, some crumbling in place and others restored to beauty.  Friendly people, pleasant place.

The sky is starting to get dark and the winds are picking up: forecast is for very heavy rain racing through, accompanied by winds 40-50 mph.  It was warm and beautiful when we got here and I opened all the openings, so now I need to go around and close them.

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