On this episode, Devin and Lauren tell the story of the Florence Farming and Lumber Association, a settlement of free African Americans in Oneida County beginning in 1846. The Association was the creation of abolitionists Gerrit Smith and Stephen Myers, and it developed on land given by Smith, who at the time was New York’s largest landowner. The original idea for the settlement was to allow African American men to meet the threshold of owning at least $250 worth of property before they would have been allowed to vote, a restriction imposed upon them at the time by the New York state legislature. It was also seen as an opportunity to provide these men and their families the opportunity for self-sufficiency in a rural location.
Marker of Focus: Florence, Oneida, Oneida County
Guests: Jessica Harney, Camden High School social studies teacher; Rebecca McLain, executive director of the Oneida County History Center; and Matt Kirk, principle investigator at Hartgen Archeological Associates