Show me a sign, and I will tell you a story. Look closer to the left for geocache glory.
You stand on the hallowed ground trodden by freedom seekers on their way north, or those of another era softly stepping to their hunting village by the river banks.
Between 1830 and 1860, there were at least sixteen sites in Cortland County purported to have been “stations” for the Underground Railroad. Local citizens, sympathetic to the plight of escaped slaves, assured the free men and women safe passage through the county. The Salisbury-Pratt Homestead, now a private residence, is the most notable of these sites and served as an “underground station” where Oren Cravath sheltered and aided fugitive slaves on their way to Canada.
Despite the risk of penalty defined by the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Oren’s family provided a secret hiding room next to the fireplace in the old cellar, merely 6’x6’, to conceal the desperate fugitives. Son Erastus M. Cravath carried on his parents’ progressive commitment by devoting his life to the education of freedmen and was instrumental in founding historically black colleges, including Atlantic and Fisk Universities.
Directly across the field to the east and where the Tioughnioga River runs through, an Indian hunting village once thrived, according to the current owner and Pratt direct descendant. In earlier days the riverbanks served as a bountiful source of artifacts, and a farm child could while away a summer day combing the banks for treasures between dips in the slow moving waters.