Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lewiston in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Freedom Crossing Monument

 
 
Freedom Crossing Monument Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
1. Freedom Crossing Monument Marker
Inscription. It was here, along the Niagara River in the mid-1800s, that enslaved African Americans from the Southern United States first saw Canada, known as "the Promised Land" -- the place where they could live free forever. Local volunteers, led by Josiah Tryon, helped the freedom seekers by transporting them across the river by rowboat.

The Last Step to Freedom

Lewiston was final stop for countless escapees on what was called the Underground Railroad - a series of secret back roads and safe houses that were used by the enslaved to find freedom in the North. The citizens of Lewiston were against slavery and joined in a "conspiracy of silence" to help the escapees get to Canada safely and find the freedom they were seeking. None of the local volunteers ever broke the code of silence.

Josiah Tryon, the man with the "Rainbow Heart" who embraced people of all creeds and colors, was the leader of the local volunteers and helped escort the fugitives across the river by rowboat. When his small boat touched the Canadian shoreline, the escaping slaves knew they were finally free after a long and trecherous journey.

The Freedom Crossing Book

Local author, Margaret Goff Clark, published her book, Freedom Crossing, in 1969.
Freedom Crossing Monument Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
2. Freedom Crossing Monument Marker
View of the historical marker looking west along a park walking path, towards both the Niagara River and then Canada. In the right background there is also a view of the actual "Freedom Crossing Monument."
Since then, thousands of 4th and 5th graders have read the book to learn about the Underground Railroad. The story takes place in Lewiston and Mrs. Clark included detailed descriptions of many notable landmarks, including the Presbyterian Church and Tryon's Folly.

The fictional heroine of the book, Laura Eastman, a young teenage girl, is depicted in the Monument (her outstretched arm is pointing the way to Canada across the river) to memorialize the book and the ideals that symbolize the courage of both the freedom seekers and the volunteers who helped them escape.

Tryon's Folly

It's called the House of 4 Cellars and was built in Lewiston on the bank of the Niagara River in 1830 by Amos Tryon. Amos built it as a residence, but his wife Sally Barton, refused to move from her existing home in the Village. After that, it was called "Tyron's Folly." However, when Josiah Tryon, Amos' younger brother, figured out that it was an ideal spot to smuggle fugitive slaves fleeing to Canada, it became anything but a folly. After 1850, it was a crime to help the enslaved, but Josiah and his band of volunteers continues to assist and protect them from bounty hunters who were paid to return the fugitives to the South.

Josiah Tyron (1798-1886) lived to see the day when slavery was abolished. He is considered Lewiston's greatest
Freedom Crossing Monument Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
3. Freedom Crossing Monument Marker
View of the historical marker looking northwest towards the actual "Freedom Crossing Monument (in the near background), and in the distant background a view of both the Niagara River and then Canada.
citizen and is buried in the village cemetery next to the Presbyterian Church

Today, Tryon's Folly is a private residence and is not publicly accessible.
 
Location. 43° 10.409′ N, 79° 2.94′ W. Marker is in Lewiston, New York, in Niagara County. Marker is on Center Street near North Water Street. Click for map. This historical marker is in a community park that is located along the American shoreline of the Niagara River. It is situated along a park walkway that runs down towards the Niagara River, very near to the actual "Freedom Crossing Monument.". Marker is in this post office area: Lewiston NY 14092, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Freedom Crossing Monument (a few steps from this marker); The Battle of Queenston Heights (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of Queenston Heights (within shouting distance of this marker); Barton House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hennepin Park (approx. mile away); The Cibola Anchor (approx. 0.4 miles away); Kiwanians Promoting Peace (approx. 0.4 miles away); Little Yellow House - 1816 (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lewiston.
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican Americans
 
Freedom Crossing Monument image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 11, 2012
4. Freedom Crossing Monument
A view of the actual "Freedom Crossing Monument," with a view of the Niagara River and Canada in the distant background.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 541 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement