Mexico in Oswego County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Starr Clark Tin Shop
Underground Railroad Heritage Trail
Starr Clark was eulogized by Reverend M.D. Kinney as a man who believed in "impartial justice for all men, without regard to condition or color." Clark arrived in Mexico in 1832 and quickly became active in the abolitionist community. He wrote the first antislavery petition Oswego County sent to Congress, was a founder of the Oswego County Anti-Slavery Society, and made his tin shop a meeting place for local abolitionists. According to Clark family oral tradition, the house and the shop next door sheltered people escaping slavery.
That shop became a busy Underground Railroad hub. Clark housed slaves seeking freedom in his home or in the homes of other families, and arranged transportation for the next stage in their journey to Canada. In 1851, William "Jerry" Henry, a freedom seeker from Missouri who had lived in Syracuse, sought refuge here in Mexico while fleeing arrest under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.
Peterboro, Jan. 19th, 1839
To the editor of the Union Herald,
My Dear Sir, - It will gratify you and many of your readers to know, that the two fugitive slaves, Williams and Scott, of whom I gave you an account, a few weeks ago, have arrived safely in Canada. This information I obtain from our brother Starr Clark, of Mexico, Oswego County, who, together with his family, manifested
Your friend and brother,
The famous abolitionist Gerrit Smith wrote this letter in 1839 to commend Starr Clark for the aid he gave Williams and Scott, two freedom seekers on their way to Canada.
[Inset photo captions read]
Starr Clark House
The Clark family sheltered freedom seekers in their home. Family history maintains that the house and the Tin Shop were connected by a tunnel which provided an additional hiding place.
Courtesy of the Starr Clark Tin Shop.
The Tin Shop served as the Mexico post office and had the only subscription to the Albany Daily Evening Journal in the area. Area residents often gathered there to hear and discuss the news.
Courtesy of the Starr Clark Tin Shop.
Location. 43° 27.58′ N, 76° 13.707′ W. Marker is in Mexico, New York, in Oswego County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (New York State Route 104) and Church Street (New York State Route 69), on the right when traveling west on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mexico NY 13114, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Silas Towne (approx. 4.6 miles away); M-60A1 Patton Tank (approx. 4.8 miles away); Salmon River (approx. 8 miles away); Selkirk Lighthouse (approx. 8 miles away); Pulaski Court House (approx. 8.9 miles away); Pulaski Revolutionary Heroes Memorial (approx. 8.9 miles away); Richland and Pulaski Civil War Soldiers Monument (approx. 8.9 miles away); Casimir Pulaski (approx. 8.9 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Starr Clark Tin Shop & Underground Rail Road on Facebook. (Submitted on July 27, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. New underground railroad museum in CNY to hold open house Dec. 1 (2012 article). (Submitted on July 27, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Mexico's historic tin shop finally being renovated (2010 article). (Submitted on July 27, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 27, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 244 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 27, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.