Brochure  Published -  Freedom Trails -  Wyoming County

           The Wyoming County Tourist Promotion Agency just  published a new brochure entitled, "Wyoming County's Historic Freedom Trails."

           The brochure celebrates the history of the county's Underground Railroad, a secret alliance of citizens who helped direct slaves fleeing northward into Canada and freedom.

Did you know that America's first anti-slavery political party was organized in Wyoming County at the Warsaw Presbyterian Church in 1839, or that Frederick Douglass is said to have delivered an anti-slavery speech in the Town of Middlebury?

Did you know that quilt patterns actually provided fleeing slaves with vital information on their path to freedom, and that Negro spirituals often had code words, such as "heaven" or "promised land" referring to Canada?

        These, and many other facts specific to our county's rich and extensive history of our Underground Railroad, appear in the brochure.

          The brochure was developed as a collaboration between Wyoming County Tourist Promotion Agency and town historians who provided information from their towns and villages. Historians were asked to verify through family letters and other documents the existence of persons and locations prior to submitting their information. Verification was often difficult as the Fugitive Slave Law enacted in 1850 levied heavy fines and imprisonment for citizens helping runaway slaves. Activities were often covert, as a result.

         Warsaw historians had already unearthed and provided important abolitionist information appearing on their website at Warsaw is an important area in the county containing the most concentrated abolitionist activity. However, many other areas in the county came to light in this important project. It is felt that further revisions will be made, as the public is made aware of this significant and proud piece of Wyoming County history.

        A new tourism venue is created through the production of this brochure. Many motor coach groups have themed itineraries, which include Freedom Trail tours. This realizes the potential for increased sales tax revenues from visitors. The tourist promotion agency's fall FAM tour for tour operators and travel writers will stop in Warsaw for a narrated tour of Underground Railroad sites. The brochure will be taken to trade shows as a vital marketing piece for increasing visitation to Wyoming County.

        Full shipment of 3,000 brochures will be received shortly at the Wyoming County Tourist Promotion Agency who will distribute some of them locally to county historians and museums. The rest will be used by the tourist promotion agency in marketing efforts.

August 21, 2004