According to Everts, L. H. History of Cattaraugus Co., New York. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1879, Sylvester Cowles and Pliny L. Fox, Esq. were the principals in signing and forming the Anti-Slavery Society of Ellicottville, NY in 1836.
The following is a statement in the information regarding Isaac Searle: Isaac Searle’s daughter married John Burlingame. That union indicated there may have been a family connection to the Underground Railroad activity.
Helene Phelan in her book, And Why Not Everyman has listed the Burlingame home as a station on the Underground Railroad. The tradition and oral history of this area of Cattaraugus County has included the Burlingame home as a station on the route slaves took north.
James Brooks was the son of Cornelius Brooks. Permanently settling in Cattaraugus County in 1808, after he had first arrived in 1806. . He took the oath of office as judge on May 27, 1817, the year Cattaraugus County was chartered. According to the Everts’s History of the Cattaraugus County, “Judge Brooks was noted for his profuse hospitality, and it is said by one who knew him well that for several years prior to his death the family scarcely ever sat down to a meal without some visitor.” The judge’s residence was known as the ‘Methodist Tavern’ or ‘House of Refuge’.
The era preceding the Civil War for many years was marked by the activity of an open defiance of the Fugitive Slave Laws. Dedicated and conscientious men who were opposed to slavery, made a business of helping escaped slaves on their trip to Canada where the Fugitive Slave Law could not touch the negro.
Hiram Chapman the son of Thomas Chapman (1782-1846) and Anna Welton Chapman (1787-1863) was born April 9, 1810 in Jefferson, Schoharie County, NY and died April 8, 1889 in Versailles, Cattaraugus County, NY
Isaac Searl was born on 03 October 1789 in the town of Whitehall, Washington County. He was one of fifteen children of Gideon and Hannah Searl. His biography in Everts, 1879 described him "as having an inbred love of truth and ever a faithful devotee at honor’s shrine in all the social, civil, financial and political relations of life.”
"Young Marse John and me waz born, dey say, de same day. We growed up togeddar, and he was mighty nice to me. He teach me de ABC's on de sly. W'en Ol' Miss find out, she thrass us bot. Bimby Ol' Marse die. Mo'gage on de plantation. I heah dey goin' sell de ol' silber, furntiture, me and dat kin' ob stuff. "Nex' mornin'. Marse John he say to me, 'dey going sell you ijnto Georgia. Yo better go 'way and stay a while'. No I say, who milk de cow? 'Cow milk herself,' he say. I keep quiet, didn't say much".
Genevieve was born on Earle Hill Road in the town of Leon, December 17, 1912. Her parents were Merritt Jay and Anna J. Eddy Earle. Grandparents, Thomas and Eva (Miranda) Eddy Earle, Jay Enos and Anna Mary Bush Eddy. The farm was the home of the first settler James Wells and history claims this farm was used as a station for the Underground railroad. This "railroad" crossed the state line near Sugar Grove, passed through Busti, Jamestown, Falconer, Ellington and then Leon. There were two lines of this "railroad" from Leon.
The following essay was written by a 12 year old student from Portville, NY.
The Underground Railroad was a passage to freedom for many slaves from the 1780's until the end of slavery in 1865. The penalty for assisting a fleeing slave was a $1,000 fine and imprisonment; all those involved showed great bravery. One of those valorous people was my heroine, Sarah Johnson.
This information is from: http://orbitist.com/2014/07/07/anti-slavery-activists-in-the-1800s/ Note from Sue M. Cross, Town of Mansfield Historian. Chamberlain is another of the men that helped to free the wife and son of run away slave Joseph (Jo) Norton whose tale is told in Eber Pettit's Sketches in the History of the Underground Railroad, ed. Willard McKinstry, Fredonia, Ny 1879. William Pitt Angel from Ellicottville, NY was another whose signature was on the letter to Hon. E. T.