Baptist Church of Leon site of Anti-Slavery Group

This information is from:

 By Douglas H. Shepard, Wendy Straight

This location is Private property.

The Leon Baptist Church

It was at this little Baptist church in Leon that Rev. Bliss C. Willoughby and Judge E. T. Foote most likely helped to organize a group of anti-slavery sympathizers. Bliss C. Willoughby (1807 – 1906) served a variety of Baptist churches in New York and Pennsylvania. On 21 September 1844, William Shattuck of Randolph NY wrote a letter to Foote, reporting that “Elder Wilaby informed me this morning” that some Leon inhabitants were moving “towards Liberty” and would like to meet with Foote.

The 1908 Centennial History of the Fredonia Baptist Church (pp.55-56) described Willoughby’s special skills, stating, “His time was largely spent with feeble, declining, divided and discouraged churches,--- some of which, under the blessing of God, he was instrumental in saving. ”Willoughby’s wide-ranging involvement can be seen in the list of churches he worked with: Clear Creek, Cherry Creek, Randolph, Kennedy, Fredonia, Rutledge, Eden, and Sinclairville in New York state, and Warren, Meadville, Pleasantville, and Union City in Pennsylvania. Paralleling this list is his location according to the various censuses (1850 Cherry Creek, 1860 Warren PA, 1870 Poland, 1880 Randolph), and his numerous listings in the annual meetings of the Erie and Chautauqua regional meetings of Baptist churches.

Source: The Foote papers

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