Clinton County is tucked into the northeast corner of New York State, with the Adirondack Mountains to the west and Lake Champlain to the East. There are several well-documented Underground Stations in and around Beekmantown, and there are several small black communities that most certainly were involved in helping Freedom Seekers.
are many documented Underground Railroad sites in the Lake Champlain Valley.
John Townsend Addoms had a station in Beekmantown (NW
of Plattsburgh). The most famous was the home of Samuel Keese Smith
in Peru in southern Clinton County. There were also several probable
stations on the lakeshore not far from the border with Canada.
Of particular interest are the small settlements of African-Americans in rural Clinton County. Some were the descendents of slaves from downstate New York, when their masters moved to the North Country in the early 1800s. There is evidence that fugitives from the South were hidden among them. One settlement was Negro Hill (on the border of Beekmantown and Chazy). Another was the Dawson Site a few miles to the east. According to Addie Smith, the Clinton County Historian, she remembers seeing the foundations of these homes as a little girl.
Another black community was Beartown, near the ski resort today in West Beekmantown. It is located on the slopes of Rand Hill, which gives a good view of Plattsburgh and Lake Champlain. However, very little remains of these homes today.
(The following quote comes from the Beekmantown Bicentennial Committee, 1976)
"On the eastern slope of Rand Hill is a little settlement called Beartown, no doubt because of the abundance of bears in the early days. There used to be many colored people living in Beartown. It was a haven for Negro refugess escaping from the South by way of the Underground Railroad."
(This second quote comes from an article in the Press-Republican by Nell B. Sullivan, Chazy Historian)
"[Negro Hill Road] runs on the boundary line between Beekmantown and Chazy. On the south side of the road the colored people lived. Obviously it is because of their presence there that the road got its name.
"Obidiah, Alanson and Abraham Doody all lived on the south side of this road very early. Obidiah is known to have been there in 1809. This road was then known as "Doody Hill Road." All the Doodys lieft Chazy and Beekmantown about 1837.
"The colored people who lived on this road were slaves of African birth and were brought to Beekmantown by Judge Tredwell in 1793 when he and his family moved from Smithtown, L.I. These slaves were later manumitted, and some stayed on."