Following the Gems of the Ice Age:
The Underground Railroad in the Finger Lakes Region

Satellite Image
This satellite image shows the Finger Lakes pointing like beacons northward to Lake Ontario and Canada.
This was an important corridor for the Underground Railroad in New York State.

Freedom Seekers generally followed routes leading up from Elmira and Ithaca and other Finger Lakes towns northward. There is a story about an inn in Lansing (north of Ithaca) called Rogues Harbor. Besides being a station of the Underground Railroad, it also was a haven for smugglers and bootleggers. The goal was often Wayne County on Lake Ontario between Syracuse and Rochester. Many fugitives were sent to the important station of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, but some made their way to little Pultneyville on the big lake.

Pultneyville played an important role in the underground railroad. It is thought that the main route coming into western New York came from Philadelphia to New York City, north to Albany and west to Syracuse and Rochester. Of course, there were many branches off these main routes. The route that led to Pultneyville was believed to have come north from Canandaigua into Palmyra to the home of Pliny Sexton. The journey would continue on to a station in Marion, and, then, on to the home of Griffith Cooper in Williamson. Griffith Cooper was a well-known Quaker and great advocate of the funaway slaves.

From the home of Griffith Cooper, the slaves were sent to Pultneyville to the home of Samuel Cuyler, until such time as they could be transported to Canada by ship. One of the captains who transported slaves was Capt. Horatio N. Throop. My Cuyler would, invariably say to Capt. Throop, "Capt. Throop, I have some passengers for you." Capt. Throop would always reply, "My boat runs for passengers."