The McClew Farm in Niagara County

Thomas Root Home
The Thomas Root home in Pekin is marked today by a Niagara County Freedom Trail marker. It was probably linked to another incredible station on the McClew Farm (Murphy Orchards) in nearby Burt.

The following are extracts from an article about the Niagara County Freedom Trail:

and Libby McClew moved to this property which is now our home [Murphy Orchards] in 1850. They built the house in which we now live, as well as the barn which holds the entrance to a secret underground chamber which was used to hide people escaping from slavery on their way to freedom in Canada. This room, which was described in an article appearing in the October 1996 issue of Smithsonian Magazine as "a cultural archaeologist's mother lode", and as "amazing, untouched history," remains virtually unchanged since it was used as a "station" on the Underground Railroad. The floor of the room is littered with debris which may prove to be of significant historic importance. The entrance to the room can be viewed from within the barn.

Hopkins Creek originates due north of Pekin and flows through the McClew farm, emptying into Lake Ontario. This was the route used by fugitives heading from the McClew Farm to the Thomas Root home in Pekin. From there Freedom Seekers most likely went to Niagara Falls (with the suspension bridge) or to Lewiston (on a navigable section of the Niagara River).

There was another option. After leaving the McClew farm, fugitives could follow along the banks of the Eighteen Mile Creek to reach the Erie Canal in Lockport. The McClews may have provided transportation for hidden fugitives in farm wagons while taking produce into Lockport. Then they could follow the canal to Black Rock's ferry dock to Canada.