I have blogged extensively about the Anthony family in Kansas and Martha’s Vineyard because those two areas were the focus of my trilogy’s first book The Truth About Daniel. However, for some months I unintentionally slighted their hometown in Rochester.
So here’s my commitment: I will include the Rochester connection on a regular basis from now on. Not only am I currently researching Rochester sites and people that the Anthonys knew, but I have also created a program entitled “All for Suffrage: the Kin of Susan B. Anthony.” (More on this soon.)This is richly illustrated with a Powerpoint program and has received a warm welcome in several libraries and schools.
If you want to share some 19th century Rochester tidbits or old photos, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and use the comment box. I’d love to see them, and so would my other readers.
The photo above is of an iconic 19th-century Rochester feature. It shows an aqueduct that carried the waters of the Genesee River over the Erie Canal. Boat traffic on this waterway, although not evident in this picture, could get very congested. That was especially true when a barge got stuck at the turn of the canal!
Private tour in Rochester
One block north of the aqueduct, abolitionist Frederick Douglass located his office on Main Street, which afforded escaping slaves easy access to both the canal and the Genesee. From this point, it was only ten miles to Lake Ontario, which borders Canada. Once on the lake, enslaved people were legally free. Hallelujah!
Some time ago I received a private tour of the Talman Building where Douglass worked. There he published The North Star and sheltered runaways. Douglass was a friend of the Anthonys in Rochester who influenced them greatly. For photos of that visit, follow this link and this one.
Now here’s a picture that really puzzles me. It was taken on the Anthony farm near Rochester, and none of the people in it are identified. Do you find their poses as curious as I do? I like to think that the man on the extreme right is Daniel Read (D.R.) Anthony, but have no way of knowing other than that he seems to be copping an attitude.
Two chapters of The Truth About Daniel take place in this farm home. Members of the Anthony famiy lived in Rochester for three generations, from the 1840s to 1907. Here they set down roots that prepared Susan, Daniel, and Merrit to venture forth and carry social reform to Kansas and Europe.
None of the men in the family ever lived on Madison Street, where the famous Susan B. Anthony House stands today. However, all of the women–Lucy, Guelma, Susan, Hannah and Mary–lived on Madison in two adjoining homes.
How lucky for me that Rochester is my hometown!
You’re right about the canal over the river. Thanks for the correction. This photo is from a postcard collection that looks to range from the 1860s to 1910. It just fell into my hands; no one knows where it came from. I’ll be posting more from time to time.
Very cool picture. I love seeing how it used to look.
Don’t you mean that the aqueduct carried the canal over the river?
As for the people in the picture, which direction are they all facing? Perhaps North to freedom?