A Crumbling Piece of History

WHENEVER a heavy storm rips through this coastal city, Mary Witkowski, a local historian, immediately has the same worrisome thought: “Are they still standing?” So far, she has been both amazed and relieved to find that the two rickety structures known as the Freeman houses have indeed survived on their adjacent 161-year-old foundations. Thought to be the state’s oldest remaining houses built by African-Americans, the boarded-up homes are the only remnants of a south-end community of free blacks and runaway slaves who thrived here before the Civil War. Read More … [Read more...]

Story of Newport family begins nearly 200 years ago in Wayne County

About 1812, when Great Britain went to war for the second time with the United States, farmer William Newport left his home in Connecticut and settled in Sodus Point, a frontier port on Lake Ontario in what would become Wayne County. Newport, then in his early 30s, was a free African American in a state that would allow slavery for another 15 years. Read More … [Read more...]