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Orson Ames House

On the evening of October 5, 1851, Orson and Amy Ames sheltered the escaped slave William “Jerry” Henry, in their home in Mexico, Oswego County, New York. The next morning the Mexico vigilance committee moved the fugitive away from the center of the village to Asa Beebe’s barn in Toad Hollow. After two weeks in hiding there the committee brought him twelve miles into the City of Oswego where he embarked for Canada. Jerry Henry’s widely publicized escape from a Syracuse jail and his successful flight through Upstate New York directly challenged the federal government’s ability to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. One hundred and fifty years later, the Orson Ames House, one of several locations where Henry received shelter, is the only property which remains to mark his celebrated race to freedom.

Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.

Location: 3339 Main Street, Mexico, 13114

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Jacquline MacDonald

Location Type: Site

Freedom Seekers: William “Jerry” Henry

UGRR Operatives: Orson and Amy Ames