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Re: [NY] Black families -Clinton County ?

Thomas Tredwell's 40 slaves information I have found on Peter Billings which is my 3rd great grandfather.
Found in news paper
plattsburg Press - Republican - September

Chazy Reader Clarifies History Of "Nigger Hill Road"

By Neil or Nell R. Sullivan

Every since I read " Off the Boston Track" about the " Nigger Hill Road" I have wanted
to give you the true story of these two roads which are so confusing.
Mrs. Margaret Hayes, county historian, had given you a report on Nigger
Hill road.
In substance, this report was correct, but Mrs. Hayes has confused two roads of the same name.
one of the Beekmantown-Chazy town lines. The other entirely in the Town of Altona. The first mentioned
of these two roads runs on the boundary line between Beekermantown and Chazy from the state Road

(Route 9), a little south of the brick tavern at Ingraham and in front of the old school house at Ingrabam
and in a westerly direction to the Stratton Hill Road. It is two miles long. At about one third of its length
from the east end it is joined from the south by the Moffit road. It is between the state road and the

Moffit road. It is between the state road and Moffit road a d on the Beekermantown side that the colored

people lived. Obviously it is because of their presence there that the road got its name.
Obidiah, Alanson and Abraham Doody all lived o the south side of this road very early. Obidiah is

known to have been here in 1809. This road was then known as Doody Hill Road. All the Doodys left

Chazy and Beekermantown about 1837.
The colored people who lived on this road were slaves of African birth and were brought to

Beekermantown town by Judge Tredwell in 1793 when he and his family moved from Smithtown, L.I.
to the shores of Lake Champlain at St. Armands Bay, between Point Au Roche and Cumberland Head,
about four miles north of Plattsburgh.
He manumitted a Negro man. Hick and his wife Jane, the next year. Later he set them all free. At this

time he purchased land along the north line of the town of Beekermantown, built log houses and

established homes for them. It is said, he had about 40 in all.
One, phyllis, choose to remain with her master. She is buried on the old Tredwell farm with judge,
and his wife and others of his family in a little cemetery on east side of the state road in a pasture sloping
towards the lake, about four miles north of Plattsburgh. She requested to buried at her Masters feet. In

this cemetery can be found a stone placed across the feet of Thomas Tredwell's grave bearing the following

Old Phyllis, the slave
Was of African birth,
And she died long ago, long ago,
And her last sad request,
As she passed to her rest,
Was lay me at old Massa's feet.

The tradition is, that those who lived and died on the Nigger Hill Road are buried in the Ingraham

Cemetery, on the south side. There are no stones to mark their graves, niether were there vital statisics

records kept that early.
Mr. Tredwell was obviously a considerate man to have taken the trouble to give his slaves a good start

as free men. Another evidence of his character is the care taken in the burial of Phyllis.
The seco d road mentioned by this name is entirely in the town of Altona since December 2, 1837. It was

laid out in the town of Chazy and according to the Clinton and Franklin county History by Hurd was the

fourth road to be built in that part of the town. (around Altona). It is mentioned as the road "Over Nigger

There are known to be at least two families of colored people who lived on this road over a period of

approximately 40 years. Russ Wheeler was head of one family, he had several children . He was a farm

laborer and worked by the day for many of the farmers on that road and military turnpike. He moved from
there: it is said, that he went to Lyon Mountain.
The name of the others was Billings, Peter, Elijah, Jet and Danforth are names well remembered. Peter

and Elijah Billings are on the 1857 Assessment Rolls as having 50 acres of land. They are known to have

cleared land and picked stones, the piles are still on this property.
No one can recall where they came from or what became of them but certainly they were there and over

a long period.
The Census Record of 1820 shows colored people in Chazy, I find tow people wh0 remember seeing

them, it is no trouble at all to find several people who know about them from their fathers or grandfathers

or both.
This road runs in westerly direction from Douglass Corner, west of Chazy Village, to the Military

Homer T. Atwood resides on this road on location of the first settler, Joseph Goodspeed, His

grandfather owned land along that road as early as 1855, and was well acquainted with the colored people.
The fact of the colored people living here gave the road its name. There is no exact date of the opening

of either of these roads but from facts concerning them, it would appear that they came into existence

about the same time. We tend, I believe to be extremely sensitive these days about the way we act toward

negroes. and, perhaps after all the abuse they have suffered at our hands, it is right we are so.
However, it is equally disastrous to lean to far backward, as it is to fall on our face.
The suggestion that the Negro race be vindicated by eradicating the name " Nigger Hill Road" from

our maps seems ridiculous to me. Perhaps the word " Nigger " is offensive, but acutually the name borne

this road is a memorial to a very early example of decent treatment of the black man by the white man. If you have any information to share let me know I have other connection im sure of let me know if you are interested email me would work best for me

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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