Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Underground Railroad in Lancaster, NY

I haven't been taking the time of late to post on my blog, even though there are so many things I should be posting. Something happened the other day that I really need to record and share. First let me say that I am posting this bit of family history for myself and for anyone searching for Winspear family history. The internet has made searching so much easier, but someone needs to make sure the information gets out there so Google can find it for us. I love doing family history research, genealogy. I have had so many emotional experiences when I have found members of my family who I knew nothing about. I have interviewed relatives both close and distant. Everyone is always happy to share and glad to know someone is interested. This is particularly true of the older generation (of which I have become a part). 

So on Friday I spent the entire day searching through family files, scanning and uploading old photos. My mother, Louise Winspear, had been very organized and had file folders where she saved old photos, funeral programs, notes, news clippings, etc. As the "family historian" I was left with much of this information. I have been trying to go through it and make it available to the rest of the family through online sharing.

I came across an old newspaper clipping that told of the sale of a house, built in 1810, at 5976 Genesee St. Lancaster, New York. My Winspear family settled in this area after coming to America from Yorkshire, England. This article mentioned that during the Civil War John and Catherine (Wheelock) Winspear lived there, and that they built a tunnel between the house and the 40 x 60 foot basement of the barn where it was used as a hiding place for runaway slaves. Let me tell you, this sent chills thru me! I know well who this family is as I have recorded their names and the names of their many children. John is the brother of my G-G-G-Grandfather William Winspear, who lived nearby. To think that members of my family were involved in the Underground Railroad made me so proud. This area of Western New York is so close to Canada and my guess is that the runaway slaves here headed there.

Even though I feel acquainted with this family through my research, it brought to mind how much I don't know, and how much I would like to know. For example, I didn't know this family was involved in hiding slaves. I don't know what part, if any, that his brother William played. I do know that William's son, my G-G Grandfather James Pennock, joined the Union Army when he was 16, as did his cousin, George Franklin Winspear, John and Catherine's son.   

Now, in the year 2016, I was able to go to the computer and Google the address of the house and find it on Google Maps. I found out that the house is currently an historical landmark called the Hull House, after the original owner, and they do tours and have lunches there, etc. It's amazing what we can find online now. I do a lot of research on ancestry.com, so if you are Winspear searching for information, be sure and check out my Winspear/mwp Family Tree, or contact me--definitely contact me!

All the best till next time!
Marcie Winspear Patch