Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #21

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he writes about William C. Bloss. He was an early advocate against slavery in the US. View his record on Find-A-Grave for more information on him.


In 1826, while living in Brighton in a brick house which stood across the Erie Canal from the cemetery, William Clough Boss became converted to temperance and emptied the contents of his tavern bar into the Erie Canal. In 1830, he moved to a house on East Avenue, the site of which was or is marked by a metal plate in the sidewalk in front of the Cutler building. The house itself having been removed to 636 Broadway in 1880.This house still standing on Broadway is one of the few authenticated local stations of the “Underground Railway” now in existence. During the years from 1830 to 1860 in its original location on East Ave. it sheltered dozens of fugitive slaves sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for days, before they could be sent on their way to safety in Canada. There is a large monument to his memory in the Brighton Cemetery. He was one of the leaders of the anti-slavery movement, and in 1834 he published one of the first anti-slavery papers “The Rights of Man.” His wife was Mary bangs Blossom (1799 – 1879).

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