Remembering Solomon Northup

The Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society is one of three locations celebrating the 18th annual Solomon Northup Days, starting Saturday. (July 16)

The event is being staged by The North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association. Events will also take place in Ft. Edward and Keeseville.

You may recall Northup, who was born a free man in Essex County in what was then an area which is today known as Schroon and Minerva, was kidnapped into slavery and emerged to write about his ordeal in the gripping autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853.

That book became the basis for the 2014 Oscar winning film, “12 Years a Slave”, starring Oscar winner, Lupita N’yongo.

More from event organizer Peter Slocum: 

“Northup worked along Lake Champlain and the Champlain Canal, in Fort Edward, Saratoga Springs and other areas throughout New York State before being kidnapped. The Saturday morning kick-off event takes place in Fort Edward at the Old Fort House Museum, with a walking tour of the neighborhood where Solomon grew up, and a re-enactor, Clifford Mealy Oliver, playing the main character in drama.

This begins at 10 a.m. and will be followed with other activities at the Museum, at 29 Broadway. Saturday afternoon an expanded exhibit on Solomon Northup will be opening at the Schroon Lake/North Hudson Historical Society. This coincides with the 47th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival at Schroon Lake. The Museum is at 1144 Rt. 9, in the village. On Sunday, The North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association will present the final portion of the weekend events. Angela (Angie) M. Terrell, great-great granddaughter of New York City UGRR conductor Louis Napoleon, who conducted many of the people whose stories Sydney Howard Gay kept in a Record of Fugitives between 1855 and 1856, will speak about her own research.

Terrell, a retired reporter for the Washington Post and other newspapers, has only recently learned about her ancestor's connection with the movement to help people escape from slavery before the Civil War. This program will begin at 1 p.m. at The Adirondack Architectural Heritage Building, 1745 Main Street, Keeseville, across the street from an important abolitionist gathering spot. The program will also offer details about Solomon Northup's legal struggles with Washington Allen, a Peru landowner who hired Northup to ship logs south on Lake Champlain to Troy. Don Papson, Underground Railroad, author and museum founder, and Renee Moore, founder of the Solomon Northup event will be on hand that day to answer questions. This program is made possible, in part, by the Essex County Arts Council Cultural Assistance Program Grant supported by the Essex County Board of Supervisors”.