Thursday, August 18, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday -- Beginning an inventory, Part 4

©The Estate of R.A. Newton, 2011
This morning I again looked through the first box of items from my Dad's legacy. I found a faded envelope, measuring 7 1/2" x 5 1/2". Inside, to my surprise, was a group of black and white photos, 2 3/4" square. There, before my eyes, were the prints of the Pumpelly Mansion...the main house. In Tuesday's post, I shared the painting Dad did of the shutters of the stone out house in the woods on the mansion grounds...part of the Underground Railroad.

©The Estate of R.A. Newton2011
This wasn't the first time I have seen these prints since Dad's death in 2004. The first time, shortly after returning home from Massachusetts, I queried the Tioga County Historical Society about the Pumpelly family.

--- On Fri, 11/14/08, <> wrote:
From: <>
Subject: Pumpelly family/Underground Railroad/Owego
Date: Friday, November 14, 2008, 5:08 PM
Hi, Ed.

I received your voicemail this afternoon. Thank you for calling!

I grew up in Vestal, and my dad was the Art teacher at Apalachin Middle School
from 1966-1979. As a child, I remember going with him to the ruins of the
Pumpelly mansion, where he did some sketches for a painting, which I recently

The painting is of the shutters of a stone house in the woods, off to the left
behind the mansion ruins. This was most likely not the Gurgon Pumpelly house
built in 1879 along a stream, but I assume, his father's house (Frederick H.
Pumpelly). It was off the highway, not on a street.

The stone building was used as the hiding place for runaway slaves on the
Underground Railroad.

I have traced the Pumpelly lineage, but I am interested in finding out anything
I can about the Underground Railroad in the area, esp. related to Pumpelly.

What sources do you advise using?

Thanks for any help you might be able to offer.

Debra Newton-Carter
Asheville, NC
©The Estate of R.A. Newton2011

        Nice to contact you.  I have looked at the ruins of the home, but didn't see the stone house.  There is also a cabin nearby that looks like the genuine item from the early 1800's.  It has been modernized.  What information do you have showing a connection between the Pumpelly's and the UGRR?  I came across a reference to the Pumpelly's owning slaves.  This doesn't mean that they couldn't have become abolitionists at a later date. 

        I'll pass your email on to the county historical society.  They may know something that I don't.  I have an article online about the UGRR and abolition.  Did you see this?


©The Estate of R.A. Newton2011

Now that I have found the photos, perhaps I will attempt to contact Mr. Nizalowski with a link to these photos . . .


  1. If anyone on the Memories of Owego, NY Facebook Page would like to contact me about this post, please feel free to post a comment, or contact me via email. I'm interested in finding out anything else I can about the history of this property.