Gerrit Smith

Gerrit Smith (March 6, 1797 – December 28, 1874), also spelled Gerritt Smith, was an American social reformer, abolitionist, businessman, public intellectual, and philanthropist. Married to Ann Carroll Fitzhugh, Smith was a candidate for President of the United States in 1848, 1856, and 1860. He served a single term in the House of Representatives from 1853 to 1854.

First valedictorian of the new Hamilton College (1818), and married to the daughter of the college president, he had "a fine mind", with "a strong literary bent and a marked gift for public speaking". He was called "the sage of Peterboro." He was well liked, even by his political enemies. The many who appeared at his house in Peterboro, invited or not, were well received. (In 1842 the names of 132 visitors were recorded.)

Smith, one of the wealthiest men in New York, was committed to political reform, and above all to the elimination of slavery. So many fugitive slaves came to Peterboro to ask for his help (usually, in reaching Canada) that there is a book about them. Peterboro was, because of Smith, the capital of the abolition movement. The only assembly of escaped slaves (as opposed to free Blacks) ever to meet in the United States—the Fugitive Slave Convention of 1850—took place in neighboring Cazenovia because Peterboro was too small for the meeting.

Smith was also, and less successfully, a temperance activist, and a women's rights suffrage advocate. He was a significant financial contributor to the Liberty Party and the Republican Party throughout his life. Besides making substantial donations of both land and money to create Timbuctoo, an African-American community in North Elba, New York, he was involved in the temperance movement and the colonization movement, before abandoning colonization in favor of abolitionism, the immediate freeing of all the slaves. He was a member of the Secret Six who financially supported John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, in 1859. Brown's farm, in North Elba, was on land he bought from Smith. Provided by Wikipedia
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    Author: Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
    Published 1862
    In collection: Published Materials
    Book
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    Author: Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
    Published 1839
    In collection: Published Materials
    Book
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    Author: Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
    Published 1844
    In collection: Published Materials
    Book
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    Author: Clay, Cassius Marcellus, 1810-1903
    Published 1844
    In collection: Published Materials
    Other Authors: '; ...Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874...
    Book
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    Published 1844
    In collection: Published Materials
    Other Authors: '; ...Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874...
    Book
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    Published 1860
    In collection: Published Materials
    Other Authors: '; ...Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874...
    Book
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    Author: Goodell, William, 1792-1878
    Published 1847
    In collection: Published Materials
    Other Authors: '; ...Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874...
    Book
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    Author: Clay, Cassius Marcellus, 1810-1903
    Published 1844
    In collection: Published Materials
    Other Authors: '; ...Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874...
    Book