Gerrit Smith (1797-1874) was a wealthy abolitionist from Utica, New York.
His conversion to abolitionism occurred in 1835, when he attended an abolitionist
conference in Utica, New York. The meeting was disrupted by a violent
mob of anti-abolitionists. Consequently, Smith offered his Peterboro,
New York estate to house the conference and, there, made a powerful speech
on behalf of the cause. He became the president of the New York Anti-Slavery
Society for three years. Smith served as Station Master of the Underground
railroad and sold portions of his land to fugitive slaves for the nominal
fee of one dollar. Gerrit Smith was also one of the Secret Six, a group
of supporters who gave financial assistance to John Brown for his raid
at Harper’s Ferry. Smith ran for president three times and was the only
abolitionist to hold a Congressional office.
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