Ross Farm - Northampton (Florence), MA
Posted by: neoc1
N 42° 20.038 W 072° 40.793
18T E 691143 N 4689464
Quick Description: The Ross Farm is located at 123 Meadow Street in the Florence section of Northampton, MA.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 1/7/2012 7:32:23 AM
Waymark Code: WMDF22
The 300 acre Ross Farm once belonged to the Northampton Association for Education and Industry, a Utopian communal society formed in 1841. It was the core of their holdings. The mortise-and tendon wood frame farmhouse is the oldest building on the property. It was constructed about 1825 by Theodore Burt, whose father, Gaius Burt, had purchased the farm in 1798. The two-storey house has a center chimney and a gabled roof. The entrance is on the east side of the three-bay front façade which has two vertically oriented windows on the west two bays separated by a short distance from a window above the door which features two small bullet glass windows, at the east side.
The Northampton Association for Education and Industry also owned a brick, four storey, silk factory on the Mill River south of the farm. The silk factory was their main manufacturing enterprise and source of income. The farm supplied the mulberry trees to support the silk worms. The house is the only landmark surviving from the communal society era, as well as the period of the Underground Railroad.
The Ross Farm became associated with two significant conductors on the Underground Railroad. Samuel L. Hill, one of the founders of the Northampton Association for Education and Industry, lived there from 1841 to 1845. Austin Ross, who owned the farm after the Northampton Association for Education and Industry disbanded, and operated it as a dairy and tobacco farm from 1845-1902.
In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney declared that African Americans “had no rights which the white man is bound to respect”. Samuel L. Hill wrote that this decision “frightened the fugitives who had been drawn here by the anti-slavery sentiment of the place, so that they soon after migrated to Canada in which country the Dred Scott decision had no power. This place then became a station on the so called under-ground railroad for transporting the fugitives towards Canada”.
The Ross Farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as an underground railroad site by the National Park Service as part of the Newwork To Freedom.
Link to National Register of Historic places narrative: (visit link