Thursday, July 09, 2009

Did Town Line, NY Really Secede from the Union in 1861?

A poster at Civil War Talk pointed out this odd Wikipedia entry concerning Town Line, New York, located in Erie County:
In 1861, in the small hamlet of Town Line in upstate New York, 125 voters met and voted 85 to 40 to secede from the Union and join the Confederate States of America. The reasons are unclear, but an article in The Buffalo News from 1945 cites discontent with President Lincoln, treatment of Confederate soldiers at a POW camp in Elmira, the interest of self rule or perhaps an incident by some runaway slaves at a local underground railroad stop. It was also reported that Town Line sent five men through the Union lines to fight for the Confederate States under General Robert E. Lee.

During the American Civil War, as casualties on both side increased and the nature of the Civil War changed, the secession was slowly forgotten by members of the community but never revoked.

During World War II, it was discovered that Town Line had not rejoined the Union, and on 26 January 1946, Town Line voted to officially join the Union. Even today, the local volunteer fire company has the words "Last of the Rebels" on their shoulder patch.

Can this possibly be true?


  1. Anonymous12:54 AM

    I grew up in Town Line and it's totally true...when in school and learning about the Civil War we would go on a field trip to the local town history museum and they would have a bunch of relics from that time talking about was pretty wild.

  2. Thanks for your response. Amazing!

  3. almost true ... the fire department shoulder patch says 1865 to 1946

    there is a photo of it at

  4. Just for the record - I was raised in Depew - Lancaster - Cheektowaga - and Alden
    (all around that area)

  5. Hamlet of Town Line Heads South In 1861 - A great account of the secession of Town Line and it's vote to rejoin the Union in 1946.


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