Sunday, May 01, 2011

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

Several years ago I posted an entry referring to a report that, at the outset of the Civil War, the town of Town Line, New York, located in Erie County near Buffalo, had seceded from the Union: Did Town Line, NY Really Secede from the Union in 1861? In the post I questioned whether the report could possibly be true.

Correspondent Jeff Cooke has helpfully pointed me to a recent article in the Buffalo History Gazette that appears to confirm the truth of the report: Hamlet of Town Line "Heads South" in 1861: Nearby Hamlet Left Union in Civil War Days. According to the article, in late 1861 or early 1862 the eligible voters of the town voted by a count of 80 to 45 to secede from the Union. The reasons the town did so seem to be lost to history:
Why Town Line left the Union is a mystery. It's [sic] residents at that time were sons and daughters of pioneers who came from Vermont or Germany. Such ancestry would almost guarantee an abhorrence of slavery, but Town Line then was a Democratic stronghold. There was little economic reason for such sympathy, for Town Line residents were either farmers or woodsmen.
Town Line remained out of the Union, according to the article, for eighty-five years. On January 24, 1946 town residents decided to rejoin the Union by a vote of 90 to 23.
The picture, taken from the article, purports to show the "Old School house, now a Blacksmith shop, where Town Line voted for the Stars and Bars of the South."

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