Austin Steward Timeline
Austin Steward (1793-1869) was born a slave in Virginia but transported to Canandaigua by his master who got in to financial difficulties. He was freed in 1813 and was a friend of abolitionist groups who helped him go to school in Victor. In 1817 he moved to Rochesterville (now Rochester) and opened a meat market on West Main Street. In the business whites destroyed his signs, but soon the business became popular among all citizens.
With the proceeds of his business, he helped slaves to escape and helped support the small ex-slave community of Wilberforce Colony in Canada. One notable case was an escaped slave, Davis, from Kentucky who learned the practice of medicine from his master. Davis began practicing in Rochesterville, but was caught by bounty hunters. He escaped during a trial, was caught, and escaped again to Wilberforce. Steward remained in contact with "Doctor" Davis for many years.
Austin Steward was respected both within Rochester and among free Black people all over the country. He helped establish The Sabbath School for Coloreds and he wrote and lectured on economical, political, and social equality. His book Twenty-two Years a Slave, Forty Years a Freeman became a very important pre-civil war work.
1827. Slavery is "abolished" in the State of New York!!! On July 5, Austin Steward gave Rochester's New York Emancipation Day Speech.
1831. Austin Steward was vice-president of the First Annual Convention of People of Color held in Philadelphia.
1837. Austin Steward moves to Canandaigua New York where began writing the classic journal of black history, Twenty Two Years a Slave and Forty Years a Freeman: EMBRACING A CORRESPONDENCE OF SEVERAL YEARS, WILBERFORCE COLONY, LONDON, CANADA WEST . It was publishd in 1857.
Steward dies in Canandaigua. For more details on Steward see Austin Steward timeline..
visitors to the African American History of Western New York.