8780 W Main St
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Built 1821 by Gideon Pitts
Son of Capt. Peter Pitts
Pioneer settler in 1789
By the State Education Department — 1932
What was there
The home of Gideon Pitts and his family. Gideon and his father, Captain Peter Pitts, were some of the first settlers of the Town of Richmond. Gideon was one of several area blacksmiths, and also operated a sawmill, gristmill and distillery in the town. He is also on record as being Richmond Town Clerk, Commissioners of Highways, as well as the Town Supervisor for some time.
Gideon’s son and heir to this homestead, Gideon Pitts Jr., was a farmer and colonel in the state militia. He and his wife, Lorinda Hulbert, were staunch abolitionists, and Gideon was one of Frederick Douglas’ most trusted confidants, often meeting in this home. The Pitts family sequestered escaped slaves in the home as a part of the Underground Railroad en route from Naples to Rochester.
Gideon Pitts Jr.’s daughter, Hellen Pitts, married Frederick Douglas, 20 years her senior. The marriage to Douglas, who was of mixed race, was condemned not only by black and white communities, but also their own parents. Hellen’s parents broke contact with her and Douglas after the wedding in January, 1884.
What is there now
The Pitts Mansion is now a private home and part of the property remains a farm, and is open seasonally as a small produce market (The Mansion Market).
- Gideon Pitts was born on April 21, 1766 in Dighton, Bristol Co., Massachusetts. He died on July 29, 1828 in Richmond, Ontario Co., New York.
- Gideon Pitts Jr. was born around 1807 in Richmond, Ontario Co., New York. He died on Jun 18, 1888 Richmond, Ontario Co., New York.
- Hellen Pitts was born Oct 4, 1837 in Honeoye, Ontario Co., New York. She died on Dec 1, 1903 in Anacostia, District of Columbia.
- Hellen Pitts Douglas (Wikipedia)
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