14 East Williams St
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This section of the Women’s Right’s National Historic Park features several informational markers. A few are highlighted here.
Notable entry from the marker in front of the house:
The M’Clintocks: Univeral Belief in Equal Rights
When the M’Clintock family moved from Philadelphia to Waterloo in 1836, they found a community hospitable to their family, their business, their faith, and their activism. As Quakers, they worked to end slavery and other oppressions of the human spirit. In their home, and in the drugstore and bookstore in the business block immediately behind it, they created a focal point for human rights advocates in the Waterloo area.
In 1848, Mary Ann and Thomas M’Clintock engaged the social debate that would define them in history’s eyes. On July 16, the M’Clintocks welcomed into the home Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others to prepare for the First Women’s Rights Convention. Their efforts to accord equal rights to women were but an extension of their family’s universal belief in equal rights for all.
Notable entry from the marker on the east side of the house by the parking area:
Strong Words Encourage Strong Convictions
Rain or shine I intend to spend Sunday with you that we may all together concoct a declaration. I have drawn up one but you may suggest alterations & improvements for I know it is not as perfect a declaration as should go forth from the first women’s rights convention that has ever assembled.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Elizabeth M’Clintock, July 15, 1848
Just days before the First Women’s Rights Convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton joined M’Clintock family members in this home. Surrounded by reform newspapers, books and tracts, they gathered at the mahogany table in the front parlor to compose the blueprint for the women’s rights movement: the Declaration of Sentiments.
By the National Park Services, U.S. Department of the Interior — Date unknown.
What was there
Richard Hunt, a wealthy Waterloo land speculatoror, and fellow Quaker, built this house in 1836 as an investment property. It is a two story brick house in the Federal style just a block away from Main Street, Waterloo. The M’Clintocks (Thomas, Mary Ann, and their 5 children) of Pennsylvania, moved in later that year and operated a bookstore and drugstore on Main Street. The M’Clintocks were leaders of the progressive Waterloo Hicksite Quaker community, avid abolitionists, pro-temperance, pro-rights advocates, who were of great influence in Western New York. They also contributed to anti-famine and charitable causes to help the poor.
On July 16, 1848, Mary Ann M’Clintock hosted here a planning session for the First Women’s Rights Convention, where she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others helped draft the Declaration of Sentiments, which, according to Frederick Douglass’ North Star newspaper, was the “grand movement for attaining the civil, social, political, and religious rights of women.” It was based in principle and structure on the US Declaration of Independence. The document was drafted in the parlor of this home.
Two days later, at the First Women’s Rights Convention in nearby Seneca Falls, it was signed by 68 women and 32 men, representatives of many communities.
What is there now
The M’Clintock house has been restored to its 1848 appearance and the parlor, where the Declaration was drafted, has been restored with original items and replicas. The house is operated by the National Parks Service and is a part of the Women’s Right’s National Historic Park, which stretches from here to Seneca Falls. The house is open to visitors, free of charge, and staff are available to answer any questions. The open house currently consists of three rooms: the parlor, a room set off as a display area for photos and information, and an office for the park personnel.
- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
- The The M’Clintocks offered their home to escaped slaves as part of the Underground Railroad movement.
- The M’Clintocks were members of the Free Produce Society, a group committed to selling products not produced from slavery.
- Thomas and Mary Ann were founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society. The Posts were also members.
- The text of the Declaration of Sentiments.
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