Sometimes a lonely historical marker in an empty fairground can tell a history story of national importance. One such marker sits in an unlikely place in from of the dinner at the Madison County Fair. Empty now with only the cold reminders of winter around it, ,the fairground once roared with the excitement of a crowd estimated at 12,000 people.
The occasion was the Brookfield (Madison County) Fair of 1856 and the day was marked with a parade of hundreds of horsemen, carriages filled with young girls dressed in white and soldiers on horseback – all in Brookfield to welcome orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Douglass had come to Brookfield to speak on behalf of Presidential candidate John C. Fremont, a man Douglass hoped would win. Earlier Douglass had supported Madison County’s Gerrit Smith, but he decided to stump for Fremont as it became evident to him that Fremont had a better chance of winning, and getting a abolitionist elected was his goal not friendships.
That day was revisited at last year’s 170th Madison County Fair when fairgoers were treated to a reenactment of the speech delivered by noted Douglass impersonator Fred Morsel and the historic marker erected.
To see the marker visit the Madison County Fairgrounds and silently listen to the wind as it whispers stories of the famous Central New York abolitionists that stood on that spot 154 years ago to listen to a speech from a man who helped change the face of America.
For more information on the Madison county Fair visit their website at www.madisoncounty-fair.com.