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Gerrit Smith (1797-1874) was a wealthy abolitionist from Utica, New York. He was the only abolitionist to hold a Congressional office, the president of the New York Anti-Slavery Society for three years, and a Station Master of the Underground Railroad. He also helped found the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1840.

Smith joined the antislavery cause in October 1835 while attending an abolitionist conference in his hometown. The meeting was disrupted by a violent mob of anti-abolitionists, so Smith offered his Peterboro, New York estate to house the conference and made a powerful speech on behalf of the cause. Smith began to sell portions of his land to fugitive slaves for the nominal fee of one dollar. He also became one of the Secret Six, a group of supporters who gave financial assistance to John Brown for his 1859 raid at Harper's Ferry.

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