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George McCoy Farm

George McCoy was born into slavery in Kentucky but was freed at the age of twenty-one by his wealthy Irish-American father Henry McCoy. Around 1837 George married an enslaved woman named Milly whose two brothers had recently been sold away. Shortly after their marriage, George convinced Milly to travel with him to freedom in Canada. Helped by Underground Railroad agents in Cincinnati, the couple was pursued by slave hunters as they made their way to Detroit. From Detroit, the McCoys crossed into Canada, settling in Colchester where their first five children were born. Interestingly, the McCoy family moved back to the States after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. They settled on the Starkweather farm northwest of Ypsilanti where George McCoy grew tobacco and made cigars. His daughter Anna related how her father used his false-bottomed wagon to transport Freedom Seekers underneath his loads of cigars on frequent trips to Detroit and Wyandotte. George and Milly McCoy had a total of twelve children, one of whom was the famous inventor Elijah McCoy. The site of the McCoy Farm at 229 Michigan Avenue was designated by the State of Michigan as a Historic Site.

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This program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program.