An unassuming red brick house in Waterloo, New York was an important site in the fight for equal rights for women and African Americans.
Built in 1836, the house was rented by Thomas and Mary Ann M’Clintock, who quickly became pillars not only of the local Quaker community but of the region. They supported several movements, including abolition and temperance, and raised money for local and international causes.
The M’Clintocks were founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society and members of the Free Produce Society, only selling items that were not produced by slave labor at their drugstore. Their house was a regular stop for traveling abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, and they hosted the daughter of a delegate to the Convention of Colored Inhabitants of the State of New York for a time.
The house was also used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Reverend Jermain Loguen had escaped slavery in the 1830s and fled to Canada. He fled to Canada a second time in 1851, after being involved in the “Jerry Rescue” in Syracuse, New York, when abolitionists freed a man who had been imprisoned under the Fugitive Slave Act. Loguen stayed with the M’Clintocks while fleeing from prosecution.
The house is best known as the place where the First Women’s Rights Convention was planned. On July 16, 1848, Mary Ann M’Clintock hosted Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other planners, who prepared speeches and amended Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments,” based on the “Declaration of Independence,” which declared, “all men and women are created equal,” and replaced grievances against King George III with grievances against men.
The parlor where this took place is one of three rooms at the restored house, filled with some original pieces of furniture and some replicas. The other rooms are a gallery of photographs and an office for National Park Service personnel, who operate the house as part of the National Women’s Rights Historical Park.