ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Officials with the town of Parma joined together Thursday with descendants of the town’s first African American family to reveal a new historical marker for Walter Vond.
Vond was a fisherman whose houseboat along the shores of Lake Ontario was a stop along the Underground Railroad. He would row runaway slaves along the lake shore, to the Niagara and Genesee rivers under the cover of darkness where Canadian ships would bring them to freedom.
Lonie Wilson is one of those descendants. Here’s what she had to say.
“I feel honored and grateful for Parma for honoring our ancestor Walter, and his accomplishments and the risks that he took and other people in the community,” Wilson said. “I’m just joyful and thankful.”
The marker is located on the corner of Lake Ontario State Parkway and Route 259, not far from Lake Ontario.
That location was chosen, as that’s where historians say Walter Vond’s boathouse used to be docked.