Lewiston Historical Association & Museum

Lewiston Historical Association & Museum

The Lewiston Museum was built as St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the cornerstone being laid in 1835.  The first rector of this historic church was the Reverend Rufus Murray, posted to Lewiston as a missionary in 1838. He remained in Lewiston for nine years, keeping detailed records.  During this time, he documented that he provided burial services for at least three "strangers", the euphemism for passengers on the Underground Railroad. The two adults and one "child of a stranger" were buried in unmarked graves in the Lewiston Cemetery, presumably to foil slave-catching agents and prevent exposure of the abolitionist activities of the minister and his congregation.  The Reverend Murray was later sent all across Western New York providing services to Jamestown and Westfield churches, among others. He then moved on to Michigan serving the Mariners' Church in Detroit, famous for its mission to seamen, and the church at Adrian, Michigan. All his churches were known to support the Underground Railroad and freedom from slavery.