Born on April 2, 1797, Ellis Clizbe was the youngest of seven children born to Joseph and Hannah Clizbe. The entire clan moved north to Amsterdam from Newark, New Jersey when Ellis was just two years old and settled alongside the Chuctanunda Creek on land that today is part of this city’s Rockton neighborhood. Ellis Clizbe’s dad eventually purchased the “Kennedy farm,” which would one day become the entire Eighth Ward of the City of Amsterdam.
Ellis grew up helping his Dad work the farm, which included a large nursery that featured all kinds of fruit trees. He eventually took over the farm and also married another New Jersey transplant to this area, a woman named Ruth Gillette and they raised a family of five children.
The Clizbe’s became one of this area’s most prominent families and they were instrumental in bringing a Presbyterian Church to this community. Back in the early 1800’s the leadership of that Church was firmly opposed to slavery. Ellis Clizbe took that opposition to heart. During the next three decades he became a fervent abolitionist and active member of Eastern New York Anti-Slavery Society.
According to information provided by the Montgomery County Historical Society, Clizbe was a gifted orator and he became a leading spokesperson for the abolitionist cause. He was invited to speak on its behalf throughout this area of New York State. He also backed up his words with action. He regularly took in fugitive slaves on the Clizbe farm, turning it into a reliable…
The rest of Ellis Clizbe’s birthday post will be published in the second editionof A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.
The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.
Clizbe shares his April 2 birthday with this “Iron Horse” of Amsterdam Softball.