What did Suffield look like during the mid nineteenth century? As we try to imagine what life was like for fugitive slaves traveling through the region, we often read about how they were carried in wagons or had to walk from one of point of refuge to another safe house. Note how there are so many different versions of transportation based on “horse” power here. Even though Joseph H. Hidley paints his rural landscapes during the budding railroad growth, his rural gaze echoes Charles Dickens in that both rarely depict the railroad in their art. Also note how close the houses are to the street, because horses are not as loud as today’s traffic. Each lot also as property extending back behind each house with several outbuildings and barns.
“View of Poestenkill, New York” oil on Canvas, location: Private collection.