William Douglass

Escaped Slave: William Douglass

William Douglass, born in about 1796, was born into slavery in Tennessee. In the 1830s, he came to Buffalo and  became the “keeper [business owner] of an eating house and saloon,” a well known and notorious establishemnt located in the boisterous Canal District, aka The Infected District, called Dug’s Dive. It was located in the basement below both dock and street level on Commercial Street. The unsanitary dive, filled with wharf rats, was the home to consistant crime. Douglass halucinated that he’d die by drowning. After a massive storm the establishment  flooded forming a watery grave until a rope was thrown in over his shoulders, dragging him out. Douglas and his dive both survived a short time later. In 1874 the establishment washed away. [1]

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