On January 19–20, 1842, abolitionist-philanthropist Gerrit Smith sponsored a statewide abolition convention at Peterboro. The event is attested only by a letter that Peterboro farmer and teetotaler Henry Campbell wrote to his sister on January 10, noting that Smith had put "all [in] the vicinity ... in requisition for their hospitality." In other words, Smith demanded that Peterboro's townspeople accommodate convention-goers with food, lodging, and provision for their horses—with every confidence that they would do so. Campbell wrote that his family had "agreed to lodge a Team [of draft animals] and 2 people."
It is not known who attended the convention or of what the program consisted. Doubtless Smith played a central role in the proceedings. While the event's exact location is uncertain, Smith biographer Norman K. Dann believes the venue was most likely the Presbyterian Church (also the site of the historic 1835 anti-slavery convention that Smith arranged on one day's notice after it had been broken up by a mob that stormed a Utica church.) The site now hosts the National Abolition Hall of Fame.