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Zebulon Strong House-Six Acres Bed and Breakfast Hall of Free Discussion by Caroline Williams Free Meeting House Farmers' College Post Office for Farmers' College  by Caroline Williams The Wilson House by Caroline Williams Cable and Coffin

Zebulon Strong House-Six Acres Bed and Breakfast

Zebulon Strong built two houses, one brick at 5434 Hamilton Avenue and the one that is now Six Acres Bed & Breakfast at 5340 Hamilton Avenue. The brick house was surrounded by a large orchard and was used as a safe house. Six Acres, The wooden house, contains several hiding places that can be seen today. The escaping slaves would come up the ravine, from where the old railroad line was later located and hide in the piles of brush in the gulley under some old burlap sacks. The Strong children would play in this area, casually leaving behind food.

Hall of Free Discussion by Caroline Williams

The Hall of Free Discussion was built at Ludlow’s Grove by James C. Ludlow in Northside near the Mill Creek outside of the city limits. It was scene of many debates about controversial topics such as abolition where speakers such as Rev. Lyman Beecher and William Cary were popular. Some students from the Lane Seminary used the Hall as a classroom to teach blacks, a very provocative move.

Free Meeting House

The Mt. Healthy Free Meeting House was built in 1825 as a community meeting house, initially for church congregations that lacked a dedicated building. Later, it served as a venue for civic and political meetings and was the site of anti-slavery and Liberty Party conventions in the early 1840s. Salmon P. Chase and James G. Birney and other leading abolitionists gave rousing speeches here.

Farmers' College

Farmers’ College was founded by Freeman Grant Cary, eldest son of William Cary. Freeman graduated from Miami University when Dr. Robert H. Bishop was the president. Due to differences over the abolition question, Dr. Bishop and Rev. Dr. John W. Scott left the faculty of Miami University and came to Farmers’ College at the invitation of Cary. Dr. Bishop, other faculty and some students regularly hid slaves in the bell tower.

Post Office for Farmers' College by Caroline Williams

The post office building still standing 1634 Pasadena dates before 1865. The first postmaster for this two story building probably was Edward DeSerisy, Jr. (1853-1876). The second store overhangs the first for ease in loading mailbags onto the roof of the coach used for mail delivery. Correspondence from students, professors and the community would have used the post office to support their abolitionist work.

The Wilson House by Caroline Williams

Samuel and Sally Wilson purchased a log cabin, land and outbuildings at 1502 Aster Place in 1849 from Freeman G. Cary. It has been owned by only three families in more than 160 years. The Wilsons were Presbyterians and strong abolitionists and their house was a station on the route to freedom. Three of the children were involved in the Underground Railroad as described in the Harriet Wilson's Letter to Dr Siebert. A fourth, Theo Wilson, was the Executor of Levi Coffin's Estate.

Cable and Coffin

Jonathan Cable (back far right and Levi Coffin (back with top hat) are here with an unidentified group, many holding books. While many abolitionists worked to end slavery, all did not work for racial equality and full citizen rights. Jonathan Cable, Laura Haviland and John Fairfield are examples of radical abolitionists who dedicated their lives to racial equality and worked to make Hamilton Avenue a road to freedom. (picture used with permission from Cable descendant Sylvia Rummel)

Video

Watch this video produced for the College Hill Bicentennial Living History Event.

  • Click on the picture above to watch the video produced for the College Hill Bicentennial Living History Event, September 21st, 2013 by Sam Hahn.  Learn about the rich history of this important route to freedom from Northside to Mt. Healthy.

Map

Map of Road to Freedom

  • There are many sites along Hamilton Avenue that are a piece of the history of the work to end slavery and the Underground Railroad. Click here to see map and the  short descriptions or go to Places on the menu bar above for more information on specific sites.

 

The Escape of the 28

Escape of the 28

  • In 1853, twenty-eight freedom seekers walked away from Petersburg, Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River. Click here to read the whole story of the largest documented escape through Cincinnati to freedom in Canada. 

 

Safehouse

World Premier of Safe House through Nov. 15th

The Pedigrew family struggles to find its place in the antebellum Southern community as free people of color in Kentucky in the 1840′s. One brother knows he must turn his back on the needs of freedom seekers so that he can get white people to buy his shoes and create a successful life for his family.   The
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pictures-underground-railroad-3

Six Underground Railroad sites Recognized

Congratulations to the following local applicants who were accepted for inclusion in the Network to Freedom (U.S. Park Service) in the twenty-eighth round of applications.The committee reviewed the applications on September 10, 2014 at the Penn Center, St. Helena Island, South Carolina: Charles Cheney Home Site [site] Kirby Avenue Corridor (Escape Route of the 28) [site]
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Citirama 2014

Witherby Meadows

  Witherby Meadows, the site of the 2014 Citirama,  is named for the Witherby Family who once owned a large farm on both sides of Belmont Avenue.  A part of this farm is the site of this year’s Citirama. Rev. Danforth Witherby was a traveling preacher who moved his family to this farm in 1802.
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Samuel Fenton Cary

College Hill Connections to Cary, N.C.

This year – 2014 – marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of a man without whom Cary, North Carolina would not be named Cary.  Samuel Fenton Cary is the man for whom this town was named because of his strong prohibitionist views. Samuel Fenton Cary grew up in College Hill when it was a farming community near
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Plot of Cheney property

In search of Mulberry Grove…

Where exactly was Charles Cheney’s farm, and the house that served as one of Mt. Healthy’s waystations on the Underground Railroad? Local lore varies on the location: one account has it near the old school site at Harrison and Compton. Another says it was near the north end of Mt. Healthy, close to the present day
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HAmilton Avenue Historians visit Boone County

Boone County ties to Hamilton Avenue

  Seven abolitionist history buffs set out for Boone County on Friday, May 30th, to tour Abolitionist sites.    We had visited and worked with  Bridget Striker, the Boone County local history librarian as we researched for our September 21st event.   The documents that we sent Bridget convinced her that many more freedom seekers
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Harriet Tubman

April, 1853–Spring Brought a Message of Hope

In Boone county, Kentucky, the newspapers in April, 1853 were filled with news of “slave stampedes.”  It began on April 2 with 28 freedom seekers walking away from Petersburg through Cincinnati and up Hamilton Avenue with an overnight stop in College Hill. I was taken by surprise  when I read that exactly today, 161 years ago,Harriet Tubman
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Lane Rebel docudrama filmed in Cincinnati

Lane Rebels and Harriet Beecher Stowe Film Seeks Support

The cast of a new abolitionist docudrama that was being filmed at the Stowe House in late February welcomed local people to watch the filming and learn about their project.  Len and I stopped by the Stowe house and met the cast of this exciting drama about the Lane Seminary Debates which started a national
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Slave poster

The Problem of Slavery in a Time of Emancipation

David Brion Davis will be at the Freedom Center next week (for details see events on the right).  Read a review by Brenda Wineapple  of his newly published book in a recent New York Times Book Review   to get a glimpse at what Dr. Davis will be speaking about. Dr. Davis’s larger argument is
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Sam Hahn

UC Intern makes our Local History Video

In a Public History Internship last summer, I was given the task of creating a video introduction for the living history tour “Hamilton Avenue Road to Freedom”.  As a UC History major, and Electronic Media minor at the University of Cincinnati, this was the perfect opportunity to combine my two fields of study and apply
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