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U.S.Park's “Network to Freedom” Three Recognized Sites on Hamilton Avenue Zebulon Strong House-Six Acres Bed and Breakfast Hall of Free Discussion by Caroline Williams Free Meeting House Farmers' College The Wilson House by Caroline Williams Cable and Coffin

U.S.Park's “Network to Freedom” Three Recognized Sites on Hamilton Avenue

Wesleyan Cemetery (Northside) recognizes the burial site of abolitionist John Van Zandt as well as Wesleyan Cemetery's role in the funeral decoy of the Escape of the 28. The Escape of the 28 Corridor along Kirby, Glenview and Belmont Avenues (Northside, College Hill) recognizes the route of 28 Freedom Seekers who find refuge in College Hill on their way to Canada. The Charles Cheney site (Mt Healthy) recognizes Cheney as part of the anti-slavery Liberty Party and as someone who, with the help of free man of color Jim Dunlap, transported Freedom Seekers to the next station.

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.

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.

Letter From Harriet Wilson

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  • Harriet Wilson wrote a letter in 1892 to Professor William Siebert describing Underground Railroad activity  on the Hill. 

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. 

 

2015 Fall Conf.

“I walked with bold courage”

      The Ohio River National Freedom Corridor, in partnership with the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau, will host the inaugural 2015 Regional Underground Railroad Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 16-18, 2015. The Ohio River corridor has a rich legacy of Abolitionist and Underground Railroad history–much of which remains untold. The Ohio
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Slavery and its Aftermath

The new abolitionist movement is to end the disproportionate incarceration of people of color in our society.  John Legend wrote the song “Glory” that is the finale of Selma and he won an Oscar for this song and is now speaking out against the horrors of slavery and the inequalities that still exist one hundred and
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richard debaptiste portrait

Rev. Richard DeBaptiste and Mt. Healthy’s Black Community

Mt. Healthy, Hamilton County, Ohio was home to a thriving community of African Americans prior to the Civil War. The 1860 census records 230 people of color in the Mt. Healthy post office portion of Springfield Twp, comprising 50+ families. These were people born in all of the slave states of the South.  Some families
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collective courage

The Underground Railroad was One of America’s First Co-ops

  Yes Magazine’s online Newsletter featured this video and article that is a new way to look at the Underground Railroad. Cooperative economics and civil rights don’t often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people’s freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks
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Arlette Merritt

Uncovering History

    Genealogy paths sometimes cross in completely unexpected ways. Lisa Schumann, board member of the College Hill Historical Society and avid genealogy researcher, had a Eureka moment recently when, looking through records at the Campbell County, KY, courthouse, she came across a name that sounded familiar: Anthony Nelson. She’d heard that name before, and
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2014 book by Edward Baptist

The Half That Has Never Been Told

    Edward Baptist’s  “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery And The Making Of American Capitalism”  is getting attention since last month when the Economist published a piece on its website saying that slavery was not so bad.  They have been forced to take it down from their website. Mr. Baptist argues in his new book that the historical mis-teaching
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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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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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historical society represented at Witherby Meadows opening

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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