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

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.

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.

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.

  • 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. 

 

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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The History Ladies with  LEn Webb and Bridget Striker, Local History Librarian at the Boone County Library

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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a local article on Cheney

    I was so excited to have found the Frank Woodbridge Cheney manuscript with new information on Cheney (see page on website), and naming a Black conductor on the “Railroad”, that I wrote this article for the local paper. It was published today as a guest column. Click here to link to the article.
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valentine 1851 b. harrison

1851 Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day 2014.  Will you save the valentines you get today?   Will you get a valentine from someone who might someday become president?  Helen L. Kemper kept this valentine she received from Benjamin Harrison in 1851 when he was a student at Miami University.  Two years later he married Dr. Scott’s daughter, Caroline Scott
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Mary Shadd Cary

How many black abolitionists can you name?

 Despite the increased renewal of interest in abolitionism, blacks have largely been absent from these portrayals. In Lincoln, black opposition to slavery was kept to a few scenes; PBS’ The Abolitionists profiled only one black abolitionist,Frederick Douglass; and in 12 Years a Slave, abolitionists are all white, ignoring even Solomon Northup’s role fighting slavery and demanding reparations after
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