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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. 

 

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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The Crawford Home that was demolished to make room for the College Hill Library and Pleasant Hill Academy

The Mystery of John T. Crawford

Thanks to John Johnson for a very nice article in the Sunday, Feb. 9th Enquirer “The mystery of John T. Crawford” on pages AA14-15.  There is so much more to be told so we will post a new page under College Hill with more information about Mr. Crawford.    He bought his farm here in
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Rev. Jonathan Cable

Rev. Jonathan Cable

Liberator (Boston, Mass.)  Dec. 31, 1847 The New School Presbyterian Synod of Indiana, have declared against Slavery by resolving unanimously that it should be made a disciplinary offense by the church. This noble decision on the part of that body, may be credited to the indefatigable labors of the Rev. Jonathan Cable; the only minister
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A portion of Hamilton Avenue in Mt. Healthy renamed to commemorate local abolitionist Charles Cheney.

Charles Cheney Way on Hamilton Avenue in Mt. Healthy honored local abolitionist

In 1999 the Mt. Healthy City Council renamed a portion of Hamilton Avenue at Compton Road to commemorate Charles Cheney, who lived in Mt. Healthy (then Mt. Pleasant) from 1835-1847 or 1848. He was twice a candidate of the antislavery Liberty Party for state office. In later years his son Frank Woodbridge Cheney recounted Charles’
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Following The Underground Railroad Route To Canada

Last August, my husband an I decided that we wanted to travel some of the route that the escaping “28” travels in 1853.  It is 364 miles from Cincinnati to Windsor, Ontario.  In Ann Arbor, we met Deborah Meadows from the African-American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenau County.  Deborah graciously took us on a
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sandwich church

Researching in Sandwich

I happened to be in Sandwich, Ontario on a Sunday.  I thought that maybe the Sandwich Baptist Church might be holding services and that I might be able to meet people who knew the history of the church.  The church is where the “28” crossed into Canada and held a celebration.   I am so
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Visit to Parkersburg, Kentucky

On the search for the whole Escape of the 28 story, members of the Living History committee visited with Boone County Librarian, Bridget Striker.  She took us on a tour of Petersburg and showed us the most likely path of the freedom seekers from the Parker Farm to the river banks where they crossed.

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