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)


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.

Escape of the 28 and Other Publications

Escape of the 28

In 1853, twenty-eight freedom seekers walked away from Petersburg, Kentucky and crossed the Ohio River. Click here to read this and other related stories.


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.


Everyday Hero: Dr. Eric Foner

One inspiration we can take from the history of the Underground Railroad is that it holds up for us a model of Black and White people “working together for a just cause.”  Dr. Eric Foner, speaking yesterday at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, reminded us of this important gift from antebellum activists to people
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New Historical Markers

Thanks to the hard work of Hamilton Avenue Road to Freedom members Kathy Dahl and Stephanie Sunderland, two of the Underground Railroad related-sites that were accepted into the National Park Service’s Network To Freedom earlier this year now have markers.  The sites are:  Wesleyan Cemetery, which played a role in the Escape of the 28, and also in recognition
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Sedamsville’s abolitionist history

  On May 27, 2015 Ray Bushe, a local Price Hill and Sedamsville historian led a tour of River Road,  for members of Hamilton Avenue Road To Freedom and colleagues from the Boone County Library.   Sedamsville is of great interest to us as it was a stop for the “28” who in 1854 went
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The Charleston Massacre

 The Massacre of nine African-Americas this week in Charleston, SC on June 17th was 193 years to the day from the uprising allegedly planned by Denmark Vesey.  The twenty-one year old  white terrorist who carried out this atrocity,  attended Bible Study for over an hour  with his victims before killing them in the very church  that was
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Network To Freedom Designation

On Friday, April 17, 2015  at 10:30 am, at Wesleyan Cemetery at 4000 Colerain Avenue in Northside, the city of Cincinnati is holding a press conference to celebrate the awarding of the prestigious Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Designation from the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service for three sites on city
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Lane Debate Movie to Premier

In her lifetime, Earlene Hawley has penned numerous scripts, including biblical plays and historical dramas. But she never dreamed one of her scripts would be made into a movie. Production is under way on “Sons & Daughters of Thunder,” a docudrama being produced by Emmy-nominated filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films. It
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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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“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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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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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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