Remarkable Ohio

Results for: black-history
S Main Street/N County Road 25A
Piqua

, OH

African-American history began in Piqua with the settlement of Arthur Davis in 1818 and expanded with the settlement of the freed Randolph slaves of Virginia in 1846. African-American religious heritage in Piqua began with the Cyrene African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1853 and the Second Baptist Church (Park Avenue) in 1857. Segregated education started in 1854 at the Cyrene Church and ended in 1885 at the Boone Street School. Several Piqua African-American men circumvented Ohio’s early ban against Civil War military service by joining the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiments. Following the Civil War an African-American Co-operative Trade Association established Piqua’s first African-American retail store. Continued on/from other side)

1741 Washington Avenue
Washington Court House

, OH

In 1884 the Ohio General Assembly authorized “the burial of the body of any honorably discharged union soldier, sailor or marine of this state who shall hereafter die without leaving means sufficient to defray funeral expenses.” Permanent government-issued headstones have been provided to veterans since the late 19th century. Between 1884 and the 1930s, Washington Cemetery buried 47 white soldiers (including 15 unknown) and 35 African-American soldiers. These veterans served in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and WWI. They are remembered for the sacrifices they made. In the fall of 2001, the cemetery underwent significant renovations, in which students of the Washington Senior High School Research History program aided in identifying the buried soldiers and restoring and replacing the gravestones. Here in Soldiers’ Row, the words of local United States Colored Troops veteran, Albert Bird, echo centuries later: “We have suffered to save the country; we ought to be remembered.”

101 S. Main Street
Bellefontaine

, OH

Judge William H. West of Bellefontaine led a distinguished career in law, public service, and politics. In 1854 West helped found the Republican party in Ohio and six years later he participated in Abraham Lincoln’s nomination for the presidency. West served consecutive terms in both houses of Ohio’s General Assembly from 1857 to 1865 and was elected the state’s attorney general at the end of the Civil War. He became an Ohio Supreme Court justice in 1871 and in 1877 was his party’s nominee for governor. After losing his sight, Judge West retired from the court but continued to practice law. At the Republican party’s convention in 1884, the “Blind Man Eloquent” nominated James G. Blaine as the G.O.P.’s presidential candidate. Defining Republicans as a party for “union, freedom, humanity, and progress,” the judge’s nomination speech sparked a celebration that historian David McCullough described as “one of the most memorable events in the whole history of national political conventions.”

300 N. Front Street
Ripley

, OH

Ripley was incorporated as the village of Staunton in 1812. Its name was changed in 1816 to honor General Eleazer Wheelock Ripley, a hero of the War of 1812. In the years before railroads, Ripley was a principal Ohio River shipping center. Also important were its extensive boat-building, tobacco, pork, and timber industries. Ripley too was the home of saw and planing mills, iron foundries, and a piano factory. Such varied commerce enabled Ripley to remain vibrant throughout the nineteenth century. Although noted as a port, Ripley is best remembered as an abolitionist stronghold. Many of its citizens, including Rev. John Rankin and John P. Parker, served as conductors on the famed “Underground Railroad.” The notoriety of Ripley’s anti-slavery network perhaps eclipsed that of nearby Cincinnati, earning the town a reputation as the “Black Hole of Abolitionism.” (Continued on side two)

Lawrence Cty Rd 144 & Cty Rd 120
South Point

, OH

The present structure for the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church was built in 1849 on Macedonia Ridge north of Burlington, an abolitionist sanctuary for escaped and freed slaves since 1799. It was built by the existing Baptist congregation and a group of 37 freed slaves who had arrived in Burlington from Virginia. The Baptist congregation in Macedonia had organized in 1811-1813 and practiced their faith in their homes and later in a small building with a bell tower made of sticks. The 1849 church was the religious and social focal point for the black community and became the “Mother Church” for approximately eight Baptist churches that exist in Ohio and West Virginia. The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Auglaize Township Road 163
Defiance

, OH

On this site, the Miami and Erie Canal, that came north from Cincinnati and the Ohio River, intersected with the Wabash and Erie Canal that came from Fort Wayne and Evansville, Indiana. From this point, which became the town of Junction, the canals proceeded as one to Defiance, Toledo, and Lake Erie. From the 1830s to the 1870s, the canals played a key role in the settling of Paulding County, an area that was once a part of the Great Black Swamp. They held the promise of easier and quicker passenger transportation and commodity shipping and Junction became a landmark for fugitive slaves escaping to Canada. Once a thriving and growing community, the village of Junction became a forgotten historical note with the passing of the canal era and the coming of the railroads. Today, the Buckeye Trail and North County Trail follow the canal path through Paulding County.

Just N of 2100 N. Napoleon Road
Harrod

, OH

Following the American Revolution, the British Crown sought to retain possession of the Ohio Country by sending chief British Indian Agent Alexander McKee and others to establish trading posts with Native Americans and resist American settlement. In 1786, Colonel Benjamin Logan led an American force against the British posts and tribes. Warned of their approach, McKee and a band of Shawnee, took their possessions, including a large drove of hogs, and fled north from the Mackachack Villages near present-day Bellefontaine. Their route was the Black Swamp Trail, now Napoleon Road. An attempted crossing of the rain-swollen Ottawa River turned disastrous, resulting in the loss of possessions and most of the hogs. The hill upon which the party camped following the failed crossing, located one half mile east of here, became known as McKee’s Hill, and the portion of the Ottawa River east of Lima has since been known as Hog Creek.

‘Ted Lewis Park, North Court Street
Circleville

, OH

One of the outstanding American showmen of the twentieth century, Ted Lewis was born Theodore Leopold Friedman in Circleville to a prominent business family. Stagestruck at an early age, Lewis began performing in cabarets, vaudeville shows, and nightclubs throughout Ohio at age 17, and moved to New York in 1915. Ted opened his own cabaret in 1918. With his animated stage persona, his clarinet, and his trademark cane and battered top hat, Lewis enjoyed a wide appeal with his jazz age audiences. His “Me and My Shadow” act exemplified his popularity during the 1920s, at which time he was the highest-paid entertainer in the business. His career spanned over six decades, from vaudeville to television. Lewis died in New York in 1971.