Remarkable Ohio

Results for: black-history
Wooster High School, 515 Oldman Road
Wooster

, OH

Charles W. Follis was born on February 3, 1879, in Virginia. His family moved to Wooster where he attended Wooster High School and helped establish the school’s football team. In 1901, Follis enrolled and played baseball at the College of Wooster and played football for the Wooster Athletic Association where he earned the nickname “The Black Cyclone from Wooster.” In 1904, Follis signed a contract to play football with Shelby Athletic Club, making him the first African-American professional football player. Follis faced discrimination on and off the field leading to many injuries. After a career-ending injury in 1906, Follis played baseball for the Cuban Giants of Long Island. He died of pneumonia in 1910 at the age of 31 and is buried in Wooster Cemetery.

Greenfield Cemetery, N. Washington Street
Greenfield

, OH

Augustus West, an African American, was born in Madison County, Virginia on March 20, 1814, and moved to Ohio in 1837. Legend has it that West was a runaway slave and worked as a farm laborer before designing a scheme to purchase his own farm. West, with abolitionist Alexander Beatty, traveled into slave territory no fewer than three times where the pair would sell West, help him escape, and split the profits. After splitting the profits, West used his portion of the money to purchase 177 acres of land in Fayette County where he built his “mansion.” To remain inconspicuous and secure, West built the “mansion” as far from the main road as possible. (continued on other side)

3201-3537 Burlington-Macedonia Road, Lawrence County Road 120
South Point

, OH

Macedonia Cemetery (circa 1840) belongs to Macedonia Church, Ohio’s first Black Church. Those buried include settlers of the Macedonia Free Black Settlement, built by free people who assisted freedom seekers along the Underground Railroad. Also interred are soldiers of the Civil War’s United States Colored Troops (USCT), most of whom served in the 5th Regiment, Ohio’s first Black Regiment (1863). The Polley family also rest here. Emancipated slaves, the family continued their freedom struggle when their children were kidnapped from Ohio and unlawfully sold into slavery. Macedonia’s extant burial grounds include this sacred site and another 1/2 mile north.

Court and Pinckney Streets
Circleville

, OH

Born in North Adams, Massachusetts on December 23, 1778, Caleb Atwater graduated from Williams College in 1804. He moved to Circleville in about 1814 where he organized the city’s first school board and served as postmaster and prosecuting attorney. His life and work as a teacher, minister, lawyer, legislator, and scholar greatly influenced early 19th-century Ohio. Upon arriving in Circleville, he became interested in local history and the nearby earthworks and in 1820 published his book Descriptions of the Antiquities Discovered in the State of Ohio and Other Western States, the first compilation of prehistoric remains in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Elected to the Ohio State Legislature in 1821, Atwater fervently supported canal construction. He also chaired Ohio’s first board of school commissioners and was instrumental in passage of Ohio’s Public School Law. For this, he has been called the “Father of Ohio’s Common Schools.” (continued on other side)

225 E. High Street
Springfield

, OH

Daniel Arthur Rudd was born into slavery on August 7, 1854, in Bardstown, Kentucky. He became a newspaperman, lecturer, publicist, and tireless advocate for the Roman Catholic Church. After the Civil War Rudd moved to Springfield. Baptized and raised in Catholicism, he joined St. Raphael Parish, where the philosophy of racial equality offered by the church solidified his vision of justice. By 1885 he had established his own weekly newspaper, The Ohio State Tribune. He rebranded it The American Catholic Tribune (ACT) after moving to Cincinnati. Rudd claimed ACT was the only Catholic newspaper owned by an African American. At the height of its popularity in 1892, the publication had a circulation of 10,000. In 1893 Rudd was asked to chair the Afro-American Press Association, representing more than 200 black-owned newspapers.

87 S Cleveland Ave
Mogadore

, OH

Legend has it that Mogadore’s first settler, Ariel Bradley, was a spy for George Washington in October, 1776. As a nine year old boy, Ariel crossed British lines on a supposed errand to the nearest grist mill and returned with troop positions and tent counts. In 1801, Ariel left Connecticut to make his new home in what would be Ohio. In 1807, he built a log cabin on a 146 acre plot of farm land that cost $335. Until 1825 the new community had been named Bradleyville, but Ariel did not want the area named after him. Martin Kent was building a residence and a sailor, John Robinson, climbed to the top of the framework, pulled a flask of whiskey from his pocket. Breaking the flask on the last beam of construction, Robinson shouted “Three cheers for Mogador,” which is a large city in Morocco, thusly christening the area Mogadore.

1615 Woodward Avenue
Springfield

, OH

Sully Jaymes was an African American lawyer and tireless activist for equal rights in Springfield during the first half of the twentieth century. Born on March 30 sometime between 1875-1880, he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1901. By 1903, he opened a Black-owned law practice at 17-1/2 Main Street in Springfield. Working primarily with the city’s Black residents, Jaymes offered his services free of charge if clients were unable to pay. He was a long-time member of North Street A.M.E. Church. Jaymes served on the first Board of Directors of the Center Street YMCA (a safe-haven for young Black people), on the Board of Trustees at Wilberforce University, and as a Grand Chancellor of Ohio for the Grand Lodge, Knights of Pythias. (Continued on other side)

Niner Hill Road
Oak Hill

, OH

Union Baptist Church, established in 1819, is one of Ohio’s early Black churches. Its pastor and members were active on the Underground Railroad from that early date. Between the 1840s-1860s Black churches along the route to and from nearby Poke Patch assisted over 200 escaped slaves. Members met in their homes until able to obtain a log cabin (circa 1879) on a Blackfork farm. In 1919, a larger church was built on land given by The Cambria Clay Products Company. The adjacent cemetery has over fifty veterans from the Civil, Spanish American, both World, Korean, and Vietnam wars. Donald Russell Long, laid to rest in 1966, received a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor. Union Baptist Church, the historic foundation of the Poke Patch-Blackfork community, celebrates an annual Church Anniversary to honor its legacy.