Ohio's Mixed-Race 'Hill Country'
OF OHIO'S 'HILL COUNTRY'
THE MIXED-RACE HERITAGE
The Underground Railroad is a story of theRelated Link(s):
search for freedom, one of the defining
aspects of the American experience.
It was neither a "railroad," nor is it "underground."
Rather, it is a network of sites, routes and
events that tell the story of thousands of
people who escaped chattel slavery, trying,
against all odds, to reach freedom.
Ohio 's location bordering the slave-owning
states of Kentucky and West Virginia
(formerly a part of Virginia ) make it an
area rich in Underground Railroad history.
Ohio's Hill Country Heritage Area is especially
important in Ohio's Underground Railroad
history, as many of the communities
along the Ohio River and farther inland
provided safety to thousands of people who
came to be described as 'fugitives' from the
matrilineal-based system of chattel slavery.
Appreciation for Ohio 's Underground Railroad
history is continuing to grow as communities
research, preserve and interpret their
Underground Railroad sites.
Please join in on a journey to the past where
individuals risked their lives on a daily basis
to seek or help others seek freedom.
This journey will make you stop and think
about freedom in a different way.
Over 800 Ohio sites have been documented as
significant for Underground Railroad history.
A large number of these are located with
Ohio 's Hill Country Heritage Area.
To begin your exploration of the subject,
we suggest the sites listed below:
Resources to Explore:
Gallia County, Ohio is reportedly the
only community in the nation that
has celebrated the Emancipation
Proclamation continuously since 1863.
The two-day event is held every year on
the weekend closest to September 22 at
the Gallia County Fairgrounds in Gallipolis.
Faculty and students from a little college in
eastern Ohio played significant roles in the
period leading up to the Civil War, during
the War and in the Reconstruction period.
Among its graduates during this period were
Civil War generals; five U.S. Senators;
eight Congressmen; two governors
and thirty two state legislators.
The radical Presbyterian roots of the
college led to its abolitionist teachings.
The only surviving building, dating from the
early 20th century, has been converted into
a museum with exhibits on Abolitionism, the
Underground Railroad, the Civil War and
Reconstruction, along with exhibits of local interest.
The museum is open during limited hours.
Tours of the museum can be scheduled by
calling (740) 968-4066 or (740) 968-1042.
New Athens , Ohio
John Gee Historical Center
and Lambert Lands
The John Gee Historical Center is located
in a former A.M.E. Church at the corner of
Second Avenue and Pine Street in Gallipolis.
It has been turned into a museum
of African-American culture.
It is open the first and third week of the
month from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
and by appointment for groups.
Other programs are offered throughout the year.
The Lambert Lands have been recently recognized
by the installation of a historical marker.
Located in Morgan Township , these lands
(265 acres) were purchased by the Lambert
brothers, who were slaveholders in Virginia .
They freed those people who were enslaved on
the property in which the brothers lived and
gave them the land to be held in common by
them and their descendents "in perpetuity".
Unfortunately, the lands were sold for taxes in 1970.
It is known that many escaping slaves passed through
this settlement and were helped by its residents.
The marker documents this important
aspect of Gallia County history.
48 Pine Street
Gallipolis , Ohio 45631
Lawrence County Museum
Lawrence County , located along the Ohio River ,
has created a self-guided tour Tracks to
Freedom documenting the county's
active role in the Underground Railroad.
Volunteers are working with the Wayne
National Forest to research Underground
Railroad sites on Forest Service land.
The Lawrence County Museum has artifacts that
belonged to noted Abolitionist Rev. John Rankin,
who lived his final years in this house
with his granddaughter and her family.
506 South Sixth Street
Ironton , Ohio
Mt. Pleasant Meeting House
and Historic District
Founded in 1803, this early 19th century activist
Quaker community is located just a short distance
from Wheeling , West Virginia (formerly Virginia )
where slave auctions were regularly held.
The historic district, which has been designated
as a National Historic Landmark, is a remarkably
intact example of a 19th century community.
Its residents are still largely Quakers and are proud
to share their abolitionist history with visitors.
Group tours of the Quaker Meeting House,
Burris Store, Tin Shop, Elizabeth House
Mansion Museum, and Historical Center
are available by reservation by contacting or .
Mount Pleasant , Ohio
Network to Freedom Sites
Clermont County, Ohio has a number of
documented Underground Railroad sites
that have been approved for inclusion in the
National Park Service's Network to Freedom.
Information about the sites can
be found on the Park Service website.
Prospect Place, located near the village of Dresden,
is one of the most impressive mid-19th
century Italian Villa style homes in Ohio.
It was built by George Willison Adams, whose father
left Virginia because of his strong anti-slavery views.
The home was reported to be a
stop on the Underground Railroad.
It is currently being restored by George
Adams , a descendent of the original owner.
The home is open for tours on weekends
and will eventually be a Bed & Breakfast
welcoming overnight guests.
Trinway , Ohio
Putnam Historic District
The Putnam Historic District, located across
the Muskingum River from downtown
Zanesville , is significant for its association with
Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad.
The district includes the homes of at least three
active abolitionists, the Stone Academy where
two meetings of the Ohio Abolition Society
were held, and the Putnam Presbyterian
Church where Frederick Douglas spoke.
In fact, the first pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian
Church was William Beecher, brother of Harriet
Beecher Stow (author of Uncle Tom's Cabin).
The Stone Academy is operated as a museum by
Pioneer and Historical Society of Muskingum County.
A Historic Putnam walking tour brochure is available
by contacting the Zanesville-Muskingum County
Visitor's Bureau at (800) 743-2303.
Zanesville , Ohio
Rev. John Rankin and
John Parker Houses
The Underground Railroad played a major
role in the history of this beautiful little
town along the banks of the Ohio River .
Two of Ohio 's most prominent Underground Railroad
conductors vocal abolitionist Reverend John Rankin
and John Parker (who purchased his freedom) helped
hundreds of escaping slaves find their way to freedom.
Both the Rankin House Museum and
the John Parker Museum are designated
National Historic Landmarks and have excellent
interpretive programs on the Underground Railroad.
What better place to start the journey of
exploration on the Underground Railroad
than in this community where the banks
of Kentucky are visible across the Ohio River .
In fact, Brown County has joined with
Washington and Maysville , Kentucky to
create an Underground Railroad Tour.
For further information contact the Rankin House
(937) 392-1627, the Parker House (937) 392-4188
or the Washington Visitors Center ( Kentucky )
at (606) 759-7411 for further information.
6152 Rankin Road
330 Front Street
Ross County Historical
Citizens of Ross County and its county seat and
first state capital Chillicothe were active in the
Underground Railroad, as several escape routes
from the Ohio River intersected in the county.
The Ross County Historical Society has recently
organized a permanent exhibit on Ross County 's
contribution to the Underground Railroad effort.
A visit to this well-preserved historic
community is always worthwhile.
45 West Fifth Street
Chillicothe , Ohio
Self-Guided Tour of
Underground Railroad Sites
Salem , a historic Quaker community,
was active in both the abolitionist and
women's suffrage movements.
A number of buildings in the community
have been researched and documented
as Underground Railroad sites.
The community recently published a
four-color self-guided tour brochure of
Underground Railroad sites in Salem .
After touring the sites, the public is invited to visit
the Salem Historical Society and Museum and
Freedom Hall which has interpretive displays
about Salem 's Underground Railroad history.
Underground Railroad Museum and Tours
Located along the main street in the small town of
Flushing, this museum features a fascinating collection
of publications, memorabilia and artifacts relating
to slavery and the Underground Railroad in Ohio.
It has been designated as an official site
on the National Park Service's National
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Curator, John Mattox, also offers group tours of
the Underground Railroad in Eastern Ohio and
has a Traveling Trunk program that he takes
to groups and schools around the state.
206 High Street
Flushing, Ohio 43977
Belpre Underground Railroad Museum
Belpre Historical Society
Wayne National Forest Underground
Railroad Research Project
Wilkesville Underground Railroad Site
Chesterhill Quaker Meeting House
Greenfield Historical Society
103 McArthur Way
Greenfield, Ohio 45123
Albany Marker and Mural,
Cutler Street Markers
Burlington 37 Cemetery Marker