Underground Railroad Tour

Overlooking the Ohio River in Ripley, OH, the John P. Parker House is a small museum devoted to sharing the story of Parker’s life and the abolitionist movement. Born into slavery in Norfolk, VA in 1827, John P. Parker was sold at age 8 to an Alabama family that, though it was illegal, taught him…
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Samuel Wilson and his wife Sally (née Nesmith) were descended from the Pilgrims who had settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1719. After 13 years of hard life in New England, the Wilsons set off in 1828 for the milder climate and more fertile soil of Ohio, settling first in Columbia, and then…
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On the Road to FreedomIt started in Petersburg, in Boone Co., Kentucky.  John Fairfield, a white man, and a slave rescuer for hire, engaged in the subterfuge of buying poultry for market for several weeks in an area of the county. Being white and in Kentucky, he was assumed to be pro-slavery and…
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Several years earlier, in 1835, Henry Bibb made his first escape attempt when he was hired out to Mr. Vires, who lived on a nearby farm in Newcastle, Kentucky. Although he was hoping to reach Canada with great ease, Bibb was captured in less than twenty-four hours, whipped and placed in isolation.…
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The United American Cemetery, founded in 1883, was originally called the United Colored Cemetery. It was established by the United Colored American Association (UCAA), which had previously, in 1848, founded a cemetery in Avondale. But in 1880, a group of powerful, white property-owners in Avondale went to the Ohio statehouse to lobby for a bill that would give the Avondale board of health the…
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On May 16, 1834, a man named John Humphries posted a classified advertisement in the Alexandria (Virginia) Gazette: “RANAWAY, from the subscriber, on the 5th instant, WILLIAM BECKLEY, an indented apprentice to the Ship’s Carpenter’s business, a bright mulatto, about eighteen years of age, about five feet four or five inches high.”
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The Gammon House is one of only 3 existing Ohio “stops” on the Underground Railroad owned by a free person of color. It was built in 1850, the same year that the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, imposing fines and imprisonment on any person aiding a runaway slave. George Gammon and his wife Sarah…
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In recounting the story of the Underground Railroad, Black women do not always get the credit they deserve. In Cincinnati, Black women were heavily involved in aiding escaping fugitives. A historic site of particular importance is 46 Race Street. Though the original house no longer exists, this was the home of at least three Black women who were leaders in Underground Railroad work: Mary…
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