Farmers' College

How this institution helped facilitated the Underground Railroad in College Hill Underground.

In 1813-14, William Cary, having migrated from New Hampshire to Cincinnati in 1802, purchased 491 acres (1.99 km2) north of Cincinnati along what is now Hamilton Avenue. Cary built a log cabin and moved his family to this “wilderness,” then known as Mill Creek Township. In 1833, Cary’s son Freeman G. Cary established Pleasant Hill Academy for boys on part of his land. The academy became an agricultural school called Farmer’s College in 1846.

Rev. Dr. Robert Bishop, the first president of Miami University, became a professor at Farmers’ College from 1845. Fellow Miami professor John W. Scott came with him to Farmers’ College, but left in 1849 to become the 1st president of the Oxford Female Institute. Dr. Bishop was well loved and an outstanding teacher and preached at the Farmers’ College Chapel until his death in 1855.

Many sons of abolitionists attended Farmers’ College, some of whom assisted the many abolitionists on the “hill” to make College Hill an active station on the Underground Railroad.

Farmers’ College operated until 1885 when it became Belmont College.


Farmers' College
Farmers' College Source: A Historical Sketch of Farmers' College by Alexander Botkin Huston Creator: C. K. Stillman (artist) Date: 1847-1848
Freeman G. Cary portrait
Freeman G. Cary portrait Creator: Robert Duncanson (famous 19th century African American painter) Date: 1856
Ohio Military Institute (former location of Farmers' College)
Ohio Military Institute (former location of Farmers' College) 5553 Belmont Avenue; Ohio Military Institute was founded in1890 on the remnants of Belmont College, which built itself on Farmer's College. Source: Ohio Memory Project Creator: Ohio Guide Photographs, State Archives Series Date: 1936



Collectively written by Hamilton Avenue Road to Freedom , “Farmers' College,” Cincinnati Sites and Stories, accessed July 18, 2024,