Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Underground railroad’

Temperance Tavern Museum Holds Tales of Newcomerstown Area

Temperance Tavern Sign

This sign in front of the museum explains the history of the town.

The Delaware Indians settled a village along the Tuscarawas River at what is today Newcomerstown. In 1776, over 700 Delaware Indians lived there with a few English colonists. The Indians called their village Gekelemukpechunk, but the settlers called it Newcomerstown after the Delaware Chief Newcomer of the Turtle Tribe.

Temperance Tavern Delaware Indians

These Delaware Indians arrowheads and artifacts are an important part of the town’s history.

   During the time of the Ohio & Erie Canal, the tavern and inn in Newcomerstown, Ohio was a popular stop for canal boats. One of the oldest homes in town, built in 1841 by Andrew Creter, Temperance Tavern was made of black walnut and still contains many of the original features.

Temperance Tavern

Temperance Tavern Museum, a beautiful old tavern and inn, is one of the oldest homes in Newcomerstown.

   The home and tavern was conveniently built between the canal and the stagecoach trail. One home on Canal Street still has the original canal ditch in their front yard. The ditch was never filled in.

   The Creter family lived on the first floor, while rooms on the second floor housed only women. Single men were literally locked in the attic to keep any embarrassing moments from happening with the lady guests. The basement contained Temperance Tavern. While the names don’t seem to fit together perfectly, no alcohol was served in this tavern.

   Miss Elizabeth, wife of Andrew Creter, still visits the house in spirit. While her form is seldom seen, frequently doors move and cabinets open. She keeps watch over her house.

Temperance Tavern Fireplace

This stone fireplace provided a place to cook meals for visitors to the inn.

   The kitchen has a large fireplace where all the tavern meals were cooked. The cast iron utensils hung over the fireplace for easy access in meal preparation. Meals were cooked and served here for people from the canal and stage, but it was also a local gathering place. The table served not only as a place for meals, but operations took place there as well.

Temperance Tavern Oven

Behind this cabinet was where slaves were hidden on the Underground Railroad.

   This was also a stop for the Underground Railroad. Slaves were hidden in the cellar of this house. You can still see a cabinet that concealed where slaves hid on their Underground Railroad route.

Temperance Tavern Miss Rose Tea Set

This beautiful Moss Rose Tea Set came all the way from Virginia in 1820.

   The dining room table displayed a beautiful Moss Rose Tea Set, which was brought to Newcomerstown from Virginia in 1820 by Mrs. John Snyder. The living room features military artifacts as well as a collection of dresses from the 1800-1900 time frame.

Temperance Tavern Wedding Dress

The wedding dress of Maude Scott highlights this display of clothing from 1800-1900.

   A wedding dress from 1894 belonging to Maude Scott shows the style of the time. It also gives history of one of those early prominent women in the Tuscarawas County area. Maude Scott was the first woman in the county to be elected to public office and formed the first Republican Women’s Club there, a couple examples of her forward thinking.

   Here also, you will find memorabilia honoring two of Newcomerstown’s favorite sons, Cy Young, the most winning pitcher in baseball, and Woody Hayes, Ohio State’s well-known and adored coach.

Temperance Tavern Woody

Woody Hayes, Ohio State University football coach, went to school here.

   Woody’s dad was superintendent of schools in Newcomerstown. After graduation from Newcomerstown High School, Woody coached football at Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia before moving on to Ohio State.

Temperance Tavern Cy Young

This 1908 Boston Red Sox uniform belonging to Cy Young is on display at the museum.

   One special item in the museum is Cy Young’s complete 1908 Boston Red Sox uniform. The memorabilia span his life from baseball player to retiree, who enjoyed sitting on his front porch in a rocking chair, which is also in the museum today. From 1890-1911, Young won 511 games with an ERA if 2.63. No wonder he is a local hero.

Temperance Tavern Civil War Monument

Outside the museum stands a monument to Freeman Davis, a local Civil War hero.

   Outside the Temperance Tavern Museum is a monument honoring Freeman Davis, a local man who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Davis served as a sergeant with Company B, 80th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the war and his commendation came due to his bravery in the Battle of Missionary Ridge in Tennessee.

Main Street BJ

BJ McFadden has served as president of the Newcomerstown Historical Society for several years but recently stepped down from that post.

   Located at 221 Canal Street in Newcomerstown, the Temperance Tavern Museum opens its doors each Memorial Day weekend through the end of October on Tuesday – Sunday. Every small town has interesting history to share. Stop by and explore Temperance Tavern Museum this summer!

The museum is located at 221 West Canal Street in Newcomerstown, Ohio. Off I-77, take Exit 65 for US 36, Turn left on US 36 and then take the second exit, Ohio 258, to Newcomerstown to the left onto Pilling Street. After a short distance, turn right onto East Canal Street and about a mile down the street you’ll find the museum on the left.

Advertisements

Visit Henderson Hall Plantation 19th Century Hoarders

Henderson Hall

Henderson Hall

Look for a hidden treasure across the river from Marietta, Ohio along the banks of the Ohio River. Here a Victorian plantation mansion from nearly two hundred years ago seems to watch over the river between Williamstown and Parkersburg, WV.

Even before Henderson Hall came into being, the Henderson family played a vital role in the Ohio River Valley. Vice-President Aaron Burr and Harman Blennerhassett thought that perhaps the Henderson brothers would help in their attempt to set up a separate nation west of the Alleghenies. Hendersons would not be coerced, called their father’s friend President Thomas Jefferson, and testified in the Burr-Blennerhassett trail in 1807.

Henderson Hall was built shortly thereafter in 1835 by George Washington Henderson and Elizabeth Ann Tomlinson Henderson, grand-daughter of original claimant of Williamstown. This merger of estates encompassed 2600 acres on the eastern bank of the Ohio River. It seemed that everything they touched turned to gold, from the land they purchased, to breeding fine horses, to owners of an oil field boom.

Henderson Indian Mound

Adena Indian Mound

Walking to the house, one of the three Indian mounds on the property is clearly visible. Dating back 2,000 years, Adena mounds appear in several places in the Ohio Valley. Inside the mounds were found skeletal remains and artifacts.

Even though the Henderson family supported the efforts of the Union during the Civil War, they did themselves keep thirty slaves. Some of those slaves actually left through the Underground Railroad, which the Henderson family supported, in Marietta, Ohio.

This well preserved Victorian plantation propels visitors into the past with twenty-nine rooms to explore. All the rooms overflow with memorabilia from the 18th century to the present. It seems the Hendersons kept everything. 250 years of letters and diaries were found in the home – what treasures! Even more impressive is the trail of famous historic figures, who visited frequently.

Front Parlor

Front Parlor

In the front parlor with its gold leaf wallpaper, pictures of Elizabeth and George hang over the mantle of the fireplace. In the picture she wore a hair broach, which was considered mourning jewelry. Having twelve children during their lifetime, six of them died before the age of ten. Elizabeth took a lock of hair from each of those six children to weave into an intricate pattern for her broach, which she always wore. The broach remains on display today in their small museum.

Collections from these 19th century hoarders give visitors a chance to see the changes made in many areas of life. The overwhelming amount of treasures saved, ranges from toys to wedding gowns to beautiful dining room settings. A winding staircase curves up to the third floor ballroom, making the mind wonder how those ladies managed these steep stairs in their flowing gowns.

The original kitchen

The original kitchen

The 1836 kitchen holds household cooking utensils and crockery dating back a couple centuries. This was part of the original smaller house before the 1859 impressive addition. Many of the rusted kitchen utensils can be found stored in the basement today.

When the last family member died in 2007, the historic house was deeded to the Board of West Virginia Oil & Gas Museum. Today they keep the place in repair and have great guides to share the Henderson story.

First school houe in West Virginia

First school houe in West Virginia

The earliest school in the area was here behind Henderson Hall in 1836. Note the teacher’s desk with candle and switch – for pointing and for correcting. Several old books from that time period have been placed on the students’ desk along with slates to practice writing and mathematics. Original equipment includes:  slates, blackboards, and seats. What a thrill to gently touch the slates, which were used by youngsters from the 1800’s.

The Carriage House contains different buggies. Among them is the actual buggy used by the original founders, George and Elizabeth, on their honeymoon to Niagara Falls.

Henderson Hall overflows with treasures too numerous to mention. Hopefully you have now received a taste of history that will whet your appetite for more. Johnny Chapman, John James Audubon, and Stephen Foster always enjoyed their visits here.  Shouldn’t you?

Henderson Hall Plantation is just a few miles off I-77 at the Williamstown, WV exit. Follow Route 14 South, then turn right on Old River Road. Summer hours are noon- 5 p.m. daily.

 

 

Historic Mount Pleasant’s Abolitionist Tradition

Quaker Meeting House

Quaker Meeting House in Mount Pleasant, Ohio

Once in a while, the roads you travel lead on an adventure not expected. Such was the case with a detour through the town of Mount Pleasant, Ohio. Meeting local people, while viewing their historic buildings, led to information unexpected but very exciting.

Back in 1803, Mount Pleasant in Eastern Ohio became home for a large group of Quakers, who were searching for a haven from slavery.  Before long, the Quaker Meeting House was constructed and became the first yearly meeting house for Quakers west of the Alleghenies. The basic design reflects the simplicity of Quaker life, while its two-foot-thick brick walls show their strength.

Benjamin Lundy Home

Benjamin Lundy Home

Much of the history of this small town relates to the settlement of abolitionists and their active anti-slavery movement. The entire community was an early safe haven for runaway slaves, even before the Civil War.

One of those Underground Railroad stops was the home of Benjamin Lundy, who desired to battle the institution of slavery in several ways. Moving to Mount Pleasant in 1821, he began publishing a paper called, Genius of Universal Emancipation, devoted entirely to anti-slavery issues. He traveled all over the country explaining the evils of slavery.

Harris-Bone Cabin through the front window

Harris-Bone Cabin through the front window

One of the early stores was the Harris-Bone Store built of logs in 1804. Today that store still stands on a prominent corner in Mount Pleasant attracting passers-by to stop and take a peek inside. During the summer months, tours are held, but otherwise you can still get a great look through the front windows.

You wouldn’t really think about a small town like this having a famous personality, but it definitely did. Listen up baseball fans! Who was the first African-American Major League baseball player? Jackie Robinson? Not so! At the side of the log cabin store, a sign displays in large letters that this is the birthplace of Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first African-American to play in the American Association back in 1883.

Sign marking birthplace of Moses Fleetwood Walker

Sign marking birthplace of Moses Fleetwood Walker

Moses’ father, Dr. Moses W. Walker,  served as a medical doctor in western Pennsylvania prior to the Civil War. Upon moving to Mount Pleasant, Dr. Walker served as a minister at the Baptist Church and became instrumental in helping many slaves through the Underground Railroad. While the slaves were staying with him, they helped build the Walker family home.

“Fleet” possessed a rock arm in his position of catcher for Oberlin College, University of Michigan Law School and then the professional Toledo Blue Stockings. After a season of being scorned and jeered by opposing teams as well as his own teammates, Fleet returned to the minors after an injury. Following his baseball career, Walker attempted several business ventures: owning a hotel, movie theater and even an opera house in Cadiz, Ohio.

Just a short walk from the Harris-Bone Store can be found the “Hidden Gardens” of Pete and Jean Petra. Pete has a greenhouse in a section of his house and raises most of his plants. Every year he tries to have something new and interesting in his Garden, which basically surrounds his house and extends to an open lot nearby. Prepare to be surprised!

Elizabeth House

Elizabeth House Mansion

Another spot filled with memories of the past is the Elizabeth House Mansion, formerly the John Gill home built in 1835. Gill actually planted a mulberry tree here, then imported silkworms from China to perform their magic. In the 1800’s, this tree produced the silk for the first American flag ever made out of silk.

The first weekend in August is a perfect time to visit Mount Pleasant as at that time they give tours of the town and Pete and Jean’s  “Hidden Gardens” are at their peak. Climb aboard the Underground Railroad as you walk the streets of this friendly old town where the anti-salvery movement got an early start.

Mount Pleasant, Ohio is located on Scenic Byway State Route 150 in Southern Jefferson County. It can be reached most easily from I-70 by taking Exit 215 and following the curving, scenic route to the town.

 

Underground Railroad Museum Flushing, Ohio

Ohio's Underground Trails

Map of Ohio’s Underground Railroad Trails

Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio

Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio

“Filled to the brim.” Those words accurately describe the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio. Outside the old brick building seems typical of those found in many small towns. Inside there is so much information it would take days to just read what is hanging on the walls, let alone all the books available.

Located in the hills of Southeastern Ohio, The Underground Railroad Museum contains over 18,000 items. This particular building was constructed in 1922 as Community National Bank, then became the insurance office of John Mattox.

In 1998, Dr. Mattox decided it would be the perfect spot to share his knowledge and collection of items dealing with slavery and the Underground Railroad. He wanted to tell the story of fugitive slaves and slave hunters, and how the Underground Railroad helped the former and misled the latter.

Dr. Lorle Porter of Muskingum University played a large role in helping John establish the museum. Today, Belmont Technical College students frequently help at the museum through research, organization, and cleaning.

Dr. John Mattox, curator of the museum

Dr. John Mattox, founder and curator of the museum

Stories of slavery abound here thanks to an exceptionally good story teller, Dr. John Mattox, founder and curator of the museum.  John’s family had previoiusly been slaves from Holland, so he knew first hand of the life they lived.  While John told his story, the outfit of a Klu Klux Klan member, displayed on a statue behind him, awakens an unpleassnt reminder. Still John had a great positive attitude as he said, “I’ll tell you ‘xactly how it was, slavery could be good.”

John told of those Sunday mornings when slaves were privileged to go to “The Big House” for breakfast. The menu most often was hot biscuits and potlikker. Now, for those of you not familiar with potlikker, that would be a pot of turnip, collard, and mustard greens boiled with a piece of pork. Pour that over some hot biscuits and you had a breakfast to look forward to all week long.

However, nearby slave collars, whips and shackles help tell the other side of the story of life as a slave. Poster advertisements were placed for auctions about to be held. Ox teams, fox hounds, and Negro slaves were all included on the same sign.

Camera Collection

Camera Collection

In the basement of the Underground Railroad Museum, Dr. Mattox shared his private collection of over 700 vintage cameras. His favorite seemed to be his first Polaroid, a 1970 Rolex SX70, which he used to take pictures of his wife when they went to Hawaii. An 1886 Conley and an original Brownie Camera were also part of that collection.

A replica of a slave cabin, where an average of eight people lived, has been constructed in the basement. This one tiny room was their “home” for eating, playing and sleeping. Only one bed could be seen in a corner of the room, and the “old person” got to sleep there. The rest slept on straw spread on the dirt floor.

Inside of slave cabin

Inside of slave cabin

The slaves, or those assisting through the Underground Railroad, left many signals for other slaves following their path. Sometimes a special knock on the door was used and the password, “Friend of a friend” gained them entry to safety. An X strategically placed on a tree gave the slaves direction to the next stop. Great courage was shown by those who often risked everything to escape.

The major task of the Underground Railroad operation was to get the fugitives across the Ohio River to safety. Martins Ferry was the first Ohio stop for many in 1788. The Ohio map shows that their flight continued across Ohio in every direction.

John expressed his attitude toward life by saying, “Don’t blame everyone else for what happened to you. New ideas are just old ones recycled.” He was a fantastic guide so hope he continues sharing his stories for a long time. Just the thought of losing all his knowledge reminded me of an African proverb that hung on the wall of the museum, “When an old man dies, a library burns down.” Recording our history is so important for future generations.

The easiest route to the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, Ohio is off I-70.  Take Ohio Exit 208 and head north on State Highway 149. The road has many bends, but leads to Flushing, then SR149 makes a right turn on E High Street. The museum is located at 121 E. High. 

Discover Local History at Guernsey County Historical Museum

Guernsey County Historical Museum

Guernsey County Historical Museum

Located in the oldest frame house in Cambridge, the Guernsey County Historical Museum, expanding since 1963, presents a vast array of memorabilia from by-gone years. The new curator, Judy Clay, gave a very knowledgeable tour of the museum from top to bottom, and is constantly reorganizing displays.

Built in 1823, what is known as the McCracken – McFarland House sat on the corner of Steubenville Avenue and 8th Street.  Then in 1915, the house was moved down the block and turned on its foundation. The red stained glass in the front door is original, having been moved without damage.  Outside the house the yard has some interesting features. There is a 4′ tall National Trail mileage marker, and the original steps from the 1823 house. Since the house is so old, you might think there would be spirits wandering its halls, but not so say those who work there. It is the quietest old house imaginable and nothing unusual happens there…at least not yet!

Bridge crossing Wills Creek

Bridge crossing Wills Creek – today replaced by the viaduct.

An interesting sidenote is that this house was actually part of the Underground Railroad and the McCracken family was active in helping the slaves move to safety. Today you will find a replica of the wooden, covered, two-lane bridge that crossed Wills Creek stored in the basement, where most likely slaves were hidden years ago.

At that time, homes had two sitting rooms.  One was for family use, while the other was a formal parlor used only when special guests arrived. A beautiful marbletop table that had belonged to the McFarland family has a place of honor in the formal parlor. Pieces of Cambridge Glass and Universal Pottery are scattered throughout the house, as these were two important means of earning a living during those early years in Guernsey County..

Guernsey County Hall of Fame Wall

Guernsey County Hall of Fame.

Ice Bicycle

Ice Bicycle

The beautiful family sitting room felt cozy in its time, as this was the first house in Cambridge to be heated with gas; however, candle light was still used for reading. The walls in the hallway are covered with pictures of people who have made a difference in the area…the Guernsey County Hall of Fame.

The Tool Room contained an old mail cart and an ice bike. The mail cart was actually used by the Cambridge Post Office to pick up mail from the Cambridge Train Station. Among other items was a cigar press from the Quaker City Company that made cigars.

Every room upstairs had a special theme. The Military Room contained items from Civil War days to WWII. A small sewing room held a spinning wheel and a weasel, which when it got filled with thread – went pop! That was the basis of the song, “Pop Goes the Weasel”. A dentist’s office, Dickens’ room, and rooms packed with antique ladies clothes finished off the top floor.

Old One-room school

Old One-room school

The One-Room School display contained traditional desks, teacher’s desk, blackboard, and some of those old books that were used long ago. On special occassions, retired teachers will describe basic lessons and activities in a one room school.

Bountiful treasures reside inside this old frame house. Perhaps you would like to roam the halls and revive some old memories. If you have any pieces of history you would care to share, please contact the museum. Every small town should take pride in having a special place to keep the history of their area alive for future generations.

Guernsey County Museum is located in Cambridge, Ohio near the crossroads of I-70 and I-77. The easiest route is from I-70, Exit 178, which is State Route 209 West. Follow 209 straight to the Court House. Make a left hand turn and a quick right turn on 8th Street right beside the Court House. After one block, make a right hand turn and a quick left turn on 8th Street again. The Museum is located just a few doors down on the right hand side at 218 N. 8th Street. 

Tag Cloud