Greenfield & Frederick Douglass

Reading a little Black History and came across a piece about Frederick Douglass. A vague memory about Douglass once having spent time in Greenfield came out of the past so I did a little Googling and came up with the following from the Greenfield Historical Society’s website.


5 thoughts on “Greenfield & Frederick Douglass”

  1. What is left out of that segment is that he came to Greenfield after narrowly escaping a mob in Indiana and had been knocked unconscious, only escaping through the corn fields with great assistance by the Quakers in the area and then arriving in Greenfield. It speaks volumes about Dr. Dunlap’s reputation that he was sought out and speaks well of Greenfield in that period. Info is from F.R. Harris’ A Greene Countrie Towne, Section 81.

    1. I haven’t read Harris’ books in decades but I believe he also speaks to runaway slave, Eliza Harris, having wintered over in a barn near downtown Greenfield. Eliza was a central character in Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

      1. Yes, section 83 covers that though I didn’t see a reference to the barn it does say that they had to remain in neighborhood in Greenfield for some time. Additionally in the previous section he discusses a child named Rachel who is considered the first African American resident of Greenfield, which Dr. Crothers purchased a new pair of shoes for at the Douglas Tannery and the transaction recorded in the logs for history.
        I find it interesting that Ohio was the first State with protections and freedoms from slavery built into its laws and constitution and yet the Fugitive Slave law of 1850 infringed on that sovereignty by allowing trackers from other states to enter Ohio and reclaim slaves without worry of opposition from Ohioans. They were wrong in thinking that such a law would really give them free reign in the buckeye state.
        I really enjoyed the recounting he gives of David Bonner finding the three strangers in the center of town one morning and inviting them back to his house for breakfast and a Sunday morning sermon. Breakfast took a very long time in coming and the sermon was the longest of the Psalms to be found and recounted so that by the time it was all said and done everyone that was hiding out in Mr. Bonner’s basement was long gone. 🙂 David Bonner had owned more of Greenfield than anyone else at one point and probably still owned most of it at that time.

        1. “F.R. Harris’ A Greene Countrie Towne”
          Is this published anywhere online for free? The post and especially the added comments have left me wanting to learn more.

          1. Harris’ books are available at the Highland County library. Or, I probably have a copy you could borrow of Greene Countrie Towne.

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