Teachers at white and Colored Common Schools

Walnut Hills residents Catherine and Harriett Beecher and Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell were all teachers in private schools during the 1830’s. Catherine Beecher especially advocated for the education of women, and for the effectiveness of women as teachers. Not everyone sympathized with her. The Cincinnati Public Schools, both white and “Colored,” made extensive use of[…]

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell, a Walnut Hills contemporary of Caroline and Harriet Beecher Stowe, was the first woman to earn an MD in the United States, and her sister Emily was the third. Both went on to practice medicine. The Blackwell family emigrated from England when the girls were children. In 1838 their father relocated from New[…]

Harriet Beecher Stowe

The most famous of the large and illustrious Beecher clan to arrive in Walnut Hills in 1832, Harriet was just 21 years old and at first lived in the shadow of her older sister Catherine. The sisters worked together in Catherine’s Western Female Institute, and joined a literary circle known as the Semi-Colon Club. Both[…]

Harriet Martineau

The British author Harriet Martineau made a two-year tour of the United States, visiting Cincinnati for a few weeks beginning June 16, 1834. She published her Retrospect of Western Travel in 1838, including a full chapter about the city. Among the contacts during her first day she met “Miss [Catherine] Beecher, daughter of the Rev.[…]

Catherine Beecher

Catherine Beecher moved to Cincinnati with her father and her adult siblings in 1832; the family settled in Walnut Hills. Catherine, 32, had already made a name for herself with her opposition to President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal policy. Catherine recognized that women, denied the right to vote, had no direct influence on legislative behavior.[…]

Cincinnati Colored Public Schools

The city of Cincinnati, following Ohio law, set aside the education taxes on African American held properties for “Colored Public Schools” beginning in the 1850’s. Black men elected the school board, the only election in which they could vote. Peter Clark, later a Walnut Hills resident, served as the first teacher; it required a lawsuit[…]

Robert Gordon, businessman

Robert Gordon, a Black man who lived in Cincinnati from about 1847 through his death in 1884, makes occasional appearances in obscure historical accounts of nineteenth-century Cincinnati. He pops up in popular press accounts as a former slave who made a fortune in the coal business. Yet it turns out that Gordon left a considerable[…]

Early Black Churches

African American families began moving to Walnut Hills in the 1850’s. Dangerfield Earley, reported as the sixth Black resident, organized the First Church of Walnut Hills in 1856, a mixed Baptist and Methodist-Episcopal congregation. By 1862, the Methodist-Episcopal part of the congregation, organized by Peter Clark who lived on Kemper Street (now Yale), formed a[…]

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati properly recognizes the key role of the city in helping to conduct enslaved persons to freedom. Ohio law from the 1830’s held that enslaved people brought by their owners to Ohio, a free state, became free. As long as their entry into Ohio occurred with the consent of the[…]

Riots of 1841

Walnut Hills served as a place of refuge from the dust and stench of the city The suburb overlooked Deer Creek (now just a series of sewers), the Miami Canal, and the Northeastern part of the city of Cincinnati. The “Buck town” community, a cluster of African American residents near the pork processing district of[…]