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 Cincinnati, lay at the bottom of the hill; visitors to Walnut Hills passed through it when they returned to the city.
Cincinnati saw a series of riots in which white mobs attacked Black residents and destroyed their homes, stores and personal property. On the afternoon of Friday, September 3, 1841 a white mob lead by Kentucky toughs headed toward the heart of the Black community at Sixth and Broadway. An armed, organized African American contingent commanded by Major J. Wilkerson, an evangelist for the AME Church, repelled several attacks. Wilkerson was another formerly enslaved person who bought his own freedom. This action may have represented the most vigorous defense offered by free Blacks before the Civil War.
The white mob retreated, but returned with a cannon they had commandeered at the riverfront. They ignored the mayor’s request that they retreat, and fired up Sixth Street. Sixth Street gave access to other “squares” near Broadway, and wandered across the Canal and Deer Creek all the way to the corporation line below Mt. Adams and Walnut Hills. Black residents hid or fled “to the hills” until the military was at last called out in the early morning to restore some order to the city.
In the riots of 1841, as in earlier riots in 1836, some African American citizens found refuge in Walnut Hills.