WYSO

Underground Railroad

Longtown's restoration is underway.
Jerry Kenney

In southwest Ohio, about a mile from the Indiana state line, a long-forgotten town with a special place in African American history is struggling to be reborn.

Longtown was established nearly 200 years ago in what is now Greenville. The settlement grew into a thriving mixed-race community and a major stop on the Underground Railroad.

Now, descendants of those pioneering settlers are working to bring Longtown back to life for others to experience.

Longtown’s History

Ripley may seem like just another sleepy town on the Ohio River, but there was a time when it was a filled with secrets and controversies. In the days of slavery, this was part of the Borderlands that slaves crossed in order to make their way north to freedom in Canada. Ohio was always free, but slavery flourished just across the river in Kentucky.

 

An Ohio group is offering fresh flags to identify Underground Railroad stops that once helped slaves escape to freedom.

A volunteer group that publicizes Ohio's Underground Railroad history distributed flags that could be displayed to identify former stations in the state.  Now the group, called the Friends of Freedom Society, is offering new flags to replace those that are tattered and torn.

The Columbus Dispatch reports more than two dozen documented Underground Railroad stations have survived in central Ohio, and most are privately owned.  Three are run as museums.