CHESTER — The Underground Railroad will be the topic as guest speaker Michael Gerlach explores this subject during the Chester Shade Historical Association benefit dinner.
Gerlach said it is a historical subject that people are still learning about.
“The Underground Railroad is one of those topics in history that we don’t understand more than we do understand,” he said. “We spend too much time looking for tunnels and secret rooms that seldom existed in houses that weren’t even built when the railroad ended.”
Instead, Gerlach said the Ohio Valley was a cauldron of strategy, politics, intrigue and violence in regard to the issue of slavery.
“Long before the Civil War, a small dedicated group of abolitionists waged a war against slavery on both sides of the river. What happened in Meigs County was dramatic, dangerous, exciting and very important,” he said.
And he added that the Underground Railroad in Meigs County cannot be found in a house, but rather through the woods and along creeks throughout the county — and particularly in Middleport.
The Meigs High School cafeteria will be the venue for the dinner April 15. The event is sponsored by the Chester Shade Historical Association and is one of their largest fundraisers of the year.
The other is the Meigs Heritage Festive held at Eastern Elementary School on July 16. Activities will include the Ohio State Harmonica Championship and a coin show. A popular car show that began at the festivities last year will return to the 2016 festival, along with entertainment throughout the day.
The Chester Shade Historical Association was established to preserve Ohio’s oldest courthouse. Built in 1823, it, along with the nearby Chester Academy, now house a genealogy research library and a museum.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551.
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