Mary Frances Alston Austin, a freed slave, is one of six notable women of Delaware County who will be featured in an evening program offered by the Delaware County Historical Society on Wednesday, May 16, at the Barn at Stratford, 2690 Stratford Road, Delaware.

Austin was freed by the plantation owner at the age of 2 and was living in Orange Township, Delaware County in the 1860 U.S. Census. Her story will be told through the reenactment of a Delaware Gazette reporter (portrayed by T.K. Cellar) interviewing Austin (portrayed by Sherry Lloyd) in 1950, when she was 94.

Other women who will be reenacted or discussed include: Sophia Hayes (Trish Jacquemin), mother of President Rutherford B. Hayes; Harriett McCabe (Sue Bauer), the first president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and writer of its constitution; Alva Dickey (Laurie Schaefer), a WAVE code breaker in World War II who later taught at Conger School; and Nancy Frankenberg (Rozella Miller), a Delaware social activist who, among her many other activities, started Delaware United Way and People in Need. In addition, Joan Lawrence, a 16-year representative for Delaware County in the Ohio legislature, will be speaking.

The program is sponsored by Manos, Martin & Pergram Co.

Tours of the Meeker Homestead Museum and the Notable Women Exhibit will be offered at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.. The program will begin at 7 p.m., with door set to open at 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday, May 13, in recognition of Mother’s Day, the public is invited to visit the museum during regular hours, 2 to 5 p.m., and bring a photo of any personal “notable woman” to be added to the exhibit. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated to help defray operating costs.

For more information, email Pro[email protected] or call 740-369-3831, extension 3.

The Delaware County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote, preserve and sustain interest in the history of Delaware County. The Barn at Stratford is operated by DCHS as an event venue for weddings, corporate meetings and other special occasions.

To learn more, visit the venue and society web sites at and

Special to The Gazette

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