Program to highlight Black communities in county before 1860


The Delaware County Historical Society (DCHS) announces a program in the Cultural Communities series, titled “Black Communities in Delaware County Before 1860.” Scheduled for Thursday, April 18, at the Barn at Stratford (2690 Stratford Road, Delaware), the program will begin at 7 p.m. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Following previous society programs on the Underground Railroad throughout Delaware County, and on Black soldiers during the Civil War, this program focuses on African Americans who were residents in Delaware County as early as 1804, even before the area was a county.

Society volunteers who have researched Delaware County Black history includes Watson Walker, Jr., who is also president of the Delaware County Genealogical Society. He will share the findings while discussing freed African Americans who lived in Delaware County, before the Civil War. Some were escorted to Ohio by an owner or an owner’s agent.

The Ohio legislature passed the Black Code Laws shortly after statehood, in 1804. Walker will discuss these laws and the effect on formerly enslaved individuals in Ohio. He will also share findings from volunteer David Pritchard’s research in the early government records including the Delaware County 1830 decennial censuses, which showed two Black females living in Berlin Township and are listed as “head of household.” They are the first African Americans who owned property in the county.

Case studies of some notable Black families will also be shared. Volunteer Nancy Fleming will incorporate her recent research about the Mendenhall Family, who came from North Carolina to Delaware County between 1825 and 1864, in a reenactment.

There is no cost to attend the program, and there will be an opportunity to make a donation.

Those planning to attend this event may register at

The Delaware County Historical Society is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, preserving and sustaining interest in the history of Delaware County, Ohio. In addition to regular educational programming for all ages, DCHS owns and curates exhibits at several historical sites, including the Nash House Museum, Meeker Homestead Museum, the Millworker Cottage, and the Delaware Historic Jail & Sheriff’s Residence. Learn more, view event and exhibit schedules and find additional museum information at

Submitted by the Delaware County Historical Society.

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