Mount Pleasant

I am the curator for the Historical Center in Mount Pleasant Ohio. A group of us are trying to get national recognition for our role in the Underground Railroad movement through the National Park Service.

In 1797 a group of 20 men camped out where Mt. Pleasant now stands, waiting for the land to be declared up for sale by the government. None of these men were Quakers. The right to buy the land was determined by casting lots. Robert Carothers, a Seceder from the Church of Scotland (later known as Presbyterians) won the cast. It is on record at the Steubenville land office that he bought the land in July 1800.

He later sold half to Jesse Thomas, a Quaker, in 1802. Together, the two men laid out the plat of the town and it was incorporated in 1803. The town did become a "stronghold" of the Quaker religion, but there were Presbyterians, Methodists and AME churches as well.

It was an important abolitionist town. Besides the Philanthropist, there was also Benjamin Lundy's paper The Genius of Universal Emancipation printed in 1821. One of the sites for the Free Labor Store was in his home, which is still standing and is a National Landmark.

There are (still standing) at least five stations of the UGRR in town. There are more that we are currently researching. What a wonderful history!

Nina J. Cleaver
Mount Pleasant Historical Center

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