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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Whitehall in Franklin County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Underground Railroad

The Historic National Road in Ohio

 
 
The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, July 5, 2016
1. The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker
Inscription. The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was neither underground nor a railroad, but a system of loosely connected safe havens where those escaping the brutal conditions of slavery were sheltered, fed, clothed, nursed, concealed, disguised, and instructed during their journey to freedom. Although this movement was one of America’s greatest social, moral, and humanitarian endeavors, the details about it were often cloaked in secrecy to protect those involved from the retribution of civil law and slave catchers. One such safe haven was in what is now the City of Whitehall. In the 1800’s, several free blacks settled in Truro Township, Franklin County, and began assisting runaway slaves to freedom. One of these men was John T. Ward, who was born a free black man in 1820 at Richmond, Virginia. Ward and his wife came to Ohio in 1836 and built their home on a sixteen acre tract of land in 1838.

In addition to farming and serving as an UGRR conductor, John T. Ward also worked as a clerk in a downtown Columbus hardware store. During the Civil War, Ward had contracts with the federal Government to haul supplies to Camp Chase, the U.S. Army camp and Confederate prison located along the National Road, four miles west of Columbus.

Ward’s son, William S. Ward, learned the hauling business and founded the Ward Transfer Line in 1881. Many of John

The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, July 5, 2016
2. The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker
Full view of marker
T. Ward’s activities were documented in his diary and recounted by his great-grandson, Eldon Ward, the first black chairman of the Columbus Foundation. and owner of the family’s moving company before his death.

Today, the E. E. Ward Transfer and Storage Company continues to maintain its proud heritage by treasuring its roots of once “hauling people to freedom by night and transporting goods by day”.
 
Erected 2015 by The Ohio National Road Association, Inc.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Historic National Road marker series.
 
Location. 39° 57.331′ N, 82° 52.391′ W. Marker is in Whitehall, Ohio, in Franklin County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street, Old National Road (U.S. 40) and Rosemore Avenue, on the right when traveling east on East Main Street, Old National Road. Touch for map. Marker is in front of the Chase Bank. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4660 East Main, Columbus OH 43213, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Norton Field (approx. 1.5 miles away); Whitehall Tavern (approx. 1.6 miles away); Columbus Depot (approx. 1.7 miles away); Original Port Columbus Airport Terminal

The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, July 5, 2016
3. The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker
Marker at a distance, NW corner of Rosemore at East Main, Old Rt 40; the National Road
(approx. 2.2 miles away); Forest Lawn Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away); A Brief History of Eastmoor / Eastmoor Polo Field (approx. 2.5 miles away); Eastmoor (approx. 2.7 miles away); The National Road / The Interurban Electric Railway (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Whitehall.
 
Additional keywords. Underground Railroad, National Road
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRIndustry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker image. Click for full size.
By Rev. Ronald Irick, July 5, 2016
4. The Historic National Road in Ohio Marker
Close up of map on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 30, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 180 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 30, 2016, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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