Mary Jane <I>Wilson</I> Pyle

Mary Jane Wilson Pyle

Birth
Charlestown, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 12 Oct 1887 (aged 64)
Piqua, Miami County, Ohio, USA
Burial Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Plot Section 55, Lot 22, Grave 8
Memorial ID 18143613 · View Source
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Abolitionist, Educator. Mary Jane Wilson Pyle, was the daughter of Samuel and Sally Nesmith Wilson, was born in New Hampshire and emigrated with her family to Hamilton County, Ohio. Her parents were abolitionist Presbyterian educators. The Wilsons first lived in Reading before settling in College Hill. The move resulted because of harsh criticism from neighbors uncomfortable with their abolitionist view. They built a home of the Greek Revival Style in 1849 at 1502 Astor Place near Hamilton Pike and the colleges in College Hill. The house immediately became a station on the Underground Railroad. Three of the Wilson children, Mary Jane, Harriet, and Joseph Gardner Wilson are well documented in their abolitionist efforts. The Wilson children aided many fugitive slaves, sometimes using thier home as a temporary hiding place. Joseph, a local college professor, was known to collect apparel from the families of his students which was used to disguise runaway fugitive slaves. When the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed the Wilsons' station became difficult to maintain as their involvement had become well known and the College Hill route to freedom in the north all but ceased by 1852. Mary Jane became a charter faculty member of the nearby Ohio Female College in 1848, one of the few schools admitting women to its staff and taught students for several years. She was also widowed in 1848. Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 several elderly African-Americans returned to the home and asked to see the cellar where they had once hidden. The home was still inhabited by the Wilsons and their housekeeper, Christine Gramm, who was instantly recognized by those who had returned to visit. In 1892 her sister, Harriet, documented the neighborhood's Underground Railroad activities in extensive letter form and described the family's role in helping the escaped slaves. She died in Piqua, Ohio from apoplexy when she was 64 years old. (The house on Astor Place still exists at the time of this article)


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  • Created by: K Guy
  • Added: 3 Mar 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 18143613
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Jane Wilson Pyle (12 Feb 1823–12 Oct 1887), Find a Grave Memorial no. 18143613, citing Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by K Guy (contributor 46886706) .