Harriet Nesmith Wilson

Harriet Nesmith Wilson

Birth
Charlestown, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 3 Aug 1920 (aged 95)
College Hill, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Burial Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Plot Section 55, Lot 22, Grave 9
Memorial ID 18143653 · View Source
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Abolitionist, Educator. Harriet Nesmith Wilson, the youngest 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. Harriet also became an educator, taught at the public schools for over thirty years and became principal of the first public school in College Hill from 1860-1871. (The school was known as the "Pig Eye" School because of an odd circular window near its entrance.) Decades after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, 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 Harriet documented the neighborhood's Underground Railroad activities in extensive letter form and described her family's role in helping the escaped slaves. She died in College Hill from senility when she was 95 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 18143653
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harriet Nesmith Wilson (13 Jan 1825–3 Aug 1920), Find a Grave Memorial no. 18143653, citing Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by K Guy (contributor 46886706) .