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The Hanby family was one small cog in an intricate network known as the Underground Railroad. The brave people who participated in helping fugitive slaves risked personal safety, financial security and their own freedom to take a stand against slavery. Two names associated with both Ohio and abolitionism are John Brown from Hudson and Norton Strange Townshend from Cincinnati. Brown became famous for his radical work in “Bleeding Kansas” and for leading an attack on the United States arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. Townshend worked in the Cincinnati UGRR network, served in the Ohio General Assembly and was elected to the United States Congress. Artifacts from the lives of these two men will be on display at Hanby House from April through December of 2016. There will also be information on other every-day Ohioans who risked it all for their beliefs. Visit on weekends from 1-4PM, May through September, or arrange a private tour by calling 800-600-6843.
Welcome to the official site for the Hanby House State Memorial. Located in Westerville Ohio, Hanby House is the former home of William and Ann (Miller) Hanby. Built in 1846 at the corner of Main and Grove Streets, the Hanby family occupied the house from 1853-1870. It has been moved twice, most recently during the 1930s, to its present site which is just one block west of the original location.
William Hanby was the 15th Bishop of the United Brethren in Christ Church. He served as editor of the church newspaper, The Religious Telescope. He was an abolitionist and opened his home as a station on the Underground Railroad. Bishop Hanby was co-founder of Otterbein University. He also worked in the early Temperance Movement against the use of alcohol.
Bishop and Ann's oldest child, Benjamin Russel Hanby, was in the second graduating class of Otterbein University in 1858. He was a United Brethren preacher, a teacher, an abolitionist and a composer. During his short life, he composed over 80 songs including Darling Nelly Gray, Up on the Housetop, and Who is He in Yonder Stall? The latter is included in the current United Methodist Hymnal.
The house is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also designated as a United Methodist Heritage Landmark. In 2011, the National Park Service Network to Freedom recognized Hanby House as a significant Underground Railroad site.
The home contains furniture and personal items from the family. There are two chairs made by Bishop Hanby and a walnut desk made by Benjamin Hanby. The original plates for Benjamin's favorite version of Darling Nelly Gray and a large collection of sheet music and books are at the site. The house is managed by the Westerville Historical Society under agreement with the Ohio History Connection.
To help keep the Hanby family history alive, would you consider making a donation to the Hanby House by clicking on the "Donate" button below?
Looking for Volunteer Guides
Do you have a few extra hours a month or can you volunteer for special occasions? Contact site manager Pam Allen at email@example.com or call 614 891-6289. Training is provided. No special talents or experience needed other than enjoying history and sharing it with others.
Friends of Freedom
The United Methodist Church as a Heritage Landmark
National Park Service as a Network to Freedom Site
National Register of Historic Places
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