African American History in Worthington

Discover Worthington's African American history over two centuries as you walk through Old Worthington and the Morris Addition

African American History in Worthington

Worthington, Ohio 43085, United States

Created By: Worthington Historical Society

Tour Information

*Tour stops are organized in a chronological loop. Use the “Free Roam” option to visit sights in any order you prefer.

African Americans have been a part of Worthington since its earliest days. The story of the Black experience in Worthington from the early 1800s to today is complex and varied. While in some aspects, Worthington was unique and progressive in is social activism and integration, it is also true that discrimination and inequality have been present from the first years. This tour will visit locations with ties to Black history and offer histories that will provide a glimpse into the African American story over the past two centuries.

In a 1971 publication from Worthington’s own St. John A.M.E. Church, “Forward in Brotherhood: Negro History Week”, Rev. Vance Milligan, wrote, “Our history shows that Worthington has always been a community of good will and brotherly love. We have no ghettos, our schools have always been integrated, black people have always been welcome in religious, fraternal and civic organization and the business community. However, nothing is so good that it can not be improved. Worthington is a community that has shown concern for the welfare of all races. In this day when we hear and see via the news media, a Nation torn with racial strife we consider our community a cooling water amidst a dry season. This type of community relation is no accident. The Council of Churches, the human relations council, the Ministerial Fellowships and other groups must be credited with making a good start towards promoting the American dream.” These words, while written fifty years ago, still resonate today.

*Tour stops are organized in a chronological loop. Use the “Free Roam” option to visit sights in any order you prefer.

Please be mindful that many of the homes on this tour are private residences.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Image: Drawing of Worthington Academy Building once on this site As you look east down Dublin-Granville Rd, the clay bank where the street begins to descend was left by melting glaciers that created a wide river.  This was the site of Amos... Read more
Images: 1) Artist rendtion of the Freeing of Isham, 2) Franklin Chronicle Masthead Let’s think about the lives of two early Justices of the Peace, the highest legal authority in Sharon Township, James Kilbourn and Arora Buttles.   As a t... Read more
The 1830 census for Franklin County lists around 300 “colored” residents.  Of those recorded, only two families (those of Benjamin Lee & John Lee) and several single men lived in Sharon Township.  In 1830 and 1831, Sexton George G... Read more
Images: 1) Union school, 2) Worthington Public School, c. 1880s, 3) 1873 & 1893 public schools on E. Granville from corner of Hartford looking NW, 4) Worthington Public School, c. 1920, 5) Class of 1901, Mary Sheldon back row left, 6) ... Read more
Images: 1) House c. 1940; 2) Current photograph of home The brick portion of this house was moved from the southwest corner of North and High Streets in 1932 to its present location. Ansel Mattoon, a Worthington blacksmith, purchased the ho... Read more
Images: 1) Adams-Bishop-Heath House, 2) Uriah Heath The original owners of this c. 1817-1818 home, Demas and Susan Adams, most likely ran this property as a boarding house associated with the Kilbourn's nearby “Worthington Hotel” and f... Read more
Images: 1) Turk Home, 2) Obituary for Dolly Turk from 1881, 3) Colonial Hills title with racial restriction On April 3rd, 1856, when Charles & Lucy Wiley and Nathan & Sarah Mason sold this property to Henry & Dolly Turk, they ... Read more
The Morris Addition was Worthington’s first subdivision, named after Calvery Morris, a Cincinnati businessman who provided financing for the development, along with George McCullough.  Reverend Uriah Heath, however, was the force behind ... Read more
Images: 1) 195 E. Granville, 2) Harriet Scott's manumission papers, 3) 1872 map of Morris Addition showing James Scott's land, 4) 1894 advertisement for barber Bev Scott from the Westerville Public Opinion This house is located on the north... Read more
As you look across the street, the white house to the left of the brick home was another property owned by the Scott family.  On 10 April 1893, W. F. and Fondelia Griswold sold lot 9 in the Griswold East Side Addition to James Scott for $4... Read more
Images: 1) St John A.M.E. Church, 2) Church Interior, 3) Bethel A.M.E. Revival Notice from 1888, 4) St. John congregation from the mid-1900's, 5) St. John A.M.E. choir In 1819, Rev. Jacob Blakemore organized Methodist Societies around Ohio... Read more
Images: 1) Nora Banks Clark, 2) Jesse Clark's grave at Walnut Grove Cemetery Harry Clark, owned land on the Northeast corner of this intersection and lived here from the 1920s until 1942, when his family moved to the corner of Morning and S... Read more
Images: 1) 174 E. New England Ave, 2) Potter Wright House when next to the 1926 Methodist Church on High Street, 3) Worthington Feed & Transfer Ad from 1926 Worthington News, 4) 680 High Street, Building that was Worthington Feed & ... Read more
Images: 1) "Birdsong" before moved to Short Street on the Methodist Church site, 2) Charles B. Kiner Charles Kiner was one of the four men instrumental in the formation of St. John A.M.E. Church.  He was the son of Benjamin and Frances Ki... Read more
Images: 1) Worthington Inn, 2) Stables visible behind the Inn, 3) Livery and Stable sign next on the corner of High & New England when Hotel Central Frank Corbin, who lived through the 1900s in Worthington  wrote, “No conversation of... Read more


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