Moncure Daniel Conway
Moncure Daniel Conway was born on March 17, 1832 in Stafford County, Virginia, the son of Walker Peyton and Margaret Daniel Conway. His father was a wealthy slaveholder and prominent state legislator and county court justice official while his mother, who opposed slavery, introduced her son to abolitionism. Conway graduated from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania in 1849 and from Harvard Divinity School in 1854. Despite his southern aristocratic background, Conway, influenced by his mentor and friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, strongly opposed slavery and eventually religious orthodoxy. Much of Conway's career was spent abroad, where he became a writer and scholar, writing such notable biographies as Emerson at Home and Abroad (1882), Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1890), and Life of Thomas Paine (1892).
The Conway Colony
The cabin of Dunmore and Eliza Gwinn, the leading family in the Conway Colony, was located east of this site and overlooking Glen Helen. In 1862, Reverend Moncure D. Conway, who in 1858 had served as minister for the First Congregationalist Church in Cincinnati, established a colony here for former slaves from his family's plantation in Falmouth, Virginia. Fighting between Union and Confederate forces near the plantation had displaced the family slaves and a large group of them assembled in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. to join Conway for the arduous journey through slave-holding states to Ohio. Conway believed that the colony would be accepted in Yellow Springs, a village known for its progressive ways, due partly to the influence of Horace Mann, the president of Antioch College for its first six years.