Twelve months after receiving his freedom, Nelson crossed the Ohio River and eventually arrived in Zanesville. Abolitionists in Putnam and friends in Virginia collected enough money to help Gant buy his wife's freedom in February 1847.
The Gants made Zanesville their permanent home in 1850. Gant worked for Theodore Convers, during which time he bought this land for his home and farm. After Convers died, Gant made his living as a farmer and gardener of specialty vegetables. Although Nelson was a quiet man, oral tradition claims that he often hid slaves in his vegetable wagon to assist them from one safe house to another.
Nelson as quite industrious-he even sold "find strawberries and cream" from the front porch of this homestead. Perhaps as homage to the brick buildings of his old home in Loudoun, Nelson built this house of brick, including the interior walls. Gant also owned a salt lick and a coal mine that produced the largest amount of coal purchased in Muskingum County at the time. A true entrepreneur, he would often dam the river and make ice blocks that he would sell. By hard work and thrift, he saved money and invested it in land. Ultimately he became the owner of more than 300 acres and was a self-made millionaire.
In the old slave tradition, Nelson would host community picnics on July 5th in "Gant's Grove," which he later sold to Townsend Brick to make into public park- one of the first integrated parks in the state. The Municipal Stadium now stands on the grounds that used to be Gant Park.
Nelson T. Gant died July 14, 1905 a well-respected citizen and a millionaire.
|Placed By||This marker was funded by Ohio Department of Transportation, District 5|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 1:10pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||17S E 411926 N 4422202|
|Decimal Degrees||39.94536667, -82.03096667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 39° 56.722', W 82° 1.858'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||39° 56' 43.32" N, 82° 1' 51.48" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 1701-1999 W Pike, Zanesville OH 43701, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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