The Historic National Road in OhioNelson Talbot Gant was freed from slavery by the last will and testament of his owner, John Nixon, September of 1845 in Loudoun County, Virginia. However, Gant's wife, Maria, was a slave to Jane Russell of Leesburg, Virginia. According to Virginia law at the time, he was required to leave the state no more than a year after being freed. Reluctantly, he left in October of 1846 promising to return for her. Gant traveled to Zanesville, where many of the former Nixon slaves had taken residence. He became acquainted with and enlisted the help of abolitionists and agents of the Underground Railroad in Zanesville and Putam, a decidedly anti-slavery community across the Muskingum River from Zanesville.
In November, Gant returned to Virginia and made another attempt to buy his wife. His offer was refused. With no alternatives, he and Maria simply left. Gant and his wife were caught in Washington, D.C. and put in jail. A month later they were taken to Virginia where Maria was returned to her owner and Nelson remained in jail.
On December 12, 1846, Gant was put on trial for stealing his wife. He was acquitted of the charges since a wife could not be compelled to testify against her husband. Two months later, enough money had been collected from friends in Ohio and Virginia to buy Maria's freedom.
In June 1850, Nelson, Maria, and their one-year old daughter returned to Zanesville. Nelson purchased land for a home and farm along the National Road and made a very successful living growing and selling specialty vegetables.
The Road That Helped Build The Nation.An All American Road—National Scenic Byway
|Series||This marker is part of the The Historic National Road series|
|Placed By||Presented by the Ohio National Road Association, Inc|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 5:57am 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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