Harveysburg, Ohio

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Harveysburg is a village in Massie Township, Warren County, Ohio, United States. As of the 2000 census, the village population was 563, up from 437 in 1990. It is best known as the home of the Ohio Renaissance Festival.



Established in 1831 in Harveysburg, the Harveysburg Free Black School was the first free school for African-American children in Ohio. Quakers Jesse and Elizabeth Harvey founded the school. Like most Quakers, the Harveys believed strongly in education. They also believed in equal opportunity for African Americans with whites. Elizabeth Harvey was especially concerned about the lack of free education for Ohio's African-American children and convinced her husband to construct a one-room schoolhouse to assist black children in attaining an education. While the institution is now known as the Harveysburg Free Black School, the school permitted any children of color to attend. Constructed of brick, the Harveysburg Free Black School remained in operation as a school until the early 1900s, when African-Americans were finally permitted to attend historically white schools in the community. The school relied on donations, principally from the Grove Monthly Meeting of Friends in Harveysburg, to remain open. In addition to opening the Harveysburg Free Black School, the couple also established a seminary for white children in the community Old black school.jpg

Upon the school's closing, the building became a private home. In 1976, the Harveysburg Bicentennial Committee acquired the building and restored it to its original appearance. The Harveysburg Free Black School now serves as the Harveysburg Community Historical Society's headquarters

Information from Ohio historical marker at building site: Side A of Historical Marker: "Harveysburg" The Quaker village of Harveysburg was founded in 1829 on land originally a part of Colonel Abraham Buford's Revolutionary War Land Grant. Levi Lukens, a Virginia Quaker, purchased the 1000 - acre survey in 1812 and sold a portion to Rhoden Ham in 1815. Ham then sold a portion of his holdings to William Harvey, a Quaker originally from North Carolina, who developed 47 lots for a village which thrived from its beginnings. Early businesses included grist mills, a tin shop, hardware store, blacksmith shop, a large pork packing plant, a bank, and a dry goods store owned by William Harvey. Its first post office opened in 1839. Harveysburg was incorporated in 1844. The village received its name from a merchant in Cincinnati who told William Harvey that he should add burg to his name and call the place Harveysburg.

Side B of historical marker: "The Harveysburg School" In Harveysburg's early years Elizabeth Harvey, wife of Dr. Jesse Harvey, recognized the need to educate African American and Native American children in the area. The Harveys built the Harverysburg School in 1831, which was one of the first schools for such minority children in Ohio and the Northwest Territory. It was supported by the Harveys and members of the Grove Monthly Meeting of Friends. Stephen Wall, a wealthy North Carolina plantation owner, provided funding to relocate eight slave children and their families to Harveysburg for their education at this school. Orindatus S.B. Wall, oldest son of Steven became the first regular commissioned African American captain in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. This school closed in 1909 when classes became too small to continue. In 1976 the Harveysburg Bicentennial Committee purchased the building, restored it, and opened it to the public as a symbol of freedom through education.

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