David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker’s new book “Historic Black Settlements of Ohio,” published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, will be available for purchase Feb. 3. (Photo courtesy of Arcadia Publishing)
David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker’s new book “Historic Black Settlements of Ohio,” published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, will be available for purchase Feb. 3. (Photo courtesy of Arcadia Publishing)
Father-daughter coauthors David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker’s new book “Historic Black Settlements of Ohio,” published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, will be available for purchase Feb. 3.

According to a press release from Arcadia Publishing: “In the years leading up to the Civil War, Ohio had more African American settlements than any other state. Owing to a common border with several slave states, it became a destination for people of color seeking to separate themselves from slavery.



“Despite these communities having populations that sometimes numbered in the hundreds, little is known about most of them, and by the beginning of the 20th century, nearly all had lost their ethnic identities as the original settlers died off and their descendants moved away.

“Save for scattered cemeteries and an occasional house or church, they have all but been erased from Ohio's landscape. Father-daughter coauthors David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker piece together the stories of more than 40 of these black settlements.”

One chapter of the book is dedicated to the history of the Gist Settlement in Fairfield and Penn Townships in Highland County. Another chapter also discusses Samuel Gist’s settlements in the Brown County area. As written in the book, Gist’s “will stipulated that within one year, his slaves would be freed and his property in America sold in order to provide for them and their heirs forever” when he died in 1815.

The authors describe the history of these settlements and some of their residents. The book also discusses the legal repercussions of Gist’s will, including estate issues that occurred around the time of his death and other ensuing court cases, including ones as recently as the past decade.

Other area settlements discussed include the Ripley area in Brown County; Carr’s Run, the Straight Creek Settlement and the Pee Pee Settlement in Pike County; the Stillguest or Hicks Settlement in Ross County; and Houston Hollow in Scioto County.

The following information on the authors is courtesy of Arcadia Publishing:

“David Meyers, a graduate of Miami and Ohio State Universities, has written a number of local histories, as well as several novels and works for the stage. His most recent novel, ‘Hello, I Must Be Going,’ merges his vast novel of music history with his gift for storytelling. David was recently inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for his contributions to local history.

“Elise Meyers Walker is a graduate of Hofstra University and Ohio University. A former board member of the Columbus Historical Society and the Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, she describes herself as an analyst, researcher, performer, author, organizer, project manager, event planner, teacher, saleswoman, Lego artist, mother and adventuress. Her particular interest is true crime.

“She has collaborated with her father, David, on a dozen local histories, including Ohio’s Black Hand Syndicate and Lynching and Mob Violence in Ohio. Both have been featured on programs broadcast on A&E, Discovery ID and other cable network. They are both available for presentations.

“The authors’ website is www.explodingstove.com, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram @explodingstove.”

“Historic Black Settlements of Ohio” will be available beginning Feb. 3 through www.arcadiapublishing.com or at www.historypress.net. As the nation’s leading publisher of books of local history and local interest, Arcadia’s mission is to connect people with their past, with their communities and with one another. Arcadia has an extraordinary catalog of more than 15,000 local titles and publishes 500 new books of local interest and local history each year.