Hansborough story to be told by HCHS


A presentation about the early Black settlement of Hansborough north of Hillsboro will be held at the Highland House Museum in Hillsboro at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The history of the settlement is included in the book “Black History of Highland County Ohio” written by Highland County Historical Society members Kati Burwinkel, Myra Cumberland and John Glaze. All three of them will be speaking at the event.

“All this is in the history book of Highland County, and lots of people have asked about it, so we thought we’d do a program,” said Burwinkel. “I don’t know how many people will come, but we’re offering this program.”

William Hansborough, a white slave owner from Virginia, founded the settlement in Highland County in 1825 when he bought 289 acres there.

The settlement was located on the border of Liberty and Penn townships, east of Samantha and north of S.R. 138 on Wright Road, off of Kincaid Road.

Hansborough’s first wife died and he married Betty Packer, who was one of his slaves. He decided to move to Ohio to escape the laws in the South. He later bought an additional 291 acres, and his family moved to Hansborough in 1840.

The settlement thrived with log homes, a school, the Clear Creek Colored Baptist Church, and a cemetery. It lasted until around 1928, and many Highland County residents have roots from the settlement. At its height, about 100 people lived on the settlement.

The Gist settlement in Highland County that was established by former slaves of Virginian Samuel Gist during the early 19th century is more well-known, but Burwinkel said people should know about the Hansborough settlement as well. “I think people should know history, and it’s part of the history of Highland County, and it’s a little-known story,” she said.

Burwinkel said the story of the settlement ties in to the history of Hillsboro’s Lincoln School. “After Lincoln School was built, and lot of the Hansborough people would come by horseback to Lincoln School,” she said. “Lincoln School actually built a stable to put the horses in, and the teacher from the Hansborough School came and was the first teacher at Lincoln School.”

Burwinkel said she will be bringing a one-horse open sleigh that belonged to a Hansborough family to the event. The sleigh dates back to about 1830.

“It was very successful for its day,” Burwinkel said of the settlement.

All that remains of Hansborough today is remnants of the cemetery.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

Little known Black settlement was north of Hillsboro

By John Hackley

[email protected]

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