The life story of Augustus West, a slave who moved to Ohio in 1837 and was eventually allowed to purchase his freedom, will be told by Joyce Saulsbery-Dennis during a Greenfield Historical Society presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 in the Konneker Education Museum, 243 South Street, Greenfield.
Born in Greenfield, Saulsbery-Dennis has lived most of her life in Columbus. She spent all of her summers as a child visiting and staying with her grandmother, Florence Ada Davis Cannon Rickman, in Greenfield. It was during those years that she developed a love for Greenfield and for her family. As a child she was interested in knowing who her family was and always asked questions. Her mother, Anna Belle Cannon Saulsbery, always had answers and always enjoyed sharing her love of family.
A great-uncle, Claudius Cannon, often wrote to Saulsberry-Dennis, sharing the family history. To this day, his letters speak from the grave and share much of the family history with her. It is his letters that led her to find the burial and resting place of most of the family including West. Modern technology also enabled her to fill in many blanks and to obtain records and documents pertinent to the family history.
As Saulsbery-Dennis says, “God knew where he was buried and had the historical marker placed where it should have been placed in the Greenfield Cemetery.”
Married to Charles R. Dennis and mother of three adult daughters – Denise, Jacqueline and I’na – Saulsbery-Dennis is retired from Lucent Technologies after 32 years. She also worked as a secretary at the Sonshine Christian Academy of the 12 years. She has relocated to the place of her birth, Greenfield, where she is able to continue her search of family history.
Salsbury-Dennis is a 30-year member of the Rhema Christian Center, where she is a teacher. She became a licensed minister in August 2011. An avid genealogist and family historian, she has been researching the families of West for more than 35 years.
As West made his way toward Greenfield, his first stop in Ohio was in Hillsboro.
Jennifer West, a librarian at the Highland County District Library in Hillsboro, contributed to this story.