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100 Years Ago


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Randolph Slaves Come to Shelby County, Ohio

African-Americans had been brought to this country involuntarily since 1619 when a handful of captives were sold by the captain of a Dutch man-of-war to settlers at Jamestown. They made up the lowest social class and were brought here to work on the plantations as slaves. The slave trade thrived up until about 1830. Africa made a significant contribution to the population of America, with approximately 8,000,000 African Americans living in the country by the mid 1800s.

After the Civil War, Ohio saw the movement north (including into Shelby County), of freed blacks seeking a new life and employment in the area’s expanding economy.

The Randolph colony of 383 free slaves had moved to Ohio in 1846 after receiving their freedom from John Randolph of Virginia, upon his death, and in settlement of his will’s dictates. Their destination was Mercer County, but animosity greeted them upon their arrival. Many of them finally settled in Shelby County.

James Humphrey of Sidney, Sidney’s first black mayor (1981-1987), is a proud descendent of the freed Randolph Slaves, and keeps their story and heritage alive today by sharing it with many community groups, past and present.

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'Immigration' segment written in November, 1997 by David Lodge

 

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