Underground Railroad - William Hanby House


Underground Railroad - William Hanby House


Underground Railroad


Marker Text: Bishop William Hanby, (1807-1880) courageous and of strong convictions, publicly voiced his scorn at a law that made it a felony to give food to a hungry slave, or shelter to a friendless man. From pulpit, platform, and workbench he condemned the inhumane Fugitive Slave law of 1850. “We may be bound by a man-made law,” he declared, “but we are more bound by a Lord-given conscience.”

With the help of his family, particularly his son Ben, trusted ally and friend, they worked tirelessly to provide food and shelter to runaways who sought refuge in Hanby's barn with the saddle and harness shop. Working in collaboration with Dr. Lewis Davis, president of Otterbein University, they felt a bond of unfailing loyalty and helpfulness with others in the area, who were also dedicated to the kind of services demanded by the Underground Railroad.

When asked how he - a Christian minister - could deliberately break the law of the land, Hanby replies, “When a man made law is in conflict with God's law, there is no compromise - we choose one way or the other. Choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 25:15. These words had been the cornerstone of William Hanby's life.

Location: 160 W. Main Street, Westerville, Ohio




“Underground Railroad - William Hanby House,” Teaching Columbus Historic Places, accessed June 13, 2024, https://teachingcolumbus.omeka.net/items/show/137.