Ohio History Journal

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The Rev. Jacob Little, pastor of the Granville Presbyterian

church for over thirty-nine years beginning in 1827, once re-

corded1 that during the year 1834 the village of Granville was

beset by seven distinct evils, namely: (1) embarrassing financial

conditions; (2) a killing frost on May 15; (3) a serious drought

following the frost; (4) a torrential rain at midnight of July 1

followed by a great flood; (5) an epidemic of sickness in the

wake of the flood; (6) a regrettable falling off in religious in-

terests, and (7) the introduction of anti-slavery agitation. The

anti-slavery disturbance Little probably placed last for emphasis.

At any rate, the abolition controversy in Granville and Licking

County, which Little says was introduced in 1834, was to reach

such a pitch of factional excitement and violence during the next

two years that for a time it crowded out all other issues, and it

was to culminate in 1836 in one of the most extraordinarily ap-

pointed gatherings of historic interest ever to be held within the

bounds of Ohio. This meeting was the first annual convention of

the Ohio Anti-slavery Society, which was held in Ashley A.

Bancroft's barn a half-mile north of Granville on April 27 and 28,

1836. Just why this notable meeting should have been held in a

barn and what took place at the convention itself is a story worth


The fires of anti-slavery antagonism which seem to have been

already smouldering in 1834 were fanned into action in Licking

County during the early months of 1835 by the visitations in

Granville and neighboring communities of Theodore Weld. This

vigorous apostle of freedom, who had been an agent of the Amer-

ican Colonization Society in Alabama and an inmate of J. G.

1 Henry Bushnell, History of Granville, Licking County, Ohio (Columbus,

Ohio, 1889).