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Shelby County's First Blacks

Although blacks may have been in Shelby County at an earlier date, the first documented arrival was in the early 1820s when William Roberts moved to Salem Township from Virginia. An avowed emancipationist, and owner of slaves, it is said that he moved to Ohio in order to grant his slaves their freedom. Upon reaching Ohio territory his slaves were freed; however, one black man chose to stay with the Roberts family until they reached Shelby County. As a paid employee and worker he helped Roberts to clear trees and undergrowth from four acres of land so that the family could begin the process of cultivating crops. 

'Black History' segment written in June, 1998 by David Lodge

 

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