Back in May, Mrs. Present and I traveled to nearby Ceredo, WV for a sneak peek of the recently restored Ramsdell House. Many of the objects displayed were found in the home. Please enjoy the pictures. I have a bit of history concerning Z.D. Ramsdell, his house, and the town of Ceredo at the end of the post. Links to more information on Eli Thayer, Ramsdell, and Ceredo are also provided.
Zopher Deane Ramsdell left Massachusetts in 1858. Ramsdell came to Virginia (now West Virginia) to join Eli Thayer’s colony of abolitionists at Ceredo. Thayer believed that if a “free labor” colony were established in a slave state; the benefits of free enterprise would be self-evident. Slaveholders would then, to serve their own best interests, move away from slave labor and adopt the superior free labor system. Thayer chose the town’s location, in part, because it contained fertile land for farming. Ceredo refers to Ceres, the goddess of grain. Thriving abolitionists would also serve their communities through public service, and forward abolitionist principles while in public office. Ramsdell lived Thayer’s ideal of the “abolition colonist” working in leather goods, manufacturing shoes and other leather products. Ramsdell was also involved in the postal service, the Republican Party, and free education. He served as a Quartermaster during the Civil War. Prior to the Civil War, Ceredo’s residents were mostly concerned with the abolition of slavery, and it appears that Ramsdell was deeply involved in the cause. Ceredo is also located on the Ohio River, and speculation is that the community was involved in the Underground Railroad, helping fugitive slave to cross the river into Ohio. It is believed that Z.D. Ramsdell’s home was part of the network.
Z.D. Ramsdell: https://www.theclio.com/web/entry?id=14854
Ceredo, WV: https://townofceredo.com/history