John Brown wasn’t the only abolitionist to make history in West Virginia. While Brown launched his raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859 to arm slaves, Eli Thayer established his colony “Ceredo” in 1857 to peacably demonstrate the efficiency of free labor.
Author and historian Kenneth Bailey will discuss the history of Ceredo, West Virginia, at the W.Va. State Cultural Center in Charleston at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 6. His program, “Civil War Ceredo: A Northern Experiment,” examines the community as revealed through Charles B. Webb, an early settlers who became a newspaper publisher and wrote of his experiences before, during, and after his living in the community.
Thayer hoped that the project would succeed in eliminating slavery and avoiding war, Bailey said, though Brown’s raid eventually led to a lack of support to the Ceredo project. Bailey is the author of four books and several articles on West Virginia and is a former dean of the College of Business, Humanities and Sciences at West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
The history of Ceredo is also explored at the Zopher D. Ramsdell House, now a museum, at Ceredo.