Pee Pee Settlement
Established in Ohio during the late eighteenth century, the Pee Pee Settlement was a predominantly African-American community.
Located in Pike County, the Pee Pee Settlement was located along Pee Pee Creek in Pebble Township. The creek was named for Peter Patrick, an early white resident of the area, who formerly lived in Virginia. A squatter, Patrick eventually returned to Virginia due to Native-American attacks.
By the 1820s, several African Americans had settled in the area. Most black residents were former slaves from Virginia. Most residents earned a living as farmers, with some becoming sizable landowners. The community grew relatively quickly, with residents establishing a church in 1824. They constructed a school and government building soon thereafter. African-American residents also actively assisted runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad.
Many white residents of Pike County objected to the African Americans' presence. Two white families, the Burkes and the Downings, which lived closest to the Pee Pee Settlement, especially despised the African Americans. On several occasions, these whites led violent attacks against the Pee Pee Settlement. On at least one occasion, whites burnt the home of a black resident, Minor Muntz. Muntz was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Undaunted by the whites' actions, Muntz rebuilt his home.
The Pee Pee Settlement remained a vibrant community until the early 1900s. By this time, the settlement lost its identity as a separate community for African Americans. With whites increasingly showing African Americans tolerance, many African Americans began to find acceptance in traditionally white communities. Difficult economic conditions also prompted many African Americans to move away.
Despite the growing opposition to slavery by some whites during the early 1800s, communities, such as the Pee Pee Settlement, illustrate the prejudice that existed in Ohio during the years before the American Civil War. Ohio was a state that did not allow slavery. Nevertheless, that did not mean that whites were open to granting African Americans equal rights. Free blacks found that it was difficult to get fair treatment, and they often formed their own communities away from whites for protection.