By R-H Staff
ELDORADO — On Sunday, June 5, First Universalist Church in Eldorado will welcome Wright State University student Connor Keiser, who will describe his efforts to preserve Longtown, a 200-year-old racially-integrated community in rural western Ohio.
Keiser, 22, is a direct descendet of James Clemens, a freed slave from Virginia who founded Longtown. In 1880, nearly 1,000 people and hundreds of buildings comprised Longtown. Today, only a few structures and about 50 peopel remain in this one vital and historic community.
The Clemens farmstead and barn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are still standing, but have been ravaged by time, weather and wild animals looking for shelter. Keiser is trying to save Longtown by publicizing its history and raising money to renovate and preserve the existing historic structures. His goal is to open the Clemens Farmstead to the public. He has been giving presentations to interested audiences in an effort to educate the public about the historic significance of Longtown as a mixed-race community.
Guest speaker on June 19 will be southwestern artist Jay Whitewolf, from Colorado. Whitewolf spoke a couple years ago at the church, on native spirituality. This time her topic is “Treasure Hunt” an examination of the creativity “that is a gift from God that sometimes is buried deep within us,” church officials said.
Services begin at 10:30 a.m. and are followed by refreshments at 11:30 a.m.