A tale of two cities. During the time of the Underground Railroad, Zanesville and Putnam were two communities separated by the Muskingum River with two distinct moral views. The people in Zanesville were proslavery, in Putnam antislavery. Battle lines were drawn several times on the bridge that joined the two. This marker is in memory of the former slaves: Mess Johnson, 1st runaway to settle here, Nelson T. Gant, who became a millionaire, Joshua Simpson, who wrote "Emancipation Car", George and Mammy Roots, who owned a tavern, the storekeeper in Putnam who was an operator, and the countless of others who stole up the river, hid in caves and attics, followed the stars in search of freedom whose names we will never know. To the Abolitionists of Putnam and Zanesville: the Guthries,
Buckinghams, Grangers, Beckwidths, Col. Nye, Rev. Beecher, Dr. Kingsbury, Rev. Jackson, and Z.M. Chandler and other families who were listed as operators or Abolitionists. The churches whose faithful members took a stand and played a part: Putnam Presbyterian, Moxahala Methodist, St. Paul AME, Union Baptist, Market St. Baptist, and others who believed God created all men equal. To the numerous men and women of both races who lit a candle, left food, clothes and money out on a table or ledge, who hid them in their barns, attics and secret corners, who guided them on to the next station. Their names and stories may never be told, but their courage remains alive in this timeless memorial. A tale of two cities, a community united as one.