An Ohio Town Too Tiny for Maps

There is a town in Ohio that is so small it often does not appear on maps. Gist Settlement in Penn Township, Highland County Ohio is the name of the town too small for maps. This tiny town was established by a group of freed slaves during the 1820’s.

Yet the town is named after Englishman, Samuel Gist from Gloucester County, England. Gist was very wealthy owning not only land in England, but the Southern U.S. as well. While historians believe Gist probably never visited the U.S. his success was due in part to the work of slaves on his plantations.

Gist made many addendums to his will before he died. The final version called for his slaves in America to be freed one year after his death. Gist also set his will up so that everything he owned in the U.S. would be sold. The profits were to create a trust to care for his freed slaves.

After Gist’s passing his last wishes began to be executed. Executors searched for land on which the freed slaves could settle. The executors found several plots in Ohio. A portion of the freed people came to Highland County and the future Gist Settlement.

The Gist Settlement is still there today and still ignored by maps. The population has shrunk from the estimated 900-some freed people who settled Gist.