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Preserving a Family Legacy

Charity's Children Project

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About

Charity’s Children Project, Inc. and The Legacy of Charity’s Children, LLC (TLCC) was founded to preserve the inspiring heritage of early Ohio settlers, John Isaac Davis and his daughter, Charity Davis Caesar Broady who was of African and Ani'-Yun'wiya (Cherokee) descent. A family in the first free state, since its inception, TLCC represents 12 generations (and counting) in the Miami Valley of Dayton, Ohio since 1803/1804. Mrs. Broady is one of Dayton’s most iconic and historical figures as an abolitionist, suffragist and co-founder of the First Wesleyan Church, a major location in the Underground Railroad and a site selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “1,000 Places Where Women Made History.” The vision of TLCC includes a multi-phased plan that seeks a place of permanence for cultural enrichment and community engagement, including exhibits, genealogical research and special events for artistic expression and development.

1802-1899

Charity Davis Caesar Broady

Family, oral and written histories state that around 1803/1804 formerly enslaved John Isaac Davis left the Louisville, Kentucky, area and brought his family, including his infant daughter, to the Miami Valley. 

Little is known of Charity Davis' mother except that she was a Cherokee woman who gave birth to Charity in 1802. Charity was free born because of her mother's indigenous nativity, but to f
urther insure the child's freedom, John Davis journeyed across the Ohio river to the first free state, settling on the banks of the Miami in the village of Dayton.

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From Louisville, Kentucky to Dayton, Ohio

The distance from Louisville, KY to Dayton, Ohio is approximately 153 miles. Based on mileage and today's terrain, the trip would take two days to travel by foot with no stops. During the 1800s, the trip took several days.

The Underground Railroad in Dayton, OH

Abolitionist, Suffragist, Nurse 

In her youthful twenties, under the threat of criminal prosecution, Charity worked with Sojourner Truth on the Underground Railroad to guarantee safe passage of the fugitive slaves to Canada. 
 

Charity became a conductor in Dayton's Underground Railroad. Known as the "Colored nurse or Negro nurse,"  Charity trained and worked with Dr. Hibbert Jewett and abolitionist Major Luther B. Bruen.

"Auntie" Broady,” as she was known by her beloved Dayton community, was a defining pioneer, a child bride and wife to two husbands, mother to thirteen children, a freedom fighter, washer woman, nurse and early suffragist. C. C. Broady is listed among the attendees at the 1851 Women's Right Convention in Akron, Ohio where Sojourner Truth delivered the famed “Ain't I A Woman Speech.” 

"The Mother Church" of Dayton, OH

First Wesleyan Church

As a survivor of several Dayton pro slavery mob attacks 

that understandably forced many Black citizens to leave the area, Charity’s commitment to stay in the city, to reclaim and rebuild, became the tie that bound a “mob- torn town.” 
 

Charity was a charter member and trustee of the United Daughters of Zion who founded the "Mother Church," First Wesleyan. Dayton's first Black church was born, "out of the smoke and ashes" of the 1841 pro slavery mob attacks on that city's Black community called Africatown


The United Daughters of Zion - Mrs. Harriett E. Wade, Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson, Mrs. Maria Robinson, Mrs. Peggie Anderson, and Mrs. Charity Davis Caesar Broady - purchased the land, built two churches, in 1842 and 1854, then gifted the deed to First Wesleyan. 
 
The "Mother Church" gave birth to the city’s first school for Black children and was the place where James Davis founded the abolitionist organization, The American Sons of Protection. The Church, became the epicenter of interracial worship and reform and over 180 years later, continues to serve. 

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The Firewatchers

Dedicating her life to reclaiming and rebuilding the Dayton community, Charity and other survivors of the Africatown attacks organized Black citizens who formed the Firewatchers. Rather than sleep at night, they gathered their families to sit outside, watching their roofs, and patrolling Dayton streets to guard against threatening pro slavery mobs. 

Shining gem of Ohio

Charity's Lasting Legacy

The enduring impact of Charity Davis Caesar Broady on the Dayton community cannot be overstated and may likely be unmatched. She was a pillar dedicated to the protection of the Black citizenry and the unification of her treasured community.


Within our family archives is Jewelia G. Higgins' handwritten story detailing the life of her great-grand mother, Charity. She writes of the little girl who "grew up with the city of Dayton.” She writes of Mother Charity’s love and adoration for her many friends in the village she watched become a metropolis.
 

It is quite likely that without the dedicated efforts of Charity Davis Caesar Broady, the 1800s mob-torn community of Dayton may not have survived the terror of hate to become the shining gem of Ohio. 

The 1870’s home of Charity Davis Broady, located on 60/62 Eaker Street in Dayton, Ohio, the second home on the right. Broady's home was located near the Eaker Street AME Church.

CHARITY'S CHILDREN

Images used with permission from The Legacy of Charity's Children LLC. Reproduction and redistribution of these images without express written consent is prohibited. Charity's Children is a trademark of The Legacy of Charity's Children LLC. © 2023

Resources

The Charity's Children Project, Inc. currently houses generations of family archives, artifacts and antiques that tell the family’s story through pictures, letters, postcards, journals, and books. Through our nonprofit, we work tirelessly to assess, catalog, transcribe and digitize this rare collection in order to make it available as a resource for historians, educators, and students interested in African American history, heritage and perspectives.

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