Ariel to honor John Gee

GALLIPOLIS — Every community has its heroes and sometimes those in the past just need a little help being brought back to light.

The John Gee Black Historical Center has long been sought to educate others about the region’s African America history in part by telling Ohio Valley about the exploits of local entrepreneur, philanthropist and constructor John Gee. The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre will be holding a presentation telling his tale Feb. 12 at 2 p.m., open and free to the public. Area historian Elaine Armstrong will share Gee’s story with assistance from The Ohio Valley Symphony Woodwind Quintet.

According to oral histories of Gallia County, in 1798 Gee was born in Cincinnati, his mother was a slave, his father was rumored to be William Henry Harrison (later to become a president of the United States of America). Passed Gallipolis reporter Pinckney T. Wall recorded as much in his working notes. Harrison had 10 children with his wife and six with a slave (despite the fact slavery was outlawed by the Northwest Ordinance).