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Gus West



Oral history chronicles the amazing story of Augustus "Gus" West.

Gus West was a free man from Virginia who sold himself into slavery, only to escape and return to Fayette County many times. West’s strategy was to split the profits from his sale with Alexander Beatty, the abolitionist who was his accomplice.

After acquiring enough money through this scheme to purchase property, West established the first self-sufficient free African American community in Fayette County, Ohio.

(Research and text for Gus West provided by Alicia Ramirez and Christina Blair, 1999 Washington High School Research History Class, Washington Court House, Ohio.)