Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Paul Tyler and Lucy Depp Park

Paul Tyler, a Columbus South High School graduate born in 1908, was a well traveled saxophonist who played with a number of orchestras, Sammy Stewart, Captain Warmack’s Algerians, Thomas Howard’s Orchestra DeLuxe, the 25th Battallion Ohio Guard Military Band. He was an inspiration to Harry “Sweets” Edison and talked him into joining Earl Hood’s Orchestra when Sweets was a fourteen year old trumpeter.

Paul had lived on St. Clair Avenue and when I met him in 1980, he was residing in Lucy Depp Park, a residential community in Shawnee Hills, Delaware County. The land was originally an eight hundred-ninety acre parcel of land given to Columbus resident Joseph Sullivant by President James Monroe in 1817 for military service.

Sullivant’s son, Lucas, inherited the land and sold three hundred acres of it to a freed man from Virginia, Abram Depp, in 1835 for $1100.00. Depp settled on the land and established a freedom stop for runaway slaves.

A cave housed the fugitive slaves near the banks of the Scioto River on the original three hundred acre settlement, but the placement of the O’Shaughnessy Dam has obscured the site. The area became a retreat for wealthy Central Ohio Black families, of which Paul Tyler was one, and many of them built summer cottages on small lots.

Today, Lucy Depp Park houses permanant residences and across State Route 745, there is a small cemetery that has scattered graves indicating resting places of some of the original Depp settlers. Decendants of the Depp Family still live in the Dublin area and nearby Plain City.

Arnett Howard and Stewart Bernstein

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