Homestead / Family
With little help from others, Nelson had a two-story home mansion built beside the road that became known as the National Road (Route 40) later acknowledged by the National Department of Transportation as an All-American Byway.
The National Department of Transportation placed a historical marker in front of the house in June 2002.
The National Park Service: National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom recognized the house in 2004 as an Underground Railroad site and also placed a marker in front of the house. Mr. Gant owned 140 acres of farm land around his house in which a part of it was turned into a park known as Gant’s Grove.
Nelson and Anna Maria became the parents of 12 children, but only four (Elizabeth, Sarah, Margaret, and Nelson Jr.), lived to adulthood. The Gants frequently hosted community picnics in the Gant Grove.
This was considered one of the first integrated parks in the state.
In time, it became the site of many community events (Barnum and Bailey Circus, Negro Baseball League games, Municipal Stadium, Municipal swimming pool). From the 1940s to the early 1960s, it held two pools which were segregated until the larger pool was integrated and the smaller pool demolished.
Mr. Gant supported his family and became a prominent part of the Zanesville community by purchasing an additional 160 acres that had a coal mine and salt lick on it. He sold blocks of ice cut out of the Licking River as well as vegetables grown by his family. He even sold some of his property for a profit.
Gant supported his family and became a prominent part of the Zanesville community by purchasing an additional 160 acres that had a coal mine and salt lick. He’d sell blocks of ice cut out of the Licking river as well as vegetables grown by his family. He would even sell some of his property for a profit.