Buffalo Heritage Press
Gretchen has always has a serious interest in the underground railroad. She grew up in a small Ohio River town named Gallipolis (French: “City of the Gauls”) in Gallia County along the Ohio River. The town was an Underground Railroad rossing site. Ohio, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line was not a slave state and it had the most Underground Railroad routes of any state settled there. The Emancipation proclamation has been celebrated and observed in Gallia county, Ohio, continuously sine 183, one of the longest continuously running celebrations of the historic event in the United States. Gretchen’s early degrees were in music Education (Chicago Musical college at Roosevelt University), Creative and Gifted Education(M.A. Buffalo State College), and Educational Administration and Supervision (M.S. Canisius College, Buffalo New York). With her husband she was a Haus Villigst Exchange student at Heidelberg University, Germany. In research for her doctoral dissertation for the New York State University at Buffalo (Ph.D.) she used both traditional historical and oral historical methods, included oral interviews of elderly one-room schoolhouse teachers, the majority of whom attended one-room schools in southern, rural Ohio, and all of whom began teaching in the early 1900s. Two of these teachers were African American woman. Both attended Rio Grande College, which is now Rio Grande University, near Gallipolis; and both shared oral accounts about how they managed campus racial restrictions and about those college faculty persons who educated them in their homes. Their experiences left a lasting impression on Gretchen (currently a retired career teacher) and generated many unanswered questions about the history of the UGRR
Dennis spent his early years in Coshocton, a small town in east-central Ohio. Dennis graduated from the college of Wooster, McCormick Theological Seminary, became an ordained Presbyterian minister, and continued at the University of Heidelberg (wither Gretchen) and the University of Chicago and has done postgraduate research at Yale, Yeshiva, and Heidelberg Universities.
Dennis is a T.B. Blackstone Fellow (ancient Greek,) a University of Chicago Fellow, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow (at Heidelberg).
He has authored books and technical studies in his field, held offices in professional societies, given academic presentations in the United States, Europe, and South Africa, and spent time in the Middle East. He is Professor Emeritus, Canisius College, Buffalo, New York, where he was the recipient of the Kenneth Koessler Distinguished Faculty Award for teaching, concern for students, service, and scholarship. He was local “Environmentalist of the Year” in 2013, and plays gold and keyboards in a jazz group, the Water Street Quartet.