From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gaunt, Wheeling [or Whelan Gant]

(born: 1812  -  died: 1894) 

Wheeling Gaunt, a slave born in Carrollton, KY, was the son of a white merchant and a slave mother who was sold down South when Gaunt was a small child. Gaunt bought his freedom from lawyer John F. Gaunt in 1845 for $900 and also bought his wife Amanda Smith Knight (b. 1821)  and his brother Nick.

Wheeling Gaunt and his family moved to Yellow Springs, OH, where he became a wealthy man. Prior to his death, he donated nine acres of land to the city with the stipulation that the income from the land be used to distribute 25 pounds of flour to Yellow Springs' widows at Christmas. In the 1950s the amount of flour was decreased: the widows receive 10 pounds of flour and 10 pounds of sugar. The tradition has continued for more than a century.

For more see "Widows the benefactors of century-old tradition," by CNN interactive, December 1996; and "Ex-slave honors widows from grave," The Cincinnati Post, 12/17/1996, News section, p. 45A; Robin Heise, "Wheeling Gaunt," 2/3/2013, at the Yellow Springs Heritage website; and Corrie VanAusdal, "Sugar And Flour From Wheeling Gaunt: A Yellow Springs Holiday Tradition," 12/26/2019, on the 91.3 WYSO website.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Carroll County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Carrollton, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Cincinnati post (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Carroll County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Gaunt, Wheeling [or Whelan Gant],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-05-26 15:29:46