117 South Adams was the home of John Hamilton and his wife Mary J. Roper. They were married in 1894, possibly in Canada. John was born in Kentucky in the early 1840s, possibly into slavery. A day laborer, John died in 1910. His wife, Mary J. Roper, was born in Indiana to Henry Roper and Susan Davis. Mary was a cook at local hotels. Her Indiana home was in Wayne County, also home to active abolitionists in Richmond and renowned activist Levi Coffin in what is today Fountain City. Coffin often organized fugitives to travel through southern Michigan, including Ypsilanti. In Indiana, the Ropers lived nearby Moses Artis.
Mary’s father, Henry, was born in Virginia and her mother, Susannah Davis, in Pennsylvania. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, the family relocated to the area around Chatham, Ontario where they would live until around 1890 when many Ropers, including Mary’s brother Chester and (possible) aunt Charlotte, moved to Ypsilanti. Mary passed away in March, 1912.