"Darling Nelly Gray" is a 19th-century popular song written and composed by Benjamin Hanby. It is written as from the point of view of an African-American male slave in Kentucky whose sweetheart has been taken away by slave-owners. The man mourns his beloved, who has been sold South to Georgia (where the slaves life was conventionally regarded as harsher). He eventually dies and joins her in heaven. Hanby composed the song while attending Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio in 1856, in response to the plight of a runaway slave named Joseph Selby or Shelby. Benjamin Hanby's father, Bishop William Hanby, a United Brethren minister who was active in the Underground Railroad, was attempting to raise money to free Selby's beloved.