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History & Genealogy


The Firelands Pioneer Quarterly
Published by
The Firelands Historical Society
Headquarters in
The Firelands Memorial Building
Norwalk, Ohio
Published at Norwalk, Ohio
The American Publishers Company.

New Series

Volume V

July 1888

1-59    60-104   105-128
Table of Contents for Vol V - July 1888

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Of the Firelands Historical Society, and its Board of
Directors and Trustees
Meeting of the Directors and Trustees
September 20, 1887.





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     The following persons between the ages of 65 and 91 were present at the Berlin Heights meeting of the Firelands Historical Society, viz.:
     Cyrus Strong, Wakeman, aged 91 years; Wm. Dawes, New Hampton, Iowa, aged 86 years; Mrs. O. C. Tillinghast, Berlin, aged 86 years; D. W. Tenant, Berlin, aged 85 years; Mrs. Lucretia Gregg, Norwalk, aged 83 years; Wm. Tillinghast, Toledo, aged 82 years; J. T. Reynolds, Berlin aged 82 years; Bowen Case, Florence, aged 82 years; Mrs. S. K. Newman, Norwalk, aged 82 years; H. L. Hill, Berlin, aged 80 years; Capt. T. C. McGee, Sandusky, aged 79 years; E. O. Merry, Bellevue, aged 78 years; George Burdue, Berlinville, aged 77 years; E. P. Hill, Berlin, aged 76 years; I. N. Reed, Berlin, aged 76 years; Leonard Fisk, Berlin, aged 76 years; Judge Frederick Wickham, Norwalk, aged 76 years; Lemuel Sherman, Norwalk, aged 76 years; Isaac E. Town, Olena, aged 76 years; J. S. Davis, Berlin, aged 75 years; Mrs. H. L. Hill, Berlin, aged 74 years; Capt. F. A. Wildman, Norwalk, aged 74 years; Hon. E. Bogardus, North Monroeville, aged 74 years; Judge J. R. Osborn, Toledo, aged 74 years; Thomas Harrison, Florence, aged 74 years; J. C. Lockwood, Milan, aged 73 years; J. W. Fitch, Milan, aged 72 years; C. W. Manahan, Norwalk, aged 72 years; S. S. Phillips, Berlin, aged 72 years; R. C. Dean, Townsend, aged

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72 years; F. G. Lockwood, Milan, aged 71 years; J. D. Easton, Monroeville, aged 71 years; George Chase, Berlin, aged 71 years; Mrs. E. P. Hill, Berlin, aged 70 years; Mrs. R. M. Ransom, Berlin, aged 70 years; Wm. Wait, Berlinville, aged 70 years; L. S. Stow,
Milan, aged 70 years; Mrs. Betsey Kelley, Milan, aged 70 years; J. D. Chamberlain, Norwalk, aged 69 years; M. Lipsett, Sandusky, aged 69 years; J. M. Wentworth, Huron, aged 68 years; Judge A. W. Hendry, Sandusky, aged 67 years; Hon. Clark Waggoner, Toledo, aged 67 years; C. E. Newman, Norwalk, aged 67 years; Erastus Ivory, Norwalk, aged 67 years; S. T. Howe, Norwalk, aged 67 years; Isaac McKesson, Townsend, aged 67 years: S. A. Lockwood, Milan, aged 67 years; Mrs. George Chase, Berlin, aged 67 years; W. G. Benschoter, Berlin, aged 66 years; H. T. Smith, Berlin, aged 66 years; Mrs. Leonard Fisk, Berlin, aged 66 years; Mrs. Clarissa H. Waite, Berlinville, aged 66 years; Mrs. C. E. Newman, Norwalk, aged 66 years; M. Wines, Florence, aged 66 years; Mrs. Thomas Harrison, Florence, aged 65 years; Mrs. W. G. Benschoter, Berlin, aged 65 years; H. P. Starr, Birmingham, aged 65 years.
     A. M. Folger, of Berlin Heights, aged 94 years, hoped to be present but was not able to come.
     Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Tuttle, of Berlin Heights, anticipated the pleasure of meeting old friends, at this pioneer gathering, but his serious illness prevented.  They are 89 and 88 years of age, respectively; they have been married 68 years and are probably the oldest married couple on the Firelands.


Meeting of the Directors and Trustees
JANUARY 3, 1888


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     The following notice was published in the newspapers of the Firelands.







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     The following editorial notice appeared in the Norwalk Chronicle.







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At Milan, February 22, 1888.

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Meeting of the Directors and Trustees
APRIL 9, 1888






F. D. Parish

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An Address delivered at the Fall Meeting of the Firelands
Historical Society, held in Berlin Heights, Oct. 27, 1887
By Hon. H. F. Paden, Mayor of Clyde, Ohio

     The compromise measures of 1850, prepared by Henry Clay, and carried through Congress largely by his influence, constitute a marked phase in the long-waged "irrepressible conflict" between the northern and southern sections of the Union, over the issue of human slavery.  For the information of the younger persons who may listen to this paper, let me in a few words outline what that compromise was.
     The war with Mexico had been fought, adding vastly to the national domain   Texas, wrested by force of arms from the neighboring republic, was in the Union as a slave-holding state; but there remained the open, irritating question, what should be the status of the remainder of the wide extent of territory acquired from Mexico? The events which eleven years later culminated in civil war were projeting their shadows plainly into view - shadows which the statesmanship of the time sought to dissipate forever by a breath of temporary concession and compromise.  Hence the series of measures known as the compromises of 1850, which, as practically agreed to and carried out, were: -
     First - The South conceded to the North the admission of California as a free state, and the abolition of the slave trade - not  of slavery itself - in the District of Columbia.
     Second - The North conceded to the South a stringent fugitive slave law, and the admission of New Mexico and Utah to ter-

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territorial organization without a word pro or con on the subject of slavery, but in the understanding that they were finally to form slave states.
     As then looked upon, the real gain in this compact was believed to be with the North - anti-slavery being advanced two steps, while the pro-slavery cause could gain only in the contingency that the new territories should ultimately become slave states; and the soil and climate of these were ill adapted to the “peculiar institution.”
     For a little while it seemed as though a permanent settlement had been made.  But the fugitive slave law feature soon proved the entering wedge to a fierce reopening of agitation.  In operation it was cruel to brutality; harsh in its methods of returning to bondage slaves who really had escaped from their masters, and affording likewise a shield and support to the kidnapping of free negroes from the Northern States.  These things shocked the morals and consciences of Northern people, a speedy outcome of which was a greatly intensified anti-slavery sentiment in the free states; a sentiment that alike voiced itself in emphatic words, and at the same time organized various means to thwart the unrighteous operations of an unrighteous law.
     Hence the "Underground Railroad" and "Grapevine Telegraph," concerning which I have been courteously invited by your committee to read a paper here to-day.
     "Underground Railroad" was simply a mythical name for an organized system of aiding escaped slaves to reach Canada; the “Grapevine Telegraph,” a similar mythical designation of the means whereby intelligence as to their movements, and the movements of pursuing parties, was carried from post to post.  These “posts” were usually the quiet homes of Quakers, and other peaceful, liberty-loving people, in villages and country places, extending in chains from the north bank of the Ohio river, principally across Indiana, Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, to the south shore of Lake Erie.  Nor were they without co-operating auxiliaries in states like Tennessee and Kentucky.  At these places the flying
fugitives, singly or in bands, would find hiding, rest, refreshment, supplies of clothing if needed, and at the proper time be forwarded on their journey, usually in wagons under cover of night, until from some favorable point they could travel by rail direct to the south shore of the lake.  Here again were resting and hiding


places, whence the dark-skinned runaways would make their final strike for the "happy land of Canaan" beyond the welcome waters.
     I pass now to two reminiscences, illustrative incidents, of the events in one of which I was an observer, and in those of the other an humble subordinate actor.
     Near the close of the bright day in the autumn of 1852 there landed at Sandusky,-from a train on the old Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad, a party of fugitives - men, women and children.  The Kentucky owners of a part of them, aided by professional pursuers, had successfully tracked them and at Tiffin had boarded the same train.  These owners found no Federal authorities at Sandusky, except a Collector of Customs and a Postmaster; there was neither a United States Commissioner nor Deputy Marshal.  Earl Bill, one of earth’s noblemen, had resigned the Commissionership rather than perform the things required of him by the fugitive slave act, as had likewise a Deputy Marshal, whose name I do not remember, thrown up his office for the same reason.  A coarse, ignorant, well-meaning man named Rice was City Marshal.  To him the slave-owners applied, and just as the escaping blacks were ready to go aboard a Canada-bound steamer, Marshal Rice arrested them and took them to the office of the Mayor; A moonlit evening was by this time fairly on.  Within a less number of minutes than it has taken to write one of these sentences, the office was filled with excited, angry people.  Mayor F. M. Follett declined to assume jurisdiction over the fugitives, in whose behalf Rush R. Sloane, then a young lawyer with an office near by, was hurriedly called.  The crowd and the excitement swelled with every moment, till the stairway and halls of the building in which was the Mayor’s office were thronged with people, and an agitated multitude filled the streets below.  Pistols and knives were ostentatiously flourished, but no one seemed to fear them.  In some way Mr. Sloane was gotten into the room.  His first inquiry was for the process or authority by which the arrest had been made, or under which the prisoners were detained.  There was none, no writ of any court or magistrate, no process of any sort, only the word of the Kentuckians that the “niggers” were their property and were running away.
     “Then,” said Mr. Sloane, speaking with deliberate calmness, “my friends, there is nothing in the world to hinder you from going when and where you please.”

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At this decisive moment I stood on a box just outside the door, holding by the hand a young son of Earl Bill, left in my charge by his father.  As the words I have quoted fell from Mr. Sloane’s lips, there was a rush, a roar of voices, people plunging through halls and down stairways as though they had been fired from something; and this is about all I have ever been able to recall of this part of the affair.  In some way or other the boy and myself got down at the rear of the building, passed out to Market street, and thence to Columbus avenue in front.  It seemed but an instant of time since the rush, yet both streets were as quiet as they had been turbulent a few seconds before - very few persons in sight, and none who could say what had become of the negroes or their claimants, or account for the complete disappearance of the crowd of people.  The latter has been a problem to me from that day.  And beyond the fact that the Kentuckians returned home a few days later, baffled, unattended by their men and women chattels, twenty-five years passed before I learned anything further.
     As to the fugitives I can now tell this much; there may be others who know and could reveal more, but my lips are sealed for the lifetime of my informant.  That party of fugitive slaves - for such they were in truth and in fact - was carried to Canada concealed in the hold of a sailing vessel, by a lake captain, then and now a robust Democrat in politics, a man with a conscience and a heart, for many years past a well-known, honored citizen, resident of one of the lake cities.  His vessel was boarded by a searching party, but when he was found to be in command no search was made; his personal and political standing precluded the idea that he could be engaged in “running off niggers.”  Yet he did land those very fugitives safely in Canada.  In 1877 the captain himself told me the story in detail, to be kept in confidence as to his personality while he should live; and he is a man whose word no one who knows him would dream of doubting.*
     A criminal action brought by the slave-owners against Mr. Sloane, for his part in the affair, was tried two years later before a United States Court, at a term held in Columbus.  Mr. Sloane was mulcted in a fine, or penal judgment, in the sum of $3,000, which he paid from the moderate earnings of those early days in his career.  It is tolerably certain that the prominence acquired by him through this fugitive slave episode was an important factor in

     *Capt. James Nugent, of Sandusky, now deceased.


the foundation of the future political and personal fortunes of Rush R. Sloane, whose conduct throughout, from the original occurrence in 1852 until final payment of the unrighteous judgment awarded against him, was upright and honorable; his bearing, under the trying circumstances, modest, brave, and altogether creditable.
     My next reminiscence is necessarily more personal in its nature, but I shall try to relate it with becoming modesty.  The part I bore in it might have been popular at the time, if known, but my own mind was ill at ease for a long while afterwards - not so much on account of the thing itself perhaps, as because of its possible consequences.  In maturer years things appear differently, and the misgivings of that time, between seeming duty on the one hand and the natural promptings of humanity on the other, which caused me frequent trouble in matters of this sort, have long since cleared away; so that now, in the beginning of the period of gray hairs and waning strength, what was once a thorn to the spirit has become a beneficent memory, lighting the present with grateful radiance borne down from the past.
     The events about to be related occurred on Christmas day and night of 1859 or 1860 - I cannot be certain as to the year.  I was at that period a passenger conductor on the old Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark Railroad, between Sandusky and Newark.  This particular winter, cold weather came early, continued with persistent steadiness, and lasted late.  As a result Lake Erie was passable by a bridge of ice, fractured by occasional cracks and punctured at intervals with the openings for air upon which nature always insists, from the south shore to Canada, the season through.  It was after the Harper’s Ferry raid and subsequent hanging of John Brown had imparted new impetus to the rapidly-intensifying feeling between the free labor North and the slaveholding States; albeit the tremendous results of the marching on of John Brown’s soul had not yet begun to be realized.
     I was in charge of a northward bound train, due in Sandusky at or about ten o’clock at night.  Within and near the village of Utica, Licking county, lived a number of families who maintained a post of the “Underground Railroad” heretofore described.  This post was an important one in its chain, inasmuch as it had a direct surface rail connection via the Sandusky, Mansfield & Newark line with Lake Erie at Sandusky.  On the down trip I had been

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informed by the company’s agent, Col. V. B. Alsdorf, now deceased, that there would be passengers from the Underground connection on returning, and an understanding was had in reference thereto.  At the appointed time the train pulled up to the platform at Utica.  It 'was holiday season and there was an unusual number of passengers coming and going, so that nine stalwart, manly negroes were scarcely observed as they went quietly aboard the train, scattering to different seats in the several cars, and as per previous arrangement, making no sign of recognition nor speaking to each other on the way.   Each man was provided with a ticket to Sandusky - to them the veritable brink of Jordan - and each received a quiet assurance of safety and care as he gave up his ticket.  Very great caution was requisite, for notwithstanding the fever heat of the time relating to everything that wore the mark of slavery, it was no light thing to be “running off niggers.”  Arrest, imprisonment, and all the unpleasant concomitants of criminal prosecution might follow.  As the case stood with me, dismissal from my place would have been certain had the act come to the knowledge of the President and Superintendent of the Road, Wm. Durbin, since deceased.  Mr. Durbin was a Southerner by birth, rooted and grounded in the pro-slavery doctrines of ante-bellum days, strongly conservative in his adherence to the compromises of the Constitution and the laws
for the protection of slave owners, and would not have tolerated for an hour the unlawful “running off of niggers” by any one in his employ, notwithstanding the payment of regular fare on his trains.
     In thus alluding to Wm. Durbin, who was known to other persons than myself, present here to-day, I make no disrespect to a man then held, and whose memory is still held by me in very high esteem.  He was my friend at the time and in later days became more pronounced in his friendship and confidence.  When the war came his voice and purse were prompt in favor of the maintenance of the Union. On the roll of friends of my years of railroading, there is no name I recall with stronger pride or associate with brighter recollections than that of this remarkable man.
     The “rub” was to get quit of the fugitives at Sandusky, unobserved and without exciting suspicion. The night was cold and clear.  It was President Durbin’s habit to be at the station on arrival of the train, inquire after things “out the road”, and take in with his quick eye everything that transpired.  A German brake man was on duty on the train, but it was easy to close his mouth


by stating the consequences of not keeping it closed.  After leaving Monroeville, there were only a few passengers besides the negroes.  With a little management these others were got into the forward cars, the negroes into the rear one; lights in the latter were extinguished and the doors locked.  The train stopped at a long out-door platform at Sandusky, the regular landing place for passengers.  President Durbin was there but asked no unusual questions.  After the passengers had been unloaded, the cars were pushed back on a siding, south of Washington street, and I walked  up town in company with the President, who turned into his bachelor rooms in a block on Water street.  At one o’clock in the morning I went to the car, unlocked the door, found the fugitives sleeping, except one who was on watch, who cautiously waked the others and all silently followed my lead.
     A mixed breed Indian and negro named Geo. J. Reynolds, living in a comfortable two-story brick house on Madison street, was one of several forwarding agents in Sandusky for the Under ground line.  The fugitives were conducted to his house, Reynolds rapped out of bed, and the party admitted.  The black men had eaten nothing since noon the day before, but they were here fed a hearty meal towards morning.  They were now at ease and I talked with them for an hour or longer.  Of the nine, five had left wives and children in the South; two of the others had each a sweetheart, whom their masters wanted them to marry, but rather than do this under the conditions imposed by slavery they had chosen to run away.  The brightest of the lot was a man of thirty five, six feet tall and some inches to spare, wonderful muscular development and of positive intelligence.  The others were less bright, but had the needful common sense and courage to carry on the business of life for themselves.  Reynolds told me afterwards the entire party made the ice passage to Canada in safety, getting off from Sandusky two days in advance of the arrival of pursuers, who had lost their trail between the Ohio river and Utica, and did not regain it until the delay made pursuit fruitless.
     This was the largest party of fugitives I ever carried at anyone time, knowing absolutely that they were escaping slaves.  My talk with these men at the house of Reynolds, or rather their talk, brought such an awakening of mind and conscience on the subject of slavery as had never come to me before.  It was indeed a solemn hour.  The perils of their flight so far had been safely

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gotten past, but other perils were ahead.  Between them and their goal lay Lake Erie, its waters congealed by the forces of nature into a mighty bridge, thirty miles across, treacherous withal, liable to be swept by furious winds and cruel blinding storms of snow.  To the certain and uncertain places of this bridge, alike unknown to them, with a pocket compass for their sole guide, these men were about to commit themselves, their hopes, their dearest interests, their very lives, with trustful confidence in a God of freedom, for one grand, final effort to achieveownership of their own bodies and souls.  The features of every black countenance, wet with tears and beaming with gratitude as I bade them good-bye, are forever fixed in the picture chambers of my memory.  It is scarcely possible that we shall meet again in the flesh, but if earthly memories are to be carried forward into the immortality voiced by the inmost soul of man, and which our religion teaches, I shall hope therein to greet with a cordial warmth not born of mortal years those dark-skinned fugitives from bondage whose farewells were said that winter morning a quarter of a century and more ago.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

     This completes my subject, as marked out.  May I be kindly indulged with a little further time, to speak of something else?
     I ask the privilege of addressing to the middle aged and Younger people a few words concerning the Firelands Historical Society.  This organization has been in existence for thirty years
and upwards. In this time it has accomplished much excellent work, rescuing from verbal tradition a large amount of very valuable history, and placing it in permanent form through the medium of its printed magazine. Reliable, accurate, carefully-preserved historical data, such as pertain to the real life of the people, form one of Earth’s potent civilizing agencies, marking the lines and forever urging forward the spirit of enlightened progress.  This magazine of the Firelands Society cannot help but become one of the storehouses of treasured information, on which the more comprehensive history writers of the future shall draw.  The fathers who conceived the special work of gathering and saving this information are passing away - some of them sleep with their fathers, even now.  They lived lives of labor, usefulness and honor, by virtue of which the lives of you their children are cast in


pleasanter places than ever were their own.  You have a solemn duty in the matter of keeping up this special work, supporting it out of the abundance that has been vouchsafed to you, inspiring and transmitting an unabated interest therein to your children.  These meetings are of great value - they are practical reunions of the living on behalf of the dead.  “We hold reunions,” once said Garfield to his old comrades in arms, “not for the dead, for there is nothing in all the earth that you and I can do for the dead; they do not need us, but forever and forevermore we' need them.”  In this spirit I ask you to record and preserve with ceaseless care the history of the lives and deeds of your fathers - those gone, those who are yet to go - the hardships they bore, the virtues their lives illustrated, the shining light of their examples.  You people have especial cause to pay good heed to the command written amid
the fire and smoke and thunders of Sinai - “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”  Bewildered and awe-stricken in the marvellous light of the transfiguration, Peter said unto Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elias.”  My friends, it is good for us to be here; wherefore let me ask of you who are in the prime of life, you of fewer years who are working towards that prime, aye, and toward the shadows that lie beyond, that you do good unto yourselves and your children by erecting on your Mount of Transfiguration tabernacles of grateful, glad remembrance to the fathers and mothers who laid the foundations of material prosperity on which you are building so well - to take up this, one of their most useful tasks, right where they have left or shall leave it off; abating no jot of their zeal, shrinking not from a continuance of the labor that to them has been a fulfillment and fruition of patriotic love.

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An Address Delivered before the Firelands Historical Society, at Milan, Erie Co., Ohio, Feb. 22, 188.
By Hon. Rush R. Sloane, of Sandusky

     I have been requested to present at this meeting of the pioneers, some facts relating to the early anti-slavery movement and to give such information as I can regarding the so-called "Underground Railroad" upon the Firelands and in Sandusky; the names of some of the active friends of the line, together with other matters connected with this subject, as would be of interest.  In my opinion there exists at the present time some misapprehension upon these matters, and I shall place before you a few facts connected with the inception of the anti-slavery movement that will show the condition of affairs at that time, and since.  I shall refer to some of the legislation on the subject of slaves, and shall also give some instances of escape, and the circumstances connected therewith.  It was said by the poet that "distance lends enchantment to the view"; and in regard to the escape of fugitive slaves by what was called the "Underground Road," I am convinced that the number passing over this line has ben greatly magnified in the long period of time since this road ceased to run its always irregular trains.
     Born in Sandusky upon the Firelands and familiar with events occurring there from my early boyhood, I am fully impressed with the belief that before the year 1837 the fugitives who escaped through Sandusky were conducted and aided almost wholly by black men, of whom John Jackson, Grant Ritchie, Isaac Brown, John Hampton, William Wilson, Thomas Butler, Samuel Carr, George Robertson, Samuel Floyd, John and
Alfred Winfield, John

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B. Loot, Robert Holmes, Bazel Brown, Andy Robinson, Peter Anderson, Black Jack, William Butler, John Hamilton, Andrew Hamilton and Benjamin Johnson, all then living in Sandusky, were the most prominent.  A fair presentation of these matters will compel me to go outside the limits prescribed for some events that will tend to show the temper of the country concerning the question of slavery, and I may leave my subject entirely at times in order to give a clear exposition of the circumstances that caused the "Underground Railroad" to flourish; and I must ask your kind indulgence, and direct your attention to some facts which though known, perhaps, are not as vividly before you as I wish them in this connection.
     And here I will speak a word of the American Colonization Society which was in full and successful operation for 18 years.  Founded in December, 1816, at the City of Washington, it numbered among its life members many of the foremost men of the nation; James Madison was at its president, and among its vice presidents, which included one from each State, were Henry Clay, Bishop White, Daniel Webster, Richard Rush, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Bishop McKendrie, Garrett Smith, and others.  Admitting the evil of slavery, the American society for colonizing the free people of color, demanded and suggested the remedy, which was not to interfere with vested rights; not to invade the constitution; not act upon the slave population except through the medium of the master.  In 1821 the site of the colony of Liberia was purchased by this society, and the town of Monrovia was established.  By the year 1831 over three thousand emigrants had gone out there from the United States, of whom over one thousand had been slaves liberated by their masters.  In the year succeeding, eleven hundred and thirteen emigrated to the colony.  Distant tribes visited it for the purposes of trade, and over ten thousand natives in the immediate vicinity voluntarily placed themselves under the colony and begged that their children might be taught to use their own language "after the white man's fashion," and by the year 1833 over fifty thousand natives were embraced within its territorial jurisdiction.  This colony has been a lasting benefit to the continent of Africa, and an undecaying monument to the honor of America.
     To illustrate the feeling on the question of slavery at different periods I will cite a few instances where violent outbreaks were

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brought about by attempts to even advocate the overthrow of slavery.  July 10th, 1834, serious riots commenced in the City of New York, occasioned by the discussions consequent on certain anti-slavery lectures that had been delivered.  They continued until the 12th of the same month, when the Mayor was compelled to issue a proclamation in order to suppress them.  August 12th of the same year, a riot occurred in Philadelphia from a similar cause, and forty houses were destroyed by the mob.  On July 27th, 1835, a large mass meeting was held in the City of New York to take action to disapprove the measures adopted by certain societies to effect the abolition of slavery.  Like meetings were held about the same time in Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.  June 23d of the same year great excitement was created in Sandusky by the attempt of one S. G. Wilson, a traveling agent for the Liberator, published at Boston and edited by William Lloyd Garrison, to lecture on slavery at the Methodist church.  He had obtained the consent of John Beatty, Esq., a prominent Methodist and Abolitionist, and then mayor of the town, to use the church, but, on account of the hostility of the people, it was not considered safe to allow him its use, and it was finally closed against him.  A decidedly heated discussion of the advisability of allowing the use of the church for such a purpose took place at the mayor's office, and was participated in by John Beatty on behalf of the lecturer, and in favor of allowing him the use of the church, and by Col. John N. Sloane in opposition.  The sympathy of the people was with the latter at that time.
     January 22d, 1836, an immense anti-slavery meeting was held in Cincinnati, and resolutions denouncing the course of anti-slavery societies were adopted.  July 30th of the same year, an anti-Abolition mob at Cincinnati destroyed the printing press of Mr. Burney, the editor of the Philanthropist, and committed other outrages.  On August 21st, 1837, the office of the Observer, an abolition newspaper owned by Rev. E. B. Lovejoy, and published at Alton, Illinois, was destroyed by a mob.  And afterwards, on the 7th of November, 1837, Mr. Lovejoy's new and third press was destroyed by an angry mob, Lovejoy himself killed, a victim to the right, to a free press, to slavery, and the first martyr to liberty and freedom in the United States.  At the trial for these crimes, the rioters, Lovejoy's murderers were acquitted.
     On the 17th day of May, 1838, Pennsylvania Hall in Phila-

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delphia, an elegant building which had just been erected for scientific and political lectures including especially the discussion of the abolition of slavery, was destroyed by a mob of many thousands.  Benjamin Lundy was the apostle of abolition agitation, the John Baptist in this work; and before the end of 1831 had raised his voice in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio, against slave keeping, and in this year united with William Lloyd - Garrison in the publication of the Liberator at Boston, which was continued thirty-five years until every slave in all our country was free.  For several years they had only few followers and in all our land this paper was almost the only visible sign of opposition to American slavery.  The mobs and violence occurring in the years 1834 - 51 - 6 - 7 greatly advanced their work and strengthened and in creased their followers.  Lundy had published as early as 1821 at Mount Pleasant, Ohio, a monthly journal called the Genius of Universal Emancipation, and before which time no one had ever, talked about other than gradual emancipation; as it was, few took to Lundy’s views and he soon removed his paper for want of support.  He afterwards for a time published the paper monthly in Tennessee and Maryland.  Lundy and Thomas Garrett, of Delaware, were undoubtedly the two men who first influenced slaves to escape, but the instances were not frequent, and those who escaped remained in hiding in the free States, and slavery was not abolished in New York State until July 4th, 1827.  In the years 1826 and 1827 a few slaves reached Canada, and the number of these refugees so increased that at the session of 1828, a resolution passed the House, of Representatives of the United States that the President be requested to open negotiations with the government of Great Britian to surrender fugitive slaves taking refuge in Canada or forbid their entry in the future.  The application was made by our Minister, and, let it be said to the glory of the British Government, it was refused.
     In 1829 occurred in Cincinnati a most disgraceful mob, which continued for three days, and during which time the angry masses held possession of the town.  The trustees of the township had attempted to remove the blacks, some two thousand or more in number, it being contrary to law for them to remain in the State; the blacks (all free blacks) resisted and barricaded their houses.  Blood was spilt, and at last a truce ensued; and the result was the blacks sent a delegation to the Province of Canada asking for a

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place of refuge under a monarchy.  The reply of the Governor of Canada was, “Tell the Republicans on your side, that we royalists do not know men by their color.”  The blacks removed, and this was the first black settlement made in Canada and more than one thousand found a home in the settlement called Wilberforce, before the end of 1830.  And from this time, when the slaves and blacks as well as their masters knew, that in Canada they could find a home and a government that would not surrender them, but protect them, can be dated the commencement of the operations of the “Underground Railroad.”
     It was not until the 4th of March, 1836, that in all the American Union could the bare privileges of even a hearing before a committee be awarded the abolitionists by the Legislature of any of the States.  In 1837-8-40 and as late as 1841 Gag rules were passed by Congress to strike down the sacred right of Petition, which should ask for the abolition of slavery, and of the buying and selling of slaves and that the same be laid upon the table without printing or debate, and that no action be taken thereon.  And when this was done well might Adams and Giddings exclaim, “We are in the seething hell of American slavery.”
     An intelligent understanding of the question has required me to point out the unpopularity of anti-slavery movements, and compare the prevailing sentiments of those days with that which succeeded later.  Thus will you also see why such an institution as the “Underground Railroad” was introduced.  For in the light of the present day it seems. almost impossible that it should have been necessary to resort to such secret measures to help a poor bondman to freedom in this free State of Ohio, and especially across these Firelands, settled as they were with a liberty-loving people.  But slavery was not then regarded as it was afterwards; slaves were looked upon as the rightful property of their owners, and it was incumbent on law abiding citizens to return them rather than aid them to escape.  While people perhaps would not actively oppose the attempts of these fugitives to escape, they did not openly espouse their cause, and the popular feeling at this time may safely be said to have been unfavorable to aid being afforded them to escape.  The occurrences to which I have alluded were received by the public as the legitimate results of 'the teachings of Garrison, Lucretia Mott, Abbey Kelly and Francis Wright.
     The “Underground Railroad,” so called, was the outgrowth

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of the concerted action of people friendly to the slaves, and who were willing for principle’s sake to give their services, time and money to these fugitives, though at the risk of prosecution and pecuniary loss.  The charter was of Divine authority and its command was, “Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you.”  Its conductors, agents and managers believed that they should obey God rather than man.  The road was secretly operated, it published no reports, it declared no earthly dividends to its stockholders, and to all its passengers it supplied, without charge, free through-tickets to the land of freedom in Canada, including lodging and meals.  They established across the State of Ohio, a line of stations from the Ohio River on the south to Lake Eric on the north.  These stations were generally at or near farm houses, and nearly always the homes of friendly abolitionists.  Here the fugitive was concealed during the day, and at night carried in covered conveyance to the next station, and there turned over to other friends who would care for them, and in turn give them into the hands of someone else for like treatment.  In this way the tedious journey was made across the State, and finally at Sandusky passage was procured for Canada: “The goal of their desire, the Mecca of their hope.”
     It must be remembered that prior to 1850 there was no line of steam railroad completed between the river and lake, and that a distance of 250 miles had to be traversed in wagons, at night, in the midst of a people largely opposed to any interference with slavery, and with prejudice against fugitive slaves.  These facts, together with the laws then in force, rendered the escape of a slave a difficult matter, and the act of aiding or abetting such an escape dangerous to one’s person and property.  The men who engaged in these friendly offices said, “Duty is our’s, consequences are God’s,” and they deserve our highest praise for bravery and devotion to what they considered their duty, and an impartial posterity will award them the credit they so justly merit.  It is one thing to champion a cause when it is in disfavor, quite another when it has become popular and strong with the people.  Humane and generous in its conception, thorough and complete in its simple methods, this institution accomplished much good, and brought everlasting happiness and joy to the heart of many a human soul.
     The first runaway slave known as such at Sandusky was in

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the fall of the year 1820.  He had come on foot across the State, stopping here and there as he found a friend in the sparsely settled country, and his master, named James Riley, had tracked him to Abner Strong’s, on Strong Ridge, when in the night he was taken by friends to Marsh’s tavern in Sandusky, (then standing on the corner of Water and Wayne streets) and secreted by John Dunker, the black hostler, and Captain Shephard, who sailed a small 'vessel but who lived at Marsh’s Tavern when in port.  When Riley came in pursuit he offered Shephard $300 if he would find his runaway for him, and for three days they watched and hunted, but with no success.  The steamboat “Walk-in-the-Water” came in port bound for Detroit, and Riley thinking his slave might have gone there went on the boat, and soon after the departure of the steamer Captain Shephard also left the port with the slave on board his little vessel and soon safely landed him at Malden.  On the steamer’s return trip Riley came back to Sandusky, paid his horses keeping and his own bill at Marsh’s Tavern and sadly departed for Kentucky without his slave.  This was the very first slave going to Canada of whom I have been able to find any account.
     Among the first white men upon the Firelands then in the old county of Huron, and residing in Huron township, and one of the first men in the State of Ohio, to aid fugitive slaves, was Judge Jabez Wright, one of the first three associate judges who held the first term of Court in old Huron county in 1815.  He never failed when opportunity offered to lend a helping hand to the fugitives; secreting them when necessary, feeding them when hungry, clothing and employing them.  A rarely good and excellent man.  My father knew him well since 1815 when he first met him at Court at Avery—the year my father came into the State.  Judge Wright always had one or more fugitives upon his farm and lands.  This statement I have confirmed by a lady of perfect reliability, Mrs. Henry F. Merry, of Sandusky, now 78 years of age, and the first white person born upon the Firelands.  She told me that early in the year 1824 she was living at Judge Wright’s, teacher of his children, and-at that time a fugitive slave was in his employ who had been there several years, and was the first black man she ever saw.  This fugitive’s name was James, and in 1825 he was reclaimed by his master and taken away, but he escaped, returned  and again lived at Judge Wright’s.  Bazel Brown, spoken of above, lived some time at Judge Wright’s.

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     In September, 1830, Josiah Hansen escaped .from slavery in Kentucky with his wife and four children, and in October arrived at Venice where a kind Scotchman, captain of a small two masted vessel agreed to take himself and family on board and carry them to Buffalo.  Venice at that time was quite a town and Sandusky in those days was described in the Cleveland Herald as a place (near Venice) where steamboats sometimes stopped to wood.  After loading the vessel with corn the Captain sailed over to Bull’s Island and there “came too,” and at night sent back the small boat for the blacks; they were soon on board and after a two days passage safely reached Buffalo and the kind-hearted Scotch Captain on the 28th day of October landed the escaped slaves in Canada.
     In the year 1881 a fugitive named Tice Davids came over the line and lived just back of Sandusky.  He had come direct from Ripley, Ohio, where he crossed the Ohio River; he remained some time at Sandusky, and then went to Canada.  It was told of him that he gave the name to the “Underground Road” in this way: When he was running away, his master, a Kentuckian, was in close pursuit and pressing him so hard that when the Ohio River was reached he had no alternative but to jump in and swim across.  It took his master some time to secure a skiff in which he and his aid followed the swimming fugitive keeping him in sight until he had landed.  Once on shore, however, he could not find him.  No one had seen him; and after a long and unsuccessful search the disappointed slave-master went into Ripley, and when inquired of as to what had become of his slave, said he could not tell, that he had searched all the openings, but he could not find him; that he was close behind him when the boy got on shore, and he thought “the nigger must have gone off on an underground road.” This story was repeated with a good deal of amusement, and this incident gave the name to the line.  First the “Underground,” afterwards “Underground Railroad.”
     The colored man, Grant Ritchie, previously mentioned, opened the first barber shop in Sandusky, and was the earliest and most active agent of the line and always successful in his operations.  On one occasion when through his interference and efforts, several fugitives had escaped to Canada, and there being no responsible person to sue for the value of the lost chattels, the slave owners caused Ritchie to be arrested before a justice of the peace, and prosecuted for an assault upon the claimant.  The lawyer for the

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prosecution was F. D. Parish; L. S. Beecher being counsel for Ritchie.  The justice bound Ritchie over to the Court of Common Pleas of Huron county.  At the next term when this case was called at Norwalk, Mr. Beecher appeared as counsel for Ritchie, and after the defendant had pleaded not guilty, Mr. Beecher asked him in a voice loud enough to be heard over the court room, (the court and lawyers knowing he had a barber-shop in Sandusky) “What his business was 'there; whether he had come over to shave the court?”  Ritchie replied that he did not have his kit with him, and Mr. Beecher in a sotto 'voice then told him, “To go and get it.”  Soon after when the prosecution was ready to go on with the case Ritchie was not in-court, and this was the last of the prosecution.  It was not supposed that anyone was anxious to convict him, now that the slave-masters were not there.  Ritchie removed to Canada in 1834 and afterwards returned to Sandusky I in 1841, visiting Rev. Thomas Boston, to whom he expressed his great surprise at learning that Mr. Parish had become an abolitionist; he said that when he left Sandusky, Mr. Parish was as bitter an enemy as the fugitive slaves had.  Mr. Boston could hardly believe this, and called on Mr. Parish to learn the facts.  Mr. Parish said to him, “Yes, what Ritchie says is true; I did prosecute them, but the Lord opened my eyes, and I intend to make up for those acts.” And he did.
     Benjamin Johnson, a slave, came to Sandusky over the road about the time Ritchie left.  He was soon after arrested under the claim of his owner and brought before John Wheeler, Esq., in Portland township (Sandusky); F. D. Parish appearing for the claimant, and L. S. Beecher for Johnson.  It was claimed by Mr. Parish that Johnson was a fugitive slave, and owned by the claimant.  Mr. Beecher admitted that the man was a fugitive slave but that he was not the property of the claimant. Mr. Beecher told his counsel that he had never seen the claimant before.  The testimony of the claimant himself disclosed the fact that after Johnson’s escape he had met Johnson’s former owner in this State and that while in Ohio he purchased of him the fugitive.  That the bill of sale was drafted, dated and executed in Ohio.  On these facts Mr. Beecher claimed Johnson could not be held.  Ohio was a free State and a transfer and sale of slave property could not be legally made within its domain.  Squire Wheeler sustained this position, and Johnson was discharged.  He died many years ago

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in Sandusky.  For years after securing the discharge of Johnson, Mr. Beecher would speak of him as “his nigger,” because he had cleared him in the above manner.  This was probably the only attempt ever made to sell a slave in Ohio.  Who that has known F. D. Parish since 1835 could believe that he ever, even professionally, was engaged in the attempt to reclaim fugitive slaves; or that he was ever other than an Abolitionist?  Yet such was the fact, and up to the year 1835 Mr. Parish was not an Abolitionist, but a member of the Colonization Society.  After this time he became as zealous in the cause as William Lloyd Garrison; and like Paul after his conversion, “Abounded in good Works.”
     And it was not until October 21st, 1835, that Garrett Smith of New York severed his connection with the Colonization Society, and joined the ranks of the Abolitionists, of which body he soon became so conspicuous a member.  One can scarcely comprehend the extent of the hostility that existed in 1835 to the Abolitionists.  Something of its force can be infered from the fact that not a single church in the city of Boston, the “Cradle of Liberty and the Seat of Learning, and Liberal Thought,” could be obtained for a lecture on slavery.  And in New York the demand was made of Arthur Tappan, a wholesale merchant, to resign at the peril of the loss of his business, the office of president of “The American Anti-Slavery Society,” to which demand he made the emphatic reply, “I will be hanged first.”  1838 one Davis came to Sandusky by Underground.  Afterwards he removed to Cleveland, where he died, having accumulated quite a property.  Another of the early runaways from Kentucky was William Hamilton, who came by railroad to Xenia, and thence to Sandusky, traveling only at night.  Soon after this came father Lason and his wife, bringing with them a little girl.  The latter, now Mrs. Nancy Boyd, still resides at Sandusky.  Also about same time came Daniel Brown and wife.  Mr. Brainard, of Berlin, used to conduct slaves, generally aided with money and teams by Mr. O. C. Tillinghast, also of Berlin, most reliable and earnest men; both now dead.  Seth and Elder Ben Parker, of Peru, Huron county, Ohio, received, cared for and placed in charge of good conductors any slaves that might be brought to that station.  Abner Strong of Strong’s Ridge, Lyme, Huron county, Ohio, was always ready to receive, care for, and send to Sandusky, in good conveyance, the fugitives who reached that “Strong” and safe station.  I am proud to say he was my mother’s father.  After

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the year 1836 there was hardly a time that H. F. Merry, of Sandusky, had not one or more fugitives in his employ.  He was a good and early friend of theirs, and always ready to assist them in any way.  S. Bell, a fugitive, lived with Mr. Merry in 1839.  In the winter of 1839-40, a party of four runaways arrived in Sandusky, but were so closely pursued by their owners that it was thought best they should not be kept in town, even if secreted, and as the ice in the Lake was not strong enough to bear a horse and sleigh, they were conducted over the bay to the Penninsula Point, whence next morning on a bright, clear day, they started on their perilous journey to Canada. They had to proceed with the greatest caution, hugging close to the shore of Kelly’s Island, and thence on to Point an Pelee, where in the evening they arrived in safety.  In 1843 a fugitive named Joe Daniel came over the line to Sandusky.  Mr. Parish took him to Rev. Thomas Boston, then living in Perkins township.  He remained some time, but fearing he might be captured, Mr. Boston advised him to go to Canada, and he embarked with the intention of going there.  While in Detroit en route he obtained a situation on- the steamboat Sultana, and had made trips on her, but was discovered while thus employed, by his master who was traveling on the boat, and who at once reclaimed him, and carried him back to Virginia.  In less than three weeks Daniel was a passenger over the line a second time. He reached Sandusky in safety, and after a short stop made his way to Canada.
     In 1829 a fugitive about 22 years of age named Price arrived in Sandusky over the Underground road and after a time went to work in Perkins township, burning lime for Samuel Walker.  He was a faithful, excellent boy, and strong as a giant.  He had left behind him in Kentucky a sweet-heart for whom he pined, and to whom he seemed greatly attached.  His master learned where he was at work, and arranged with a couple of men to capture and deliver the boy into his hands, which accomplished he would take him before an officer and prove his property.  Knowing his fondness for this girl, the men hired to effect his capture were instructed to tell him that she had also run away, and on a certain night would be at the “Sulphur Spring,” a place in the woods just south of Oakland Cemetery near Sandusky.
     Late on the night agreed the fugitive repaired to the Spring to meet his sweet-heart, but to his surprise and disappointment did not find her, and was leaving the place when he was suddenly set

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upon by these men, knocked down, and bound hand and foot.  He soon recovered from the effects of the blow he had received, and began to cry out, and kicked and struggled so effectually that he freed himself from the cords and made his escape.  Returning to Mr. Walker's house he drew the money that was due him and started at once for Canada, satisfied with his experience that night, and not being willing to again subject himself to the risk of recapture.  Mrs. John Hull, of Perkins, and Mrs. William H. DeWitt, of Sandusky, both remember this occurrence perfectly, and it was well known in Sandusky at the time.
     In 1842 a brave woman named Armstrong with her husband and one child escaped from a plantation in Kentucky, some ten miles back from the Ohio river.  After quite a delay they reached Sandusky by the Underground, and soon were safe in Canada.  Two years later this woman determined to rescue her children, seven of whom she had left on the Kentucky plantation from which she had escaped.  Dressed as a man, she after some delays reached her old plantation and hid at night near to a spring she knew her children visited early every morning.  She was not disappointed, and next morning her eldest daughter came to the spring, she made herself known and it was arranged that the succeeding night at bed-time they should all meet at the spring and make their start for freedom.  Five of the seven started with her; the other two the master had so located in or near his own room for that night that they could not start, but the mother dare not wait; she had five more of her dear ones and they started.  They walked rapidly all night and by early morning light crossed the Ohio near Ripley and going from station to station on the Underground at length reached Sandusky, and after a short delay were safely forwarded and soon joined the husband and father and child which had first been carried off, in Maiden.  I have it on good authority that this Mrs. Armstrong made another trip and returned in safety bringing her other two children.
     At all times the assistance given fugitives was done secretly, and especially so at Sandusky, for knowing this to be the terminus of one of the routes of the Underground road, the slave-catchers made frequent visits to the place and kept a sharp watch for runaways.  The laws of the country were framed to assist in a recovery of the fugitive by his master and once discovered it was an easy matter for him to legally obtain possession of his property.

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Hence secrecy was indispensable to secure the safe passage of the fugitive from bondage into freedom.  That slaves were brought through Sandusky prior to 1837 is certainly true; yet the instances were so infrequent and the circumstance so little noticed at the time, that I have found it exceedingly difficult to gain much information as to the names of the fugitives, and the incidents of the escape.
     Recently I had the pleasure of a long talk with Josiah Fowler, Esq., a gentleman 89 years of age, now residing in Margaretta Township, Erie county, Ohio, on his farm, where he has lived for the past 60 years.  He was always a pronounced Abolitionist and much interested in the cause.  He remembers but few instances of runaway slaves prior to 1845.  The total black population of Sandusky as late as 1841 did not exceed forty; and there were prior to that date not more than seven Abolitionists among the white population to whom fugitives could be directed safely, and from whom they could expect aid. The exciting discussions of the political campaign of 1844 increased the number of Abolitionists, and at the October election in that year, the abolition candidate for Governor, Mr. King, received in Erie county, votes as follows: Vermillion, 11; Florence, 8; Berlin, 15; Huron, 1; Oxford, 8; Groton, 1; Margaretta, 5; Perkins, 1; Milan, 2; Portland and Sandusky City, 21; one of these two-votes cast in Milan at this election was voted by Mr. George Barney, now residing at Sandusky, who was the candidate on that ticket for the office of Sheriff, and received a total in the county of 66, but was not elected; Isaac Fowler, a Whig, being the successful candidate.  Your fellow citizen E. Merry, Esq., was at this same election chosen to the office of County Recorder, upon the Whig ticket, and I conclude therefore he was not the man who voted the other abolition ticket in Milan at that election.  Who cast the other vote I do not know.  Prior to this time we have seen that the great bulk of the- people of the north had quietly submitted to the enforcement of the laws for the reclaimation of slaves.  The fugitive act of 1793 had been acquiesced in, and its powers enforced when evoked.  Enacted by the Fathers of the Country recommended and approved as a law by Washington, their descendants felt its binding obligation almost as sacred as the National constitution itself.  In demonstration of which fact I point to the meeting at Sandusky, March 6, 1845, at the Court House, about the time two runaway slave boys had been captured in the town.  A meeting as related in the col-

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umns of the papers published at that time, to have been largely composed of and attended by the best citizens of the place.  Erastus Cooke, brother. of Hon. Eleuthreous Cooke was chairman, and James D. Lea secretary of the meeting, and John Wheeler, Charles Rice, John N. Sloane, William Carkufff and James Wright committee on resolutions, and William B. Smith on printing the proceedings of the meeting.  It was stated in the printed report that the meeting was called to correct an eroneous impression, that the citizens of Sandusky are so generally abolitionists, that they offer every facility to the fugitive to make good his escape, and this meeting is more particularly called at this time in consequence of the treatment to which certain citizens of Kentucky were subjected a few days since, who came here to reclaim several fugitives from labor.  The immediate cause of said meeting arose from the following transactions, which I will give here, though not properly in order of time.
     About noon of the 28th day of February, 1845, Charles S. Mitchell, Andrew J. Driskell, Alexander B. Martin and Dennis Luony, seized two black boys as  fugitives from labor from the state of Kentucky.  One was taken in the wood-house of the gentleman with whom he lived, while sawing wood.  The other in the street.  The boys were carried to an upper room in the “Mansion House” and held under keepers.  For these acts the captors were arrested on a writ issued by Z. W. Barker, Esq., and on an examination before him, assisted by E. B. Sadler, then the Mayor of the town, were ordered to give bonds in the sum of $100 each, for their appearance at the next court of common pleas, on charge of riot.  Immediately an affidavit was made that the boys, called Dock and William, were unlawfully detained and writs of habeas corpus were at once served on those having them in custody.  On Saturday night by agreement of parties Judge Farwell ordered the Sheriff to take the negro boys from the custody of their keep ere at the Mansion House and confine them in jail until the result of the proceedings could be known.  On Monday following they were produced before Moors Farwell an associate Judge of Erie county, and return made of the cause of caption and detention.  F. D. Parish and L. S. Beecher appeared as counsel for the boys, and John Wheeler and John N. Sloane as counsel for claimants.  The examination and argument of the cases closed about noon on Tuesday, and the Judge took the questions under advisement until

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nine o’clock the next morning.  At which time it was held that they were not detained in a legal manner, and. they were discharged.
     As soon as the decision was proclaimed, the boys were released from confinement, hurried out of town and sent to Canada.  There is no doubt in this case, except for Mr. Parish no proceedings would have been had, and the boys would have been returned to slavery.  It was not, however, for aiding these boys to escape that Mr. Parish was sued, but for the part he took in behalf of other slaves which these same Kentuckians sought to reclaim on the same day.  Of 'which latter case the circumstances were as follows.  There were at this same time two colored persons, Jane Garrison and her little boy Harrison, stopping at the house of Mr. Parish.  The son of the man claiming to own them called at Mr. Parish’s house to see them, and stated to Mr. Parish that he was there to reclaim them, that they were the property of his father, Peter Driskell, of Kentucky.  Mr. Parish asked by what authority, and the reply was by Power of Attorney, offering to produce it.  “You need not show it,” said Mr. Parish, "as nothing but judicial authority will do.  The slaves went into the house, and were not seen afterwards.  Suit was brought in the Circuit Court of the United States against Mr. Parish for the value of the slaves, and a jury found a verdict against him for hindering and obstructing the arrest, and awarded damages against him in the sum of $500, the proved value of the slaves at the time of their escape.  The amount of the judgment and the costs and expenses in the suit, $1000 in all, was collected by subscription in sums of $1 each, and presented to Mr. Parish.  A full report of this case can be found in 5th Vol. McLean’s Reports.
     These events go to show the strong pro-slavery, or at least want of anti-slavery feeling prevalent on the Firelands at that time, and the result of this case against Mr. Parish shows the efficacy of the slave laws then in force, and the remedy it afforded the slave owner for recovering the value of his slave from anyone interfering with his right to reclaim it, and also the penalty it dealt out to the persons so intermeddling.  Its proceedings were summary in their character, comprehensive in their results, protecting the rights of the slave owner to his property, punishing anyone attempting to abridge that right, and had it been allowed to remain in force we cannot tell how long slavery might have held

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its unholy sway.  But the rapacity of the slave power had been constantly increasing.  In 1842 they censured Mr. Giddings for offering in Congress a resolution that slavery did not extend on the high seas beyond the jurisdiction of the state.  In 1845 they demanded the annexation of Texas with slavery, by which a territory as large as France was added as a slave State to the Union.  And not until this year did the American Anti-Slavery Society assume its famous position of opposition to the Constitution, which it affirmed was pro-slavery, “A covenant with death, and an agreement with Hell.”  In 1846 they forced the war with Mexico in order to extend slave territory by compelling Mexico to abandon its claim to a large portion of Texas.  A gradual change had been taking place from 1844 which was hastened by these acts, and culminated in 1850 on the passage of the fugitive slave bill, which opened the whole of the northern States as a hunting-ground for slave owners whose chattels had escaped.  This was one of the indemnities demanded by the slave.  States and conceded by the free States at that time.  It was part of a series of compromise measures which were to give repose to the body politic and heal one of the “Five bloody wounds,” the healing of which was to forever post pone the dissolution of the Union.  “Man proposes, but God disposes.”
     Never was this truthful utterance more powerfully exemplified than in connection with these so-called compromise measures, the adoption of which so aroused the people of the free States that their indignation was expressed in almost as violent form as it had before been vented against the Abolitionists, in the instances of riot to which I have alluded.  Especially was the moral sense of the nation shocked by the iniquities of the fugitive slave act.  Its giving United States Commissioners $5 only, if they refused a certificate, but $10 if they granted it; its making certificates thus granted evidence in all cases that the person claimed was a fugitive; its providing that United States marshals who failed to execute the process issued on such certificate, and the slave escape, whether such escape occur with or without their consent, forfeit $1000 for each fugitive who escaped; its fixing the value of each fugitive at $1000, no proof of value being required; its providing that all officials employed in the arrest of fugitives shall be paid out of the United States Treasury; its provision that all other expenses from the time of the arrest until the fugitive has been

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returned to the place from which he escaped shall be paid by the government; its fixed and excessive penalties; its assaults upon individual rights in the virtual suspension of the habeas corpus; its cruel and summary process; its requirements, that all citizens shall turn slave-catchers at the behest of a United State marshal; its dispensing with trial by a jury; and lastly, its daring invasion of State Rights by withdrawing all jurisdiction under the act from State Courts and officials.  What a munificent provision was this “act” for American Freemen.  Can we be surprised at the almost universal feeling of indignation which it created?  The free States were wild with excitement.  Party lines were no longer binding and meetings in opposition to the act and declaring it unconstitutional were daily held in all of the free States.  The compromise measures of 1850.  Oh, what a compromise.  Truly in the course of these acts and this legislation so quickly following is verified.  “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”.
     One of the immediate results was the increased travel upon the Underground railroad through the state of Ohio and passengers over its line came almost daily.  Elijah Anderson, a brave and fearless colored man, was the general superintendent of the Underground system in this section of Ohio, and probably conducted more fugitives than any other dozen men up to the time he was arrested, tried and convicted in Kentucky and sentenced to the state prison at Frankfort where he died in 1857.  Anderson said when coming to Sandusky in 1855 that he had conducted in all over one thousand fugitives from slavery to freedom; over 800 of whom he brought after the act of 1850 had passed.  All of these did not come to Sandusky, for after the opening of the Cleveland & Cincinnati railroad he took many to Cleveland, but Sandusky was the favorite and most important station.  One great advantage it possessed was its proximity to Canada and its sheltered position by reason of the islands of Lake Erie, which rendered it possible and safe to make the passage, in an emergency, in a small sail or even an open row boat, if that was all that could be obtained at the moment, both of which means of transportation were often resorted to when it was known that the slave catchers were on the ground watching for their prey, as was frequently the case, and when an attempt to take passage on any regular boat would have been hazardous and unsafe.  Sometimes the fugitives would arrive in Sandusky in the winter, and then they would be

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taken across in sleighs to Point au Pelee.  James Wright who for many years kept a livery-stable at Sandusky, and who will be remembered by the old citizens, was always ready to hire his teams, thus affording assistance though he was not an Abolitionist as they then called them.  He was an officer at the meeting in Sandusky in 1845 heretofore described.  I should name among the early and earnest friends of the line, John Beatty, F. D. Parish, (and whose house was called the “Depot”) Samuel Walker, R. J. Jennings, Clifton Hadley, (still living at Sandusky) J. N. Davidson, Isaac DarlingRev. John Thorpe was an efficient conductor on the Underground road, and willing assistant to all passengers.  (John Thorpe now living at Castalia, is his son.)  And since 1848 John Irvine, Thomas Drake, William H. Clark, Sr., and Jr., L. H. Lewis, Otis L. Peck, John G. Pool, S. E. Hitchcock, Homer Goodwin, Thomas C. McGee, George Barney, Herman Ruess, C. C. Keech, Samuel Irvine, O. C. McLouth, J. M. Root, and H. C. Williams; others might be included, but these all gave money and, the “Irvines” especially, their personal aid at all times to effect the escape of a slave.  Richard Veecher, while a slave in Kentucky earned enough money to purchase his wife and children and sent them to some point in Ohio, where he, having run away shortly after, joined them, and brought them to Sandusky in 1848.  He is still living there.
     I should perhaps have said before, that our line of road after leaving Sandusky, its great northern depot, and passing south to Huron county, had two distinct lines; one extending to Gallipolis, opposite the Virginia shore, and the other by way of Xenia to Madison, Indiana, a town on the Ohio river opposite Kentucky. These were the principle routes of the Underground line until after the completion of the Little Miami and Mad River and Lake Erie railroads, by means of which in the year 1850 a direct connection was made from Cincinnati to Sandusky.  And here let me say in a retrospective view, that it seems almost like a providence of the Almighty, that this improved, rapid, and easy mode of conveyance, which added so wonderfully to getting a fugitive across the State should have been opened in the same year, that the infamous law of 1850 went into effect.
     In 1850 a slave named Lewis escaped from Kentucky and after a time arrived at Columbus, Ohio, where the man lived several years, when his master discovered and reclaimed him, and in

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charge of the United States marshal the slave was taken to Cincinnati en route to his old master’s home, but on the arrival of the party at the Little Miami depot in that city the master was arrested on a warrant procured by the well known lawyer and apostle of anti-slavery, John Joleff, Esq., for kidnapping in Ohio; Joleff claiming the negro was not a slave.  The master went to Kentucky for evidence and after his return the trial was had, and when the decision was about being pronouned the negro quietly backed into the crowd, and aided by two or three was soon out of the Court House and secreted; his absence was at once discovered and pursuit made, but he was not to he found; he was safe, in the sure protection of of Levi Coffin, that kind old Quaker who had aided so many others to freedom; in a few weeks on a Sunday afternoon, dressed as a woman, he was taken from church placed in a carriage, driven to a safe station of the Underground, some thirty miles distant, and, after a delay of some weeks, in October 1853 he arrived at our Sandusky depot, and was soon afterwards safe at Malden.  This was the first and only slave who ever escaped from the court room to freedom.  The marshal of the United States in this case, although the escape was without his fault was liable under the law of 1850 for $1000 to the master, which, however, be compromised without suit by the payment of $800.
     In the autumn of 1850 a party of three came by the Underground to Sandusky, the story of whose escape has brought tears to the eyes of multitudes, not only in this country, but in Europe; yes, in every home where Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been read and where the-story of Eliza Harris and her little boy crossing the Ohio river on the ice is known.  George Harris, her husband, escaped some time after his wife Eliza had fled with her little boy, and they all after several months, safely reached Sandusky, where for two days they were secreted; Eliza cutting short her hair and dressing as a man, her little boy dressed as a girl, and claimed by a kind-hearted white Woman as her own, for Eliza and her boy were almost white.  This was the party that on a beautiful day boarded the steamer “Arrow” at Sandusky at a time when Eliza’s master was on the wharf, and after a few hours were all safely landed at Maiden' on the free soil of Canada.
     I will now give as briefly as consistent with accuracy, an account of the first fugitive slave prosecution and excitement which occurred under the fugitive slave act of 1850; not only in

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the Firelands but in the United States, and with which your speaker was somewhat prominently connected.  This case resulted in my being convicted under said act, the defense of which occupied my time quite a portion of two years, and I was finally compelled to pay 43000 in damages, $330.30 in court costs and $1000 attorney fees.  My neighbors at Sandusky, incensed at the results of the case, organized a committee consisting of Captain T. C. McGee, W. E. Stone and George J. Anderson, to solicit funds for the purpose of assisting me to defray the costs and expenses I had been adjudged to pay.  These gentlemen collected $393 which paid the court and marshal's costs; I insisted that I should pay the judgment without regret, which I did; and that I must have the honor and satisfaction of handling it down as an heirloom to my children.  I have the original subscription book that was circulated by the committee which was left with me by those gentlemen.  In memory of the liberal men who were willing to give of their means for such a purpose, I give an accurate list of those persons, and the amount paid by each: Homer Goodwin, $50; E. Lane, $50; E. B. Sadler, $24.50; L. S. Beecher, $5; S. Miner, $25; W. F. Stone, $15; W. F. Converse, $40; J. G. Bigelow, $5; O. C. McLouth, $10; George Reber, $25; H. Wildman, $25; W. F. Giddings, $4; Rice Harper, $25; Thorpe, Norcross & Thorpe, $44.50; C. C. Keech, $25; James D. Whitney, $5; T. C. McGee, $10; O. L. Peck, $5; total, $393.  These were all residents of Sandusky.  No other opportunity was ever offered for subscription in Sandusky or elsewhere, and none other were ever made or paid.
     But to proceed with my story.  On the afternoon of the 20th day of October, 1852, the city of Sandusky was the scene of very great excitement, growing out of the arrest of two men, two women, and three children, by some Kentuckians aided by O. Rice, then city marshal.  Three of the slaves were claimed by one Lewis F. Weimer, and four by Charles M. Gibbons. The slaves had arrived by the afternoon train, and were going on board the steamer “Arrow” at the time of her departure for Detroit.
     The negroes were forcibly dragged ashore and taken at once to the mayor’s office.  The citizens were told by' the marshal, as he flourished his cane, that it was a legal arrest, and the fugitives would be discharged unless the mayor should so decide. It was only on this understanding that he was suffered to take the   

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negroes through the streets to the mayor’s office, a distance of over half a mile, without molestation.  Meanwhile Mr. S. E. Hitchcock, John Irvine and John B. Lott came hurriedly into my law office, and requested me to appear before the mayor and learn if the negroes were properly arrested and legally detained.  Upon reaching the mayor’s office we found the negroes there, and the room filled with excited people, pistols and bowie knives were in the hands of many.  After waiting a short time I asked by what authority were these persons held in custody?  There was no reply.  “Are there any papers or writs to show why they are held?” There was no reply.  I then said, speaking particularly to the men who sought my services, "I see no authority for detaining these persons,” and at this John B. Lott, a colored man, cried out in an excited voice, "Hustle them out.”  Immediately the people carrying the negroes along crowded out of the office, and as they started, one of the Kentuckians, all of whom had been standing near during the whole of the  proceedings, turned to me and said, “Here are the papers, I own the negroes; I’ll hold you individually responsible for their escape.”  I gave him the consoling reply that I was “good for them.”  The above facts substantially were published in the Sandusky Register at that time.
     The negroes were that same night placed in a sailboat in charge of trusty conductors, and were received from the small boat the next day by Captain James Nugent, a noble man, now dead, then living at Sandusky, and secreted on board the vessel he commanded.  And on the second day after were safely landed in Canada.  Soon after two suits were commenced against me in the District Court of the United States, at which time the whole State constituted the district, and Columbus the place where the Courts were held.  At the October term, 1854, the cases came on for trial.  In the case of Charles M. Gibbons against Rush R. Sloane, who claimed to own four of these slaves; the Court instructed the jury that the Power of Attorney was defective, and to find a verdict in favor of the defendant.  In the case of Lewis F. Weimer vs. Sloane, the man who owned three of the slaves, the plaintiff obtained a judgment of $3000 and costs, which on motion, the Court refused to set-aside.  Hon. Henry Stanbury, and one Coffin were the attorneys of the plaintiff. Hon. Thomas Ewing, the father of the present Hon. Thomas Ewing, H. H. Hunter and S. F. Vinton, were attorneys for defendant. Judge Levitt presided.

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What the slave ordinance, miscalled law, of 1850, was, and what its demands and penalties were, can be seen in the now celebrated case Weimer vs. Sloane.  In this trial, occurring at Columbus, the capital of the State of Ohio, a State which by the ordinance of 1787 had been forever dedicated to freedom, and with the facts in the case clearly proved, the United States Judge gave the law of the case to the jury based on decisions made under the law of 1793, and not under the act of 1850, to which act no reference was made in his charge.  The slaves in this case had been taken by their masters before a State Court as provided by the act of 1793, and which provision was repealed by the act of 1850, which latter act did provide that slaves when arrested by a master without warrant, but on certificate only, should be taken at once before the officials named in the act, and they were officials of the United States.  And yet, under the ruling in this case, in face of the law, in a free State, judgment was had as before stated.  A full report of said case can be found in McLain’s United States Reports, Volume 6.  I have with me to-day the original receipts for said judgment and costs in this case of Weimer vs. Sloane, which anyone may look at who has the curiosity to do so.  I have given the same to my namesake Rush R. Sloane, Jr., the son of Thomas M. Sloane, of Sandusky, in whose hands they will be placed for safe-keeping.  The following is a certificate of the Clerk of the United States Court regarding said receipts and other matters:
     Louis F. Weimer
vs. Rush R. Sloane.  United States District
                                                                                                of Ohio, in debt.
                                                                                                October Term, 1854.
                                                                               Judgment for Plaintiff for $3000 and costs.
     Received July 8th, 1856, of Rush R. Sloane, the above Defendant, a receipt of Louis F. Weimer, the above Plaintiff, hearing date Dec. 14th, 1854, for $3000 acknowledging full satisfaction of the above judgment, except the costs; also a receipt of L. F. Weimer, Sr., per Joseph Doniphan, attorney, for $85, the amount of Plaintiff’s witness fees in said case; also certificates of Defendant’s witnesses in above case for $162; also $20 in money, the attorney’s docket fees attached, which, with the clerk and marshal’s fees heretofore paid, is in full of the costs in said case.
                                                                                                (Signed) WILLIAM MINER, Clerk.
     In the summer of 1853 four fugitives  arrived at Sandusky

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coming over' the Cincinnati & Sandusky Railroad, and who were allowed by a noble hearted conductor to leave the train just east of Mills’ Creek, and before reaching the cribbing where the road runs a short space in deep water.  Just north of where these negroes were left there was on the north side of the railroad a little cluster of bushes and trees, and here until night the party was secreted.  Meanwhile Mr. John Irvine, whom I mentioned before, had arranged for a “Sharpee,” a small sailboat used by fishermen, with one George Sweigels to sail the boat to Canada with this party, for which service Captain Sweigels was to and did receive $35.  One man accompanied Captain Sweigels and at 8 o’clock in the evening this party in this small boat started to cross Lake Erie; the wind was favorable, and before morning Point an Pelee Island was reached, and the next day the four escaped fugitives were in Canada.  Captain Sweigels now resides in Sandusky.
     In the year 1854 a party of seven runaway slaves were put on the cars of the Sandusky, Mansfield & Newark Road, and safely brought to Sandusky; the earnest men of the different stations from time to time received Grape Vine telegraph dispatches and were always ready to act with promptness in facilitating the onward progress of the fugitive.  In the above instance when the slaves reached the City of the Bay, a small two masted sail boat was in waiting, as it had been learned that it would not be safe to send the party by the Detroit boat; the agents of the owners being in town, and watching the Steamer daily.  Captain Sweigels was also engaged in this exploit, and it came near being a disastrous one, for after the boat was in the lake the wind increased so much that she was almost swamped, but at last was run safely into a small creek on the shore of Canada.  The Messrs. Irvine, H. F. Merry, George Reynolds, and a conductor on the railroad above named could have given further particulars of this incident.
     The largest number of fugitives that was ever brought over the road at one time was 20.  This party were put on board the steamer United States on Sunday, a day on which writs could not be served, and when their masters were on the wharf.  These latter at once boarded the steamer and made a contract with the Captain not to land until they reached Detroit, for which agreement they paid 81550.  As the Steamer approached Malden, the Captain put her as near the Canada Shore as he safely could, and singular as it may seem, the small boat was lowered, in which

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were placed the 20 fugitives, and sent ashore.  The Steamer did not land until it reached Detroit, and the Captain did not consider this act a violation of his contract, but the slave owners $50 out of pocket and with no chance to recover their slaves vowed vengeance against the Captain and the Steamer.  Among others who should be mentioned in connection with those who assisted in the Underground movement, was Mr. Nelson Parker, then living in Norwalk, a most faithful conductor over the road; also Lemuel Sherman, of Norwalk; he always aided willingly and gave freely of his time and money; a generous, kind-hearted and Christian man.  William Wilson, who lived at Peru, Huron county, was a brave conductor, frequently bringing fugitives from Peru and other points to Sandusky, where they were generally secreted in the house of the Rev. Thomas Boston, a pure-hearted and faithful Christian colored man.  Mr. Boston would care for them in his own house or would find some place where he knew they would be safe, if his house happened to be full.
     One escape that occurred in 1855 is worth notice.  A poor slave had been able by slow stages, now a ride, and then a walk, to reach Shelby, and to which place he had been tracked; the departure of each train was watched, and the kind friend (in need) at whose house he was secreted, conceived a plan for his escape which he effected, communicating by Grape Vine telegraph the details to Sandusky friends.  On a certain train going north was placed in charge of the express agent, a coffin containing a poor man, but whose friends wanted his remains carried to Sandusky, for interment.  The rough box had knotty holes and plenty of shavings had been put in around the “body.”  The train started and in about two hours the “remains” were taken in charge by S. R. Irvine and others, taken to a friendly house, and the “casket” opened; the eyes were blood-shot, the mouth was foaming, the poor man nearly dead.  A doctor was quickly summoned and soon the “corpse” was in a healthy state.  He was kept for a few days and then in safety sent over the line to Canada.
     In the winter of 1858 a party of six women and five men arrived; it was a cold winter, and the lake frozen across; this party had come on foot, in wagons, on railroad, and again on foot walking into Sandusky at night, some had shoes, or what had been, some had stockings, and some had only old rags tied around their feet.  The party at midnight of the second day after their arrival

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was started off in a double sleigh, the moon was full, and every thing promised a nice journey, and an early arrival in Canada.  All went well until they were nearly across, when a blinding snow storm came up and they wandered all night on the lake, and when daylight came they found themselves back near Marblehead Light, almost where they had started.  The driver was determined to return to Sandusky (he had been engaged to drive the negroes to Canada by their Sandusky friends) but the blacks compelled him to I turn around and drive them to the Queen's domain, Point au Pelee Island, where they were left, and remained during the winter.
     In the winter of the year 1858 Wiley Jones drove by land around from Sandusky to opposite Maiden, there crossing the Detroit River to Canada with a two-horse wagon, containing fifteen fugitives, for which service he was to be paid in case the slaves were landed safe in Canada.  Jones returned in due time, having made a successful trip.
     Of the fugitives who have been brought to Sandusky since 1850 by the Underground Road, I can give the following names:
William Larkins, John Butler, Simpson Young, Moses Frances, William Resby, R. Dooty, George Bartlett, John Bartlett, S. Bartlett, William Bartlett, Nancy Young, Martha Young, Allen Smith, Claracy Gibson, one Gilkner, B. Howard, M. Coleman, H. Mackey, Jack Crockett, William Coleman, B. McKees, William Roberson, B. Franklin, T. Maddocks, L. Howard, J. Freeman, H. Moss, R. Anderson, William Hamilton, I. Gleason, wife and daughter, I. Moore, Sarah Moore, C. Boyd, R. Green, R. Taylor, D. Bell, H. Washington, T. Roberson, F. Bush, wife and son, E. Bell, I. Fremat, H. Cole, H. Johnson, J. W. Coleman, Palmer Pruitt and wife, (1855) William Bryan, G. Bryant, W. Bryant, W. M. Pruitt, T. Burnett and wife and three children, S. Falkner, K. Gatewood, I. D. Brant, H. Bartlett, J. Hanshaw, wife and two children, H. Hanshaw, P. Scott, I. Howard, Va., G. Brown, Va., G. Brown Kentucky, I. Marshall, wife and four children.  A very small proportion of the whole number, but no records wee kept, of course, and in the lapse of time the names have been forgotten.
     On the 13th day of September, 1858, an escaped slave boy about 18 years of age named John, was claimed as the property of I. D. Bacon, of Kentucky, and was seized just outside of the village of Oberlin and hurried to Wellington to take the cars south.  While waiting for the train the boy was rescued and taken over

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the Underground to Sandusky and from there over “Jordan.”  The arrest of this boy John was the cause of the celebrated Oberlin-Wellington rescue cases, which at the time seemed to threaten the political fabric of our State.
     I cannot here recite the story of the wrongs and outrages committed in the name of law, by the officers and judges of the United States under the fugitive act of 1850 in the prosecutions of the rescuers in this case.  At one time, a bloody collision seemed inevitable between the people and United States authorties.  A grand mass meeting of the opponents of the law was held on the public square in Cleveland, May 24th, 1859, and was largely attended; thousands came by cars that day and the city was crowded to repletion; delegation after delegation, with banners flying, filed up the streets from the depot to the public square.  One I remember was inscribed “Sons of Liberty 1765; Down with the Stamp act, 1850, Down with the Fugitive act”; on another, “Here is the Government, Let Tyrants beware.”  Hon. Joshua R. Giddings was made president of the day, and my friend Dr. A. Skellinger, of New London, was one of the vice presidents.  Frank Sawyer, now General Sawyer of Norwalk, was one of the committee on resolutions, and P. N. Schuyler, of Bellevue, one of the committee on permanent organization.  Mr. Giddings ever since the meeting had been called on the 12th of May openly stated that he should not mince matters, and would precipitate a crisis if he could.  The state of public feeling was such that a few bold men could have brought on a collision, and one was gravely apprehended.  You must remember that at this time the rescuers of the boy John, 37 in number, residents of Oberlin and Wellington, had all been indicted, and two of them, Bushnell and Langston, convicted and
sentenced, and were in jail serving out the term of their punishment which was both fine and imprisonment.
     The United States officials were claiming that they would not recognize any writs of habeas corpus from the Supreme Court of Ohio, and did openly protest against the removal of the prisoners from the jail of Cuyahoga county until the expiration of their sentence.  Cleveland on May 24th, 1859, was full of armed men who felt that a crisis was at hand and they were ready for it; the gravest apprehension had prevailed for several days, and on Monday the 23d it was believed by some that only one man in Ohio could prevent a resort to arms on the day of the mass meeting.

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That man had refused to come to Cleveland, for objections satisfactory to himself and difficult to answer, and here I wish to state at the risk of seeming somewhat egotistical, that two young men, natives of the Firelands, were largely instrumental in securing at the very last moment the attendance of this man, whose presence there on that occasion, in my opinion, saved a bloody struggle on May 24th, and the credit and honor of the State of Ohio, and that too without a sacrifice of principle; these young men were Henry D. Cooke, afterwards Governor of the District of Columbia, (now deceased) and the other one was your speaker.  The man whose presence was so potent, whose words of counsel were heeded, whose courage was conceded, and who gave his promise without bravado, was Governor Salmon P. Chase.  I must quote the whole of his inimitable speech on that day following the exciting and eloquent address of Mr. Giddings, in which he, Mr. Giddings, said among other things, “For thus obeying the high behests of Heaven’s King, these men are now thrust into a gloomy prison which would disgrace the southern portion of Africa.  Again, “I know that the Democratic party press throughout the country has represented me as counseling forcible resistance to the law, and God knows it is the first truth they have ever told about me.”  And again, “Now let me take a vote, now let all those who are ready, and resolved to resist when all other means fail, when your rights are trampled into the dust, when the yoke is fixed upon your necks, and when the heel of oppression crushes your very life out, all those who are thus ready to resist the enforcement of the infamous slave law, speak out.”  The roar which arose from thousands of voices was deafening.  Again, “I would have this voice sound in the mouth of the cannon, I would have it resound over every hill, through every vale, by every winding stream, and every rushing river. I would have it go roaring in every mountain wind which rocks your forests until all the world shall hear.”  Cheers deafening, and prolonged applause.
     Other speeches followed, not calculated to quiet an already excited multitude, and when Governor Chase arose everyone almost felt and knew that the action of the day hung upon his words.  As a model of diction, of earnest, honest thought, of prophecy, and sound advice, his speech has not an equal in history.  The Governor was received with most hearty and tremendous cheers; he said: A few hours ago he was sitting in his office at Columbus,

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not expecting to be present to-day, but having received a summons to meet with them to-day, he had felt it his duty to come, but he had not come to advise them to do anything which they hereafter might have occasion to regret.  He had not come to counsel any violence.  The American people having the control of all power by the ballot boxes, it was for them to do it in their legitimate way.  It was not necessary that we, the sovereigns of the land should resort to any measures which could not be carried out at all times and under all circumstances.  Some of the most respected citizens of the State whom 'he had' known for years had done what they believed to be right, and which not one man in ten thousand would look up into the blue sky with his hand on heart and say was not right; they had been thrown into confinement.  This was Wrong, and what should we do?  We exist under a State government, and a federal government and if the government does wrong, turn it out.  Dismiss the unworthy servants and put in those who will do your will.  So with the State governments.  Take the right course always, and look to the governments, and reform them.  The federal government is now acting under a fugitive slave law of which he had often expressed his opinion, and what is our redress for those who are imprisoned under that act?  The first thing to do was to ably defend them as had been done.  It was said that this law was unconstitutional.  If this be so, all done under that law, is null and void.  He believed when the law was passed and believed now that that act was in tended rather as a symbol of the supremacy of the Slave States, and the subjugation of the free.  This case has been brought before the Courts of the State and they are bound to carry out their duty under such a view of it.  If the process for the release of any prisoner should issue from the Courts of the State, he was free to say that so long as Ohio was a sovereign State, that process should be executed.  He was in favor of reciprocity, but if the State Court issued papers and process the Federal Court must show the same deference to the State Court that was at other times shown the Federal Court.  We can reform the judiciary, the Congress and the administration, and although the process may be too slow to suit some the more excited of the audience, yet none of them were so old that they might not see the operation of this remedy; he did not counsel revolutionary measures but when his time came, and his duty was plain, he, as the Governor of Ohio, would meet it as a man.

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     He then reviewed the circumstances of the arrest and seizure of the negro boy John, under a power of attorney, and this process of a power of attorney gave to the agents of the power the right to take John wherever he was found, although at that time he was a citizen of Ohio.  Consequently that paper of authority was not peace, but war, against a citizen of Ohio.  His deliberate judgment was that no person could be seized and captured while he was a citizen of any sovereign State, under the constitution of the United States.  He entered into a brief analysis of the constitutionality of this law, showing it to be at variance with the letter and spirit of that document, giving it as it does, the power of the judges to the commissioners under this act.  Who does not see in all these unrighteous accusations and prosecutions the doom of this law?  He remembered the statement of the Plain Dealer of a few days ago, which said that the origin of this law was infernal, and that it must be repealed, whether constitutional or not, but it was never intended by this clause, which permits slavery in the land, that it was to spread farther than the states in which it then existed, and had they believed otherwise, the constitution would never have been enacted.  Let the Courts be appealed to and let them act in accordance with their consciences and their duty between themselves and their God.  The great remedy is in the people themselves, at the ballot box.  Elect men with backbone who will stand up for their right no matter what forces are arrayed against them.  See to it, too, what president you elect again.  Let such a man be selected as will do as you desire, a man who will represent the people in the spirit of freedom and right, and administer the constitution of our fathers, the securer of liberty, and not the prop of slavery.  I have said just what I feel and think, just what I will live by, and just what I will die by.  Go on and be faithful to your charge, do your duty to yourselves, your country, and your God.  This calm, wise, and prophetic speech of Governor Chase, delivered in his most earnest manner, and with an unflinching eye, settled the action of the day, which was to await the decision of the Supreme Court upon the writs of habeas corpus issued in behalf of Bushnell and Langston, and then pending.  That decision was against their discharge, yet, in the intervening time the excitement of the masses had cooled, blood had not been spilt, but the seed had been sown, the manna fed, the leaven scattered, which, in the providence of an Almighty God,

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greatly aided, speedily to break off the manacles from every slave.
     In the winter of 1858-59 there came over our line a consign ment of nine fugitives who were soon in the care and safe keeping of George J . Reynolds, a black man who had lived at Sandusky some years, and who was always very watchful of the passengers over our line of road.  These blacks had come up in the night over a portion of the Sandusky, Mansfield & Newark Railroad.  I do not know from what station, nor did Mr. Reynolds tell me who was conductor on the train, but he must have been friendly to the cause or those fugitives would never have left the train, as the president and manager of the road at that time was Willliam Durbin, a fine man, but intensely pro-slavery, and a Maryland man by birth.  These slaves all went over to Canada where they arrived in safety.  In 1859 two slave families arrived in Sandusky. One by the name of Marshall consisting of a man, his wife and four children and the other named Burnett, and comprising a man, his wife, and three children.  The men found employment in the woods some miles.west of Sandusky, where James P. Gay and E. Merry (the latter of whom now resides at Milan, as did also the former before his coming to Sandusky) had been engaged in clearing off a large quantity of timber, and had erected in the vicinity a number of cheap wooden houses for their laborers, in two of which these black people made their homes, and where in safety they could have remained but for the interference of a craven hearted white miscreant named Thomas Davis, who lived near by, and who for a reward, informed the owners of these slaves of their whereabouts.  Do not confound this man Davis with Thomas R. Davis, who also lived near this place, for the latter was friendly to the negroes, and was among those who engaged in the pursuit of which I speak later on.  These owners and their agents in the evening seized these two families, and hurried them across the country to the Sandusky, Dayton & Cincinnati Railroad some two miles distant; Louis and Palmer Pruitt, now living in Sandusky, and then residing at the place above described, hearing the screams of the captives hastened to their aid, and though Louis used his old musket to some advantage, as the blood tracks showed the next morning, the Pruitts alone, unassisted could not cope with the superior arms and numbers of the slave catchers who succeeded in getting away with their prey.  They did however crowd them so, that in their haste they left a small child about

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two years of age in the woods, where it was found the second day following.  The child was cared for and some years after its father returned and took it back to Maysville, Kentucky, but not into slavery, as there were no slaves then in all our land.  The Pruitts organized a party and hurried on to Castalia to intercept the train, but to prevent a rescue there the train was started before they could get on board.
     From the Pruitts themselves, I have had the following account of this capture: They say that the slave-catchers took a direct route for the track of the Sandusky, Dayton & Cincinnati Railroad, and that at a point near Venice, the night express going south stopped by prearrangement, for this point was not used as a stopping place, and was where no signal could be given, and the night was dark; yet at this point the train stopped, the poor fugitives hustled into an extra car attached to the train and next morning were in Kentucky.  This capture, the only one ever made in Erie county, was one of the most disgraceful affairs that ever occurred in our State, and created great indignation and excitement in Sandusky, and in the county.  The officials of the road at that time made no explanation to the public, that I am aware of, as to the stopping of the train, the extra passenger car, that night, or the unusual incidents connected therewith, but to those who sought information, said they knew nothing about it.  The person responsible for this act will never be known in this world, “But God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.”  The last escape of fugitives through the Underground within my knowledge was in 1861 immediately preceding the inauguration of President Lincoln; two slaves reached Sandusky, bright, active boys, and they were after a short time safely carried over the border.  And the story connected with their escape, is most interesting; it brings up a fact which I ought to have stated earlier and that is
that many slaves escaped not from their own idea, or from the suggestion and instance of abolitionists who were charged with it all, but at the instance of two classes, both living at the south; one class having grudges against certain owners of slaves, and seeking their revenge, secretely in this way, afraid to openly attack them; the other class were known as “Nigger Catchers,” and kept dogs; this class visited the plantations, advised the slaves to run away,
and then would be employed by the owners to catch them, which they often failed to do.  In the fall of 1860 a young Kentuckian

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living 20 miles back of Maysville, said in a public bar-room that he would vote for Lincoln, his uncle who was present, got up, took a drink, and swore that the young man should be “rode upon a rail.”
     This uncle was a desperate man, and owned a dozen slaves.  The nephew was called aside by the landlord who advised him to mount his horse, then standing with the saddle on, and ride for his life, as he knew what the threat meant.  The horse was mounted and away the young man flew for Maysville, going down to the ferry boat he was soon on his way over the river.   Looking back he saw his uncle and six of his neighbors in hot pursuit riding down the bank, but the young man was safe; not safe in his own home, or in his native state, but safe because he was in free Ohio.  That young man made a vow to steal every slave his uncle owned.  He became a conductor on the “Underground;” one or two at a time, he quietly enticed the slaves away, and these two who had reached Sandusky in March, 1861, were the last of that uncle’s slaves. The young man had kept his word, and Hannibal’s oath of eternal hostility to Rome was not more sacredly kept than was that young man’s vow.  Of the years since 1860, and of the events since that period, of the war and its consequences, the emancipation of the slaves, and our country’s prosperity, I will not speak; it is familiar to you all.  I have now concluded the facts and incidents which I have desired to place before you.  A plain and unvarnished story of events, of some of our Country’s laws, of the escape and kidnapping of fugitives which even now, but much more in the time to come, will seem like fiction or a fairy tale.



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