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Full text of "Autobiography of John Malvin : a narrative, containing an authentic account of his fifty years' struggle in the state of Ohio in behalf of the american slave, and the equal rights of all men before the law without reference to race or color ; forty-seven years of said time being expended in the city of Cleveland"

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IN TIIR STATF. OF >|||o IN lUl M f 1 UK A\U Kit \N SI.AX I . AM* 

THE F.^I;AL RK:IITS IF AI.I. MKN ni- KMKI mi: i \\\ umioi; i 















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Cleveland 12, Ohio 




Many of my friends of this city desirinjr me to <rive 
to the puhlie the history of my life, ami the details ami 
incident* connected therewith, I hesitated for a hii 
time, to make the undertaking, hut from their continual 
solicitation*, I at last concluded to write a narrative, 
which, strictly speaking, is no history of my life, hut 
an enumeration of- the principal events which have 
occurred, ami with which I have heen personally con 
nected. Not having a record to ifnide me, I have heen 
obliged to rely entirely on my memory. It is very pos- 
sihle, therefore, that there mny IM sonic slicht errors as 
to dates, and matters of minor importance, hut as to the 
events themselves, I can safely assure my friends that 
they are related substantially as they occurred. 



. I was horn in IVmee William County, Virginia, in 
tin* year 17! ~, in .1 little town known hy tin- name of 
, Ihimfries. My mother, whose name was haleus Mal- 

vin, was a tree woman, hut my lather was a slave hehmi;- 
intr to a man named Henderson. In my seventh vear I 
was IxiiiiMl out to this Henderson as an apprentiee. 
Henderson also lived in humfries, owned several farms 
in Wood County, W. Ya., ami was a la r ire slave owner. 
He ha<l a rl-rk named John < Jiillitli, who was an nn- 
. married man. ami whose husiness it was to keep the 
aeeounts ot the several farms, ami 1 was assigned hv 
Mr. Ilctidorsoti to wait upon this rlerk. I attended 
him personally, hlaeked his hoots, took eare of his 
horse, and so on. and when through with these avuea- 
tions, at times, I would i;o out into the Held and work 
; with the other hands. At dinner time my duty was to 
o to the house and prepare the tahle. After dinner I 
would return a^ain to the field. Sueh was my daily 

I was kept regularly at this employment for nearly 
four years, when, in the year 1*07, the peoph of Wood 
( Vw II ty were greatly agitated and aroused hy the dis- 
eovery of a plotted rebellion, whieli ha<l heen foment el 
hy Dominiek Hlcnnerhassett and Aaron lurr, who had 
their headquarters at Ulcnncrhassett Island, on the 



Ohio River, three miles In-low the mouth, of the Little 
Kuiiawlm. 1 was at that time removed from my pres 
ent situation to trie of the farms in that vicinity, situated 
on what is known as Cow Creek, ami remained there 
until the breaking tint of the war of IKIJ. (iritlith had 
preceded me to this farm, and when I arrived there I 
was kept at substantially the same oeettpation. During 
this period 1 had a fair opportunity of witnessing the 
.miseries of slavery. Though I was an apprentice, I 
was treated little hetter than a slave myself. For my 
clothing, I was supplied every year with one pair of 
sh*cs, two pairs of tow linen pantaloons, one pair of 
negro cotton pantaloons, and a negro cotton round 
jacket. My food consisted of one peck of corn meal a 
week. Sometimes 1 received a supply of salt, hut they 
were very sparing of that luxury, and I was compelled 
most, of the time to go without it. I was obliged to 
resort to oilier means to ,htain food. 

The luxury which I observed among the neighboring 
slave-owners, and t he sty I of living of my master, stim 
ulated my appetite for some of the good things of tjiis 
world, and being of an adventurous spirit, like most 
other hoys, I concluded to avail myself of any means 
that would enable me to procure something more sub- 
st.mtial than corn meal. There was another hoy on the. 
farm who was a little older than myself, and who roomed 
with me in the same cabin. Whenever we felt a desire 
for meat we would provide ourselves with clubs, and in 
the night time visit the hog hods. The hogs were 
allowed to run at large in the woods, ami when we 
would lind a sow with her pigs, we would drive her up 
and ,make a selection of one of the pigs, and hy good 
ust- of our clubs secure the fruit of our adventure. We 
would then take the pig to our cahin, make a hot tire, 
instead of scalding, we would singe the hair oil 

from the pi^. . Thou we would dross and roast the 
to our fancy, wliioli, with our corn bread, made us a 
moal wliioli wo relished all the more ly reason f the 
risk and clangor wo ran iu obtaining it. When we 
waiitod a change in our diet we would i^ out ainon^ 
tho cows and gvl SOUK- milk. In our first adventure of 
this kind I procured a juir: I inserted tin* trat into the 
mouth of tho juvr Jind was about to proceed milkmir, 
when tho OM w mado a sudden movement with our of 
her hind le^s and struek mo on the thiich. I fell over 
and lay until fh pain suhsided, when I -..t up and 
found ttitothor eow more doeile than the lir^t, and sue- 
C N ded in :c-ttin^ tho jiif lilh-d. Unas! pi^ was well 
enough in its way, hut we sometimes wanted a ehuu^e 
of meat, and then wo would ijo out anion^ tho sheep 
find oaf oil a him!>, and unhutton its collar (cut its throat.) 

One niicht I had retired as usual, to nice}*, hut helore 
retirini; I had placed a pot of walcrover the lire place, 
in which I had put my shirt to hoil. \Vhcn I woke up 
F found to my dismay that the pot was ^lowinij red, and 
that all tho water had hoilcd out. At the hottom of tho 
pot was :i hand full of ashes, heiuij all that remained of 
my shirt. This was tho only shirt I had, and when I 
notified tho clerk of my mishap, in order to recompense 
mo for my loss, ho jjave mo a severe llo ririnij, and 
throu-Lrh tho whole winter 1 was ohlii^ed to jo without 
a shirt on my hack and no covering hut my jacket. 

On the hroakiuir out of the war of l*l:J I attempted, 
to run away, and for that purpose I followed a hody of 
soldiers. I attempted to got aboard one of their boats 
on tho Ohio Uivcr, but not (Mieeeedinjf, I was compelled 
to return tf> my station, ami I never \va.< missed, nor wan 
the fact of my leaving ever discovered. 

. 8 

On another occasion I was taken by this clerk Grif 
fith, my wrists were tied crosswise together, -ami my 
hands were then brought dowti ami tied to my ankles; 
my shirt was taken off, and in that condition 1 watt com 
pelled to lie un the ground, and he began flogging me. 
lie whipped me on one si<le till the itcsh was all raw 
and bleeding; then he rolled me over like a log and 
whipped me on the other side in the same manner. 
When 1 was untied I put on my shirt. So severely was 
my IK-- 1 1 lacerated that my shirt stuck to my hack, and 
1 was imuUe to get it oil without the assistance of an 
old lady who lived on the farm, who applied grease to 
it. 1 had committed no crime or offense that jnstitied 
any such treatment, lie hud ordered me to chop some 
logs, so that they could lie rolled together to he htirned. 
His hrother was to attend to the burning of the logs, 
and I had chopped them and went away. The logs had 
been rolled together ami a tire started, hut by some acci 
dent the lire reached the fence and burnt live or six of 
the panels. As soon as 1 heard of this I ran to the fence 
and stopped the lire from spreading, and sat there until 
I;* o clock at night to watch and keep the cattle from 
going through into the corn. The clerk then came 
home, and finding things in this condition, he stripped 
and whipped me in the manner I have stated. 1 
resolve* I at that time that if ever 1 should grow older 
and stronger 1 would kill him, hut 1 never got an oppor 
tunity to he revenged upon him, as in lsl:I Mr. Hender 
son died, and 1 was at liberty again, and returned to my 
parents in Kast Virginia, and never saw the clerk after 

My lather was a carpenter by trade, and I began to 
work with him at his bench until I had learned the 
trade. I hiring the time I was working with my father 
1 became possessed of a dcoire to learn to read. When 

I would see people read a newspaper or hook, I felt 
reat delight in what seemed to me to he />//// /iM "**/, 
as I considered it. When I hoarl any one read, my 
.curiosity would he exeited, and I would listen atten 
tively to the matter read, and I at last concluded that I 
should like to fttlk //*//*/ too, like the white people. An 
excellent opportunity was afforded me. 1 knew an old 
slave who was past lahor, and who lived in a eahin 
three miles from where I did. and who hy some means 
had learned to read. He eouid read the Itihle piile 
readily, and lie consented to teach me to read and spell. 
We ohtaiiied liirht to read hy means of pine knots, 
which I would p out and find in the dark hy feeling 
with my feet. I would carry them to the old man s 
cabin and put them in the fire-place. We did not dale 
to talk loud, lest we should he overheard, and had to 
confine ourselves to whispers. Such were the means 
and circumstances, under which I learned to read and 
spell. After 1 had learned to read I he^an to attend 
several religious meetings, and heeame so wrought, up 
with religious fervor that I concluded to preach the 
trospel. I joined the llaptist ( 1 hurch, and, though I 
had no education, I applied to the church of which I 
was a memher, for a license to preach. That not hein*; 
permissihle under the laws of Virginia, hv rea><n of 
my color, the church refused h> ri\v me a license, hut 
i^ave me a vcrhal permission to pivsich the gospel. 

I hepm preaehinur amonir the slaves, and even sol 
emnized marriages hy permission from the owners. 
While preaching, I continued to live with my parents, 
and remained with them until 1S:>7. during \\ 1m h time 
I availed myself of every opportunity I could jet. to 
read, whenever I could ohtaiu a paper or hook. Noth 
ing eventful occurred to me, howev<T, during this, 
period, until I left my home, as I shall re atc in the 
following chapter. 


Iii tin- yearlSJJ, a spirit of adventure, natural to most 
g ini ii. took possession of me. and I eoneluded to 
leave Virginia and LT i> Ohio. No* Colored man was 
|M k nuttted to travel through Virginia without . prodiieinij 
evidenees in some way "i his freedom. I had a short 
lime prior (o my departure, applied tor and ohtained 
freedom pap* -rs, (o whirh was atiixed tin signature of 
the CU-rk ofthe County, and the st>al of the Court. 

I aHeetioiwtety took leave of my pan nts, with nothing 
lull my dollies that wereon .nv hack, and ::n ex Ira shirt, 
and -tartetl a toot on my joiirney hy way ! what was 
ealled Hie \Viin-ln>lr r !%<ad. The lirsi village l.i-anie. 
to after eros.-in^ C lar Kim, was Kivntsviile; the 
M-. .in.1 \\.i- Hay Marki-l, j.->inu r the (mil Unn \loiin- 
tain al what was railed the Thoroughfare <ia|; th<-n 
|iiirsuin<r my i-onrse until I earnc t Oak Hill, .in i,-i 
leiiee of Chie! *lnstiee Marshall; then erossini^ the line 
Kidire Mountain at A^hly s (ja|, then down alon*; the 
Shcnandoali Uiver, eros.sin*; that at I Jerry s Kerry, leav 
ing MillwtMid and \VhiteJHist to the left; them-e to 
VVinehester, PrtNleriek County; them-e enissin*; the 
s(uth hraiich of the I otomae, near Uumlcy s and so on 
to Cln-at Uiver and Tatterson ( ivek. At Uiimley I 
>(.||MM| at a magistrates ollire and |r<Mlnri-d the neees- 
sary papers of my freedom, and Was permitted to pro- 
eeed. That was the only magistrate I ealled on <lnrin^ 
inv joiirnev. Slmi-ily after leaving Uumh y, I was met 
li\ two men, one of whom had a do* and riile. They 
asked me who 1 was, and demanded proof. 1 showed 
them my papers, and they let me [KISS. 


I forded all tin* streams mentioned* and then came to 
Clarkshurif, the metropolis of Harrison County, thence 
to tin* Dry Kidi^e in Wooil County, and from thence to 
tin* Ohio |{iv r. to the farm where I formerly lived 
on Cow Creek ; crossing Cow Creek, Calf Crook and Hull 
Creek ami so on down |ho. rivoc, until I came opposite 
Marietta, ami there I crossed ly terry. Tin- hoy who was 
rowing mo over the rivor, had irt to tl n 1 ninhllo ( thr 
Htivain; wlirn lu was ilist ovorril 1>y his (MII{I|<VM\ who, 
sfrintr that I was a roloivd man, oroVivd tin- hy t nw 
mo hark, lie then askt*<| mo sonu* i|iii stitns, and I 
prosoiitotl my iVoodnin jiap<T>, ami, after examining 
them he allowed tlio |HV to row me across. I walked a 
distance of :}<M) miles, from IVim-e William Omniy to 
Marietta, Ohio, in the short spare of six days. 

At Marietta, I ir<l a hoard of a (la) hoat on th<- Ohio 
Kivrr, and worked my passage to Cineinnati, whi-h was 
then a i^rowini; town. I thought upon itMiriii^ to a free 
State like 4)hio, that I would lind every dour thrown. 
open to roeeivo me, hut from tire treatment I tvrrivrd 
hv the people generally, I found it little hetter than in 

< r^ 


I hail not hren hn^ in Cincinnati, hcfoiv I hccani* 
ac<|uainted with many ot the colored people there ro^nl- 
ini;. and it \va-* there I first he^an to interest mv-elf in 
the condition of my race. My at lent ion had heeii called 
to a statute of Ohio, in which I read suhstanlially these 
words: "That no ne^ro or mulatto should he permitted 
* to emitjrati to this State, or settle, or acquire a domi- 
"oilo, without first onterinj^into hondsot ^ HMl, with ap- 
** proved security, conditioned that he would never he- 
44 come a town charge, and that he would keep the 
** -poaoo.** I read on a little further: "That no. ne^ro 
"or mulatto shall testity in a Court of Justice or Kei-ord, 
44 where a party in a cause there pending was white. No 


u negro or mulatto child shall enter into any of the pnh- 
" lie schools of this State, or receive the benefit of the 
".M-liool I liiiil. No neirro or mulatto shall )H permitted 


to enter any of the institutions of this Ktate, vix: a. 
lunatic asylum, deaf ami duni i asylum, nor even the 
* poor house. 

Thus I found every door closed against the colored 
man in a five Staff, excepting the jails and penitentia 
ries, tin- doors of which were thrown wide open to re 
ceive him. i was for sonic time uncertain whether to 
remain in Ohio, or to ivhmi to Virginia, hut at length 
concluded h remain in Ohio tor a time, not knowing 
what to do. I succeeded in calling together a meeting 
of the. colorcil men of (Cincinnati, and, on consultation* 
things diil not look very encouraging. I suggested to 
the meeting the propriety of appointing a committee to 
LV> to some country with power to make arrangement* 
for the purchase of some place to live free from the 
t ramnicls of unsocial and unequal laws. 

\oui- hut I hose who have experienced the misery of 
servitude, or the panics which result form the conscious 
ness of lcing despised as a caste, from hcing shut out 
i roni the hciictit of enjoying the pure atmosphere of 
heaven in -omnion with all mankind, and not only 
lii-iir.: personally despised, hut not even having the pro 
tection f the laws themselves, i*an fully appreciate the 
pat riot ic ardor which animated that little assemhiy. 
Tha we should tind a home that we could coiisiler 
wholly our own, where we could all l>e on an ctjiial 
>ociai tooting, warmed us up to an unusual decree of 
enthusiasm. A conimittee consisting of James Kin*;, 
Henry ArHu-r and Israel Lewis, was appointed for that 
purpose. The committee went to Canada, and entered 
into negotiations with a Canadian Land Company, for 
acres of land, located on the Sahel Kiver, to 


t*>rni a colony. Tin 4 colony was soon afterwards formed. 
and took tho name of Wilherfoive, a ft or tlio groat anti- 
slavery eliaiiijiioii. 

hurinir tlio tinio that tin- committee \v:is ahscnt. 1 
Cellini a meeting of the colored moii of Cineinnati. for 
tlio purpose of petitioning tlio Legislature for the repeal 
of those ohnoxious hlack laws. \Vo drew up a petition 
h> whieh wo ohtained niiinorons signatures, ami among 
others, tlioso of Nicholas Loni^ worth, \Vykof I l*i:itl ainl 
John Klini^nian. This petition, after it hal Keen put 
in circulation, raised a threat deal of comment. \Ve saw 
pnhlished in ono of the daily papers of ( ineinnati. the 
following notico fnni inemhers of one of the col<rod 

**\Vo, tho iindorsignod, nionihors of the Methodist 
** Kpiseopal i hnreh, JOO in niuuher, do certify that we 
44 form no part of that indefinite numher that an* asking 
;* a change in tho laws of Ohio; all we ask. is a cnntinn- 
"atioii of tlio smih^s of tho white people as wo have 
44 hitherto enjoyed them." Signed, 



There were at this time two olorod Methodist 
1 lmrehes in (- ineinnati the African M. K. Church. 
and tho M. K. Chnrch, tho latter heinr the puhlishers 
of the alxive article. The former church was in favor 
of the repeal of those ohnoximis laws, and wo continued 
the circulation of our petition until we irt it numer 
ously signed and nont it to the legislature. What he- 
eame of our petition, or what action the legislature 
took in the matter, we never found out, but from the 


position taken l\ some, of our colored brethren, it is 

likely that the legislature thought he>t not to interfere 
in i lit- matter. 

hiii-ing my residence in Cincinnati, I was frequently 
in of visiting the hoats ami steamers on the 
Ohio liiver, ii* 1 was loud of looking at them, especially 
flu- machinery. On one of these occasions 1 visited two 
II-..M-. and hen a third hoat which was called the -Cri 
terion." !!> loats lay close to each I!HT, anti on 
harl of tlu* " (ntrrion " there were thirty slaves 
hoiiinl lor tlu> southern market. I was standing on the 
l-i iiuHiiMii J--k ol the "(.Criterion" when a woman ot* 
iiii.-r.^i in- a|i|M-;ri-:iii.-- passed near nu% <-oinin^ front 
MI.- IHII-I i. an.v dei L. I spoke to her and toiiml hrr 
namr to lie Susan Hall, and that she was from the same 
county \\liriv I was horn. 1 had never seen her hefoiv, 
lni mv mother had often sren her, ami spoken of her 
lo in.- MM- told in.- that she had two children aboard, 
a hoy and a i^irl. I asked her if she would like to ho 
live. Shf said she would like it very milch. 1 had to 
leave oil* talking with her then, as the wateh was very 
stiiet, and (old her 1 had to LT ove^r into Kentneky, hnt 
would return that same nii^hi. So great was my ahhor- 
ivnee of -l.i\er\. that I was willing to run any risk to 
accomplish the lihei atimi of a -la\e. I erossi*d over 
into K.-ht u. k\ , and returned del \\.-eii sundown and 
dark, ami went ahoard of the Uat. There I remained 
until altout one oYloek, whni the wonian macle her 
ajip.-aranee with one of her ehihlleli. She todl me that 
things weiv S4 situated that she could not get her girl 
without discovery, and we wen* ohligcd fo leave with 
out the girl. Theiv Were tw> gangways on the loat ; 
Mi forward and one. alt. The gang-plank at the stern 
was drawn in. and there was no means of exit from 
the hoat except hy the forward gang plank. It was 
sbihle, however, for us to ebcupe at that place, as 


two men were posted there with ^iin s as watcK On 
looking around, however, 1 found there was a small 
lnat belonging to the "Criterion," in tin- water at the 
stern. 1 concluded to make use of tliis boat tor tlie 
purpose of efleeting the escape. I assists! tlie woman 
anl her !MV into the little boat ami nntieil it t roin the. 
4i Criterion." There was am ther -large steamer astern 
of the ** Criterion/" ami 1 -li<l the little hoat |iiickly 
ont under the ho\v of this other steamer, ami made it 
appear as though I was leaving that steamer instead o| 
the " Criterion." The guards were deluded ly this 
ruse, and paid no attention to us, thinking we eame 
t roni the other lnat. The risk, however, was very 
rreat. \Ve eoiilil see the barrels of their rnns irlisN-n 
in the nioonliirht. I etfeeted a landinir and I. n unlit 
them to a place of safety. Then I rrtnrned ami siie- 
eeeded in grttini; ahoard of the ^Criterion" airain. and 
in the same manner I sm-eeeded in eUeetinir the eseape 
of two yoiiiis; men and a yonnir woman. 

I found shelter in a safe plan- in Cincinnati for the 
woman and child ; the others I sent with a irnulr. to 
itichmond, Indiana. The woman was pregnant, and 
remained in Cincinnati till she was in a condition 
to travel, during which time I pail tor her hoard and 
sustenance. I then sent her to Canada, where she mar 
ried a man named McKinncy, and raised a family. 
One of her sons has often heen seen on the streets ol 
Cleveland. His name is Courtney McKinncy, and lie is 
a chimney-sweep. He wears on his cap a plate with 
In- name, and occupation engraved thereon. 

At the time when I effected the escape of the slaves, 
they were not missed until the next. morninir. and \\heti 
they were found to IK missing the city was thrown into 
great commotion, and constables wen- sent in all direc 
tions to search for the missing slaves; hut they did not 
succeed in finding them, nor wan 1 ever BUHpcctetl. 


On the Ktli day of March, 18^1*, 1 married my present 
will- in Cincinnati, and the next August I moved to 
Louisville, K y., and spent the remainder of the year at 
I hut place working at my trade. From there i moved 
ii-M ,u alter to Middlctown, nine miles from Louisville, 
and worked the next year then* at my trade tor one 
( Miamhris, (he master ol my wife s father, who was a 
sl;i\e. In I he iall of the same year 1 WJIH arrested as a 
fugitive slave and put in jail. The jailor procured suf- 
licieiit aid to hattdcuik me, and tried to <rct a confession 
from me, having taken oil my clothes, while he stood 
hy with a cowhide in his hand in order to frighten ami 
intimidate me, hut lie. .lid not succeed in ^yUm- a 
confession from me. and he did not whip me either. 1 
manured to procure hail for my appearance in Court at 
the Mar h term, in the sum of s:}oo, |>nt on failure to 
prove that 1 was a slave, 1 was released from custody hy 
the Court. The next April I left Louisville for the pur 
pose of seeking a home for myself and wile in Canada, 
leaving my wife in Louisville. When 1 arrived in Can 
ada 1 contracted for a small farm, and in the fall of the 
same year (|s:i| ) I returned to Louisville for my wile. 
In returning from Canada i procured passage a hoard of 
a schooner at Inillalo, and proceeded up the lake, and a 
storm coming on we were forced to make harhor at Krie, 
and I concluded not to tr hy way of Cleveland, as i 
had .first int* inlel, for 1 thought the vessel was unsafe, 
hut conclndetl to ^o hy way of I ittshnr^h. I started 
from Krie, and proceeded on toot fourteen miles to a 
little town called Waterford, in Pennsylvania. At 


Waterford I purchased some scantling, and huilt mo a 
small hoat Ixl*. I lannohod the hoat into a siivani at 
Watorford cnlldl Ijclievf Oivok. I wont down the creek 
in my little loat, and ont of that ereok into another 
creek, and pursued my way down that second stream 
until I eame to Fivnrli ( reek, and there wen a nimihcr 
of mills on French ( reek, and dams wore (mill across 
from olio side to the other, und at some of those dams 
there acre shutes, so that hoats oonld pass through. 
\Vheiv there were no shntes I had to draw my hoat ont 
of the water, and drag it to places holow the dam. 
There were great hills on hoth sides of Kivneh Creek, 
and the growth of the timher. whieh was prinoipally 
hemlock, was very tliiek, and in the daytime it was so 
lark I eonld s-areely see my way thronirh. 

While proeeeding down Kreiieh (/n>ek 1 was jnite 
amused to see the Indians gatherilii; the ernde petro- 
h lim whieh was Moating on t>p of the water. They 
gathered the oil hy spread ing hlunkets oxer the snrfaee 
of the water, and allowing them to soak up the oil. and 
then they would take the hiankets, and wring the oil ont 
into vessels whieh they pronired for that purpose. 
What they did with the oil 1 do not know. 

I roeeeding on, 1 arrived at the month of Kivneh 
Creek to a small town, (tin- name of whieh I have for 
gotten,) ami from thenee into the Allegheny 1% iver and 
down to Pittsburgh. 1 disposed of my hoat at I m- 
hnrgh, and with the proeeeds I paid my passage to Cin 
cinnati. My wife met mo in Cineinnati. and then we 
started up the Ohio River as tar as Portsmouth, Ohio, 
with what little household goods we had. My ohjoet 
was to reaeh Chillieotho, to whieh point the Ohio Canal 
had IHH.MI completed, and then travel hy way of the 
canal. 1 hired a team to take us and our goods to Chilli- 


cot he, ami Iroia there we traveled on the canal to New 
ark, in Linking county. lv this time cold weather hail 
set in, and we were compelled to spend the winter in 

In the following April, the eanal hcing again open, 
we proceeded on our journey, and arrived in Cleveland 
the same month. There was very little eoiiintu mention 
hctwceit the United Slates and Canada in those days, 
so we waited in Cleveland tor a good opportunity to 
eross over into Canada, and finding no opportunity in 
Clevelaiul we went to Buffalo, where we stayed a 
tew days. Here my wife heeame greatly tronhled in 
consequence of having left her father, and it lay so 
heavily upon her that she gave me no rest. Seeing her 
unwillingness to go to Canada, and her tears that she 
would never see her tat her again, 1 eoneluded to give 
up the farm, ami my wife having taken a fancy to 
Cleveland, we determined to go haek and settle there. 
We accordingly eame to Cleveland, and I sought em 
ployment at my trade. Hut my eolor was an obstacle 
and 1 eould not gel work of that kind. I managed, 
however, to olitain employment as eook on the sehooiter 
Aurora, that -ailed on the lakes hetween Mackinaw and 
liiilla.lo, and 1 kept that position for three months. 
Leonard Case, Si 1 ., and I*. l. Andrews, of Cleveland, 
had liiiih a steam mill at the same spot where the C. &, 
r. 1C. 1C. shops now stand, and Mr. J. li. Hudson, who 
was part owner of the vessel .on which I was employed, 
purchased that mill from Case and Andrews. The mill 
ua- operated during the day, and he wanted to run it 
also during the night. Mr. Hudson applied to me to act 
;t> engineer during part ot the time. A man hy the name 
of Kra>tus Smith and his son \Va>hington were running 
Vuniiiiiir tin- engine at the time. 1 was perfectly ignorant 
of running an engine, and had no knowledge of luachiu- 


cry, nor of steam power, ami Mr. Hudson requested Mr. 
Krastus Smith to instruct me how to run the engine. On 
thedav appointed at 1- o clock I took charge of the engine. 
Mr. Smith and his son that, same day took th/ir gmis and 
went out in the woods to hunt. They were gone nearly 
two hours, and when they returned 1 heard Washington 
ask his father some question whieh I did not compre 
hend, hut the answer I understood very well. The 
engine was running at a very rapid rate, and the hi no 
streaks of steam were passing through the joints of the 
hoiler. Mr. Smith answered, %i I don t care it he blows 
her to h ." I immediately sprang to the safety valve, 
opened it, and let the steam hlow oil , tor from his answer 
I knew there was something wrong; then I left imnie 
diately and eame to town, and 1 reported what had 
occurred to I*. 15. Andrews, the gentleman who had 
huilt the online. He sent an engineer down to the mill 
to nee into the matter, and, on examination, he found 
* that there was only four inches of water in the hollers, 
and that the supply cock was shut oil , so that no \\atcr 
could got into the I toilers at all. 1 did not know how 
the boilers were supplied with water. Mr. Smith or his 
8on must have shut itotf hcforc they wont to I In- \\oods. 
The engineer instructed me how to supply the hoiltTs. 
and wo got things all right and started again. Alter 
this the mill was only run during the day, and at night 
1 would take a portion of the engine apart, lay each 
piece separate from the other, so that I would make no 
mistake, and, in like man nor, repeat my work at differ 
ent times until 1 had taken the whole engine apart and 
put it together again, and I become complete master of 
the machinery. 

I ran that engine twelve or thirteen months, and then 
I communicated to Mr. Hudson a project 1 had formed 
of buying my father-in-law s freedom. I opened ror- 


ru*pondenco with his masto, aiul he replicil that he 
would take 100.00 lor the old man, who was then sixty 
years of age, and that he would take 100.00 down, and 
the balance on time. 1 got a subscription paper and 
eirettlated it, and -upon that nulMCriptioo paper the pub 
lie kindly lonated 100.00. I then made two note*, 
payable in one and two years, for $150.00 each, and pro- 
ruivd the endorsement thereon of John M. Sterling, Sr., 
|)cur<m l>cnjamin Uouso, Judith Uichmond, and Thom 
as \Vhel[iley. 1 sent my wife to Kentucky with the 
money and notes, aiul on paying the 100.00 and deliv 
ering the notes* her father was released, and came with 
her to Cleveland. 

lion. Samuel Williamson was the attorney for my 
father-in-law s master, and the notes, as they hecame 
due, were sent to Mr. Williamson for collection. Not 
being aide to pay the tirst note, I was sued in the County 
Court. I expostulated with Mr. Williamson, ami tried 
to he released from the obligation, to some extent at 
least. He replied to me, that though he was opposed 
to slavery, yet when a person agreed to pay money, it 
was morally wrong to refuse to do it. Judgment was 
rendered against me on the note, and 1 continued to 
work until I paid the notes. 

My wile s lather, whose name was Caleb Horsey, lived 
in Cleveland fifteen years after his freedom was obtain 
ed, when, becoming anxious to visit his children in 
Louisville, he so informed my wife. We both protested 
.r. .tiii ! his going, as we thought the old man would not 
le aide to elianee the journey. Notwithstanding our 
entreaties, he persisted in going. He left Cleveland on. 
a Friday, arriving in Louisville on Saturday night. 
The next day being Sabbath, he went to Church. On 
that same night he took the cholera, and died, at the 
age of seventy-live years. 


During the first years of my residence in Cleveland, 
ami while I was in the employ of Mr. Hudson, there 
was a little, hriek huildinir on Academy Lain*, owned ly 
ono Mr. Irewstor. ami which hv ullowcd, liio Min 4 i;ro % u:a.- 
tion of tin* First |ap(ist ( limvli, llu>n orifani/.ril, to nsi- 
as a plar< i ot hnvtiiiif ami worship. I lia<l, whiU in < 1 in- 
cinnaii, olitaiiic<l a lioenso to preach the <t<v*pcl, trom 
the Knon Iaptist Chnroh, ami when I rjiini- to( hve- 
lanU I iM-i-asionally pivai-hel tor the First ISaptisi 
(Minroh in the htiihlinir on Aeadeiny Lane. I often n i - 
ceived invitations to preaeh in the eonntry, sometimes 
at Uoekport, soinetinies at Kncliil, ami other twtis. 
My wife and myself have remained ineiiihers of th- 
I5aptist Church ever since wo wore in Cleveland, and 
arc still nicml>cra thereof. 


Tin? extivuiity to which I had been driven, to pay 
the notes which 1 had jji ven tor the freedom of injrwife n 

father, .obliged me to resort to some means of earning 
tin- money to pay them. My earning* while in Mr. Hud 
son s < nij.lov, were barely suHicient to support my 
family. Through tin* kindneiM of Mr. James S. (Mark, 
I was cmihlcd to [HI reliant*, oil easy terms, a vessel owned 
by Abraham Wright of Uockport. When 1 went to 
i.ik-- out a license, the deputy Collet-tor refused to irraii! 
it, deciding that my color was an obstacle. But when 
the Collector himself arrived, who wa- t!i- lion. Samuel 
Starkweather, well known to ail the citizens of Cleve 
land, he decided that I had as much riirht to own and 
.til a vessel upon the lakes as I had to own a horse and 
hungry ;md drive through the streets, and he granted 
me a license. My vessel was called "The (irampus." 
After 1 obtained my license, Mr. l>iodatc Clark em 
ployed mi to carry limestone and cedar posts from 
Kellcy s and surrounding islands. I earned money 
enough to pay up the notes. I then disposed of the 

My next employment wan on the Kirst haptist Church, 
then on the corner of Champlain and Seneca streets, 
the place now occupied by the 1 T . S. Or^aii Company. 
When the church was built and ready for dedication, 
the i| Mention was nil. MM I aiuoiii; the members as to when* 
the colored people should sit. There was a diversity of 
opinion on the subject. In the first place, it was pro 
posed to finish otl the pews in the gallery in the same 
style as in the auditorium, and that I should have the 
fini -liinir of it under my control and management ; but 



finding that too expensive*, they aluiiicloiic d the method, 
and it was next proposed to the -eolored members that 
heforo tin; sale of the pews took phiee, that I, and one 
Stephen <irillin nii^hl niakt 1 a solrrtion of hall a do/.ni 
prws aiiy\vhrn in the rhun-h that ini^lit lv suitall\ 
wht thor on tin* hrojid or side aislr, or in front of tin- 
pulpit. To that I ohjofh d, stating that if I had to lie 
ro|oni/.fd, I pivfrnvd to h? coloiiixcd at 1/ihrria, rather 
than in the House of I tod; that Christ or- the Apostles 
never made anv distinetion on neeount of rare or eolor. 
It was, however, . iloi-hled that the eolred people should 
sit in the jfii I lory. On every proper oeeasion thensilter 
at ehureli meetings I would hrini; np the i|iiestirn of the 
distinction of eolor in the house of worship, and the 
ineiiihers heeanie nearly divided on tin 1 question, and 
after strnirirlin^ for eii^liteen months, it was finally eon- 
-liided that theeidored peoph 4 should have the privilege 
of obtaining pews in any part of the hnildinir, as other 
pei>i>H8, and my ohjcot wns thus ueeoinplished. 


During tlte year I S; W I was employed as a liand on 

tin- steamboat "Rochester," plying between Buffalo and 
Chicago. Tbc foifjMvitig year 1 left this position, and 
purchased .a canal boat from 8. K. Ilutchinson & Co. 
This firm owned the stone mill on the canal in Cleve 
land. My boat, which w;us trailed the " Auburn," was 
engaged in convoying wheat and merchandise on the 
Ohio Canal. The boat was a good passenger packet, 
with good cabins, and her former owners concluded to 
liny the hoat hack, which they did. They then employ 
ed me as captain, to manage her. (hi one occasion, 
while I was running the hoat, after having loaded with 
merchandise, I was ordered to deliver the goods at Chil- 
licothc. Leaving Cleveland about noon, we arrived at 
Nilcs about nine o clock in the evening. At this place 
we were hailed by some person saying that a passenger 
wanted to get aboard to go south. We came alongside 
the dock and landed. I rctty soon after some baggage 
came on board, ami in a short time the owner of the 
baggage, who was a female, appeared. 

My crew consisted of one white steersman, one col 
ored steersman, two white drivers, one colored bowman, 
and one colored female cook. \Vhcn the lady arrived I 
stood aboard of the stern deck ami assisted her aboard. 
When -In- went down into the cabin and sa\v the col 
ored cook, she was taken completely by surprise. The 
colored steersman ju-t then happened to go down into 
the cabin after something. The lady was sitting on the 
locker, and when she saw the colored steersman she 
went immediately to tin- other *idc of tin* boat. Alter 
the bowman had got his lines snugly curled, he went 


down into the cabin, and she accosted him, saving that 
she would like to sec the. captain. Accordingly, I was 
called, and went .down to see what she wanted. The 
light shone in my face so that she could easily see my 
features. The lady, after seeing me, suddenly sprang 
to her feet, and with great shortness of hreath exclaim 
ed, "Well, I never! well, I never! well, I never." I 
made a how and left her, and ordered the cook to set 
her stat^-room doors open, and to take oil" all the bed 
ding from the middle berth, and supply clean bedding 
from the locker, so that she might see that the bedding 
was changed, and I requested the cook to tell the sur 
prised lady to take thy middle berth. She refused to 
go to bed, and sat up all night. 

We arrived at Loek 21, north end of the Akron 
locks Jit midnight. At nearly every lock there was a 
house or grocery, and F instructed the crew to keep the 
blinds on the boat closed, so that the lady should not 
know she was in a village; for, seeing that she was 
afraid of colored people, I wanted to give her full op 
portunity of getting acquainted wiih them before she 
arrived at her home in ( -ircleville. We arrived at hock 
1 a little after daylight ; that brought us on the Wolf 
Creek level. On going into the Wolf ( reck lock, see 
ing that the lock was ready, we ran the boat right into 
the lock, and the hands divided, a part on one side of 
the boat, and a part on the other side. I gave the dri 
ver the signal, and he opened the wicket, lowered the 
boat down, and the lady was prevented from getting 
otl* there, if she had felt disposed to do so. When we 
came to the Fulton lock we pursued the same course 
as at the former lock. Hefore we had got to this point, 
and while we were yet on the Wolf (Veek level, I invil- 
ed the lady to breakfast, which she refused, saying that 
she did uot feel very well. When we arrived at the 


Full MI Lock, it brought us to the Massillon level, and 
it being dinner time, I invited the lady to dinner. She 
still complained of not fooling very well, hut took a 
pi e-r of pir ( nun where she stood. Then we arrived at 
tin- lifthichoin level, ami when tea was ready, I invited 
her to lea, and she took a eii| of tea and a hiseiiit. 

Just ahoiit this time we p;tssod through a strip of 
woods .id* iiit a mile in length. The moon was full, and 
it was a Lean I il u I evening. The cook, having got 
through with her cahin work, eame on deck. While 
she was proceeding towards the deek, the lady |a-*sen- 
gor followed her in a hesitating manner. They proiu- 
i,i-|. | the deek together for a while, and then retired. 
I suppose I he lady took a good night s sleep, for 1 did 
not hear anything trout her until the next morning.. 
Wli~n hreakfast was ready, on reeeiving an invitation, 
r>ho readily took a seat at the tahle, and ate a hearty 
meal, and from that time on she felt reeoneilod to her 
Hltrrolliiding*, and nm versed freely with the cook and 
allon hoard. When we arrived at (Srcleville she left 
us. I provided means for the conveyance of her hag- 
gMi^e, and on IMT leaving she thanked me, and said, 
"< aplain, when I first eame a hoard your hoat, not heing 
aeciistomed to travel in this way, 1 suppse 1 must 
have acted |uito awkward. Now, I must return my 
"thank* to you and your crew, for the kind treatment I 
" have received. 1 never traveled KO comt ortahly in all 
"my life, and 1 expect to go north soon, and I will defer 
my journey until you are going north, even if 1 am 
"ohligcd to wait two or three days." i never saw the 
lady again after that. 


Prior to the time that I was engaged as captain on 
the canal hoat as narrate*!, and during the time 1 was 
acting in the capacity of engineer tor Mr. Hudson, I 
had taken considerable interest in the question of the 
education of the colored children. About the year !* - 
I called a meeting of the colored men of Cleveland, and 
among others John lrown, Alexander Bowman, and 
Oavid Smith. Mr. John IF. Hudson gave us the use of 
a room on the mill premises to keep school in for col- 
ored children, and at that meeting we hired a half breed 
to leach the children, paying him JO a month, and he 
taught for ns three months; when he left we hired a 
young lady by the name of Clarissa Wright as teacher. 
Her parents lived in Talmadgo, Ohio, and she taught 
about two months and a-half, when, in consc|iicuee of 
her mother s sickness, she had to leave. Then we 
employed a man by the name of M. M. ( lark, from the 
Kast. I don t think he taught over three months. While 
he was teaching 1 called a meeting of colored men and 
suggested to them the propriety of calling a State con 
vention of colored men, which was done, and, as far a* 
I know, it was the first colored convention ever known 
in the United States; at least I never had heard of one 
before. After having agreed upon calling the conven 
tion we proposed for that purpose to employ Mr. Clark, 
our then school teacher, to canvass the State, and lec 
ture to the colored people on the propriety of calling a 
State convention. He done so, and the State conven 
tion in 1H:V> was called in the City of Columbus as a 
consequence of our effort, and that convention organ 
ized itself into what WUB then called * 4 thc School Fund 



Society." The business and object of that was to estab 
lish .-M hooU in different parts of the State for colored 
hildren. We established one in Cincinnati, one in 
Columbus, one in K|riiigtiel<l, autl another in Cleveland, 
and that con volition decided to employ M. M. (Mark as 
an ai^cnt to raise funds for the snpp<irt of the schools. 
The. llrst donation was by .lames S. Clark, Ks<|., and in 
caiivas>m:; the State the good citizens of the State 
responded to the rail. We kept these schools going for 
about t\V4i years, and several of the adult colored people 
of Cleveland, not having had the benefits of education 
before extended to them, went to the schools estab 
lished in Cleveland. . and learned to read and write 
pretty well. A gentleman, whose name I do not now 
remember, but who lived in the southern part of the 
State, donated for the support of these schools a tract 
of twenty-live acres. 

I was not satisfied, however, as long as the black laws 
remained on the statute books, which prohibited col 
ored children from going to the public schools, and 
being anxious for their repeal, in common with many 
of the colored people of the State 1 called another meet 
ing of the colored people of Cleveland, ami suggested 
the propriety of circulating a petition to be sent to the 
Legislature for the repeal of those odious laws, and I 
also proposed that we employ some lecturers to lecture 
through the State and raise a sentiment in favor of the 
repeal of those laws. We accordingly employed John 
L. Watson, of Cleveland, William 11. Day, of Oberlin, 
and U. It. Chancellor, of Chill icot he, for that purpose, 
ami shortly after they were employed they obtained 
permission to lecture in the State House al Columbus, 
and we found ^ood results ensued from the lectures. 
I don t exactly remember the year, but I think it was 
in 1S-H. The Legislature was then Democratic, and 


Hon. Franklin T. Hackus was elected to tin* Legisla 
ture, and it was through his efforts in our behalf, and 
tin? effect those lectures had on the people that the 
black laws were repealed, with tin* exception o.f the 
school law prohibiting colored children from goin^ to 
the pnhlie schools. 

About the year 1S1:J a couple of slaves ran away from 
Tennessee, and were recommended here to. our Henry 
Jackson, a harher. who was reputed to he an abolit ionist, 
and they staved here under his protection from four to six 
weeks. I hiring that time he learned where they were 
from, and the names of I hot row tiers. A reward having 
heen offered for their apprehension, Jackson communi 
cated that fact to 11. V. Wilson, who afterwards hccamc 
Judge of the I*. S. l>istriet Court in Cleveland, .lack- 
son could not write, hut he engaged Mr. Wilson, to 
open a correspondence with the owners of the (women. 
At. least 1 concluded, from the fact that Jackson could 
not write, and all the circumstances, that Mr. Wilson 
did the writing. 

After the fugitives had hcen in Cleveland ahout six 
weeks they left and went to Iluffalo, and shortly after 
the airent of the owners arrived in Cleveland. Learn 
ing from Jackson that (he hoys were in I lUlialo there 
was a consultation held hetween Mr. Wilson, Jackson 
and the agent, and it was concluded to get the men hack 
to Cleveland, or in Ohio, for the reason that colored men 
were allowed to testily in the State of New York, hut 
could no! testify in Ohio. The hiack laws had not yet 
Keen repealed. They planned that Jackson, tin agent, 
and Mr. Wilson, should go to I In Halo, and that Jackson 
should he their spokesman. The names of the two hoys 
were Alexander Williams and John Houston, hefore 
they went to Uutlalo, Williams applied to J. F. Hanks, 
who was a portrait painter, to become an apprentice, but 

Hanks diii not employ him, ami Jackson, as spokesman 
for the trio, on their arrival in Butlalo, represented to 
Williams that Mr. Hanks had agreed to employ htm aa 
apprentice, and had sent him down to see him (Wil 
liams,) to have him come hack to Cleveland and enter 
into the apprenticeship, and lie represented to John 
Houston, who was -formerly a cook in the South, that 
there was a new brig just bunched in Cleveland, and 
the Captain had employed him to engage a cook, and so 
he had come to Buffalo to have him. ship on board of 
the new brig as cook. 

Before leaving Cleveland for Buffalo there had been a 
u arrant issued and placed in the hands of Madison 
Miller, who was Shcritl , that was to be served on the 
boys us soon as they landed in Cleveland. By reason of 
the representations thus made to the boys they were 
induced to return to Cleveland. They no sooner landed 
than they were arrested and placed in jail. A crowd of 
c-il-iivd people, myself among the number, gathered 
around the jail late, in order to see that they were not 
run oil* during the night without a chance of hearing. 
Charles Stetson, KSIJ., kindly volunteered his services 
gratis a* attorney for the boys, and we employed to 
a j-t him Thomas Bolt on, Ks<j., who was a Democrat. 
We paid Mr. Boltoii $ 2-\ to take the ease. The agent, 
Mr. l/mdciihcrgcr, employed 11. B. Payne, Ksj., and 
!l"H. Horace Toole, and so the boys, in a day or two, 
were brought before Judge Barber, (not the present 
Judge Barber.) 

When the hoys were brought out audit was ascer 
tained how they were deceived and brought back from 
Butlalo, Kdward Wade, Ks<p, interposed a motion to 
the court asking for a continuance of the cause for 
twelve days. It was the law that when a fugitive slave 
was arrested and put in jail or cur-tody, that it he could 

furnish hail of 81,000, he w< MI hi he released from prison 
until tin* expiration of the time of adjournment. So 
Alexander Bowman, John Brown ami myself furnished 
the re iuired hail. Then I took the hoy Alexamler 
Williams from the jail ami went with him to Buffalo hy 
the advice of the lawyers, to ascertain the particulars in 
the case. 1 li:ul a letter from Mr. Bolton, directed to 
(Scoriae A. Barker, Ks|., the Prosecuting Attorney at 
BuMalo. I arrived in Buffalo ahout six o clock in the 
evening. Mr. 11. B. Payne took passage on the same 
hoat and w:,s on his way to New York. I went to Mr. 
Barker s olliec ami presented the letter. Mr. Barker 
informed me .that on the same hoat I came down on in 
the mail there was a letter from II. B. Payne, lie read 
it to me, and it was in suhstance, if not the precise 
words, as follows: 

"(Komi*: A. BAKKKK, KSQ.: 

* 4 There were two runaway negroes taken up in Cleve- 
land (namiiiLr the day), much to the satisfaction <f all 
the citizens of Cleveland, c.xeept a few hlack alwdition- 
ists ainl a few white ise^roes. I expect to New 
York in a day or two, and defer action until I see you." 

Mr. Barker then said to me: " I am well acquainted 
with Thomas Bolton, a hi\ther |)emocrat/ So that 
nii^ht lie had a jury called, ami Alexander Williams was 
called in hefore the jury and testified as to the manner 
in which they were decoyed. The jury decided that 
these men were kidnapped, and Mr. Barker that same 
ni^ht wrote a letter to the (iovernor of New York for 
a requisition on the Governor of Ohio for the men that 
kidnapped the loys, and Mr. - Barker reijuested me to 
call at hi otlicc the next morning at * o clock. I cairn- 
to hi- ofh ce at the appointed time, and had not heeli 
there over ten minutes, when who should come in hut 
Mr. II. B. Payne. Mr. Payne and I did not say much 


to each other, lie appeared a little coutuaot) to *cc me. 
Mr. Karker handed me a letter to t^ive to Mr. 1 oltoii, 
a i il so I returned that morning with Alexander \Vil- 
iiaius hy steamer, ami when we arrived in Cleveland I 
delivered the prisoner to the authorities, ami he was 
returned hack to jail. A day or two after the requi 
sition was forwarded to the < iovernor of < Miio lor the 
arrest of Jae knoll, the ai^ent of Li mien herder, and 11. 
V. \\ ilson, to answer the charge as ton ml hy the jury 
for kidnapping. The otlieer in charge of the requi 
sition went to Columhus and presented his papers to 
the tiovernor, who issued a warrant tor the arrest of 
the persons named. Jackson, having heard of this, ran 
auay, as also did Li mien herder, so that when the day of 
trial of the hoys eame they were hot present. The trial, 
however, had not come >ll, ami one day, as 1 happened 
to t(o to a meeting, on my return ahout halt past nine 
in the evening there was a rap at my door, and when 1 
opened it, 1 found to my surprise Alexander Williams. 
1 hardly knew what to do with William.-. My home 
ua> then on the corner of loml ami York, (mw Ham 
ilton) : trcct, whieh was then in the woods. 1 dared not 
hail ir turn in my house, so I took him to the woods 
live or six rods olf and had him climh a tree till 1 could 
find a place of safety. One Oearon llamlin was luild- 
m L! a one -story I Tick house on I ro^peet street, which 
was enclosed hut not finished. 1 *^ot some comforters 
and Ituilalo ndies, and plaeed tliem in the huihlin^. and 
then 1 went hack to the woods after Williams, hut 1 
had lost track of the tree he was in, and wandered 
ahout, at raid to call, lest 1 should he heard hy soim> one. 
Alter roiis ulerahle search 1 found the tree, had him 
come down, am! took him to the huildiiiLT, and kept him 
then* tor several days. 11 is complexion was a hri^ht 
mulatto. 1 made a composition, and painted all tin- 

visible parts of the man, ami made a very Mark man 
of him, so ho walked about the streets of Cleveland 
boldly and no one recognized him as Alexander \Vil_ 
liams. He afterwards left Cleveland tor New York 
State, and, perhaps, went into Canada. On the day of 
trial the other boy, John Houston, was brought into 
Court, but Jaekson and Lindenbenjcer not bo-ing at the 
trial, there was no one to appear against the boy, and 
he was discharged. 


The establishment of colored school* in Ohio, in which 
Iliad taken an active part-as already atated, made a 
<lr i<l-l i in pro vo met it in the condition ot* the colored 
p -oplr, hnt like other people who have not had the 
benefits of education, there were many among them who 
were not from the force of circumstance* over honest. 
Ueform of course was needed, and I undertook in every 
way possible to do whatever I could towards improvement 
and advancement of my people in this respect. Very 
often, when charges. were brought against colored men, 
i would go their bail, in order that they might have a 
fair opportunity to prepare for trial and test the truth of 
the charge, and being a property owner, 1 was called 
upon in many cases for bail, which 1 seldom refused. 
On one occasion, when lion. Samuel Starkweather was 
Judge of the Court of Common I lcas, a colored man by 
the name <f Archie Lorton was arrested for horse steal 
ing, and I went bis bail. Shortly after 1 bailed him, he 
packed up his things and ran away to Canada. As soon 
as I ascertained where be was, 1 employed l>eputy Sheriff 
S. I*, I osworth to go with me to Canada and arrest 
and bring him back. \Ve went to iMroit and crossed 
over into Windsor, and thence proceeded to London. 
where 1 got track of him. i found that he was at a lit 
tle town call, d Watci ford, twelve miles west of London. 
We proceeded to a magistrate in London in order to 
procure a warrant for his arrest. The magistrate claimed 
(bat be bad no jurisdiction in the matter, and referred 
me to another magistrate, who again referred me to 
what they called the high magistrate. 1 went to the 
high magistrate, and be also refused to ir^ue a warrant, 


for tho reason tliat he had no jurisdiction in the matter. 
F then went .and employed a lawyer, ami the lawyer 
went with in* to tlu hijih magistrate ami ilemafil*l a 
warrant; ami al tir convincing -the magistrate that In* 
was justified in issuing a warrant, it was *rantel. We 
thru proceeded to Waterford and arrested Lorton a lit 
tle alter dark, and then put up at tin- .\m-ri-an I!--!.!. 
Tin* ISailiflf left tin* prisoner in my charge, and 1 kept 
waMi ovtr him all ni^ht, and tin- m\\t niorninir th 
laditf took him out of my hands and |la-i d him in jail, 
ami H jiortvd to tlu* Mayor of tin* rity, who ordnrl tin* 
prisont i* to lr hron<r|it hrt orr him on Monday morning 
at ! oVIm-k. <>n our way to tin* Mayor s otli- he 
shouted that he was a slavo, and that wo \vnv kidnajt- 
|rrs % and wrn taking him hark into slavery. In a tew 
minutes wo woro surrounded hy forty or titty inl uriated 
Colored men, ami wo oxpeeted every moment that they 
would moh us. The deputy undertook to paeiliy them, 
hut liiey would not listen to him, and at length I sue- 
ei eded in ^ottin^ them to hoar mo. I told Iliotii how 
tho matter was, and thoy l>elioved my statement, and 
soi no of them cxelaimod that if ho was a horse thiet they 
did not want him there, and woro iclad to see him re 

Lorton, having loft this wife in Waterlord, ho then ami 
there agreed that if wo would jo haok. to \Vaterord and 
meet his wife, that he would <o with us to Port Stanley 
without a hearing. \Ve eonsentetl to do this and started 
toward Waterlord, and on the way we met tho stairo 
roininrr towards L M.don with the prisoner s wife. We 
stopped tho stajjo, and upon her statement that she had 
left somothinir hehind, and that she must c" l>a k to 
Watortord, I agreed to take her plaoo in the staj^o, and 
that she shmild take my place in tho carriage with the 
hailitf. They were to proceed on to Watert ord, and the 


prisoner promised if that wa* done he would go back to the 
United State.- without insisting on a trial in Canada. 

1 took her place in the stage accordingly, and took 
charge of her haggage, which I checked to Detroit. I 
agreed to take the railroad and meet the party at Lohi 
Station, the tirst station after leaving London fur \Vind- 
sor. I met them at Lohi Station as agreed on, and then 
the prisoner refused to accompany us to the United 
States, whielr I had in part anticipated. Then we had 
to go hark to London, and after we arrived there, the 
Mayor ordered him to In* put in jail till I could get a 
requisition, limiting the time to three weeks. I then 
went home, ami proceeded at once to Columhiis and 
called on Governor Mcdill. lie said that he had no 
jurisdiction outside of the United States, and therefore 
could not grant a requisition, hut referred me to the 
Secretary of Stale Samuel Williamson, Ksj., who was 
then Prosecuting Attorney in Cleveland, at my re- 
<|iicst, wrote a letter to the Secretary of State, and the 
reply of the Secretary of State was, that horse stealing 
was grand larceny, and did not come within the category 
of the Ashhiirton Treaty, and that he had no jurisdiction 
to issue a requisition in the matter. I was therefore 
left without any remedy, and had hccn put to great ex 
pense in attempting to hring Lorton hack. 

Some time afterwards, Lorton committed some depre 
dation in Canada and tied to Adrian. Michigan, and v as 
soon as 1 heard of his being there, I got the necessary 
requisition from the Governor, and had him arrested 
and brought to Cleveland, lie was tried, convicted, 
ami sent to the penitentiary for seven years. 


I will state a circumstance that may perhaps be of 
some interest, that occurred shortly before the war: 
A young colored girl ran away tVoin Wheeling. Va., 
and came to Cleveland, ami took up her residence 1 in 
the family of Mr. W. E. Am hush. After she remained 
there a short period of time, it was ascertained hy her 
owner.s as to her whereabouts, and they came to Cleve 
land in search of her. The girl went hy the name of 
Lucy, and she had sought employment in the family of 
George A. Benedict, ami she. left Amhiish and went to 
Benedict s. As soon as her owners, who were father 
and son, named Uoshorn, arrived in Cleveland, they 
ohtained a warrant for the girl s arrest, which was 
placed in the hand* of Seth A. Ahhey, then United 
States Marshal, ami she was arrested hy him and placed 
in the county jail. A numhcr of the citizens of Cleve 
land immediately employed Hon. R. 1*. Spalding on 
behalf of the girl, and she was taken out of the custody 
of the Marshal, on a writ of hnlmts cnrpH* issued hy 
Judge Tilden, Probate Judge of Cuyahga County. 
When they were ready for hearing, . I ud ge Tilden in- 
<piircd of Mr. Spalding whether he desired the prisoner 
to ho brought into his court, .fudge Spalding replied 
that the investigation could proceed without her pres 
ence. Thereupon, after a hearing had. .fudge Tilden 
remanded her hack again into the custody of the Mar 
shal, who kept her in jail. 

She was brought before Judge Wilson, U. S. District 
Judge. On her way to the Court a crowd of people 
had gathered near the I oftt-oftice building, in which 
the Court was held, and there was a great deal of ex- 



citement about the girl. One of the men in the crowd 
approached a colored man by the name of (*. M. Rich 
ardson, who had been a resident of Cleveland for a 
number of year.., and dealt Mr. Uichardson a Ftunning 
I ! w on tin*, which felled him to the ground. 
Tin- i n. HI evidently tin >u -lit that Mr. Richardson was 
there lor the purpose of reselling tin* girl. Another 
man in tin- en\\d, an irishman, stepped up to a -colored 
man by the name of Mini -mi, and raised a eluh and 
was about to strike him, when lion. Jabex M. Kit--h, 
who happened to lie near, interposed, and prevented 
the thivati iied hlow. 

The girl wan brought into the IT. S. Court room, and 
IM-IMIV the In iicinir etmimeiieed, Mr. Ambush had some 
words with young <ioshorn, right in the Court room, 
and pi>lols were drawn 4111 both sides, but they were 
ptvxriiled iVoin tiring by tho interposition of people in 
the Court room. After the trial the Judge ordered the 
u irl to be. deliverrtl up to her master, who took her 
havk.with him to Wheeling, where she was placed in 
jail and severely punished. 

One of the arguments among the people generally, 
why the girl should be given up was, that it might pre 
vent rebellion on the part of the South, which perhaps 
is an indieation of the sentiment then prevailing. The 
war, however, was sure to eome, and was not the result 
of any wrangling over a eaptive female, as some of the 
wars we read of in history, but was founded upon 
sterner .tin I nobler principled. Not the fate of a single 
individual, but of a whole raee, was involved in the 
great struggle which utter ward* burst forth, and opened 
the tlood-gates of liberty. 

When the Union Army arrived in Wheeling, the girl 
Was liberated, and her master, Mr. (ioshorn, who had 


become a prisoner of war, was incarcerated in the same 
jail in which he ha<l confined Lucy. 

On the breaking out of the rebellion in iSiJl, the con 
dition of the colored people was such, that not having 
the privilege of universal suffrage, they had not the 
opportunity to exercise a very wide or extended- intlit- 
emv upon the living question which then agitated the 
country, and, as a consequence, they were left almost 
powerless to organize or do anything in en-operation 
with the white people towards the suppression of the 
rebellion, or towards the emancipation of their race. 
Nevertheless, there were a great many white citi/cns 
who were deeply in sympathy with the colored race. 

On the election of Mr. Lincoln as President, tin- Re- 
pnhiican party made very rapid strides towards its pie>- 
ciit strength and unity, and many ot the citizens of 
Cleveland, among whom 1 might mention lion. \). l 
Tddcn, John llmitington, Win. I*. Fogg, lion. Sherlo.-k 
J. Andrews, lion. R. F. Payne, Charles Stetson, Ksq., 
John A. Foot, Ksq., J.M. lloyt, Ks<|., Kdward Wade. 
KSIJ., <icorge A. Benedict, Kdwin Cowlcs, Rev. l>r. 
Aikcn, Ucv. Levi Tucker, M. < . Yoiiniflovc, Richard ( . 
Parsons, and many others, were active Uepublicans at 
the t inn-, and took an earnest part in ail the delibera 
tions of the Republican party. 

Whenever the colored people made any movement, 
or needed any advice, they consulted with these respect 
ive gentlemen. The Rev. Dr. Aiken especially, inter 
ested himself in behalf of the condition of the colored 
people. Lonj lie fore, when the fugitive slave law was 
hcin? passed, ut a meeting held at the First Presbyte 
rian Church, of which he was the pant or, he strongly 
denounced that law, and expressed sentiments in favor 
of resisting its enforcement. At that meeting it was 
resolved, that in case of the an cat of a fugitive slave, 


the church bells of the city should be rung as notice to 
the people of the arrest. Mr. M. (. . Younglove offered 
a reward of live dollars to the sexton who should on 
such an oeeiisioii ring the first lell. Uev. Dr. Aikcn 
afterwards proved to be a powerful friend to the co|- 
otvd people, and aided them by his eoiinsel in their 
del i be rat ions. 

When the rebellion first broke out, 1 undertook to 
have a meeting ealled of the colored people of Cleve 
land, and. in eonjiiiietion with others, a meeting was 
called at the National Hall, on the Public Square. It 
was proposed at that meeting that the colored people of 
Cleveland should organize- military eompanies t<i assist 
in put ting down the rebellion, and it wa* also proposed 
that an application should IK made to the (iovcrnor for 
that purpose. But when the committee delegated for 
that purpose laid our request before the IJovernor, he 
declined to accept it, giving as a reason, that the matter 
xva; iii the hands of the white people, and that they 
would h.kc eare of it. When iiovernor Kroiigh was 
elretfd, a similar meeting was called, and another appli 
cation for the same purpose was made to (iovcrnor 
Krough, but with no better result. In some of the Now 
Knglaiid States however, they had permitted rolored 
eoiupaiiies to bo formed, and many of the colored men 
of .Cleveland left Ohio and went to Massachusetts, ami 
joined colored regiments there funned, among others. 
Win. Underbill, John lirown and Charles Brown, sons 
of John ISrown, (otherwise known as John Brown, the 
barber,) Joseph Uicbardson and Benjamin Richardson, 
and others. Shortly afterwards the proclamation of 
emancipation was issued, and then it was that colored 
companies began to organ i/e in Ohio, and from that 
time on, the intlueiice of the colored people became 
more powerful. The resiHtance at that time of the 


leading copperheads was very hitter, and a strong aver 
sion ami repugnance was manifested hv many of them 
against the colored people taking part in puhlie affairs. 
The prejudice then existing, and which I suppose exist 
ed in every similar instance in history, where a people 
who have heen looked upon as a despised race, ami 
have risen ahovc the condition in which they have heen. 
placed hy unfortunate circumstances, has pretty well 
worn away in the Northern States, and it is not strange 
to see a colored man pro| osc measures in common with 
his white fellow-citizens for the common weal and hen- 
etit of all. Distinctions which are founded on human 
policy, without reference to the divine or natural law, 
and which tend to the degradation of a set of human 
heings, cannot he lasting, and must sooner or later siie- 
cumh to the dictates of reason and humanity, Would 
this were accomplished in the Southern States. There 
intimidation and threats make the life of the colored 
man a thousand times more miscrahlc than the worst 
condition of hondagc. Hut as right will sooner or later 
prevail, the day will come when another nemesis will 
overtake ami destroy the evil at the South. 

It has heen demonstrated that an intelligent colored 
man can he as good a citizen as an intelligent white 
man, and the same reasoning will hold good hetween 
an ignorant colored man and an ignorant white man. 

I am now eighty-three years of age, and I thank <Jod 
that he has spared my life long enouirh to witness the 
change wrought in the condition of the colored people. 
We read of the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites 
from 1< milage. It seems hardly less than a miracle that 
has heen the means of unloosening the shackles of the 
colored man. I lirinly hclieve it to he the interposition 
of Divine Providence wrought through the instrumen 
tality of the Republican party. 


In eonctiiriion, 1 ran only say as <li<l Simeon of old, 
u hen ho saw the protniBetl Me>*iah, ** No\y, Lorl, ltt- 
fc t-s( Hi. MI thy servant tlepart in |ea*e ueeonling to thy 
* Wonl, tor mine eyes have seen thy salvation/