Cincinnati Gazette


Articles of interest from 1850 issues of the Cincinnati Daily Gazette at the Cincinnati Library. A number of topics that are minimally related to the interests of this story–namely activity of Cincinnati hotels and their visitors, slavery as a political-economic debate (especially in new territories), and the activity of free Americans of color in Liberia–occur fairly frequently in the Gazette, but were not listed here. Those lines of inquiry can be further pursued if needed.


January 9, 1850

“Boarding House”(p. 3, col. 1)

Wanted a large House for Boarding House, containing from twelve to twenty-five rooms, central part of the city. Best security given if required. Address box 650 [?] Post Office.

January 11, 1850

“Boarding! Boarding! Boarding!”(p. 3, col. 7)

60 Day Boarders Wanted.—The undersigned have taken and fitted up in good style, the building known as the Great West, situated on Fifth st., North side, between Race and Elm sts. A share of patronage is solicited. J.J. Goodell & Co.

This address looks like it might be near Rebecca Boyd’s boarding house. The advertisement also appears on January 23 and 30.

January 14, 1850

“The South–Not All Mad.” (p. 2, col. 1)

This article is one of the few mentions of slavery I have found, but only does so by treating the institution as a political and economic marker of a Southern state. According to the author, not everybody in the South is mad, because most Americans allegedly support “free territory”. Furthermore, most Southern legislatures express strong loyalty to the Union, and popular sympathy does not lie with “madcap speeches…by Southern members of Congress”. (abbrev.)

January 16, 1850

“Georgia” (p. 2, col. 1)

It is stated that the Legislature of Georgia has passed a resolution repealing all laws, civil and criminal, forbidding or in any manner restricting the importation of slaves into that state, from any other slave-holding State of the Union. By thus biting its own nose off, we suppose the legislature of Georgia means to spite the face of “Abolition Fanaticism” in the North. It is certainly a wise and magnanimous species of revenge.

January 18, 1850

P. 2, col. 7

The Annual Meeting of the Ladies Anti-Slavery Sewing Circle, will be held on Friday Afternoon, January 18th, at Mrs. John Coleman’s, on Elm street, three doors above Twelfth, west side, at 3 o’clock. All friendly to the cause are earnestly invited to attend.

January 25, 1850

“Runaway Slaves Caught.”(p. 2, col. 3)

A dispatch was received at the police office yesterday from Springfield, Ill., informing the officers that fourteen slaves had just been arrested at that place while in the act of absbonding [sic] from this city or vicinity. The persons who made the arrest are now on their way down with the negroes, and will probably arrive here this evening or to-morrow.

January 29, 1850

“Slavery–Scene at a Kentucky Landing” (p. 2, col. 3)

This article tells the story of a slave mother and child to be separated by their owner in Kentucky. Bystanders intervened and offered to buy the pair of them to prevent their separation. Eventually, the captain of the boat the slaves and owner were set to board forbade them from boarding if the two were to separate. The publishers of this story (originally from a Kentucky correspondent) made their opinion clear—that the idea of a slave family being separated was anachronistic and abhorrent—and commended the boat captain for his actions. (abbrev.)

January 29, 1850

“Scene In Court”(p. 2, col. 5)

It is unclear how factual this story is; furthermore, I only marked it because it is one of the very few mentions of actual people of color that this newspaper has published so far. Allegedly, a boy of color was found guilty of stealing one dollar, but the Judge moved to let him go without punishment out of the goodness of his heart. When the boy smiled and winked at the judge, the sentence was jokingly changed to “you will probably be hanged”. (abbrev.)


February 2, 1850

“The Rattlesnake” (p. 2, col. 1)

I believe (the writing is very vague) that this article is a metaphorical condemning of the institution of slavery and prediction of its demise. The author achieves these ends though the extended metaphor of “A White Negro”, one who gradually lost pigmentation and turned white because of a rattlesnake bite. Slavery is equated to the part of the nation that is “black as any African”. Some areas of the map are black, some are white, and some are in transition; according to the author, the black parts will eventually be “[sloughed] off”. This piece, as veiled as it is, is one of the few articles I have found so far that addresses slavery in itself rather than as a political/economic marker of a Southern state. (abbrev.)

“A Leaf of History” (p. 2, col. 5)

“A Leaf of History” is another philosophical musing on slavery. This author argues that though slavery is unequivocally evil, militant attack of slaveholding culture is detrimental to slaves, slaveholders, and the country as a whole. (abbrev.)

February 5, 1850

“Boarding”(p. 2, col. 7)

A few small families (finding their own furniture) can be accommodated with pleasant rooms and good boarding, in the building northeast corner of Fourth and Sycamore streets, being directly opposite the Post Office. Application can be made to Mr. Shires, in the store below. A number of Day Boarders can also be accommodated.

February 10, 1850

“Liberated Slaves” (p. 2, col. 1)

Fourteen Slaves, liberated by Dr. John Casson, of Mississippi, were brought to this city two or three days ago, by their late master, to have their freedom papers made out. J. Joliffe, Esq., who takes great pleasure in acting as master of ceremonies on occasions of this kind, untied the knot of Slavery, and bade the bond go free. We understand that Dr. Casson, who came to this city with his people to see that everything should be properly done, intends to superintend their settlement himself, somewhere in Ohio.

February 13, 1850

p. 2, col. 4

The Richmond Whig says: “It is a very remarkable fact, that the largest slave owners, not only in Virginia, but in all the South, are they who advocate the least violent measures. They ought to know their interests as well as their officious friends. They know that the Union, as long as it is preserved in the spirit in which it was formed, is an effectual protection to their property. They are therefore opposed to all the violent expedients of the demagogues, which tend to endanger the Union. It is their determination to cling to the Union as the ark of safety.”


March 21, 1850

“Anti-Slavery Lecture” (p. 2, col. 4)

The Rev. C. B. Boynton, by invitation of the Philadelphion, will lecture on the subject of Slavery, at 7 ½ o’clock this evening, in the Lecture Room of the Vine street Congregational Church.—The public are invited to attend. Wm. Henry Brisbane, S. G. P.

“Boarding” (p. 2, col. 5)

Three very desirable Rooms to let, with board, at Mrs. Griffin’s, Fourth st., East of Broadway.

This advertisement also ran on March 22 and 23 of 1850.

March 28, 1850

“Anti-Slavery Lecture.” (p. 2, col. 5)

The Rev. E. Goodman will lecture this evening, before the Philadelphon, in the Lecture Room of the Vine Street Congregational Church, at 7 ½ o’clock. The public are invited to attend. Wm. Henry Brisbane, S. G. P.


April 4, 1850

“Anti-Slavery Lecture.” (p. 4, col. 4)

The Rev. H. Bushnell will lecture before the Philadelphon this evening, at 7 ½ o’clock, at the Vine Street Congregational Church. The public are invited to attend. W. H. Brisbane, S. G. P.

April 5, 1850

“Boarding.” (p. 3, col. 3)

Mrs. Griffin, No. 87 Fourth street, south side, east of Broadway, has several very desirable rooms now vacant, and can also accommodate a limited number of Day Boarders.

April 13, 1850

p. 2, col. 4

Families or Single Gentlemen can be accommodated with pleasant rooms and excellent Boarding by applying at the north-east corner of Fourth and Sycamore streets, (directly opposite the Post Office.) The building and location is decidedly one of the most pleasant in the city.

April 15, 1850

“The Christian Anti-Slavery Convention.” (p. 2, col. 4)

This important Convention will commence its sessions at ten o’clock, on Wednesday morning, April 17th, at the Vine Street Congregational Church, in this city. The Church is near the corner of Vine and Ninth Streets. The first hour will be spent in devotional exercises. At 11 o’clock, A.M., a temporary organization of the Convention will be made and Committees appointed, names of members enrolled, and rules of decorum presented. In the afternoon at 2 o’clock, the Convention will have another session; and in the evening at 7 ½ o’clock, the Rev. C. B. Boynton is expected to deliver a discourse appropriate to the object for which the Convention has been called.

It is expected that a large number will attend from various parts of the United States, and the meetings be made interesting by the presence of able speakers. The Convention is to be continued through the week.

We hope the citizens of this great city will give practical evidence of their hospitable character, however there may be differences of opinion in regard to the Convention itself, and that they will be ready to welcome to their houses the christian strangers who may visit the city to attend the meeting. Such of our fellow citizens as are cheerfully disposed to entertain those who come, will do us a favor by handing in their names to Levi Coffin, on the north west corner of Walnut and Ninth streets, as soon as they conveniently can, before Tuesday evening. E. Goodman, W. H. Brisbane, Committee.

April 20, 1850

“The Anti-Slavery Convention” (p. 2, col. 4)

Moves on briskly—drawing pretty full houses—warm speeches are the order—and slave-holders—and slave-holding sympathizers are pretty severely “showed up”.

“Works on the Slavery Question” (p. 3, col. 5)

1.Slavery as it is; by Weld. Price 50c.

2.The Unconstitutionality of Slavery. Price 50c.

3.Lecture on the North and the South; by Elwood Fisher. Price 15c.

4.Reply to Elwood Fisher’s Lecture; by a Carolinian. Price 5c.

5.Jay’s Letter to Bishop Ives on Slavery. Price 5c.

6.Argument of Charles Sumner against the Constitutionality of >separate Colored Schools. Price 15c.

7.Address to the inhabitants of New Mexico and California, on Slavery. Price 5c.

8.Bacon on Slavery. Price 75c.

9.Writings of N. P. Rogers, Editor of the “Herald of Freedom.” Price $1.

10.Capley’s History of Slavery and its Abolition—an English work. Price $1:50.

11.Clarkson on Slavery, 2 vols. Price $1:50.

12.Lectures on Abolition. Price 35c.

13.Wilberforce’s Correspondence, 2 vols. Price $1:50.

14.Speech of Horace Mann, on Slavery, in the District of Columbia. Price 10c.

15.Speeches of Hon. Daniel Webster and Hon. John C. Calhoun, on the Slavery Question. Price 10c.

16.Speech of Hon. Henry Clay, on the same subject. Price 10c.

17.Speeches of Hon Wm. H. Seward, and Hon. Lewis Cass. Price 10c.

The above for sale by E. D. Truman”

This advertisement was reprinted on April 22, 1850.

April 22, 1850

“Anti-Slavery Convention.” (p. 2, col. 4)

On Saturday, after an animated discussion in the Christian Anti-Slavery Convention: a resolution of secession from all ecclesiastical bodies that countenance slavery in any respect, was unanimously passed. About one hundred and fifty delegates from various parts of the Union, were in attendance at the sittings of the Convention.

April 23, 1850

“Fugitive Slaves.” (p. 2, col. 1)

This article describes how the escape of several slaves from Virginia to Ohio exaggerates tensions between the two states. The story is sketchy at best: Virginians are quick to accuse Ohioans of helping the slaves escape, but few are willing to live up to that accusation. One interesting passage draws a line between the sympathies of Ohioans with enslaved people, and the lengths to which Ohioans are willing to go to help them:

He who attempts to go farther than this [interfere against slaveholders] will have a tide of popular sentiment to stem in Ohio, which will be very apt to bear his feet from under him. To laws enacted by the Congress of the United States, in furtherance of the constitutional provision for the reclamation of runaway slaves, to be executed by United States officers and their deputies, the people of Ohio will submit, while such laws are not abused and made the instruments of protecting kidnappers, and of carrying into slavery persons who are not fugitives. But they will never consent, in deference to State or National law either, to have their sympathies dammed up, and their lips padlocked, and their arms bound to their sides, and in this condition be compelled to stand as a sort of half-animate wall along the northern border of Virginia and Kentucky, to prevent the slaves of those States from escaping from perpetual bondage. All that can be expected of them, and the most that it will be wise or safe to ask, is, that they will permit, not that they will do : that they will stand quietly by while the United States officers execute process, in proper form; not that they will take hold and execute it themselves.


May 11, 1850

“A Negro Kidnapped.” (p. 2, col. 4)

An outrage of the grossest character occurred in our city yesterday. As we have been able to learn the particulars from the best sources, the following are the circumstances.

About half past one o’clock, a colored man named George Jackson was arrested by two men near the corner of Walnut and Fifth streets, and followed by a crowd was dragged down Walnut street to the river. When near Fourth street, one of the persons having hold of the negro brandished a bowie knife, and the other drew a pistol. A man following with a heavy cane cried out, “He’s my nigger and I’ll have him.” A large crowd collected, but no interference was made until the kidnappers and their victim arrived at Columbia street, when stones and brickbats were hurled at them, and one of them was somewhat injured. The colored man cried lustily for rescue. When they reached Water street the ferry boat was rounding out. The kidnappers hallooed to the Captain to “hold up or he was no Kentuckian,” and rushed rapidly towards the river. They reached the wharf after the bow of Ferry Boat had been pushed off, but were able to force the negro on the stern. A volley of stones was hurled at them by the persons on the bank, but without injury to them.

Jackson is claimed by a man from Tennessee. We understand the kidnapping party did not stop in Covington. We have it on good authority that Jackson had been about our city for several years, and that for sometime he kept a bar in the National Theatre. It is asserted also that he was once before kidnapped and proved his freedom.

It is a disgrace to Cincinnati that in open day on a crowded street, in a vicinity where officers “do congregate”, an outrage of this flagrant character should have been successfully carried out.

May 13, 1850

“The Fourth of July.” (p. 2, col. 4)

The colored men of our city are going to make extensive preparations for the celebration of the Fourth of July. A letter was sent on Saturday to Frederick Douglass, of Rochester, N. Y., by the Philanthropic Order of the Sons of Temperance, inviting him to be present on this occasion and address them.

May 14, 1850

p. 2, col. 5

The Colored Man Jackson, who was run out of our city on Friday, was on Sunday taken South. We learn that before starting he told the man who claimed him as a slave, that he should run away from him at the first opportunity.

May 29, 1850

p. 2, col. 1 and 2

This lengthy article addresses and responds to the thoughts of the Maysville, KY Eagle “with reference to the ‘Fugitive slave caught in Cincinnati’ a short time ago”. At first glance, I thought that slave might be the Jackson mentioned above, which is not the case. The slave or slaves in question were part of a group of 4 who traveled into Ohio from Kentucky by tricking a white boy into driving their wagon across the river. The majority of the article does not discuss the circumstances of the slaves, however. Rather, it concerns the philosophy of slave reclamation in general. The editors of the Eagle stand strongly in favor of reclamation by any means necessary. Those of the Gazette think that “this would be a very summary and certain course of law and justice for the white man of Kentucky; but what would it be for the colored man of Ohio?” As the instance of articles concerning fugitive slaves seems to be increasing as the summer of 1850 goes on, this article is helpful in providing some philosophical perspective.


June 6, 1850

“Kidnapped.” (p. 2, col. 4)

“Last week a negro named Read was taken from Carthage to Covington, Ky., and there claimed as the slave of Mr. St. Clair of Prince William Parish, S. C., who asserts that he escaped from him two years ago. This is contradicted by a gentleman who says that he knew Read seven years ago in Abingdon, Va. The affair should be investigated.”

June 13, 1850

“Drowned.” (p. 2, col. 4)

“Yesterday morning a colored man was taken at our wharf on a boat from the South, on information by telegraph that he was a slave, and placed in a yawl to be conveyed to Covington. He declared frequently that he was a free man, and as he neared the Kentucky shore he leaped into the river and was drowned.”


July 2, 1850

p.2, col. 4

“The Colored Sons of Temperance of this city, celebrate the Fourth of July with fitting ceremonies. Frederick Douglass the Anti-Slavery lecturer is expected.”

July 4, 1850

p. 2, col. 4

“Frederick Douglass, we understand will not be in town to-day, but will arrive to-morrow and speak at College Hall at 3 and 8 o’clock, P.M. He will have a crowd.”

July 6, 1850

“Frederick Douglass.” (p. 2, col. 2)

“This individual, who has obtained much celebrity, in Europe and in this country, arrived in this city on the Fourth.

Mr. Douglass, while on the steamer “Alabama,” was invited by the passengers to address them. He replied, that he was opposed to speaking on such occasions, as there might be persons present, who might be unwilling to hear him; and he made it an invariable rule to decline, if any one person had the least objection.

The passengers were then publicly called upon to make any objection, if any were entertained—none being made, Mr. Douglass promptly came forward and addressed the meeting for an hour and a half, upon slavery, emancipation, colonization, amalgamation, &c.

He is a most eloquent and impressive speaker, and few men possess more attractive powers of oratory.

He visits this city for the first time, and will attract attention.”

“Anti-Slavery” (p. 2, col. 4)

“Frederick Douglass spoke at College Hall yesterday afternoon and evening to large audiences of both white and colored ladies and gentlemen. He is a pleasant and impressive speaker. He will lecture again to-day, but at what hour or at what place we are not advised.”

July 8, 1850

p. 2, col. 5

“Mr. Frederick Douglass, the renowned anti-slavery lecturer, will speak in Union Church, on Baker street, Monday night, July 8th, at 8 o’clock. The gentlemen will be charged ten cents at the door, to defray expenses.”

July 10, 1850

p. 2, col. 5

“Frederick Douglass, will lecture at College Hall this evening. He addressed a large audience on Walnut Hills, yesterday.”

July 12, 1850

“Reclamation of Fugitive Slaves.” (p. 2, col. 2)

“We copy the following article from the Indianapolis Journal of 10th inst. The comments of the editor on the bullying and unneighborly conduct of the Kentuckians referred to, have our hearty concurrence. From the spirit manifested recently, in several instances, by persons claiming runaway slaves, it is very easy to see by whom the first bloody conflict will be provoked, between citizens of the Free and citizens of the Slave States. Hardly any terms could be too harsh, in which to characterize conduct like that herein referred to especially after the recent decisions of Judge McLean, in Indiana, upon this very question of the right to reclaim fugitives from labor.

Runaway Slaves.—In whatever light many of our citizens may regard the individual who may pursue a slavs [sic] into this State to drag him back to slavery, whenever his right under the law, to do so, is established, no resistance will be made. In every instance, within our knowledge where resistance has been made, it has been caused by the improper and bullying conduct of those claiming the slave.

A short time since a slave was recognized in this city by a son of his owner. He was arrested, put in jail, and time given to bring evidence from Kentucky of his being a slave.

There was no disposition shown by any one, not even by his colored friends in this city, to obstruct the proper course of the law in his case. The day of trial arrived, and out citizens were astonished to find in their midst, some eight or ten Kentuckians, armed with revolvers and Bowie knives, as though they supposed themselves to be in the utmost peril of their lives! The trial was had, and they bore off their victim without any opposition.

The last “Sentinel” contains a card from these men, a portion of which we conceive to be in bad taste, if, indeed, it be not insulting to our people. They say:

“Having entered your State for the purpose of claiming and bringing away a fugitive slave, it was but natural for us to expect more or less hostility upon the part of such citizens of Indiana as are termed abolitionists; not did we know what number of that class we might meet with.

We were therefore prepared to effect our purpose at all hazards.”

We have placed the words to which we wish particularly to call attention, in italics. Here these eight or ten men, say they were prepared to effect their purpose at all hazards, and this is the reason for coming among us armed in the manner they were. Suppose they had tailed to establish their right to the slave, are we to understand from this that they would have taken him in the absence of the proper proof? If this is the way the slave-holder comes among us, he ought not to be surprised if it should engender among our people a spirit of resistance to such insolence that will not contribute much to the recovery of their slaves in future. Bullying is not the way to get along with such a people as reside in a free State, whatever effect it may have elsewhere.”

July 24, 1850

“Fugitive Slaves.” (p. 2, col. 1)

“An account of the escape of six slaves, from their masters on the south side of the Ohio river, opposite Lawrence County, Ohio, is given by a correspondent of the Ohio State Journal, who writes from “Quaker Bottom,” in Lawrence County, on the 15th of July. As they were passing through that county, on their way north, they were met by eight or ten white men, who, supposing them to be runaway slaves, attempted to capture them.—The negroes being well armed, the writer says, fired upon the whites, instantly wounding several badly; they then fell upon the remainder with cudgels, and beat several until they supposed them dead, after which, and the commission of other excesses, in their fury, they made their escape into the wilderness. It is said that several companies of men, numbering 70 in all, went in pursuit of them. This is a blood story, and we suppose is much exaggerated from the facts.”


September 14, 1850

p. 2, col. 5

“The Anti-Slavery Bazaar will open on Wednesday, September 18th, at 2 o’clock, in Center Hall, corner of Fifth Street and Western Row, and continue Wednesday and Thursday afternoon and evening. The articles generally will be useful and at moderate prices. from Parisian Caps, Children’s Clothing, Household Comforts, down to extra fine Honey, Pickles, Preserves and Fruit. It is hoped that all friends of Impartial Freedom will remember the oppressed—indeed we look with confidence for aid from the benevolent of all parties and all denominations, especially would we invite the Sons and Daughters of Temperance.

In behalf of the Committee,

Sarah H. Ernst, Spring Garden.”

This advertisement ran every day, ending on September 19th.

September 20, 1850

p. 2, col. 4

“The Anti-Slavery Bazaar, under the management of the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Circle, has been in progress at Center Hall, during Wednesday and Thursday, and will continue during to-day, closing to-night. The proceeds of this fair are to be expended in the relief of our city colored population of all ages and sexes. A very worthy and benevolent design which ought to command the co-operation and sympathy of every good citizen. The Bazaar is abundantly supplied with useful articles of every kind, as well as a fine display of palatables, which are sold at their intrinsic value, the Ladies of the Fair having wisely abandoned the execrable practices of raffling and selling their merchandise for double its value, and then refusing to make the change, as has sometimes been the case in a neighboring city. Let the proceeds of the Bazaar be commensurate with its merits, and it will be abundantly successful.”

September 21, 1850

“Correction” (p. 2, col. 3)

“In our local article of yesterday morning, in relation to the Anti-Slavery Bazaar, we stated that the proceeds were to be expended for the relief of the “suffering colored population of the city.” Such, we understand, is not the case. The proceeds will be appropriated to the relief of the colored population whenever and wherever they are found to be proper objects of sympathy.”


October 4, 1850

p. 1, col. 7

“Messrs. Editors.—The Anti-Slavery Bazaar closed last week in Center Hall, with unusual unanimity and cordiality of feeling on the part of its active friends; having carried out faithfully their principles, of excluding raffling, and commissions, with every other objectionable feature of Fairs, as too often held; and with most unexpected success, as to its pecuniary results, having realized a trifle over $100, which, considering the unpopularity of its objects, and the strictness with which many means of increasing its funds were excluded, far exceeded what even its friends hoped for.

We are glad to feel, for the honor of the city, that, in peace and good order, such a sale could be held in Cincinnati; and although at first, we had some disappointment in our confident expectation of a pleasant and suitable place to hold it in, we have every reason to feel grateful and satisfied with the Hall so freely granted to us by Mr. Scott, as being a most convenient and delightful one.—We grieve to say, that notwithstanding the Vine Street Church stands before the community as an Anti-Slavery one, its Trustees refused us the use of its vestry, as did the Ninth Street Baptist. The Unitarians alone, in a courteous and gentlemanly manner, freely granted our request, though circumstance eventually induced us to conclude on the use of Centre Hall.

By a meeting of the Board of the Sewing Circle, on Friday last, it was agreed to appropriate $100 of our receipts to the Colored Orphan Asylum, situated on Ninth street, in whose behalf we would earnestly desire to enlist the sympathies of the benevolent of all classes, whether anti-slavery or not, and one hundred dollars to the “North Star” a most valuable reform paper, edited by the talented fugitive, Frederick Douglass. The residue will be devoted to the more immediate anti-slavery purposes of the Sewing Circle, such as distributing shoes and clothing to the destitute and oppressed colored people, and—as opportunity affords—laying before the community the sin and evil of slavery. We would greatfully [sic] acknowledge the kindness of such friends, both in the city and out of it, as have aided us in ways too varied to enumerate, not forgetting the editors who have invariably published our advertisements free of charge. The best expression of our confidence and gratification perhaps will be, to call upon them all again, another year should our lives be spared.

In behalf of the Board.

Sarah F. Ernst, Pres’t. Papers friendly please copy.”

October 9, 1850

“First Case under the Fugitive Slave Bill.” (p. 2, col. 2)

This lengthy article, sourced from the “United States Commissioner’s Office. New York. Sept. 27.”, describes the first case under the jurisdiction of what was then a highly controversial law (judging by the large number of political articles written about it surrounding its passing). In this case, James Brown, a slave of Mrs. Mary Brown, escaped from Baltimore to New York and was arrested on the claim of Mrs. Brown’s agent. Legal proceedings revealed that 1) Mrs. Brown inherited James via her late husband’s will, and 2) James was unable to prove the legality of his stay in New York.

Mrs. Brown and her counsel were authorized “to use such reasonable force and restraint as may be necessary, under the circumstances of the case, to take and remove the said James Hamlet, the fugitive person aforesaid, back to the State of Maryland, whence he escaped as aforesaid.”

Having procured an affidavit suggesting that James was dangerous and likely to escape during the journey back to Maryland, the victors put James in the custody of a U.S. Marshal, who rounded up a number of officers to herd him back to Maryland as part of “reasonable force”.

October 15, 1850

“Fugitive Slave Case at Detroit.” (p. 2, col. 1)

“A negro was arrested at Detroit as a “Fugitive Slave,” and the telegraph of the 8th inst. Says that his examination took place that day. That the Scott’s Guards, Gray’s Guards and U.S. troops accompanied the prisoner from the Jail to the Court room with loaded muskets. No attempts at rescue were made by the negroes and others who had collected about the Jail in hundreds. Some stones and brickbats were thrown at the Marshal’s carriage. The negro was sent to Jail for a week, to await for evidence, when the crowd disappeared.”

October 16, 1850

“The Slave Excitement” (p. 2, col. 2)

“[The slave Excitement] It is reported, was on the increase in Detroit, as late as the 12th inst. The jail, where the alleged “fugitive” is lodged, is nightly guarded by the military.

On the Canada side at Sandwich, are some 300 negroes, well armed.

A large meeting was held in Detroit on the 11th inst., at which the Mayor presided. Speeches were made by influential citizens, and resolutions passed denouncing the Fugitive Law, &c.

Trouble is anticipated when the negro is brought out—he is waiting his papers, and sufficient money has been raised to purchase his liberty should he be adjudged a slave and sent back.

A large meeting of the citizens of Cleveland has also been held, and resolutions warmly denunciatory of the law were passed. We shall publish them to-morrow.”

October 28, 1850

p. 3, col. 6

These are a series of notices about a City-Council-levied tax on real estate, near and possibly including Rebecca Boyd’s boarding house, “for the cost and expenses of grading, paving and improving” the area. Areas and amounts include:

  • “one dollar and ninety-five cents, five and six tenth mills” for “Fifth street, from Vine street to Race street”
  • “one dollar, ninety-five cents, five and six tenth mills” for “Fifth street from Race to Elm street”
  • “seventy-seven cents five mills” for “the south-east corner of Baum and Fifth streets”
  • a number of other areas, including Maple between Linn and Piatt, Maple between Piatt and Freeman, and Sycamore between Fifth and Sixth.


November 4, 1850

“There is no Excitement Here” (p. 2, col. 1)

“While other parts of the country are agitated and excited with angry controversy about the Fugitive Slave Law, in this city and neighborhood, all is quiet and orderly–there is no excitement here. No good citizen desires to disturb that quiet, and, we hope, no effort to get up any excitement, will receive the sanction of our people. Meetings to denounce the law, will, of course, be followed by meetings to sustain it, and crimination and recrimination, angry controversy and abuse must follow. No possible advantage can result from this, but much harm may. Agitation will not fit us for the proper discharge of our duties to the Government and laws of the country or to ourselves.—No resolve of a town meeting should be made to instruct Judges and judicial officers in the construction of laws, or the decision of cases to be brought before them.”

November 14, 1850

This is another notice for a City Council tax, similar to those published on October 28 and 29, that might have affected Rebecca Boyd. This one was for “One dollar, ninety-four cents, four and a half mills” for “Sycamore street from 4th street, to 5th street”.



Looked at June 1853 issues of the Cincinnati Daily Gazette at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives on September 25, 2015.

June 3, 1853

“Kidnapping” (p. 2, col. 13):

Yesterday morning, a colored man named John Gilbert, and a white woman named Rebecca Boyd, were brought before Esquire Chidsey, on a charge of kidnapping a colored woman named Henrietta Wolf [sic], and taking her to parts unknown. It is alledged [sic] that the party kidnapped was in the employ of Mrs. Boyd, who resides in the north-eastern part of the city; that Mrs. Boyd and Gilbert took Henrietta in a carriage to Covington, and thence, in the charge of another party, same unknown, sent her into slavery, as is supposed. Henrietta is a free woman, having been manumitted some time since, and probably has her free papers now in her possession. The defendants refuse to give any information of her whereabouts, and deny the charge made against them. They were each held in $500 for a further hearing on Saturday. The occurrence has created much excitement among the colored population of our city.

This notice was also reprinted, in part, in the Covington Journal, June 11, 1853, p. 2, which carried on the same page a notice of an arrest Deputy Sheriff Zebulon Ward had made in a different case.

June 7, 1853

“Held to Answer” (p. 2, col. 11):

John Gilbert and Rebecca Boyd, were before Esquire Chidsey yesterday after noon, on charge of kidnapping Henrietta Wood, a mulatto woman. The evidence elicited was positive as to her being taken away in a carriage by defendants, and the circumstances attending her removal, were of so suspicious a nature, as to lead the Magistrate to believe the woman was carried away illegally. The particulars are, as we gave them a few days since. Gilbert was held in $1000 bail, and Mrs. Boyd in $500 bail to answer the charge at Court. In default they were committed.

“Court Matters” (p. 2, col. 13):

Criminal Court–Before Judge Flinn. The June term was commenced this morning. The following are the names of the Grand Jurors: James B. Williams, foreman; G. J. Smith, J. Klein, G. Green, M. Jones, M. Eckert, John S. Gano, Thos. Booso, J. De Maire, J. Stokes, Paul Rust, E. P. Jones, J. P. Williams, Ebenezer Hulse, Henry Lowry, Samuel Taft.

June 8, 1853

p. 2, Col. 12:

The colored people of this city have selected John I. Gaines, Geo. W. Brodie, and Peter H. Clark to represent them in the National Convention of colored men, called to meet at Rochester, the sixth of July next.

“Court Matters,” p. 2, Col. 13:

The following named persons were empaneled on the petit jury for the term: William L. Williams, James Burrows, John Huff, James Dill, Henry Putoff, A. W. Hendrickson, Samuel Kessinger, Daniel Bailey, Henry Bargett, John Simmes, Charles Harvie, Hiram Allen.

June 15, 1853

“Extra Judicial Oaths” (p. 2, col. 12): One of several articles in June issues criticizing Judge Flinn of the Criminal Court, a Democrat, for disparaging reporters and requiring them to take oaths that they will fairly report on court proceedings. The Gazette’s editors view these exhortations from Flinn as a violation of freedom of press. The issues involved that seem to have sparked the conflict involving gambling establishments in the city. (See also “The Criminal Court,” June 16, 1853, p. 2, Col. 10; “Judge Flinn,” June 21, 1853, p. 2, Col. 11)).

June 23, 1853

“Court Matters: Criminal Court—Before Judge Flinn,” p. 2, Col. 13: Says that State v. Elizabeth Boyd, indictment for kidnapping, was “continued to the next term, by consent of parties.”


July 2, 1853

“Celebration,” p. 2, Col. 14: Reports on plans by “colored citizens” to celebrate West Indian emancipation on August First. A committee has been appointed to find a suitable grove.

July 19, 1853

“Court Matters,” p. 1, Col. 9: Boyd’s case continued to September term, because important witnesses are unavailable.


There was significant coverage in these months (some photographed from microfilm) about the George Washington McQuerry case, the cases of Edward, Hannah, and Susan, and the assault by Judge Flinn of the Criminal Court, the same judge who heard Boyd’s case, against John Jolliffe.


September 17, 1853

“Court Matters: Criminal Court–Before Judge Flinn,” p. 1, Col. 9: “State vs. Rebecca Boyd—Indictment for Kidnapping—This case was continued upon affidavits of the absence of material witnesses.”

“Kidnapping Negroes,” p. 1, Col. 10: The case of a Boone County man arrested for kidnapping neighbors’ slaves, “under the pretext of aiding their escape,” and selling them in New Orleans.


November 17, 1853

“The Courts: Criminal Court–Before Judge Flinn,” p.1, Col. 10: “State vs. Rebecca Boyd and John Gilbert—Indictment for kidnapping. This case was again continued to the next term, upon a showing that important witnesses were not present. John Gilbert was admitted to bail in $3,000 [or $2,000]. The other defendant renewed her bail.”


December 15, 1853

“Court Matters: Criminal Court–Before Judge Flinn,” p. 2, Col. 14: “State of Ohio vs. Rebecca Boyd and Franklin Rust, impleaded with John Gilbert. Indictment for kidnapping Henrietta Wood, a mulatto woman, on the first day of June last. The jury were sworn in this case yesterday afternoon, and the trial progressed. Ketchum and J. L. Micer for defence. A. J. Pruden and T. A. O’Connor for the State.”

December 16, 1853

“Court Matters: Criminal Court–Before Judge Flinn,” p. 2, col. 14: “State of Ohio vs. Rebecca Boyd and Franklin Rust, impleaded with John Gilbert. Indictment for kidnapping Henrietta Wood, an alleged free mulatto woman. It was claimed in defence that the person alleged to be kidnapped was in fact a slave. The jury returned a verdict of acquittal late night before last.”