Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




Subject Categories



Cincinnati History
Library and Archives

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal












Deed of Manumission for Burgis Lee
Mss VF 4332
By Benjamin F. Fotterall
On July 26, 1854 Benjamin F. Fotterall of Vicksburg, Mississippi freed his slave Burgis Lee, “on account of his good character.” Fotterall himself had only recently purchased Lee on July 11, 1854 from Charles E. Yeamans, also of Vicksburg. Fotterall was in Cincinnati when he freed Lee though the document does not state what, if any, other business he had there. The deed of manumission was witnessed by three men and a Justice of the Peace in Cincinnati, Peter Bell, affirmed the deed. Request slip
Margaret Garner
Margaret Garner was a slave born on a plantation in Boone County, Kentucky. In 1856, Margaret fled to Cincinnati with her husband and children. As they were about to captured, she slit the throat of her two-year old daughter, Mary, then stabbed her other children and herself, because she thought it was better to die than to live in slavery. Mary died, but the others survived and were returned to slavery. More information
Letter of Safe Passage and Certificate of Emancipation for Mungo Rust
Mss VF 3816
By Bushrod Taylor and N. Kuykendall
In 1845 Bushrod Taylor, a slave owner in Winchester, Virginia, granted Mungo Rust his freedom. Rust then purchased his wife’s freedom. Even with free papers, travel for an African American at this time was fraught with danger and the possibility of re-enslavement. In this letter Taylor describes Rust and asks that he and his wife not be mistreated or molested on their way to Cincinnati. A note on the envelope from N. Kuykendall repeats this request and asks all drivers and agents to allow him to retain this letter. Accompanying the letter is a certificate of emancipation from the Franklin County, Virginia Clerk of Court affirming Mungo Rust as a free man. Request slip
Salmon P. Chase Commemorative Silver Pitcher
History Objects Collection
Salmon P. Chase, a well-known lawyer, abolitionist, and advocate for fugitive slaves, was one of three attorneys who represented slave Samuel Watson in court in 1845. The free black people of Cincinnati presented a silver pitcher to Chase as an expression of gratitude for his efforts in defense of Watson. More information
Warrant for Henry H. Ferguson vs. Madeline
Mss VF 3152
By U.S. Commissioner Thomas Powell
Prior to the Civil War all states were required to enforce laws regarding slavery whether they were slave states or not. Being a border state, Ohio was often caught in this predicament. Thomas Powell, a U.S. Commissioner of the 7th Judicial Circuit and the Southern District of the State of Ohio in Cincinnati issued a warrant on behalf of Henry F. Ferguson of Woodford County, Kentucky on November 20, 1860. In the warrant Powell writes that Ferguson claims that his slave Madeline escaped on or about October 27, 1854. The warrant, written six years after her escape, stipulates that if Madeline is found she is to be kept safe and presented to a commissioner in Ohio to answer to Ferguson’s complaint. Request slip
See also: Anti-Slavery & Abolitionism

Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Mailing address: 250 W. Court Street, Suite 300 East, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Email: library@cincymuseum.org
Copyright © 2004-2018 Cincinnati Museum Center.
All Rights Reserved.
Images not to be reproduced without written authorization.
This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.