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The first trial of the Oberlin-Wellington slave rescuers opens in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio

04/05/1859

Simeon Bushnell went on trial in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio for his part in the rescue, in contravention of the Fugitive Slave Law, of escaped slave John Price from his federal marshal captors in Wellington, Ohio the previous September.  Price, also known as "Little John," was being returned to slavery in Kentucky but a group of students and faculty from Oberlin College, together with local citizens, had acted before he could be put on the train at Wellington.  Price was freed, hidden, and helped in his successful flight to Canada. A federal grand jury indicted 37 people for breaches of the Fugitive Slave Law, including John Mercer Langston, and his brother Charles, both black graduates of Oberlin.  The first trial of the only two men who would be tried began with Bushnell, a white man, facing a judge and jury in federal court on this day.  The trial lasted ten days and Bushnell was convicted and sentenced to sixty days in prison.  The trial of Charles Langston followed.  (By John Osborne)

Source Citation: 
Jacob R. Shipherd, Ralph Plumb, Henry Everard Peck, History of the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue (Boston: John P. Jewett and Company, 1859), 18.

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