A Fugitive Slave in Milwaukee – Excitement of the Citizens – The Jail Broken – The Fugitive Rescued, and the Military Ordered Out.
From the Milwaukee Sentinel, March 13.
The greatest excitement was caused on Saturday morning, by the announcement that a fugitive slave had been arrested about four miles this side of Racine, by Deputy United States Marshal C. C. COTTON, and four other men, one of them named B. S. GARLAND, the alleged owner of the fugitive, and another, a constable of Racine – in all, five white men – and brought to this city and placed, handcuffed, in our jail. The particulars of the transaction are these: the colored man’s name is JOSHUA GLOVER, and he is claimed as the runaway slave of S. GARLAND of St. Louis County, Mo. He is alleged to have runaway in 1852.
GLOVER was in the employ of ST. CLAIR & RICE, in a mill near Racine. On Friday night, while seated in his shanty, five men broke open the door suddenly, rushed in upon him, and felled him to the ground. They then handcuffed him, took him into a double buggy, with nothing on but his pantaloons and shirt, and drove off north, and, after having lost the way, at last brought him to Milwaukee County jail. Our Deputy Jailor, with commendable feelings of humanity, took off the handcuffs, and treated him with care and kindness.
As soon as the matter got wind the greatest excitement prevailed. A large number flocked to the jail; hundreds of men were aroused, and declared that he should not be taken from the city. Lawyers without numbers were busy at work, searching through the sections of the Fugitive Slave Law. The Revised Statutes were opened in a number of law offices to the chapter on habeas corpus, and everything that could be done for the release from custody of GLOVER was resorted to.
Some men rode through from Racine on horseback, and gave the first information that our jail contained a fugitive – that one of its cells had been polluted by the blood of a fugitive slave. We, with others, went to the jail, and found the fugitive in a cell. He was called out into the passage, and what a sight was there! The man was cut in two places on the head; the front of his shirt and vest were soaking and stiff in his own blood.
The man tells us that he had been in this State about two years, and that he was at work for the persons we have named above, and that they now owe him about fifty dollars; and he was sitting in his shanty when the men came in, and one placed a revolver to his head; he put up his hand to push it away, when he was knocked down senseless, and removed to the wagon. The man or men swore that if he shouted or made the least noise they would kill him instantly.
A habeas corpus was immediately got out before Judge JENKINS, and a civil warrant before ALBERT SMITH, Esq., Justice of the Peace, for the damages sustained by the unfortunate man. A telegraph was sent to Racine for a warrant for the arrest of the five men engaged in assaulting and beating him in his shanty.
The Court-house bell was rung at about 2 P.M., the alarm sounding for the First Ward; thousands flocked to the Court-house square and around the jail, the excitement being intense. After some time, the crowd was called to order by JAS. H. PAINE, from the Court-house steps, when Gen. E. B. WOLCOTT was chosen President, and A. H. BIELFELD Secretary.
A committee, consisting of one from each Ward, was appointed to draft resolutions, and present them to the meeting. The committee consisted of Jas. H. Paine, Wm. Whitnall, John Furlong, S. M. Booth, and Dr. E. Wunderley.
The crowd, which had kept increasing, was then addressed by BYRON PAINE, Esq., Gen. PAINE, S. M. BOOTH, and BIELFELD. Each speaker was loudly cheered. The resolutions were called for and read to the meeting, and adopted with great cheering. They were as follows:
Whereas, A man named JOSHUA GLOVER, living in the neighborhood of Racine, had his house broken into, a pistol presented at his head, was knocked down and badly cut and bruised, by Deputy Marshal CHARLES C. COTTON and BENJ. S. GARLAND his pretended owner, before any legal process was served upon him was fettered and brought by nigh [night] to this city and incarcerated in our county jail; and where as , a writ of habeas corpus has been issued by Judge JENKINS to Sheriff PAGE and Deputy Marshal COTTON, commanding them, in the name of the State, to bring the prisoner before him and show cause why the prisoner should not be released, which writ has not yet been obeyed – therefore,
Resolved, as citizens of Milwaukee, That every person has an indefensible right to a fair and impartial trial by jury on all questions involving personal liberty.
Resolved, That the writ of habeas corpus is the great defence [defense] of freedom, and that we demand for this prisoner, as well as for our own protection, that this sacred writ shall be obeyed.
Resolved, That we pledge ourselves to stand by this prisoner, and do our utmost to secure for him a fair and impartial trial by jury.
Soon after the resolutions had been read and passed, a vigilance committee of twenty-five was appointed to watch that the fugitive was not secretly taken away, or tried, except in an open manner. We understand that the committee was instructed to ring the bells, and call the city to their aid, in case any attempt should be made to get the fugitive away from the jail.
During the morning a writ of habeas corpus, as above mentioned, had been served upon Sheriff PAGE. He immediately made return that the negro was not in his custody, or under his control, but was in custody of the United States Marshal and deputies, under a warrant from Judge MILLER, of the United States Court. Another writ was got out by the negro’s counsel, G. K. WATKINS, Esq., and put in the Sheriff’s hands, to be served upon the Marshal, and was so served. This was about 5 P. M. Within a short time the steamer arrived, bringing about one hundred men from Racine, who marched in solid column to the jail, where the negro still remained in charge of two deputies of the United States Marshal. This accession to the numbers of the crowd added fuel to the flame, and after a short time a demand was made for the man; a refusal being made, an attack was made upon the door with planks, axes &c. It was broken in, the inner door and wall broken through, and the negro taken from his keepers, brought out, and placed in a wagon, which was driven at great speed down to the Walker’s Point Bridge, where he was placed in another carriage and was taken south, on the way to Racine. The military was called out, but had not gathered when the crisis came.
The sheriff of Racine County was with those who came by the boat, and had warrants for the arrest of the owner, Mr. GARLAND, and others, for assault and battery. Mr. G. was arrested and taken to J. E. ARNOLD’S office, who acted as his counsel. A writ of habeas corpus at once issued from Judge MILLER’S court, and he was taken to that office. An understanding was entered into that Mr. GARLAND should be forthcoming on Monday (this) morning, and he was left in custody of the United States Marshal, to be produced at that time.