George DeBaptiste (American National Biography)

Scholarship
David F. Herr, "DeBaptiste, George," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-01037.html.
Between 1836 and 1838 DeBaptiste moved to Madison, Indiana, where he barbered, engaged in a number of other business enterprises, and served as a conductor for the underground railroad. Although the number of slaves he directly assisted is unknown, DeBaptiste gained a reputation as an abolitionist and conductor by crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky and escorting fugitive slaves into Indiana and Ohio. From there, they would go to Michigan and eventually Canada. His reputation as a conductor drew the ire of local whites. Probably as a result of his notoriety, the state of Indiana prosecuted George for residing in the state without paying the bond required of free blacks. He was saved from expulsion and possible sale into slavery by Stephen C. Stevens, a former member of the Indiana Supreme Court and prominent white attorney who opposed slavery. Stevens argued against the order expelling DeBaptiste, claiming that it was unconstitutional and did not specify his state of origin (where he was to be returned) as the law required. The court agreed only that the order was defective and allowed DeBaptiste to remain a resident.
How to Cite This Page: "George DeBaptiste (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/19260.