Mar 25, 2021 - Sale 2562

Sale 2562 - Lot 16

Price Realized: $ 4,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Broadside announcing the formation of an "Anti-Negro Stealing Society" to fight the Underground Railroad. Letterpress broadside newspaper extra, 11 3/4 x 9 inches, with contemporary pencil notes on recto, early inked docketing on verso; folds, foxing, moderate wear; uncut. [Jacksonville, IL?], 23 February 1843

Additional Details

This broadside was printed in reaction to a well-known attempted rescue by the Underground Railroad. A Louisiana woman visited for a few days in Jacksonville in west-central Illinois. As she left town, her enslaved woman was liberated by young local abolitionist Samuel Willard, who then passed her off to a succession of other allies, hoping she could escape to Canada. A posse was formed, the girl and her liberators were caught, and bail of $2500 was set.

This newspaper extra prints two documents. First is a short 22 February meeting notice posted for "expressing their feelings in relation to the late outrage committed upon the property of a widow lady." It is signed in type by 30 townsmen. Pencil notes in the margin offer several corrections to this list based on "names in the original call." This is followed by the much longer minutes of the next day's meeting. The incident is recounted in some detail, and the attendees offer several resolutions: "The modus operandi of abating the evils of slavery is not the province of this meeting to point out. We only know that stealing them is not the most honest way. . . . Having reason to believe that there are regular bands of abolitionists, organized with depots and relays of horses to run negroes through our state to Canada, and that one of them is in this town, we will form an Anti-Negro Stealing Society, as we formerly formed an Anti-Horse-Stealing Society, and that we will, in this neighborhood, break up the one as we broke up the other."

Published in Eames, "Historic Morgan and Classic Jacksonville" pages 143-144. No copies in OCLC, but another copy is cited as being in the Samuel Willard Family Papers at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Doyle's "Social Order of a Frontier Community," pages 56-7. A remarkable northern vigilante reaction to the Underground Railroad.