Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Anti-Slavery Sentiments


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 284


The first tide of emigration to this country set in from the direction of Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia, with quite a sprinkling of men from New England, the "Jersey" country and New York; as would be supposed the political complexion was Whig, so much so that Clark County was always a reliable stonghold of Whiggery. In those days to be a Whig was to avoid any collision with the interests of slavery or its extension. From this it may be seen that the political soil of this country was not the proper place to plant the seeds of "liberty," in the "abolition" sense of the term, and when an incidental or straggling germ chanced to drop here, it was plucked up, root and branch, amid loud notes of warning sounded from the party "bassoon."

In 1844, the "Liberty party," so called, nominated James G. Birney for President of the United States, upon a platform, the main plank of which was opposition to slavery. Clark County's entire interest in this "Abolition cussedness," as one of the speakers of the campaign called it, was represented by twenty-one votes.

"But in spite of the plowman, the nut which was planted
    Shall grow to a tree of magnificent size."

Upon the partial disbandment of the Whig party, the greater number of its former supporters united with the then growing and progressive political organization known as the Free-Soil Party. "Abolitionism" as such had changed its most objectionable features, from an advocacy of abolishing slavery where it already existed, to the preventing of its extention into the Territories of the United States. The next step was the formation of the Republican party, with all there was of good, that had been maintained by each of the others, incorporated therein. The various anti-slavery atoms had now concentrated and were crystallized into a mass by the attempted destruction of the National Government, in the interests of slavery. The "tree" had attained its growth. How it withstood the cyclone of civil war, only to emerge with greater thrift, is a part of the history of our country not proper to transcribe here.

Many incidents of more or less historical value are related in connection with the old anti-slavery movements. There was a station or two of the "Underground Railroad" here, also an eating house, and all the necessary belongings of a first-class depot. The house on Mechanic street, now occupied as a home for aged women, formerly the residence of John D. Nichols, Esq., was one of these stations. A secret closet was recently discovered in this building, wherein "Sambo" was stowed away when necessary. The place had every outward appearance of being a part of the old "Stack chimney," so much so that the present occupants set up a stove and thrust the pipe thereof into the bogus flue. In due time, of course, somebody "smelled woolen," an investigation ensued, and one or two blows from an ax disclosed an embryo conflagration, and the facts for this item.














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