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a book about Harrisburg...

by George F. Nagle


Table of Contents

Study Areas:



Free Persons of Color

Underground Railroad

The Violent Decade

US Colored Troops

Civil War


Chapter Eight
Backlash, Violence and Fear: The Violent Decade

Violent Beginnings

On a warm, late July day in 1850, Joseph Hummel watched a large group of African American men walk out of the eastern end of the Harrisburg Bridge and onto Front Street in Harrisburg. Although Hummel was not a Harrisburg resident, he knew the town and many of its inhabitants well, having grown up in his family’s namesake village of Hummelstown, a few miles to the east, where he owned a successful saddle shop.

At nearly fifty-seven years of age, Joseph Hummel was a well-known and respected member of the local community, not only because of his family name and his business, but also because of his prior military service during the War of 1812, in which he led a company of men and rose to the rank of colonel. Harrisburgers held all their former military men, particularly those who had risen to command, in high esteem, and like many of his fellow veterans of past wars, he was respectfully addressed on the streets of Harrisburg according to his former rank, being commonly greeted as “Colonel Hummel,” or simply “Colonel.”

On this Saturday he may have been in town on business, or perhaps he was just visiting friends, when he found himself close enough to the riverbank to observe the comings and goings at the bridge. Many people, both black and white, crossed the Harrisburg Bridge on foot and in all sorts of conveyances every day, and it was not uncommon for people crossing the bridge on foot to travel in groups, to share talk and company.

Apparently, though, there was something about this group of men that caught Hummel’s interest. He noticed them as soon as they emerged into the sunlight, the clopping echoes of their feet on the wooden floorboards of the bridge dying quickly away as they strolled past the toll taker’s house on Front Street. Six of the men carried bundles, in the manner of persons embarking on a long journey by foot, and their appearance suggested to him that they were not local men. The six seemed to be following two men who looked much more at home on the dirt streets of the borough, and the Colonel thought right from the start that he was witnessing the arrival of a group of fugitive slaves.

He approached the two leaders, whom he perceived as locals, and in typically direct Pennsylvania German style bluntly asked one of them if the other six men were slaves. Perhaps the guide recognized the venerable Colonel Hummel and knew he represented little risk, or perhaps Hummel still carried a sense of military command that came through in the question and caused the man to answer truthfully. In either case, these Underground Railroad conductors did not attempt to hide their mission from the white man who stopped them on the street. The guide told the Colonel that, yes, his six charges were slaves, and that they had escaped from Virginia.7

Colonel Hummel did not record what he did with that bit of information. Perhaps he shrugged, thought to himself, “Well, imagine that!” and thought no more of it. Perhaps he mentioned it in conversation with his friends or business acquaintances later that day. Perhaps he kept quiet about it. If it was not the Hummelstown saddler who mentioned the arrival, however, someone else surely talked about it.

Joseph Hummel was not the only person to observe and note the freedom seekers’ arrival. Regardless of the source, word soon spread through Harrisburg that yet another group of fugitive slaves had arrived in town. But the news did not stop there. Once this information reached the ears of certain residents with particular interests in such things, it was quickly transmitted beyond the borough limits to nearby towns. From those towns it was spread to persons with mercenary interests who lived in the counties that lined both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. Eventually it came to the attention of men who had a particular stake in locating these travelers.

In a little more than two weeks, a group of four Southerners crossed the same bridge into town, secured stabling for their horses at a local livery, and quietly began asking questions and looking around. Harrisburg regularly hosted many visitors from the South—persons who were in town on state business or to arrange a business deal—so their presence did not immediately arouse the suspicions of local Underground Railroad activists. This anonymity gave the strangers the extra time they needed to do their job.

On the Saturday morning after the Southerners arrived, they spotted three of the fugitives at the market houses on the square, confirming their suspicions that the fugitives were still in town. Having located their quarry, two of the Southerners headed straight for the office of Harrisburg Justice of the Peace Henry Beader to request that local constables arrest the fugitives and return them to their possession.

Like the war hero Joseph Hummel, Henry Beader was a well-respected local citizen with family roots that ran deep. His father had been one of the first merchants on Mulberry Street, making and selling fashionable hats to the local gentry. As a young man, Henry apprenticed in the coppersmith trade with neighborhood craftsmen, and he kept at it for a number of years before going into public service, taking a clerk’s job with the Commonwealth after the state government relocated to Harrisburg. Steadily, he advanced his career, until he gained an appointment as a local magistrate, the position he held when George H. Isler and William Taylor of Clark County, Virginia, strolled into his office on the morning of 17 August 1850.

Isler did the talking, asking the fifty-year-old Beader “whether [the fugitives spotted at the market shed] could not be arrested as fugitive slaves.” Isler and Taylor then produced two “books” that supposedly proved ownership of the men in question. Their expectation that Beader would promptly order the arrest of the fugitive slaves based solely upon their documents was wholly within precedent. This tactic had previously worked well in central Pennsylvania, being the procedure followed by slave owners Kennedy and Hollingsworth in 1847 in Carlisle, and by some unnamed slave catchers the previous September in Harrisburg.

But Henry Beader was an exceptionally devoted student of the law whose work ethic had displaced all else, even marriage, in his life. The bachelor official knew that Pennsylvania’s 1847 Personal Liberty Law prohibited the use of local lawmen in arresting fugitive slaves, and it prohibited him from issuing the requested certificate, under penalty of possible fines. Unlike his predecessors in the other cases, and to the chagrin of Isler and Taylor, he refused to issue a certificate ordering the arrest of the fugitives.

It seems that George Isler was somewhat taken aback by the rejection. In later testimony he vented his frustration with the local magistrate and the law, stating that they “came [to Harrisburg] to get those fellows back to our country, one way or another. We had two books on them. We want them back.” It was only after Esquire Beader turned them down that William Taylor prompted Isler to tell the magistrate that the men they sought as fugitive slaves were also horse thieves, having taken two horses from his stable on the night of 20 July. Isler verified the allegations to Beader, and the magistrate hastily—perhaps too hastily, as later events would show—entered the charges on his docket and finally issued a warrant for the arrest of Samuel Wilson, George Brooks, and William, who Isler referred to as “Billy.”8


Constable "Sol" Snyder

The man assigned to rounding up the alleged horse thieves was Harrisburg constable Solomon Snyder, a thirty-eight-year-old lawman who would play a major role in the strife-producing events that would rock Harrisburg, the region, and even the country in the next few years. Snyder lived with his wife near the canal in the borough’s North Ward. His neighborhood included a large number of immigrants and African American residents, and was located in the same few square blocks that also included Tanner’s Alley and Short Street.

Snyder was well known in Harrisburg’s African American community, not only for his job as constable, and because he was a neighbor to many of them, but also because he had lost a hand and part of his arm in an unfortunate July Fourth accident four years earlier. It appears, however, that the tragic disfigurement neither slowed his zeal for enforcing the law nor hindered his ability to take suspects into custody.

Such determination in overcoming a handicap might normally have elicited feelings of admiration, but Solomon Snyder would not be the beneficiary of anyone’s esteem or sympathy. Instead, his heavy-handed tactics and regular use of informants caused him to be a figure of distrust, and his missing arm came to symbolize, for many, a deficiency in his sense of humanity. It would be no different today. His actions on this day and through the next four years would further transform his notoriety with the local African American community from uneasy neighbor and unsympathetic lawman, to a figure of genuine dread.

Constable Snyder took to his task and soon found the three men not far from his own neighborhood, “about the canal,” as he later testified. Snyder, perhaps with the aid of a few deputies or fellow constables, placed them under arrest and marched them down to the office of Esquire Beader, who formally charged them with horse-stealing and committed them to the foreboding and turreted Gothic Revival county prison on Walnut Street.

Their arrest caused a considerable stir in Harrisburg’s African American community, which had been caught by surprise. It responded by pooling money, and, through community leaders Dr. William M. Jones and Edward Thompson, officially hired sympathetic local lawyers Charles Coatesworth Rawn and Mordecai McKinney to defend the three captured men. Rawn and McKinney filed a writ of habeas corpus early the next week on behalf of the prisoners, and a hearing was set for Friday, 23 August, in the court of Dauphin County Chief Justice John J. Pearson. Opposing McKinney and Rawn, representing Virginia slave owner William Taylor, were noted Harrisburg lawyers John C. Kunkel, Francis Campbell Carson, and Robert A. Lamberton.


The Trial

On the day of the trial, Judge Pearson gaveled the courtroom to order and after hearing the charges from Esquire Beader, allowed the prosecution to call George H. Isler to the witness box. Meanwhile, knots of local African American residents began to gather in Court Alley and along Market Street in front of the courthouse.

Isler testified that he was not the injured party in the case, but lived in Clark County, Virginia, a few miles from William Taylor, who had lost the horses. He was acting as a friend and neighbor in helping Taylor recover the slaves, not as a paid slave catcher, and he had relayed the information about the theft of the horses to Magistrate Beader based upon what he had been told. When questioned as to why he, and not Taylor, had been the one to make out the charges against the men in Beader’s office, he answered, “I can’t say why he did not make the information. He is here and can answer for himself.”

To that end, William Taylor was called to the witness stand next, where he was sworn in. He explained that he allowed Isler to make the charges because he thought it was necessary to have a witness do so. This created a credibility problem right away with the prosecution’s case, since Isler has clearly stated a few minutes before, “I did not see the horses taken from the premises.”

Two more cracks in the horse thievery case became evident as Taylor told his story. First, the horses, saddles, and bridles had been recovered a few days after they were taken, yet he and Taylor continued to pursue the two fugitive slaves, Wilson and Brock, into Maryland. Somewhere along the way, a third man, referred to as Billy, had joined the fugitives. Taylor had paid to have a runaway slave handbill printed and distributed, offering five hundred dollars for the pair of men, and ten dollars each for the horses. Clearly, his primary object was the recovery of the two slaves. In Maryland, he hired two professional slave catchers, Thomas Hubbard and Joseph Kinsel, who had come to Harrisburg with him and Isler, further weakening his contention that his only object was the capture of two horse thieves. The second weakness was Isler’s admission that he had only offered the horse thievery story to the local magistrate after first requesting the arrest of the three men as fugitive slaves and being turned down.

Attorneys for the defense then summoned several local witnesses to testify that the three men accused of horse thievery had been seen by them in town prior to the crime. A number of these witnesses were African American men who stayed with Dr. William and Mary Jones, at their Tanner’s Alley boarding house. John and William Stewart were both boarders at the Jones’ house, and both testified that they had seen the prisoners in Harrisburg prior to 17 July, which placed them in town several days before the horses were stolen. Another man, Henry Hughes, testified that the prisoner referred to by the Virginians as “Billy” was actually named John Strange, and that he had been at the Philip Stimmel farm in Susquehanna Township, where Hughes worked, in June looking for employment.

Doctor Jones then took the stand, swearing that all three of the accused men had boarded with him in Tanner’s Alley since 15 July. According to Dr. Jones, they told him they had arrived in Harrisburg “from the country,” and he thought they had been around town at least since the beginning of the hay harvest, or about 15 June. Finally, James Ennis, a Tanner’s Alley businessman, testified that all three of the prisoners had worked for him on and off since the spring, “before the boats began to run.”

The prosecuting attorneys were quick to offer rebutting testimony from well-known and respected local men, beginning with Conrad Orth Zimmerman, a thirty-year-old brick maker. Zimmerman testified that he saw “six black fellows cross the bridge with bundles” on Saturday, 27 July. He was able to point out with certainty one of the defendants as being one who had crossed the bridge into town that day, because of a distinctive scar on his cheek.

Taking the stand next was Colonel Joseph P. Hummel, who recounted to the court his experiences that day when he observed the party of freedom seekers crossing into Harrisburg. Hummel testified how, at the time, he thought six of the men were slaves, probably by their poor dress and the bundles they carried. He also told the court that he had spoken with one of the guides, who confirmed that the six men were in fact southern slaves. However, because he had not spoken with any of the fugitive slaves themselves that day, he was unable to positively identify any of the three men now sitting on the defendants’ bench as having been in that group.

The final witness for the prosecution was a Mr. J. A. Strayer, who described himself as a Negro broker. Strayer was not so hesitant about identifying one of the defendants as a fugitive slave. When called to the stand, he pointed directly at John Strange and stated, “I know that boy belongs to Mr. Page.” As to how he could be so sure, Strayer elaborated: “It being my business to buy negroes, I consider myself a judge of them, and observe them whenever I see them. I saw him last about the first of harvest, when I went into the neighborhood to buy some negroes which had run away and been recaptured.”9

As the final witness of the day, Strayer’s testimony provided a dramatically chilling end to the tense proceedings. Judge Pearson then adjourned court, intending to mull over the entire weight of evidence and testimony during the evening and render an opinion Saturday morning. The crowd in the street and alley outside his courtroom, composed of anxious African American residents and curious white residents, slowly dispersed to their homes.

The street spectators knew that there was much at stake in these proceedings. Although they were not inside the courthouse, they were following the developments closely. Most of what was said and most of what occurred in the courtroom was relayed to the rest of the crowd by those who got close enough to the open windows to see and hear. The reaction of persons in the crowd to these events varied according to their attitudes, which broke down generally by race.


A Deeply Divided Town

Although Harrisburg’s white residents were largely pro-South in their sympathies when it came to returning fugitive slaves, they wanted the process to be legal and orderly, as well as fair to all concerned. Although they frequently derided abolitionists as troublemakers poking their noses into the South’s constitutionally recognized right to own and recover slaves, they also expressed disgust at those who circumvented the law and used violence and kidnapping to remove African Americans from Pennsylvania soil.

Almost as bad, in their eyes, were the slave catchers who employed trickery to achieve their aims. Such a situation, whereby deception had been used to capture a fugitive slave, had occurred a few days before the trial for Brooks, Wilson, and Strange began, while the rival attorneys were preparing their cases. Worse still, a local constable appeared to have played a major role in that highly irregular apprehension and remanding.

In that incident, the slave catchers did not go to a local magistrate, but instead convinced a Harrisburg constable to lure their quarry into their arms with the promise of work. The local man, who the newspaper described as “A negro, possibly a runaway slave,” was hired by the constable to drive him over the Camel Back bridge in his wagon so that he could “make a levy” in Cumberland County. The fact that the constable was out of his jurisdiction and unable to charge anyone once he was across the river was lost on the trusting driver, who eagerly accepted the offer of work.

All seemed normal to the unaware African American driver as he carried his passenger across the bridge and into Cumberland County, away from the relative safety of Harrisburg’s neighborhoods. Trouble arose at a particularly lonely spot on the road, some distance past the bridge, when three men forced the wagon to a halt. The unsuspecting driver might have felt some reassurance at having a lawman as his passenger when stopped by these highwaymen, but the ruse became immediately and painfully clear to the driver when the constable made no effort to stop the ruffians from seizing him, handcuffing him, and throwing him into another waiting wagon, in which he was taken south.

The role of the local lawman in the trickery might never have been known, but it seems he must have bragged about it around town, joking that the kidnapped man had been singing, “Carry me back to old Virginia,” just before the trap was sprung.10 It was in this form that the story made its way to a local newspaper editor, who tacked it on at the end of the trial coverage, almost as a cautionary tale.

While most white spectators watched the trial as a demonstration of law and order, African Americans viewed it with a much more pessimistic attitude. The foreboding testimony of the cold-hearted J. A. Strayer accurately summed up their worst fears when he spoke of buying up runaways who had been recaptured. This confirmed for them the stories that returned slaves were regularly subjected to the worst punishment imaginable, short of death, which was to be sold south for work in the sugar cane fields, never again to see home and family, and never again to be heard from.

Strayer’s presence in a Harrisburg court room, in the company of slaveholder Taylor and his men, betrayed Taylor’s real reason for pursuing them this far. This, apparently, was the fate that awaited George Brooks, Samuel Wilson, and John Strange, should Judge Pearson rule in William Taylor’s favor. For Harrisburg’s African Americans, this trial had little to do with fairness and equity, but instead magnified their feelings of helplessness as they witnessed a half dozen white men decide the ultimate fate of three innocents. As Judge Pearson closed the proceedings to mull over his evidence, they straggled home to mull over feelings of exasperation, powerlessness, and anger.


The Honorable John James Pearson
"Common law would not justify ... force and violence"

Judge Pearson knew that he had to walk a particularly narrow line when he delivered his decision the next morning. He was aware that Pennsylvania’s Personal Liberty Laws guaranteed certain safeguards to all persons accused of being fugitive slaves, but he also knew that the intent of the laws were to protect free African Americans from kidnapping, and not specifically to frustrate slave holders from recovering their property. And although his duty was to deliver a fair ruling, he also had to deal with personal conflicts surrounding the issue.

Born into a Quaker household in Darby, Pennsylvania, in 1800, John James Pearson harbored no sympathies toward the institution of slavery. He moved with his father at a young age to Mercer County, where he was educated, studied law, and was eventually admitted to the bar. Pearson entered politics and was elected to the Twenty-Fourth Congress as a Representative from Pennsylvania’s western counties.

While in Congress, he followed his Quaker inclinations and voted consistently in support of the anti-slavery petitions introduced by John Quincy Adams. Following his national political service, he campaigned and was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate, which brought him to Harrisburg in time to witness the chaos and mob violence of the “Buckshot War.” In that conflict, Harrisburg was under mob rule for two weeks, as both the Democratic and Whig parties contested control of the state House following an election clouded with substantial voting irregularities.

Hundreds of armed thugs from Philadelphia arrived in town on December 4, 1838 and occupied the state government buildings in the name of the elected Democrats. Pearson, as a Whig Senator, was blatantly intimidated and physically forced from office, along with other members of the Whig government, which was led by Thaddeus Stevens and Governor Joseph Ritner.

Ritner’s appeal to President Martin Van Buren for federal troops to restore his state government to power went unanswered. He finally succeeded in summoning state militia units, which armed themselves with buckshot cartridges when they arrived in town, thus giving the short-lived but violent political fracas its name. Until then, rumors of plots to blow up the railway lines and threats to kill the Whig leaders, and Stevens in particular, paralyzed the town. In later testimony before a Senate committee charged with investigating the events of December 1838, Thaddeus Stevens described the arrival of the Philadelphia ruffians:

As early as the Saturday of that week and the Sunday and Monday following, a large number of persons arrived at Harrisburg of a description such as I have never before seen attending the session of the legislature. They were rough, ferocious, rude looking men, described by those who knew them as ignorant, desperate, and addicted to the lowest habits and vices; some of them the active agents in the mob that destroyed Pennsylvania Hall.

By tying in the recent burning of Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia, the newly built “temple of liberty” meetinghouse for the Pennsylvania Abolition Society that was set ablaze by mobs with the tacit approval of Philadelphia city authorities, Thaddeus Stevens was ascribing an anti-abolitionist motive to the Harrisburg violence. He was not completely off base. During the very bitter gubernatorial campaign, the embattled Governor Ritner was dogged by accusations from the Democrats that he was a rabid abolitionist. His close association with Thaddeus Stevens, and his December 1836 message to the Legislature in which he sharply criticized the Congressional Gag Rule provided fuel for his opponents’ fires.

As a legislator with an anti-slavery voting record, State Senator John J. Pearson apparently felt some of that heat in December 1838. In a speech from the state Senate floor, he sharply criticized the notion that any body of citizens had the right to force their will with a show of force, no matter how just their cause appeared to them, or how much they felt they had been wronged:

Will that legal principle justify an invasion of the rights of others? Can those men—can any man, justify regaining his property or privileges by force? And above all, can he compel a judicial tribunal, charged by law with the trial of his rights, to make that decision in his favor? I have always considered the common law would not justify a person in repossessing himself of his own by force and violence and the strong hand—that even against a trespasser having no rights, a lost possession or right must be regained peaceably.

It is probable that Judge John J. Pearson was recalling the disorder of December 1838 when he retired to form his decision on Friday evening. He may also have been considering the violence of the previous September, when Sheriff Shell and his deputies clashed with the citizen’s watch on Short Street. Neither side had settled their grievances through petitions or legal means, and a general disturbance of the peace was the natural result.

He may even have known of the 1825 riot that sent local men to the treadmill for attempting to intimidate some visiting slave catchers, although he was still practicing law in Mercer County when that event shook the local peace. To Judge Pearson the lesson was clearly that law and order must prevail at all costs, even in the face of an intimidating mob, even when his own anti-slavery sympathies may have dwelt with the aims of that mob. In 1838, as a Pennsylvania Senator he had thundered, “I deny the right of the people to speak in that way.” In 1850, he had to find a solution that preserved that pledge.

By the time the bailiff called the courtroom to order on Saturday morning, the streets around the courthouse were already filled with people. One local newspaper described the gathering of onlookers as “a great crowd [of] mostly blacks in the street, outside the jail yard, but mostly we should judge acting only as spectators to see the operations.” Many curious whites were also present, as word had quickly gotten around town that something significant was taking place on the town’s main thoroughfare.

The general attitude of those who surrounded the interconnected courthouse and prison block at this point was clearly one of anxiety and expectation, but not of open hostility. It had been exactly a week since the three fugitive slaves were arrested by Constable Snyder as alleged horse thieves, and most of the town’s African American residents held out little hope for their redemption. They were quite surprised, then, when Judge Pearson took his place at the bench and began reading his decision.

The court was very concerned, he stated, about a number of errors that were made by Esquire Henry Beader in committing the three accused men to prison. The errors were so glaring that Pearson declared, “We are of opinion that the whole proceeding is very loose and irregular.” These irregularities—the lack of a statement about where the property was stolen, and from whom, and the lack of signatures on the arrest docket by the persons making the charges—caused Judge Pearson to examine the charges in greater detail than might otherwise have been warranted, and he found them severely lacking.

First he dismissed the horse stealing charges against John Strange, whose owner, Mr. Page, was not even in court, stating “there is no evidence that the horse was stolen…from aught that appears, he may have been lent.” As to whether the remaining two men, George Brooks and Samuel Wilson, were fugitive slaves, Judge Pearson had no doubt, and he believed that they had in fact “fled at the time and in the manner stated by [William Taylor],” effectively dismissing all the testimony presented by attorneys Rawn and McKinney that purported to show the men were in Harrisburg before the horses were supposed to have been stolen.

Pearson also did not dismiss the statements that the men fled from slavery on some of Taylor’s horses. For the trial spectators, the opinion seemed to be building in favor of the slaveholders, but at this point, the judge revealed a rather surprising decision. Because the horses were abandoned and recovered by the slaveholder several dozen miles from his plantation, Pearson took to understand that the slaves had borrowed them to get away quickly, and had no intention of keeping them. Thus, the charge of larceny would not stand under common law:

The rule of law settled in numerous cases, and at various periods of our judicial history, that if property is taken, even clandestinely, yet not with the intention to steal, but merely to use, it is not larceny.

Judge Pearson then addressed the right of Taylor to claim his two slaves, and of Strayer’s right to claim John Strange for the owner Page. Because the three men had been improperly seized, imprisoned and brought into court on criminal charges—Pearson stopped short of saying that the charge was “fraudulently preferred”—apparently in an attempt to use local law enforcement personnel and facilities to detain them until they could be claimed as slaves, the judge denied the slave holders’ right to take charge of the men right there in the courtroom. Such action would constitute contempt, the judge said, yet at the same time he noted, “We have no legal authority to prevent the recapture of these men, or any other slaves, by the owner…except in the face of Court.”


Release of the Fugitives, and a Race to Recapture

With that, he ordered that the three men be released from confinement in the prison. The meaning of this decision quickly sunk in for both William Taylor and his party, and for the witnesses to the decision in the courtroom. Word was quickly passed to those outside, that the fugitives were to be released from the prison, but elation at that decision was tempered by the knowledge that Pearson had not forbidden the Virginians from retaking them once that occurred.

As Pearson made out the release order for jailor John T. Wilson, the Southerners hurried through the interior courtyard to the prison entrance, on the other side of the public block, fully aware that any attempt to regain their slaves would have to occur in the open presence of local African American citizens.

What they may not have been fully aware of was the sheer size and aggravated mood of the gathering crowd. In the time that it took for the release order to be written, passed to the county jailor, and acted upon, word of the impending release and probable recapture attempt had spread from one end of the town to the other. People rushed to the entrance to the prison, on Walnut Street, to witness the excitement.

An account of events in the Albany (New York) Evening Journal stated, “All the avenues leading to the prison were filled with men, women and boys, of all colors.” Witnesses reported that people stood on the porches and balconies of the houses that lined the street, and African American men gained access to the balconies of the Exchange Building on the north side of the street, directly overlooking the prison entrance. The crowd was further excited by the rumors of a planned rescue of the fugitives, and the anxiety level jumped significantly when a group of constables and deputy sheriffs appeared in front of the prison.11


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7. Pennsylvania Telegraph, 28 August 1850.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Report of the Select Committee Appointed to Inquire Into the Cause of an Armed Force Being Brought to the Capitol of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 1839), 55; Address of the Hon. Charles B. Penrose, Speaker of the Senate; and the Speeches of Messrs. Fraley (City), Williams, Pearson and Penrose, delivered in the Senate of Pennsylvania, on the Subject of Insurrection at Harrisburg, at the Meeting of the Legislature in December, 1838 (Harrisburg, 1839), p 81; Caba, Episodes of Gettysburg, 83; “The Virginia Slaves,” Albany Evening Journal, n.d.


Caution: Copyrighted material. Published September 2010.

© 2010 George F. Nagle



This is the first in a series of books from the Afrolumens Project. Drawing on a large number of sources, and making good use of the treasure trove of information on the pages of the Afrolumens Project, this is the first truly comprehensive history of Harrisburg's African American community.

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