“Sufferers’ Land” Post #42 – An Abolitionist Comes to Norwalk –

After the failure of his business, Henry had been elected County Treasurer. One evening in the fall of 1842, he came out of the Court House at dusk and noticed a respectable looking middle-aged man standing alone in front of the bank. The man appeared disturbed and uncertain what to do.

Henry greeted him and asked him what he was doing in town. The man told him he was an Abolitionist minister who had come to Norwalk to lecture about the evils of slavery, but had not received a warm welcome. People opposed to abolition threatened him and no hotel would give him a room. Henry immediately invited the minister to stay at his house, and stayed up late with him, debating the slavery question.

The next day, word got out and the village buzzed with gossip and outrage. Some people threatened to drive the “sneaking Abolitionist” out of town. Henry’s son George and his brother John, along with many neighbors, tried to convince him to turn the abolitionist away, but he told them, “This man comes well recommended, he appears to be a gentleman; I don’t quite believe in his doctrine, but he is a human being, made in the image of God. He has committed no crime. He needs food and shelter; and I have invited him to my house. He can stay as long as he likes free of charge and I will protect him!”

And that was that. Even with the sentiment against the anti-slavery movement in Norwalk, the man wasn’t molested and stayed at the Buckingham home until he finished his business in the village. [1]

Still, Henry was not an out and out abolitionist. However, later that fall, soon after the abolitionist minister left his home, an incident occurred that finally forced him to change his stance.

Please like this post and let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you.


GO TO NEXT POST – Runaway Slaves in Norwalk

Index of Posts

Footnote:

[1] “The Ohio Fugitive Slave Law,” by G.T. Stewart, The Firelands Pioneer, July 1888, pp. 75-77.

© 2009 by David W. Barton. All rights reserved

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