Syracuse in Onondaga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Jerry Rescue
Their Abolitionist sentiments were shared by many men and women in the community. When Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, a local Vigilance Committee publicly called on people everywhere to oppose it. Then-Mayor, Alfred H. Hovey, was one of the community leaders who denounced the law, as "a most flagrant outrage upon the inalienable rights of man.”
With the attention of the nation focused on the acts of civil disobedience this position might spark, the great American orator, Daniel Webster, came to Syracuse and delivered a dramatic address from a balcony overlooking City Hall. He warned the supporters of the Vigilance Committee
Meanwhile, William "Jerry" Henry had escaped from slavery in Missouri, and was working as a cabinet maker and cooper in Syracuse. At noon on October 1st, 1851, he was apprehended, taken before the local U.S. Commissioner, and charged as a fugitive slave. Alerted, the Vigilance Committee sprang into action. A first, disorganized attempt to free Jerry that afternoon failed. But, later that evening, a mob of outraged citizens, both black and white, stormed the jail across Clinton Street from this site, and rescued him. Jerry was hidden in the city for a few days, then spirited north along the Underground Railroad to Kingston, Ontario.
Twenty-seven people, including Loguen and eleven other black citizens, were indicted for their involvement. Enoch Reed, a black man, was the only person convicted of any crime related to the rescue; it was a minor offense, and he died before his case could be heard on appeal.
For many years afterward, Abolitionists from all over the north gathered in Syracuse on October 1st, to celebrate Jerry's rescue.
Erected 1990 by Syracuse Urban Arts Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Civil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Harriet Tubman series list. A significant historical date for this entry is October 1, 1851.
Location. 43° 3.044′ N, 76° 9.2′ W. Marker is in Syracuse, New York, in Onondaga County. Marker is on South Clinton Street south of Erie Boulevard West, on the left when traveling south. Monument and marker are located beside the sidewalk at the west end of Clinton Square. The monument faces west; the marker is mounted at eye-level on the back side of the monument, facing east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2 South Clinton Street, Syracuse NY 13202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Banks of the Erie Canal (a few steps from this marker); Alexis de Tocqueville (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hanover Square (about 500 feet away); Gunpowder Blast (approx. 0.2 miles away); Onondaga Indians (approx. 0.2 miles away); Pitts Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Courier Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Daniel Webster's "Syracuse Speech" (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Syracuse.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Syracuse Freedom Trail & Underground Railroad
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 3, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.