Troy in Rensselaer County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Rescue of Charles Nalle
April 27, 1860
escaped slave who had been
arrested under the
Fugitive Slave Act
Location. 42° 43.822′ N, 73° 41.565′ W. Marker is in Troy, New York, in Rensselaer County. Marker is at the intersection of State Street and 1st Street, on the right when traveling west on State Street. Touch for map. The marker is at the former site of the U.S. Commissioners Office. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5 State Street, Troy NY 12180, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. T'was The Night Before Christmas (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Uncle Sam (approx. 0.2 miles away); Uncle Sam Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Locking Through (approx. ¼ mile away); Mayor James F. Cavanaugh (approx. ¼ mile away); History of 1819 Fifth Avenue (approx. ¼ mile away); The Great Fire of 1862 (approx. 0.3 miles away); W & L E Gurley Building (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Troy.
More about this marker. The marker was restored by Norstar Bank, the Rensselaer County Historical society, the Troy-Cohoes YWCA and the Versatile
Regarding The Rescue of Charles Nalle. Charles Nalle was born about 1821 in Stevensburg, Culpepper County, Virginia, the son of his white master. His mother was impregnated by their owner. When their owner died his property was passed down to his white son, Blucher Hansborough. That property included ownership of his half brother, Charles Nalle. Nalle escaped from Culpepper County, Virginia in October 1858 and settled in Sandlake, New York, and then came to Troy and worked for a noted industrialist named Uri Gilbert. On April 27, 1860, Nalle was on his way to the bakery when he was arrested under the Fugitive Slave Act by U. S. Deputy Marshall John W. Holmes and Henry Wale, a slave catcher from Stevensberg, Virginia in the employ of Blucher Hansborough. Nalle had been taken before the U. S. Commissioner to get authorization to take him back south when the local vigilance committee learned what had taken place.
The news quickly spread and a crowd quickly gathered at the U. S. Commissioner's office. They were looking for an opportunity to free Nalle. As it happened, Harriet Tubman was in the area to visit relatives. She took aggressive steps to engage the situation.
When the police were taking Nalle out of the building, Harriet Tubman wrapped her hands around Nalle and told the people to drag her and
Nalle was eventually freed by the intervention of Tubman and the Vigilance Committee. He escaped to Niskayuna where he stayed in a secret location until it was regarded as safe for his return to Troy. Friends raised funds to buy his freedom for $650.00
Nalle later returned to Troy to live. He got married and raised a family as a free man. He died in 1875. In remembrance to this event, a plaque was remounted near the northeast corner of the former National City Bank Building.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. An Explosion in Troy: The Charles Nalle Rescue. (Submitted on April 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
2. The Freeing of Runaway Slave, Charles Nalle. (Submitted on April 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
1. Fugitive Slave Law of 1850
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was a controversial act which declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters. Any Federal Marshal or other official who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave was liable to a fine of $1,000. Any person aiding a runaway slave by providing food or shelter was subject to six months' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Officers who captured a fugitive slave were entitled to a bonus or promotion for their work. In fact, the Fugitive Slave Law brought the issue home to anti-slavery citizens in the North, since it made them and their institutions responsible for enforcing slavery. Even moderate abolitionists were now faced with the immediate choice of defying what they believed an unjust law or breaking with their own consciences and beliefs. This system was widely resisted in the north, but it did have its supporters. Anyone assisting fugitives from slavery was subject to fines and jail time under this law, but many resisted it regardless.
— Submitted April 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.
Additional keywords. Abolition & Underground Rail Road Seeker of Freedom
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 1,675 times since then and 44 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week February 7, 2016. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 27, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.