The Marion County Trial of Bill Anderson

The Marion County Trial of Bill Anderson (HM1QE2)

Location: Marion, OH 43302 Marion County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 31.705', W 83° 4.423'

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Runaways sheltered by friendly abolitionist communities often believed
that slave-catchers could not touch them in the heart of Ohio, but
they were wrong.
Such was the case in 1838 in Marion County. A black man by the
name of "Bill Anderson" or "Bill Mitchell" fled bondage in a Virginia
salt works and settled near Marion but he was soon recognized there.
A mail dispatch sent to Virginia caused the alleged slaveholder to
demand Bill's incarceration by local authorities.
Forty days after his capture, six strangers appeared in Marion
claiming ownership of Bill and brandishing bowie knives, pistols,
and clubs. During the trial, the men, one identified as "Smith"
produced notes of sale showing that three of them had purchased
"Bill" at different times with "John Smith" the most recent buyer.
After lengthy preamble, local UGRR stationmaster Judge Ozies
Bowen rocked the courtroom by announcing, "Mr. Smith and John
Smith might be two different persons, therefore I shall decide in
favor of the prisoner."
and the Virginians refused to accept the verdict. They drew weapoms;
Bill was jerked back and forth in a vicious tug-of-war, while
clubs and pistols pummeled bodies. Several Quakers gave as good
as they got. A local black man helped Bill escape, and Quakers
escorted them both to the Ruebem Benedict home near Marngo,
Morrow County. After a long and anxious night, Bill was on his
way north to Oberlin, a noted Lorain abolitionist stronghold, and
then to freedom in Canada.
co-sponsorship of ODOT and friends of Freedom Society
HM NumberHM1QE2
Placed ByOhio Department of Transportation, Friends of Freedom Society
Marker Condition
10 out of 10 (1 reports)
Date Added Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 9:02am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 324354 N 4488475
Decimal Degrees40.52841667, -83.07371667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 31.705', W 83° 4.423'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 31' 42.3" N, 83° 4' 25.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)614, 740, 419
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near US-23, Marion OH 43302, US
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I Saw The Marker

I was there at its dedication. Ironically, only THREE blacks were present and one of them was the featured speaker.

Jul 19, 2018 at 5:59pm PDT by jashar160

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