The McClintock Riot

The McClintock Riot (HMKMH)

Location: Carlisle, PA 17013 Cumberland County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 12.057', W 77° 11.341'

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Walking Tour Stop 8

Although Pennsylvania was a free state, where no person could be born into slavery, ownership of slaves had not been illegal, and as recently as 1840, two-dozen slaves were held in bondage in Cumberland County. At that time, more than three hundred free African-Americans lived in Carlisle. Around June 1, 1847 more than a dozen slaves escaped from Maryland into the Cumberland Valley. Near Shippensburg, two owners, James Kennedy and Howard Hollingsworth, caught three of the fugitives: a man, Lloyd Brown; a girl, Ann; and a woman, Hester Norman, married to a free man, George Norman, of Carlisle.

Kennedy and Hollingsworth brought the three to Carlisle on June 2, seeking a certificate from a local justice to transport the captives south, and permission to keep them in the county jail while they did other business. The sheriff agreed, the justice issued a certificate, and word spread quickly. Lawyers sought a writ of habeas corpus. A crowd, including angry whites and many African-American citizens, gathered at the courthouse. Dickinson College Professor John McClintock interrupted the proceedings and informed the court of Pennsylvania's new law preventing state or county officials from aiding slave-catchers. The judge reluctantly decided the escapees could not be jailed, but he also ruled that the certificates of ownership were valid, and placed the three in the custody of Kennedy and Hollingsworth.

When the group reached a carriage waiting at the Courthouse steps, the African-American citizens charged, took hold of Hester Norman and the girl Ann, whisking them across the street to this alley. A riot ensued. Kennedy was trampled and his knee broken in the melee. Hester and Ann, successfully hidden in a nearby cellar, completed their escape the next day. Kennedy died of his injuries three weeks later. Thirty-four African-American people and Professor McClintock were charged with inciting a riot. Thirteen, including Hester Norman's husband, George, were convicted and imprisoned. The riot and trial became national news, and exaggerated accounts of the riot fanned the flames leading to the Civil War.
Placed ByHistoric Carlisle, Inc
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 8:22am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 313687 N 4452358
Decimal Degrees40.20095000, -77.18901667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 12.057', W 77° 11.341'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 12' 3.42" N, 77° 11' 20.46" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-25 Liberty Ave, Carlisle PA 17013, US
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