The Rescuers

This photograph, taken in April 1859, shows slave rescuers from Oberlin and nearby Wellington. In a mission that became known as the incident that set the Civil War in motion, townspeople helped free runaway slave John Price, who was captured by Kentucky slave catchers. Without bloodshed, they recovered Price from U.S. Marshals and escorted him back to Oberlin before transporting him to Canada. Officials charged the liberators with violating the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act for their part in the rescue, but later released them from a Cleveland jail.

In 1980, community members and Oberlin College students re-enacted the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue. The play was produced with the help of class president Dwan Vanderpool ‘83, former president of the Oberlin Alumni Association.

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Photograph Courtesy of Oberlin College Archives