The Cleveland Daily Herald

Cleveland, April 20, 1859



The Rescue Cases – Trial of Langston.



      Mitchell was on the stand on cross-examination. In his testimony it appeared he had dispensed with his Arkansas tooth pick since the Bushnell case and did not have it o his person n Court. Mitchell in speaking of the defendant Langston – who is a light mulatto and a man infinitely superior in intelligence and in personal appearance to the witness Mitchell – called him a nigger, remarking that he called them all niggers who had any black blood.

      After the examination of Mitchell was finished Deputy Sheriff Whitney, of Lorain County stepped forward and arrested Jennings and Mitchell on a warrant issued from Lorain Common Pleas against them, upon an indictment found in that County for kidnapping. The United States Deputy Marshal then stepped forward and exhibited a Bench Warrant by virtue of which the two were held in custody of the Marshal for the purpose of having them as witnesses on these trials.

      Mr. Thayer as counsel for the Lorain County officers stated to the Court that the arrest was made subject to the claim of the Court, and he asked this court to order, when the witnesses should be discharged, that they be delivered into the custody of the Lorain Sheriff. The Court said it would take the matter under advisement. The Lorain Deputy Sheriff made the arrest and with his assistants took seat beside Jennings and Mitchell within the bar circle. – There the matter rested, and the trial proceeded.

      Mr. Wack, the tavern keeper at Oberlin was then called. Saw defendant about 4 o’clock at Wellington moving about in the crowd; saw Langston on the balcony sometime during the afternoon; did not see Langston when the rush was made to rescue John.

      During the examination of Wack, Marshal Johnson very suddenly appeared and removed Jennings and Mitchell from the vicinity of the Deputy Sheriff of Lorain County and placed them apart from said officer and outside the bar circle, and at the left of the Judge’s seat. The Marshal then removed the Deputy Sheriff of Lorain County, and the officers who were with him, from the bar circle, to the right of the Judge’s seat.

      Mr. Riddle then asked if Mr. Lowe (who was within the circle) was a member of bar. Marshal Johnson replied that Mr. Lowe was his Deputy, appointed that afternoon, and had a right to remain within the bar circle.

      The trial again proceeded.

      Mr. Ells, sworn – Was at Oberlin on the night of the day of the rescue; was at the meeting held there that evening; think very likely he saw Charles Langston at that meeting; heard his voice; heard him say the slave was brought back; witness does not know that he could distinguish Charles Langston’s voice from that of his brother.

      Mr. Bartholomew was sworn, but not knowing about Langston’s connection with the matter he was dismissed.

      Mr. Wood sworn – Saw defendant Langston at Wellington in the crowd; saw defendant on the platform at the rear-door, but is not positive that he went into the house with the crowd.

      Just before the hour of adjournment the Court said the Marshal had returned the writ by which he held Jennings and Mitchell in custody; that unless the witnesses could give bail for their appearance as such witnesses the Court would be obliged to commit them. The witnesses, Jennings and Mitchell said they could not give bail, and thereupon the Court ordered them into the custody of the Marshal.

      Mr. Thayer then renewed his request that the Court order those men to be held subject to the arrest as made by the Lorain Co. Sheriff, so that when these trials are over they might not be spirited away and thus escape the officers of Lorain County.

      The Court remarked that the arrest thus made was an unheard of proceeding, and a contempt, for which the party making it was liable to arrest.

      Mr. Thayer replied that there was no intention of disturbing the Court, but that it was well know Jennings and Mitchell had not been out of the building for two weeks and no other opportunity was offered for their arrest on the indictment found against them in Lorain, and the intention was to make the arrest subject to the prior claim of this Court.

      The Court remarked that when it had got through with the witnesses it would be time to argue that matter.

      The Marshal removed the two men into the Judge’s room and Court adjourned.