The Cleveland Daily Herald

Cleveland, May 3, 1859

The Trial of Langston.


      Mr. RunnellÕs examination continued – Defendant said they wanted the man and would have the man, law or no law.

      Jacob K. Lowe, sworn – Resides I Columbus; was at Wellington when John was rescued; had been at Oberlin a short time previous; went there at request of Jennings; made no particular arrangement for pay; charged $2 a day.

      Witness related about his and JenningsÕ visit to Boynton, and the hiring of Shakespeare, the ride to Wellington and arrival of Jennings at the tavern, &c., &c.

      As soon as Jennings came to Wellington witness wanted Jennings to take charge of John; witness supposed he had arrested him on the warrant; feared there would be a rescue, and supposed he, witness, would be liable, whether he was rescued with or without force, and so he wanted Jennings to take charge of John; Jennings took charge of John, and said he supposed he had had charge of him all along; Jennings kept charge of him until the rescue; crowd and noise outside, but did not see what took place; people came in and were shown the warrant and power of Attorney; Patton, Langston, Bennett, Meachan, came inÕ had known Langston 2 or 3 years at Columbus, witness sent for Langston, told him the negro was a fugitive, and witness had a warrant and assisted in arresting him; think witness explained the whole matter, and Langston expressed himself satisfied; Langston said he would go down and tell the crowd what witness had told him. Langston was up in the room twice, at least; he came and called me out of the room into a side room and said that he had been down below and that he could do nothing with them; that they were determined on having the boy. He asked me if witness could not get Jennings to give him up without any trouble; witness thinks he replied that there was no use to talk about it as they were determined to keep him as long as they could; there were negotiations about a committee going to Columbus, &c., but everything failed.

      J.K. Lowe was on the stand. – Witness went down to the crowd when Patton read the paper to the crowd from the steps; witness took that paper out of PattonÕs hand and went back to the room where John was; this was perhaps ten minutes before the rescue; Langston said they would have John anyhow; he spoke as if he meant it; witness was disappointed at this as he had placed confidence in Langston.

      Cross-examination. – DonÕt know where that warrant is; witness sent it up to Cleveland by Mr. Chittenden at the time of the Grand Jury was in session; witness got the warrant first in the CommissionerÕs Office; witness carried the warrant on going to Oberlin, arriving there on Friday about dusk. Davis came to Oberlin also; Davis is Jailor of Franklin County and Deputy Sheriff; witness was also Deputy Sheriff of Franklin County. Jennings offered witness a hundred dollars if they caught John, but it was declined; intended to charge $2 per day, and expenses paid; had been in Oberlin twice before this; went to BoyntonÕs on Saturday, three or four oÕclock in the afternoon; Mr. Warner suggested the going to BoyntonÕs; Boynton was not at home, told Mrs. B. we wanted to see Mr. B. At supper Jennings said something about buying cows; staid there all night and next day; made arrangements with Shakespeare on Sunday afternoon; approached Boynton in the morning relative to the business we were on; witness mentioned to Jennings that from the appearance of the boy Shakespeare he would answer for their purposes; returned to hotel about sundown Sunday. When we took John in the road Mitchell told John we were going to take him to Elyria, John said that was all right, but when we got down to a road that turned off, John said that was the way to Elyria; then witness told John he had a warrant for him and was going to take him back to his master in Kentucky; drove most of the way to Wellington, on a walk; from the crowd at Wellington did not hear any one say that a man was being kidnapped; witness supposed that in executing this law he, as an officer, had a right as well to deliver the fugitive over to his master or agent as to take him before the commissioner who had issued the warrant. Stanley Matthews has given witness advice to that effect. – (Mr. Backus remarked that Stanley Matthews never gave such advice as that); after witness delivered the fugitive to Jennings; he then assisted Jennings; witness canÕt say whether he told Mr. Bennett that he had arrested John but had before that delivered him over to Mr. Jennings; witness thinks he told lawyer Dickson that he had arrested John on the warrant and had delivered John over to his owner who then held under Power of Attorney, thatÕs witnessÕ impression; up in the room witness called upon Sciples, Manderville and others, to assist, but did not say to them that witness held John by a warrant, but he called upon them as Deputy Marshal to assist, witness supposed he could be Deputy Marshal in assisting Jennings and yet not be acting by virtue of any process; witness does not know that Stanley Matthews ever gave him such advise; donÕt recollect that witness ever referred to the Clark County case, and told them they must beware of resisting a Marshal; donÕt recollect saying to Mr. Patton that they must beware of resisting a Deputy marshal, referring to the Clark County case; a portion of that conversation witness does not remember; donÕtÕ recollect seeing Mr. Houck in that room; donÕt recollect of having conversation with only one magistrate; donÕt remember telling Meacham that witness was a United States officer and could not be arrested; advised Jennings to go down among the crowd and read the papers; meant the power of Attorney and the warrant; donÕt remember whether witness commenced to read the warrant or not; there was no explanation made to the crowd; the warrant was read as still being in force; there was no explanation about the man having been delivered up by witness to Jennings. – DonÕt know whether Patton read the warrant or the power of attorney; he had read one paper and had commenced reading another, when witness hearing a noise back of the house, took it out of his hand and went into the house; donÕt recollect that lawyer Dickson called attention to the want of seal on the warrant, and witness saying that a seal was not necessary; donÕt think there was anything said about a seal. Knew Langston in Columbus, where he was teaching school; had confidence in him and had good opinion of him. Witness was not excited any more that day than now; was in no way excited when witness told Jennings to take John; did not think there was much chance of getting John away, but was as cool then as now.

      Examination in chief resumed: The District Attorney exhibited the warrant as to which Lowe had testified, and witness said that was the warrant he had at the time. The warrant was issued at Columbus, in the Southern district of Ohio, by Sterne Chittenden, a Commissioner in said District, commanding the arrest of John, and that he be brought before him. There is a discrepancy between the warrant and the witnesses as to the time John escaped; the warrant stating that John escaped in 1857, but the witnesses had sworn that he escaped in 1856; but the Commissioner said that would make no difference, as that was of no importance.

      Cross-Ex. – Witness donÕt know whether he read the warrant very carefully or not; donÕt was made into an L.S. Did not hear the warrant objected to because it had no seal.

      [Here there was a very careful examination of the warrant, and quite a fluttering as to how, and when and where the seal got on to that warrant.]

      Sterne Chittenden sworn. – Was a U.S. Commissioner at time the warrant was issued: appointed by Circuit Court of U.S. sitting at Cincinnati; had never issued a warrant before; supposed he had power to issue the warrant. – Recognize the warrant. The scroll was put there by witness, and intended as a seal. DonÕt remember saying that the time mentioned in the warrant as to JohnÕs escape was immaterial, may have said so.

      Anderson Jennings recalled – He examined the affidavit and the warrant; the name attached to the affidavit is that of witness; the mistake as to time of JohnÕs escape was pointed out by Lowe, but Mr. Chittenden said it was of no consequence.

      Samuel Davis, sworn – Lives at Columbus, was with Lowe and others when John was arrested; and went to Wellington and was there until John was rescued. Langston came into the room at Wellington two or three times; Langston asked us to let John go; we said we were going to hold him; Langston said then we will have him, anyhow.

      Cross-examination, Jennings got witness to go with him from Columbus; witness was jailor and Deputy Sheriff of Franklin County at that time; went to get John and Frank; was to get two dollars a day and expenses; went along to help both Jennings and Lowe; did not read the papers; did not know what Lowe was coming for; acted once for Lowe to go and get Lincoln; witness got a pair of irons on that occasion.

      [Here the prosecution objected to this testimony.]

      When witness came up from Columbus he was armed; thought might have occasion to use them; generally go armed when about the jail; donÕt generally go armed about the streets; when we went to Oberlin donÕt know much about the managements to get John.