The Cleveland Daily Herald

Cleveland, May 6, 1859

The Rescue Case – Trial of Langston.


      On the opening of Court this morning, District Attorney Belden, called the attention of the Court to the following cases:

      United States vs. John Mandeville.

      Same vs. Henry D. Niles.

      Same vs. Daniel Williams.

      Same vs. Robert L. Cumming.

      The District Attorney stated to the Court that the defendants in the above cases wish to withdraw their plea of “Not Guilty,” and enter that of nolo contendere. The District Attorney said that he had carefully examined into the facts bearing upon the cases of these men, and that, although a breach of the law had probably been committed, he was satisfied the defendants acted from impulse. The District Attorney viewed the cases of these men in a different light from those who came ten miles for the purpose of rescuing John. The defendants were poor men, had voluntarily come forward to answer to the indictment, had borrowed money to get here with, and wished to save expense of Counsel, and would, therefore, throw themselves on the Court, and the District Attorney asked the Court to make their punishment as light as possible.

      The Court thereupon called up Mandeville, Niles, Williams and Cummings, and receiving confirmation from them of the statement made by the District Attorney, sentenced them to pay a fine of $20 each, to pay the costs of the prosecution, and to be continued in the County Jail twenty-four hours. The Marshal was ordered to carry this sentence into execution, and left in charge of the prisoners for the Jail.

      The trial of Langston then proceeded.

      Nelson Saxton, of Lagrange, sworn. – Was at Oberlin on that day; about two o’clock saw a boy coming from the south on horseback, riding very fast; he said the Southerners, supposed to be kidnappers, had got a boy at Wellington tavern, and that he had come for aid to Oberlin.

      Cross examined. – The impression generally at Oberlin was that these men were kidnappers; the boy’s name is Gillett, and he lives at Wellington; the messenger was sent from Wellington, as witness understood, before any people from Oberlin had gathered there; witness went to Wellington for the same purpose others did, to wit, to assist in the good cause.

      Examination in chief. – The idea of kidnapping at Oberlin is that of taking a man without authority.

      C.D. Elliott. – Was at Oberlin, in the crowd, on day spoken of; a person came along and said a man had been stolen and kidnapped; the crowd continued to gather, and the expressions in the crowd were that the man, John Prince – witness did not then know whether he was white or black – had been decoyed away and kidnapped; there was no other idea at Oberlin prevalent that day until the crowd came back from Wellington.

      Cross-Examined – Can’t tell upon what the crowd predicated the opinion that John had been kidnapped; heard John had been spirited away.

      J.M. Johnson, sworn – Live at Oberlin; was there on the day spoken of; heard a man had been kidnapped and the crowd were going after him; this was in the afternoon; heard at various times, during the afternoon, that John had been kidnapped.

      Cross-Examined – The general impression was that John had been kidnapped. Dayton the United States Marshal for that town, was known to be away attending a Democratic convention and hence it was inferred that the Southerners had taken John without any legal authority.

      Henry Evans sworn – (this witness is one of the indicted) – Witness was in the thired story at the right hand side of the door which led into the room in which John was, the door swinging towards witness, stood at the side to which it opened; there was no handle on the outside of the door with which to open it; just as soon as the door opened, John came right out with but one man with him; Langston was not in the room at any time witness was; Lowe went in with Patton to the room John was in about ten minutes before John came out; there was no crowd when John came out; while in this anteroom, Mr. Patton kept saying from the inside “just hold on a little while and every thing will be right.”

      Cross examined – Witness is one the indicted; none of the crowd came up stairs and passed in to the room where John was except Lowe and Patton, while witness was in the anteroom; witness was there about twenty minutes. Lincoln, Copeland, Scott, Evans, Rutler and Fox were in the ante room with witness; there was another fellow there, also a man named Rutledge; some of those persons were armed; Mr. Wisner carried John out of the room with him, to the platform of the stairs.

      Direct as resumed – What witness means by carried out is that John walked out with Wisner’s arm around him.

      J.L. Wadsworth, sworn – Was at Wellington on the day of excitement; saw the negro come down the stairs; witness was at the head of the first flight of stairs; had been there a short time; went into the house at the rear; when the Marshal went out to read the papers, witness had a conversation with Langston – he thinks it was at that time – at the front door right against the door post; this conversation was either when the Marshal came out to read the papers or it was after the boy escaped. Was present only about half an hour.

      Wm. Bryce, sworn. – Lives in Cleveland; is a lawyer; was in during trial of Bushnell, and heard R.A. Cochran give his testimony in that; heard him also in this. In the Bushnell case Cochran testified that he was not present at the time the acknowledgment was made; think he said the first time he saw that acknowledgment was after he came here.

      Cross Examination: - Witness has no doubt that Cochran, in the Bushnell case, swore he was not present when the acknowledgment was taken; and in this case he testified that before the parties left his office he came in and suggested some alterations, which were made; this difference in his testimony surprised the witness when he heard it.

      Direct resumed: - Mr. Cochran, in the first case, said he had no personal knowledge of the acknowledgment.

      Mr. Patton and Mr. Cowles were recalled and corroborated this testimony of Mr. Bryce.