Adam Crosswhite, Slave Escape with Entire Family

 This article was published in the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, 2009, University Press of Kentucky.

 

Crosswhite, Adam (b. October 17, 1799, Bourbon Co., Ky.; d. January 23, 1878, Marshall, Mich.). Adam Crosswhite was a fair-skinned mulatto slave from Bourbon Co. His father was a white slave owner named Powers, who was a half-brother of Miss Ann Crosswhite. Ownership shifted to Miss Crosswhite prior to her marriage to Ned Stone. In turn, Stone sold Adam Crosswhite for $200, and in 1819 Adam was traded to Francis Giltner, a planter in Bourbon Co. There, Adam married Sarah in a slave ceremony and raised four children. Before 1830, Francis Giltner moved the entire family and his slaves to Hunters Bottom in Carroll Co., Ky. along the Ohio River.

In August 1843, Adam learned that Francis Giltner planned to sell part of his family. Crosswhite sought help from the Underground Railroad organization in Madison, Ind. As runaway slaves, and after having two narrow escapes using the newly organized safe routes through Ind., the Crosswhites—Adam, Sarah, Benjamin, Johnson, and two girls. Another child was born in Michigan. The Crosswhites managed to escape to Marshall, a city in south central Mich. There, Adam maintained a low profile. He worked, built a cabin, and became accepted in the village.

In response to the increased number of runaway slaves through the 1840s, slave owners in the north central river counties and the Bluegrass of Ky. sought to recover their financial investments. In 1846, a coalition of slave owners met in Covington, Ky., and hired a spy to ferret out runaway slaves in southern Mich. In late fall 1846, this spy, who called himself Carpenter, arrived in Marshall and in Cass Co. Masquerading as an abolitionist from Worcester, Mass., he visited the homes of free people of color. The information he gathered led to two major raids by Kentuckians, the earliest at Marshall in Calhoun Co., and the second in Cass Co.

In December 1846, acting on sources gathered by the spy, a young attorney in Lexington, Ky., Francis Troutman, grandson of a former owner and nephew of Francis Giltner, came to Calhoun Co., Mich., posing as a schoolteacher seeking a place to settle. He hired local Deputy Sheriff Harvey Dixon to pose as a census taker to scout the Crosswhite family. On January 20, 1847, Troutman reappeared at Marshall with three other Kentuckians—William Franklin Ford, David Giltner, and James S. Lee—- and, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Dixon, went to the Crosswhite cabin. There they attempted to capture Adam, but he and his son Johnson fled through a cornfield; Crosswhite accompanied Deputy Sheriff Dixon to secure counsel, and Troutman stayed in the Crosswhite cabin with drawn pistol as several neighbors attempted to enter the house, one of whom, a Mr. Hackett, was assaulted by Troutman.

When Dixon returned, he charged Troutman with assault and battery on Hackett and with trespassing and housebreaking. Troutman paid $100 in fines the next day in the local court before Judge Randall Hobart. Meanwhile, the townspeople hid the Crosswhite family in the attic of George Ingersoll’s mill. Isaac Jacobs, the hostler at the Marshall House, hired a team and covered wagon and,on the night of January 27, Ingersoll and Asa B. Cook drove the Crosswhite family to Jackson where they boarded a train to Detroit. George De Baptiste, the former Underground Railroad leader at Madison, Ind., met the Crosswhites in Detroit and took them into Canada.

The Kentuckians were furious, and several slave owner meetings were held. Citizens of Trimble and Carroll counties, led by Moses Hoagland of Hunters Bottom, met at Kings Tavern on February 10 and drew up three resolutions demanding that the Ky. legislature call upon its U.S. senators and congressmen to pass federal legislation giving slave owners redress and imprisoning and fining those who enticed, harbored, or aided runaway slaves.

By June 1847, Mich. newspapers along the southern tier were equally outraged that Ky. posses were seizing fugitives in a free state whose citizens detested slavery. In August 1847, a large Ky. raid led by Boone Co. (Ky.) slave owners George W. Brazier and Benjamin Stevens was repulsed from Cass Co. after attempting to recapture several former slaves.

The legislative wheels were set in motion. Joseph Underwood’s report and resolutions from the Ky. legislature were sent to the U.S. Senate on December 20, 1847 and, in May 1848, Senator Andrew P. Butler of S.C. printed his report favoring strong federal sanctions against those aiding runaway slaves; 10,000 copies were distributed. Momentum built for passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act that made it mandatory for U.S.  marshals to seize runaway slaves, for representatives of the slave owner to identify the runaways, and for severe fines to be levied on all those aiding and harboring fugitive slaves. Henry Clay, a personal friend of Francis Giltner, proposed a clause mandating restitution of property to southerners reclaiming runaway slaves.

Attorney Francis Troutman returned to Mich. in May 1848 to gather evidence and press charges against those who aided the Crosswhite family. On June 1, 1848, in Detroit, Justice McLane of the federal bench heard Giltner vs. Gorham et al. McLane charged the jury with ignoring their attitude toward slavery and deciding the case based only on the plaintiffs right to the services of the fugitives, and therefore, the right to obtain financial redress. The first trial jury hung and was discharged on June 12. A second trial was held and the jury awarded Giltner $1,926 in damages and heavy court costs, for a total of about $4,500. Zachariah Chandler, a leading antislavery Whig in Detroit, paid the greater part of the fine. Juryman Philo Dibble, a resident of Marshall, was publicly chastised from the pulpit by his Presbyterian minister for his participation in the verdict.

Northern reaction to passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was swift. By 1854, Ind. Mich., and Ohio had formed significant Republican parties that were obtaining antislavery majorities in their state legislative bodies, sending anti-slave congressmen and senators to Washington, and, by 1860, giving Abraham Lincoln the presidential candidacy.

The Crosswhite family returned to Marshall, Mich., after the Civil War; in 1878, Adam Crosswhite died and was buried in the Oakridge Cemetery in that city. In 1923, Michigan erected a bronze marker set in a stone boulder near the old Crosswhite cabin. The marker commemorates the runaway slave from Carroll Co., Ky., and the role of the people of Marshall in repulsing the Ky. posse.

Battle Creek Enquirer, July 14, 1907, January 28, 1929, July 3, 1930, April 1960.

Battle Creek, Michigan, Journal, 1927.

Battle Creek, Michigan, Tribune, January 20, 1847.

Crosswhite File, Calhoun Co., Mich., Public Library.

The Enquirer and Evening News of Battle Creek, Michigan, February 18, 1923, February 11, 1945, February 17, 1974.

Giltner vs. Gorham et al; Case No. 5,453, Circuit Court D, Michigan [114 McLean 402: 6 West Law J, 491].

Fuller, George N. ed. Michigan: A Centennial History of the State and Its People. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co, 1939.

Gara, Larry. The Liberty Line, University of Kentucky Press. 1961.

Gardner, History of Calhoun County, Michigan, 1913.

History of Calhoun County, Michigan, L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, 1877.

Journal of the (Ky.) House of Representatives, (February 13, 1847): 338–41.

Michigan History, 53, no. 2 (1969): 131–43.

20th Congress, First Session [Senate] Ref. Com. No. 143.

The Weekly Commonwealth, Frankfort, Ky., February 23, 1847.

Diane Perrine Coon

 

 

Freewill Baptist Association Minutes

The Freewill Baptist churches in Southeastern Indiana were significant in that both ministers and lay people were involved directly in the active Underground Railroad. Excerpts from the minutes of the local quarterly association meeting were published in the Morning Star, the national news journal of the northern Freewill Baptists out of Bates, Maine. These minutes include the names of several known UGRR activists. It is believed that association meetings were a natural way of communicating signals and information needed for a secure UGRR network.
Franklin FW Baptist Church, Pilgrim B&W
Franklin FW Baptist, Pilgrim Baptist

Information from Freewill Baptist Quarterly Meetings

22Feb1843 Morning Star

Ripley Quarterly Meeting, Sparta Jan 27-29 1843

Moderator: P. Anthony

Corresponding Messengers to Switzerland QM: Elds R. Kelly, E.F. Stites, Brothers C. Larabee, A. Persinger, N. Hartly, I. Oathoudt, D. Hall, T.S. Grimes

Committee to meet with Switzerland QM to adopt constitution: Eld R. Kelly, P. Anthony, I Oathoudt, T. S. Grimes, D. Hall, E. Fuller, and J. Stevens

Voted to hold next QM with the church at Delaware. Clerk: Jefferson Stevens.

22Feb1843 Morning Star

Indiana Yearly Meeting F.W.B. – Constitution adopted January 1843

Signed by Ripley QM – Richard Kelly, Philip Anthony, Isaac Oathoudt, Thomas S. Grimes, Daniel Hall, Elijah Fuller, Jefferson Stevens

Signed by Switzerland QM – Abram Adkinson, Robert Rickets, Daniel Rickets

28Jun1843 Morning Star

Ripley Quarterly Meeting at Delaware, May 26-28, 1843. Brother Isaac Oathoudt presided, Elders Gould and Adkinson from Switzerland QM met with us;

Preachers: Gould, Adkinson of Switzerland, Kelly and Stites of Ripley

Appointed Corresponding Messengers to next session of Switzerland QM: Elder E.F. Stites, E. Fuller, A. Fuller, T. Gloyd, E. Watson, T.S. Grimes

Appointed Book Agent: Edler E.F. Stites

Next session to be held with the church at Sparta, Jefferson Stevens, Clerk

05Jul1843 Morning Star

Switzerland Quarterly Meeting with the Harmony Church, Switzerland Co, 2-4 June 1843, preachers Elders L. Gould and E.F. Stites, Cheney Munger, Clerk, Posey Township, Switzerland Co, Indiana.

02Aug1843 Morning Star

Dearborn Quarterly Meeting with the Liberty Church, Ripley Co., June 1843. Preaching by Elders N. Meader, Rogers Ide, and Brother Mitchel, a licentiate from Miami QM. Committee to designate next meeting place: C. R. Faulkner, T.N. Burroughs, and Ichabod Sheldon. Have employed Elder I. Sheldon to travel for one quarter. G.S. Walker, Clerk.

27Sept1843 Morning Star

Ripley Quarterly Meeting with church at Sparta on 25-27 August. Brother Samuel Gookins, Moderator. Elders L. Gould and A. Adkinson from Switzerland QM preached with Elders R. Kelly and E.F. Stites. Next session with Mainville church, Warren OH in October. Brother T.S. Grimes publicly set apart to the ministry; ordination sermon and hand of fellowship by Elder R. Kelly, prayer by Eld E.F. Stites and charge by Elder L. Gould. Jefferson Stevens, Clerk at Delaware, Ripley County.

27Sept1843 – Morning Star

Switzerland Quarterly Meeting with York church 1-3 September 1843, protracted 2-3 days by Elder E.F. Stites and others. Next session with church at Mt. Sterling. Cheney Munger, Clerk.

01Nov1843 – Morning Star

Dearborn Quarterly Meeting with Sherburne Church, Ripley Co, 22-24 September. Visiting brethren from Miami QM and Elder S. Hathorn from Maine. Received the Union and Freedom churches which “have been raised since our last QM through instrumentality of Eld. I. Sheldon. G.S. Walker appointed corresponding secretary to Switzerland QM, Elder I. Sheldon to travel until next QM. Preaching by Elders Hathorn, Mitchell and Rogers Ide. Next session to be with Freedom Church, Otter Creek in December. G. W. Walker, Clerk.

31Jan1844 – Morning Star

Dearborn Quarterly Meeting at Freedom Church, Otter Creek Township, Ripley Co 22-24 December. Heavy rains and bad traveling, few delegates present. Received Elder s. Hathorn corresponding messenger from Miami QM. Preaching by Elder S. Hathorn, I. Sheldon and R. Ide. Elders R. Ide and I. Sheldon corresponding messengers to Miami QM. Next session with the Colby Church, Sparta Twp, Dearborn Co in March. G. S. Walker, Clerk at Sparta, Indiana.

 

 

Freewill Baptist Churches of Southeastern Indiana

Union FWB church, Flat Rock horiz adj
Union FWB church, Flat Rock Ripley County Indiana

Freewill Baptist Churches – Southeastern Indiana

Pierceville Lot 11, ME old FWB church
Pierceville Indiana Freewill Baptist Church now Methodist

 

Appendix A

Freewill Baptist Churches in Southeastern Indiana

Revised with G. K. McCarty July 2007
Year Church Location Township County Founder Preachers/Elders Assigned
1820 Bryants Creek (Randall) Nr. Rising Sun York Switzerland Marcus Kilburn Alexander Sebastian
1823 Jefferson Shelby Jefferson Benjamin Leavitt Lewis Gould
1834 Union (Old Liberty) Cotton Switzerland Abraham Adkinson, Sedam, McHenry
1834 Franklin (split from Reg. Baptist) Old Milan Franklin Ripley Ezekial Stites Richard Kelley, Daniel Palmer, D. Moss
1834 York York Switzerland Cheney Munger
1834 Sparta nr Moore’s Hill Sparta Dearborn N. Richmond
1836 Delaware Old Delaware (Lookout) Delaware Ripley Samuel Gookins, Phillip Anthony, Jefferson Stevens
1836 1st Manchester Manchester Manchester Dearborn Ichabod Sheldon Z.M. Palmer, J. Carlton
1836 Clinton Rt 48 & Spades Rd Franklin Ripley Elisha Ransom
1837 Washington Elrod Washington Ripley Roger Ide, Eber Watson, William Watson, John Peterman, Charles Larabee, Thomas S. Grimes, Thomas N. Burroughs, Abraham Persinger, James Henderson, John Peters, T. Gloyd
1838 Providence Wrights Corner Manchester Dearborn Cyrus Dudley
1839 Pleasant Pleasant Switzerland
1841 Mainville Warren Co OH Marcus Kilburn, Moses Dudley, Benjamin Tufts
1842 Harmony (Ohio Co?) Posey Switzerland Cheney Munger, Robert Ricketts
1842 Mt. Sterling nr Vevay Johnson Switzerland
1842 Cesar’s Creek nr Friendship Brown Switzerland Roger Ide Roger Ide
1843 Union (Flat Rock) Flat Rock Jackson Ripley Ichabod Sheldon
1843 Freedom Otter Creek Ripley Ichabod Sheldon
1843 Sherburne Panther Creek Sand Creek Decatur Ichabod Sheldon
1844 Colby Sparta Dearborn Roger Ide, Isaac Outhoudt Roger Ide
1846 Milan Old Milan (Lot 28 Keene’s Add) Franklin Ripley Ebenezer Redlon,Henry Meader, James Parker, Ezekial F. Stites, Elisha Ransom, Stillman Ransom, Abigail and Lucy Brown
1849 Centre Square Centre Square Cotton Switzerland George S. Walker
1853 Franklin (Anderson Schoolhouse) (Old Pilgrim Site) Franklin Ripley John Dorson, Thomas Cone, William Resinger, Ezekial Stites, Albert Fuller, Elijah Fuller, Socrates Swift
1853 Mt. Pleasant Newpoint Marion Decatur George S. Walker
1854 Turner nr Moorefield Pleasant Switzerland
1855 Prattsburgh Prattsburgh Delaware Ripley Richard Kelley, Ezekial Stites, Ebenezer Redlon, Aaron Richardson
1860 Pierceville Pierceville Delaware Ripley Richard Kelley, Ezekial Stites, Ebenezer Redlon
1871 Pleasant Grove
1872 Zion 6 miles NW of Flat Rock Sand Creek Decatur John Tucker, Matthew Oldham, Rev. D. A. Tucker, Rev. William Tucker, Rev. E.J. Tucker
          ? Negangard’s Corner Rt 48 & Spades Rd Franklin Ripley R. Kelley/E. Stites

 

Franklin FW Baptist Church, Pilgrim B&W
Franklin FW Baptist Church, Pilgrim B&W

Freewill Baptist Churches Cited in Morning Star, the national publication

 

Church Name
Location Date Founders Citation
Washington Washington Twp Ripley County Sept 1841 Elder R. Ide and Rev. Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 22Feb1843
Colby Sparta, Dearborn County 2nd Sat Nov 1842 Elder R. Ide and Rev. Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 22Feb1843
Dearborn Q.M. Ripley & Dearborn Cos 1842 Elder R. Ide and Rev. Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 22Feb1843
Harmony Posey Twp, Switzerland Co   Elder R. Gould, Adkinson Morning Star 28Jun1843
Liberty Ripley Co 1843 Elder R. Ide, N. Mender Morning Star 02Aug1843
York Switzerland Co 1843 Elder E.F. Stites, Cheney Munger Morning Star 17Sep1843
Mt. Sterling Switzerland Co 1843 Elder E.F. Stites, Cheney Munger Morning Star 17Sep1843
Sherburne Ripley Co 1843 Eld I Sheldon, R. Ide, Hathorn from Maine, and Mitchell from Miami QM Morning Star 01Nov1843
Union Flat Rock,  Dearborn QM 1843 Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 01Nov1843
Freedom Otter Creek Twp, Dearborn QM 1843 Ichabod Sheldon Morning Star 01Nov1843