Addison White: He Caught On the Underground Railroad But a Mob of Townspeople Fought for His Freedom


Addison White was a slave in Kentucky who escaped traveling by the Underground Railroad. White was eventually caught hiding out but a mob of townspeople helped fight for his freedom.


White was born in 1821 in Flemington County, Kentucky. After running away he sought refuge in the home of Udney Hyde where he remained for eight months recovering from breaking his ankle. During this time, White’s owner and federal marshals located White at Hyde’s home. They attempted to capture White, who had barricaded himself in the loft of the cabin with a gun. The marshals left only to return and so had the townspeople.



Armed with pitchforks and other weapons the townspeople refused to allow the federal marshals to take White into custody. The mob told the marshals, White was already on his way to Canada. The marshals arrested several townspeople, however, the sheriff of Clark County attempted to arrest the federal marshals or illegally detain the men. During this time, the federal marshals began beating the sheriff and his men severely.

Eventually, a mob of Ohioans detained the marshals and jailed them in Springfield, Ohio on the charge of assault with intent to kill, due to the altercation with the Clark County sheriff. Eventually, Ohio Governor Salmon P. Chase negotiated the release of the federal prisoners as well as of the marshals, with all charges being dropped against both groups.


Daniel White reclaimed his property and filed a lawsuit demanding the return of the fugitive slave. Fearful that the court might return Addison White to his owner, Mechanicsburg residents raised 950 dollars to purchase the slave’s freedom from his owner. Daniel White agreed to the sale.


Addison White spent the remainder of his life as a free man in Mechanicsburg. He served two years in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


Written by PH

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