Painesville, Ohio is a municipality about 60miles from Oberlin past Cleveland[1]and was a crucial point on the underground railroad.[2]In the mid-nineteenth century, Painesville was known as a “red hot abolitionist” town, founded by General Edward Paine[3]. Frequently, comparisons are made between the citizens and feel of the city of Painesville and the city of Oberlin in that they were both abolitionist hotspots and had militant populations of activists.[4]Painesville was home to a large African American community and supported escaped slaves both on their journey to freedom and in finishing their journey in Painesville, Ohio. On multiple occasions, slave hunters crossing into Ohio and ending up in Painesville, claiming authority under the fugitive slave law, were completely disarmed and kicked out of Painesville without collecting the fugitive slave who they have come to catch.[5]Part of Painesville’s abolitionist ideas comes from the fact that Painesville had a large Mormon population. They used their numbers to their advantage to create newspapers with in the Painesville area, such as the Northern Times which established abolition as the new normal.[6]Painesville was also home to the famous abolitionist John Brown for a period of time. This resulted in a strong connection with Chatham, Ontario amongst other locations north of the border.[7]As these spots were the final stop for many on the underground railroad, which made Painesville even more appealing to fugitive slaves. On the national scale, Painesville was a well-known recruiting ground for abolitionists movements. Evidence of this is present in the story of Lysander Spooner from Boston. He is notable for having ideas remarkably similar to John Brown and being equally as radical. He created a manuscript which laid out the method that he proposed abolition should follow. He sent copies of these documents to abolitionists in Painesville knowing that he would get their help and the names of Painesville abolitionists appear in the form of signatories to his manuscript.[8]

[1]Lubet, Stephen. The ‘Colored Hero’ of Harper’s Ferry: John Anthony Copeland and the War Against Slavery

Cambridge University Press, 2015. 82

[2]Preston, E. Delorus. “The Underground Railroad in Northwest Ohio.” The Journal of Negro History 17, no. 4 (1932): 409-36. doi:10.2307/2714557. 412

[3]Rohrer, James R. “Sunday Mails and the Church-State Theme in Jacksonian America.” Journal of the Early Republic 7, no. 1 (1987): 53-74. doi:10.2307/3123428. Pg 73

[4]Lubet,The Coloured Hero,86.

[5]Ibid, 102.

[6]Parkin, Max H. “Mormon Political Involvement in Ohio.” Brigham Young University Studies 9, no. 4 (1969): 484-502. 488.

[7]Lubet, 107

[8]Aptheker, Herbert. “Militant Abolitionism.” The Journal of Negro History 26, no. 4 (1941):

doi:10.2307/2715007. 440.