Tag Archives: African American Newspapers

Where Tornadoes Begin

The most remarkable and interesting features of the development of tornadoes is the fact that they nearly always from southeast of a moving center of low pressure, and their tracks, scattered here and there, conform closely to the progressive direction of the main storm.

For example, on Feb. 19, 1884, forty-four tornadoes occurred in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, but principally in Georgia and Alabama. They developed at a distance of 500 to 2,000 miles from a storm-center that moved across the northern part of the United States, beginning at the northern extremity of the Rocky Mountains in Montana, thence south-easterly through Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to northern Illinois and Indiana, northward through Michigan, across Lake Huron, disappearing north of Quebec.

This sudden sharp turn of the storm center southward into Illinois and Indiana. Seems to have relation to the unprecedentedly large number of tornadoes that developed not far from the south Atlantic coats, extending inland as far as southern Illinois and Indian. This southward lunge of a mass of cold, moist air seems to have caused the abnormal conditions of temperate and due point, and the high winds necessary to case the most tremendous exhibition of destructive, terrible tornado power ever recorded by the signal service.

This invariable location southeast of the storm center is one of the main peculiarities of tornado development upon which the predictions depend.

Popular Science Monthly

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The Christian Recorder, February 4, 1884
Top Image: Damage from a tornado which struck Fort Smith, Arkansas on the night of January 11, 1898. From NOAA Public Domain Photo Archive

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James Wagoner Sold Into Slavery

This 1838  map by Joseph Gest is included to illustrate the proximity of where James Wagoner was kidnapped in Cincinnati, Ohio and sold in Newport, Kentucky   —  right across the river.

From the July 1860 issue of Douglass’ Monthly

Readers will recollect the case of Wagoner, a free colored man kidnapped from Cincinnati, taken over into Kentucky, where he and his two kidnappers were arrested and put in jail. The kidnappers were set at liberty and the free citizen of Ohio held as a slave. The particulars were copied from the Cincinnati Gazette.

DM-July-1860On Monday Wagoner was brought before the Mayor of Newport on a writ of habeas corpus, and it was proved that he was born in Ohio, of free parents, and that he had never been in Virginia. The statement of two persons from Virginia was taken that Wagoner was a fugitive slave, the Mayor so decided, and Wagoner was hurried by the Sheriff to the auction block, and sold to Dr. Foster of Newport for $100, and afterward the enslaved negro could be neither seen nor heard of.

The Cincinnati Gazette is quite aroused by so diabolical an outrage, which is but one of a series the people of that city are in a good part responsible for by their, frequent and meek submission to them. Official and unofficial kidnappers prey upon colored people there with about as much impunity as in Dahomy. Says the Gazette:

Here is a free man, a man born of parents legally freed and residing free in Ohio, kidnapped, kept in jail six months, and finally sold for jail fees while his kidnappers were allowed to escape. Of the disgraceful alacrity which certain individuals in Newport have manifested, we cannot trust out selves to speak. Not only has a grievous and irreparable wrong been done to Wagoner, but the honor of the great State of Kentucky, in whose name the wrong has been committed, has been sullied, and the dignity of the State of Ohio insulted. For an Ohioan has been made a slave by tricks which would disgrace a ‘shyster’ before that lowest of human tribunals, the Tombs Police Court in New York.

We trust our readers whose blood will be stirred by the recital of this wrong, will not forget that the Democratic party is the champion and defender of that system which this whole business is but the legitimate outgrowth. Their indignation should not vent itself in frothy declamation and violent invective, but should crystallize into efficient action.


Wagoner To Be Returned To Ohio

The Cincinnati Commercial of the 8th has the following in regard to the kidnapped and sold James Wagoner:

His purchaser, Dr. J. Q A. Foster, has given Geo. P. Webster, Esq. , Attorney in the case, an order upon the jailor of Lexington, to surrender Wagoner upon the payment of certain fees and costs. Mr. Webster leaves this morning for that place, and will probably return this evening with Wagoner, who will be placed in jail to await the next sitting of the Circuit Court in this city.

Source:  Douglass’ Monthly – July, 1860

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
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Plan of the city of Washington.

Happy Birthday to the District of Columbia!

The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.

The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the preexisting settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital.

From its founding via the Residence Act in 1790 until the Civil War, the question of slavery in the district was often debated.

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Rowing him up Salt River

Candidates for the Presidency

The Whig and Democratic Candidates are thus described: with what accuracy let their friends judge.

General Zachary Taylor

General Zachary Taylor

GEN. ZACHARY TAYLOR. – And so Messrs. Clay, Webster, Clayton and M’Lean, all of whom (at least in the estimation of their friends) possess the requisite mental and civil qualifications for the Presidency, are thrust aside to make room for a miserable old slave-monger, who has no qualification of any sort, except as a professional butcher of the human race – an occupation which they do say he understands pretty thoroughly. As the pioneer of Polk’s hired assassins in Mexico, Gen. T. won an enormous sight of ‘glory’ at the fiendish massacres of Palo Alto, Monterey and Buena Vista, in a detestable war for the extension of slavery – and it is this abominable fact alone, and not the slightest personal merit on his part, that has secured his nomination. This is well understood. The old Turk is said to be the owner of an extensive sugar plantation on the Mississippi, with two or three hundred slaves, constantly driven to unpaid toil – toil so desperately exhausting as to destroy the lives of the slaves on an average, in five years. A delightful candidate for Northern freemen to support!

Lewis Cass

Lewis Cass

LEWIS CASS. – The Utica Liberty Press winds up a long article upon the Baltimore Convention, with the following notice of Lewis Cass.

“We have said nothing specially of the nominee of the Convention. Nor is it necessary. Lewis Cass is one of the most miserable demagogues alive. Gross in person – almost idiotic in visage – narrow in intellect – shrivelled in soul – vulgar in taste – treacherous by instinct – crawling in his ambition – devious in his course – truckling to his superiors – mean among his equals – domineering to his inferiors – without one particle of frank manhood in his composition – he is a Hunker of the Hunkers, pledged to veto any act excluding slavery from our free territories, ready and eager to stoop to the dirtiest work of the slave power, and is the fit tool of flesh mongers, who would blister the free soil of Mexico with the curse of negro bondage. To think of the republic of Washington being ruled by a Cass, while that of Lafayette is ruled by a Lamartine! The possibility of such a degradation palsies our pen. We stop.”

Source:  The North Star – July 14, 1848

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Top Image: Rowing him up Salt River - The cartoonist is optimistic about the prospects of Whig presidential candidate Zachary Taylor, here shown rowing Democratic opponent Lewis Cass up the river of political misfortune. Cass, seated in the stern, wears an almost comical frown and Taylor, plying his oars in the bow, a look of determination.

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Swearing Oath

The Boy on the Witness Stand

Judge Grosh, of Pennsylvania, communicates the following:

After the plea “not guilty” was entered, and the jury was sworn or affirmed, a small, very intelligent-looking boy, was called to the witness-stand. The defendant’s attorney objected to his testifying, on account of his age, etc…

The attorney for the Commonwealth said the boy was unusually intelligent, and requested the Court to examine his competency; and I proceeded accordingly, very mildly:

Judge: What is your name, my son?

Boy: —– ——. (Giving his name very distinctly, which I do not now remember.)

Judge: Where do you reside, my little man?

Boy: In this city, sir.

Judge: Have you a parent or parents alive and residing here?

Boy: Only one; my mother.

Judge: Do you attend school, my son?

Boy: Yes, sir.

Judge: I presume, from your intelligent and praiseworthy conduct here, that you will soon be allowed to attend the High School, and become a useful man, and (if necessary) assist your good mother. (This drew tears of pleasure to his eyes, and he replied that, by the favor of the School Directors, he had attended the High School for the last six months.)

Judge: How old are you, my good boy?

Boy: My mother says that on tomorrow I will be thirteen years old.

Judge: Are you here to give evidence to the court and jury in this case?

Boy: Yes, sir; if required so to do.

Judge: Do you know the solemnity of the obligations of a judicial oath, my son? Reflect before you answer.

Boy: (Very modestly.) I think I do.

Judge: What will be your punishment, my dear boy, if you swear falsely, or speak a lie on oath?

Boy: I will be sent to the penitentiary, (weeping) and thus break my dear mother’s heart. (There were other eyes besides his in that house overflowing with tears.)

Defendant’s attorney: (frowning) Boy, don’t you know that if you tell a lie, on your oath, when you die you will be endlessly tortured in a fiery pool?

Boy: That would be an additional inducement to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; but that punishment can be avoided by a timely repentance; but repentance will avail nothing to keep me out of the penitentiary.

Judge: You are a noble boy! Who gave you these excellent instructions?

Boy: My mother, sir.

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