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Ableman v. Booth and United States v. Booth

Joshua Glover Is Saved From The Slave Catchers

Glover found work at a sawmill near Racine, Wisconsin, where Garland discovered him. On 10 March 1854, Glover and two black friends were playing cards in a cabin on the outskirts of Racine. Garland appeared at the cabin with two U.S. deputy Marshalls and four other men. Struggling with his attackers, Glover was badly hurt. He was handcuffed and taken to a jail in Milwaukee. (At this time, the federal government had no jails of its own and borrowed prison facilities from state and local governments.)

Abolitionists in Milwaukee soon learned of Glover's arrest. Among their leaders was Sherman M. Booth, the fiery editor of an abolitionist newspaper. Booth rode throughout the city, stopping at each street corner to rise in his saddle and shout, "Freemen! To the rescue! Slave catchers are in our midst! Be at the court-house at two o'clock!"

On the evening of 11 March, a large crowd gathered outside the Milwaukee courthouse. Booth gave a passionate speech attacking the return of fugitive slaves. The mob then broke down the door, took Glover out, and put him a ship leaving for Canada. Throughout Wisconsin and other northern states, abolitionists cheered his release.

On 15 March, U.S. Marshall Stephen V. R. Ableman arrested Booth under a warrant issued by a federal court commissioner. Booth was charged under the Fugitive Slave Law with having aided a slave's escape. Because he refused to provide bail money, the commissioner ordered him held for trial before the U.S. District Court of Wisconsin.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882Ableman v. Booth and United States v. Booth - Significance, Joshua Glover Is Saved From The Slave Catchers, Wisconsin Nullifies Federal Laws, Federal Courts Are Supreme Over State Courts