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The "Jerry Rescue"

New York

One of the most celebrated rescues took place in Syracuse, New York, where African American and white members of the local vigilance committee stormed the jail to free freedom seeker Jerry McHenry and spirited him away to Canada.

Federal prosecutors, eager to make an example of those who flouted the law, and encouraged by President Millard Fillmore, indicted 26 men, including twelve African Americans. Nine of the accused African Americans, with leading African American abolitionists Samuel R. Ward and Jermaine W. Loguen among them, fled to Canada.

Three whites were tried and acquitted. Enoch Reed, the single African American tried, was convicted and jailed.