NY-CT Border Disputes & The Kidnapping of Freedom-Seeker Peter John Lee

kidnapping of John Peter Lee courtesy Anti-Slavery AlmanacShould you’ve pushed on U.S. 684 or Byram Street in Greenwich, CT you see indicators notifying you that you’re crisscrossing forwards and backwards between New York and Connecticut. The border has been a sore level because the British colonies had been based within the 17th century.Within the 1680s Bedford and Rye had been shifted from Connecticut to New York resulting in an area taxpayers revolt. In 1857, a report by the New York State Senate famous, “Alongside the entire distance the best uncertainty existed, and a mistrust and wish of confidence in all of the supposed strains.” The border was not lastly clarified till 1879.One individual caught up within the border uncertainty was Peter John Lee, a freedom seeker who escaped from slavery in Virginia and was residing in Greenwich, Connecticut. In Connecticut, a captured runaway couldn’t be returned to slavery with no jury trial the place she or he had the chance to dispute the claims of slave-catchers. In New York, nevertheless, an African American could possibly be kidnapped by slave-catchers and bought into slavery within the South with out recourse to due course of and an opportunity to defend themselves.Peter John Lee, who had escaped slavery in Virginia in 1830, was residing and dealing in Greenwich, Connecticut on a farm owned by Seth Lyon, simply east of the New York State border. On the time Lee was married and a father.On November, 20th, 1836, an acquaintance of Lee was paid by slave-catchers to lure him throughout the border into Port Chester in New York State. As soon as over the border, Lee was apprehended by infamous “blackbirders” Tobias Boudinot and Daniel Nash of New York’s “Kidnapping Membership.” They had been joined by Sheriff Edward Waddy who introduced Lee again to Virginia and enslavement.An account within the New York Solar reported that Lee ” was instantly seized by ten or a dozen ruffians, certain, and thrown right into a wagon, which was then pushed at nice pace for New York.” Though Boudinot had a legitimate warrant in New York State that was requested from Virginia for the arrest of Lee for stealing a ship throughout his escape, Nash was later charged and fined for the kidnapping of Lee.David Ruggles, head of New York’s Vigilance Committee, enlisted distinguished native white abolitionists and attorneys to defend Lee however the Vigilance Committee unable to forestall him from being returned to slavery. In a letter, William Johnston, secretary of the New York Vigilance Committee, described Lee as a person who “bore a great character for business and have become fairly a favourite within the neighborhood.” Lee escaped to Canada from Virginia seven years after being recaptured utilizing a ship to assist a bunch of twelve freedom seekers attain Cape Might in New Jersey.Peter John Lee ‘s case acquired huge consideration when it was featured in an 1839 challenge of the Anti-Slavery Almanac. A picture confirmed Northern whites capturing a free Black man with the inscription:“November 20th, 1836, (Sunday,) Peter John Lee, a free coloured man of Westchester Co., NY, was kidnapped by Tobias Boudinot, E. Okay. Waddy, John Lyon, and Daniel D. Nash, of N. Y., metropolis, and hurried away from his spouse and youngsters into slavery. One went as much as shake fingers with him, whereas the others had been prepared to make use of the gag and chain.”The Kidnapping Membership: Wall Road, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil Battle by Jonathan Daniel Wells (New York: Hachette, 2020) is a crucial and really disturbing historical past of slavecatchers and Black resistance in New York.Illustration: kidnapping of John Peter Lee courtesy Anti-Slavery Almanac.Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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