Jermain Wesley Loguen was born a slave on February 5, 1813, near Nashville, Tennessee.
His father was David Logue, a plantation and distillery owner. His mother was a slave named Cherry.
Jermain’s nickname was Jarm. He looked a lot like his father and his father didn’t like that. His father and his uncles all beat him a lot and treated him meanly. Several times he was beaten so severely that he could have died.
His father always promised that he would not sell Cherry and her children, but the day came when David was going to lose his plantation. So he had to sell them to make some money. He sold them to his brother, Manasseth Logue. Manasseth was just as mean as David, especially when he was drinking. When he drank, he would go into a rage and beat and torture Cherry and her children.
One day Manaseth’s distillery burned to the ground. He needed some money so he decided to sell Jarm’s younger brothers and sisters. • The day the children were taken away, Manasseth was drinking. Both Cherry and Jarm were very upset and Manasseth ended up beating them. Jarm was beaten so badly that he nearly died. Soon after this, Jarm began to plan his escape.
Jarm decided that he was definitely going to run away and if he couldn’t make it to freedom, he would die trying. Sometime in 1834 a childhood friend told him about a free state named Illinois. He told him that it would take less than a week to get there by horseback. The plans were that three of them would go together, but one of them backed out at the last minute. So Jarm and John left.
Things didn’t go as planned. They were nearly captured by slave catchers,
almost drowned while crossing a partially frozen river, then got lost and ended up just about where they had started! They were hungry, they were cold, they were afraid, but after many days, they finally reached Indiana.
From there, they were told to follow the North Star to Canada. Along the way they got lost again. It was hard to follow the North Star when it was cloudy, foggy or rainy.
When they reached Detroit, Michigan, they counted their money and found they only had $.50.
They separated to look for a cheap, out of the way place to stay. Jarm crossed over to Canada and John stayed in Detroit.
John trusted the wrong men – these men ended up stealing his horse and Jarm’s saddle. • When Jarm found out about the theft, he felt so bad that he and John separated for good and never saw each other again.
Neighbors saw how hard he worked and allowed him to go to the Sabbath School to learn how to read. He was 24 years old.
At this time, he decided to change his name. Since Jarm was his slave name, he decided to call himself Jarmain instead. He took Wesley as his middle name and added an n to the end of his last name so now he was Jarmain Wesley Loguen. • Jarm • Jarmain • Wesley • Logue + n • Jarmain Wesley Loguen
In 1836, Loguen moved from Canada to New York. He held a lot of different jobs and began to learn more about freedom, slavery and politics. He went to school and even established a school for black children.
In 1840, Loguen married Caroline Storum. • Loguen became a minister in the African MethodistEpiscopal Zion Church. • In 1846, he came to Syracuse to preach and to give antislavery lectures.
1400 block • He and his wife bought some land and built an apartment for runaway slaves that became an important station on the Underground Railroad. He became known as the "Underground Railroad King."
October 1, 1851 • Church bells started to ring. That was the signal that slave catchers were in town! Soon it was announced that a fugitive, Jerry, had been taken. Loguen organized people to help rescue Jerry.
A great mob formed and the Jerry Rescue got underway. Violence soon broke out and several people were injured.
Even Jerry was hurt. His head was cut and a rib was broken. But the rescuers were able to carry Jerry out to a carriage. Later he was hidden under a wagon seat and covered with hay.
to Kingston, Ontario. They kept moving him so he wouldn’t be captured again.
Why was the Jerry Rescue important? • When Jerry arrived in Canada, this showed everyone in the United States that the Fugitive Slave Law could not be enforced.
In the next few weeks, 25 people were charged for their role in the Jerry Rescue. All but seven of the men fled to Canada, including Loguen.
In Canada, Loguen wrote a letter to the governor of N.Y. He said that he would return to Syracuse and stand trial for his role in the Jerry Rescue but only if if would not be tried as a fugitive slave. • The governor said no but in 1852 Loguen decided to come back anyway.
By 1855 Jermain Loguen and his wife had six children. • Loguen was so involved in the Underground Railroad that people called him the “Underground Railroad King.” • He continued to work for freedom until he died on September 30, 1872. • He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse.
Mural painted by London Ladd http://www.flickr.com/photos/medubside/sets/72157601153516578/
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