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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Search Results for: Keyword: 'fugitive slave law'

Term: Glover, Joshua


Portrait of Joshua Glover, undated WHI-6270

fugitive slave; after escaping from his owner in Missouri in May of 1852, Glover made his way to Wisconsin where he found work in Racine. There, on March 11, 1854, he was tracked down by agents of his owner, physically subdued, and arrested under the federal Fugitive Slave Law (q.v.). His captors brought him to Milwaukee, which had a stronger jail and a weaker abolitionist community than Racine. About 100 Racine anti-slavery activists took the next steamer to Milwaukee, however, where they joined forces with abolitionists led by Sherman Booth (q.v.). About 6:00 p.m. on March 12, 1854, the demonstrators smashed the doors of the jail, liberated Glover, and carried him to sympathetic friends in Waukesha. They later secretly brought him to Racine, where he boarded a boat for Canada. The Glover incident fueled anti-slavery sentiment in Wisconsin, and the prosecution of Booth ultimately led to the rejection of the federal Fugitive Slave Law by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

View the only book-length biography of Glover. View more information elsewhere at

[Source: Clark, James I. Wisconsin defies the fugitive slave law: the case of Sherman M. Booth. (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1955). See also related resources at Turning Points in Wis. History ( ]
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