The Cleveland Daily Herald
Cleveland, April 20, 1859
SECOND DAY – TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
Mr. Cochran testified that before the parties to the Power of Attorney left the office, witness came in and suggested some corrections, and the acknowledgment was taken over again. There was a good deal of questioning as to the powers of Deputy Clerks and the laws of Kentucky generally. Mr. Cochran said that he did not swear on the other trial that he personally knew nothing about the acknowledgment of the power of attorney.
Mr. Anderson Jennings was called. Jennings, as on the other trial, was the Òobserved of all observers,Ó and excited peculiar interest in the eyes of the colored spectators. They evidently have a very poor opinion of him and of the business he was engaged in when he informed Bacon that his John was at Oberlin and he would catch the runaway if Bacon would send on a power of attorney. It is a remarkable fact that this witness, Jennings, although a six-footer, and weighing two hundred pounds, spoke so low that it was exceedingly annoying to the Court, the jury and the counsel, and there was a constant effort to get him to speak louder. Jennings is one of those men who talk without opening their teeth, and all such are mere mumblers. One of the callisthenic exercises of every school-room should be to practice students in opening their mouths.
Jennings entered a little more particularly into what took place between him and Deputy Marshal Lowe than on the other trial. Witness said that Lowe advised the capture to be made in the day time, but thought it the best plan, in some way, to get the nigger out of the town of Oberlin before taking them. Jennings first offered Shakespeare Boynton $10 each if he would decoy Frank and John; Shakespeare thought he could get Frank without any difficulty – as he knew him very well but was not so certain about John. Witness told the old man (Gen. Boynton) that he had hired his son to decoy the negroes – and Mr. Boynton replied that the boy was capable of managing his own business and he did not car to have anything to do in it. The witness related his and ShakespeareÕs plans to decoy the negro – all of which we have published. Jennings, when it was found that FrankÕs throat was cut and he could not be got, raised the price to Shakespeare and agreed to give him $20 if he would get John.
The witness detailed the occurrences at Wellington from the time he joined John up to his escape. Witness said that the defendant Langston was in the room half an hour before the rescue. Defendant talked with Lowe, and the letter asked defendant to assist in quieting the excitement; defendant refused and said Òyou might as well give John up as we are determined to have him;Ó eight or ten persons were in the room at that time.
Cross examined. Witness testified that he had been three times in the State of Ohio after runaway negroes; not his own negroes, but his neighbors; went on these occasions as a neighborly act and not for pay; John was dark copper color, but on the first trial witness called John black. Defence asked Jennings if he has had any conversation with Lowe in presence of Mr. Baily, since the last trial, in which conversation Lowe asked witness if he swore to such and such things, and in which conversation Lowe said if he did swear so it was a damned lie, and in reply witness said he did not know how he came to swear so! Witness said he does not recollect any such conversation. Witness said he could recognize a nigger or a white man after an absence of three or four years; witness would know Mr. Riddle (who was examining witness) if he should see him twenty years hence. Witness was at Oberlin two or three years ago looking after negroes. At that time went to look for a slave belonging to his uncle. Did not get the negro; was told he had left. Next time went to Oberlin after the Waggoner family; this was a few days before John escaped; did not get the Waggoner family, as the Abolitionists run them off. Wack told witness that the Abolitionists had run them off. Witness heard that Prof. Peck went to the Waggoners and told them they were mistaken in supposing that persons were around to rob them, but that Southerners were after them and they had better leave. Prof. Peck has written a letter to this witness, but he has not answered it. Came to Cleveland from Oberlin and heard of a negro at Elyria that answered the description of a boy he once owned named Henry; but he was not at Elyria and witness heard the boy was at Painesville.
Question by Defence. – Well, Mr. Jennings, did you get the negro at Painesville?
Answer. – Get the devil! would like to see a man get a nigger out of Painesville. Saw more Abolitionists and niggers at Painesville than any place I ever was in; more than I saw in Oberlin. The crowd at Painesville said they would give me just twenty minutes to leave but they didnÕt give me as long as that. There was a right smart crowd there. Witness then went to Sandusky, having heard of two negro women slaves there. Had no notice to leave Sandusky, but left the next morning, not finding the negroes.
It appeared in JenningsÕ testimony that Mr. McMillan went with Jennings to Oberlin and had a Power of Attorney from Bacon to re-capture John at the time, when Jennings wrote to Bacon to send him one. Witness said he kept pretty close in his room when at WackÕs at Oberlin; walked out now and then, the witness thinks he tried to get Dep. Marshal Dayton to help arrest John, but he refused; witness then went to Columbus to get Lowe to help witness to capture John; told Lowe if he would come witness would pay his expenses any how any if John was captured he would pay Lowe a hundred dollars if we got John. When we got to Oberlin had a consultation as to how to proceed and concluded to take him in the day time. Talked on Sunday at BoyntonÕs about catching the negro; talked with Shakespeare about it; should have postponed the business over Sunday but afraid the negro would run off; have heard what – said about the witness being a church member, which is so; spent Sunday at BoyntonÕs donÕt remember whether read any in the Bible that day or not; went back to WackÕs in the evening; witness swore that Lowe at Wellington in the crowd said that they had better give John up, but witness made no proposition to the effect that if the crowd would spare the lives of the party they might have John; said no such thing to Mr. Patton.
Mr. Jennings was still under cross-examination when Court adjourned until Wednesday morning at 9 oÕclock.