Jermain Wesley Loguen

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Engraving of J.W. Loguen from his 1859 Autobiography

Jermain Wesley Loguen (February 5, 1813 – September 30, 1872), born Jarm Logue, in slavery,[1] was an African-American abolitionist and bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.


Loguen was born into slavery in Davidson County, Tennessee, the son of a white man, David Logue,(his "owner") and a slave named Cherry. At age 21, he successfully escaped bondage on his second attempt, stealing his master's horse and following the Underground Railroad north, finally crossing into Canada. Loguen added an "n" to the end of his last name, learned to read, worked various jobs in Canada and New York, studied at the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York, opened schools for black children in Utica, New York and Syracuse, New York, and married.

Loguen settled in Syracuse, where his house became a major depot (stop) on the Underground Railroad. Loguen was involved in rescuing William Henry, a cooper and a freed slave. On October 1, 1851, Henry, known as "Jerry" was arrested under the Fugitive Slave Law. The anti-slavery Liberty Party was holding its state convention in the city, and when word of the arrest spread, several hundred abolitionists broke into the city jail and freed Jerry. The event came to be widely known as the Jerry Rescue.[2]

Loguen became an elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and took the middle name Wesley after John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement. He held various church posts and was appointed bishop in 1868.[3]

Loguen became a popular abolitionist speaker and authored an autobiography, The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman, a Narrative of Real Life (1859). The wife of his former master, Sarah Logue, wrote Loguen demanding $1000 compensation. Loguen wrote a scathing reply[4] which was published in The Liberator.[5]


Loguen had six children. His daughter, Amelia, married Lewis Douglass, the son of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in 1869.[3] Amelia (Helen Amelia) and Lewis followed in their parent's footsteps, passionate for justice and education for the enslaved and newly freed. Amelia was excellent in math and French- her mother being her fist educator. Mrs.Loguen, the former Caroline Storum of Busti, N.Y. (near Bath) was a biracial woman from a free and educated abolitionist family. After the Civil War and Lewis's safe return home- Amelia and Lewis rejoined the Loguen family in Syracuse- dedicated to teaching, reuniting and rebuilding broken, destitute families after slavery. During the early 1860's, Amelia assisted her father while he preached(and ushered slaves to safety) in and around Binghamton, N.Y., an hour from Syracuse. She taught children (often from her own pocket book) on Hawley Street at "School no. 8 for Colored children". As black churches in that time often had to double as school rooms- Miss Amelia held adult night classes at the AME Zion church in Binghamton as well!

Another daughter, Sarah, became one of the first African-American women to become a licensed medical practitioner, and later became the first female doctor in the Dominican Republic.


  1. ^ Fergus M. Bordewich, Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement, at 318 (Amistad 2005).
  2. ^ The Jerry Rescue - New York History Net
  3. ^ a b Jermain Wesley Loguen
  4. ^ Letters of Note: Wretched Woman!
  5. ^ Jermain Wesley Loguen - New York History Net


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