Jermain Wesley Loguen

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Jermain Wesley Loguen
Bishop Jermain Loguen 1835.jpg
Bishop Jermain Loguen, 1835
Jarm Logue

February 5, 1813
Died30 September 1872(1872-09-30) (aged 59)
OccupationAbolitionist, Public speaker
Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Spouse(s)Carolyn Storum
ChildrenSarah Loguen Fraser

Rev. 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, and an author of a slave narrative.


Engraving of J.W. Loguen from his 1859 Autobiography

Jarm Logue was born to a slave woman named Cherry, in Davidson County, Tennessee, and her owner, a white man named David Logue. At age 21, he successfully escaped bondage on his second attempt with the help of his mother, stealing his master's horse and following the Underground Railroad north, finally crossing into Canada. Jarm Logue 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, and opened schools for black children in Utica and Syracuse, New York.

Jarm and Caroline Logue ran a major depot (stop) on the Underground Railroad. When they built their Syracuse home, they had a special “fugitive chamber” built for their operation. The Logue family did not hide the fact that they were helping runaway slaves. They would provide them with meals, a bath, and a sense of security. If any of the slaves decided to settle in the area, the Logues would help them find a job. Jarm Logue was known as “‘King of the Underground Railroad.’ Caroline was his queen.”[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]

The Jerry Rescue[edit]

Loguen was involved in rescuing William Henry, a cooper and a former 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.[6] After the rescue, several people accused Loguen of assaulting a federal marshal and encouraging the violence of others. Although Loguen admitted he was at the planning of the rescue, he denied participating in the storming of the building or committing any type of violence. Fearful of being returned to slavery, he took refuge in Canada.  Once in Canada, Loguen wrote a letter to District Attorney Lawrence denying the charges made against him.  He also wrote a letter to New York governor, Washington Hunt, saying that he was willing to face trial if he could be assured that he wouldn’t be captured and returned to slavery.  Loguen didn’t receive an answer to either letter.

After the trials concluded, and a letter was published in the Frederick Douglass’ Paper that claimed that Loguen would be safe in Syracuse, Loguen decided to come back to Syracuse. He was now confident that the Fugitive Slave Law was nullified in Syracuse, and so they conducted the Underground Railroad in an open manner. Loguen printed announcements about fugitives passing through Syracuse in newspapers, advertised his personal address, and gave reports of the amount of fugitives who came through his home.[2]


Loguen married Caroline Storum, who was born near Jamestown, New York. She was biracial, from a free and educated abolitionist family. Jermain and Carolina had six children. Their daughter, Amelia, married Lewis Henry Douglass, oldest son of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in 1869.[3] Amelia (Helen Amelia) and Lewis followed in their parents' footsteps, passionate for justice and education for the enslaved and newly freed.

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 1860s, Amelia assisted her father while he preached (and ushered slaves to safety) in and around Binghamton, NY, an hour from Syracuse. She taught children (often from her own pocketbook) 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.[citation needed]

Another daughter, Sarah Loguen Fraser, 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.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b Murphy, Angela F., 1967-. The Jerry rescue : the Fugitive Slave Law, Northern rights, and the American sectional crisis. Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-991360-2. OCLC 890080195.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b "Jermain Wesley Loguen". University of Buffalo. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  4. ^ "Wretched Woman!". Letters of Note. November 16, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Knoblauch, Edward H. "Jermain Wesley Loguen". New York History Net. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  6. ^ Knoblauch, Edward H. "The Jerry Rescue". New York History Net. Retrieved April 26, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • edition of his 1859 memoir: The Rev. J.W. Loguen as a Slave and as a Freeman: A Narrative of Real Life, edited by Jennifer A. Williamson. Syracuse University Press, 2016.

External links[edit]