Sara Lucy Bagby

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Sara Lucy Bagby
DiedJuly 14, 1906(1906-07-14) (aged 62–63)
Burial placeWoodland Cemetery
SpouseF. George Johnson

Sara Lucy Bagby (1843 – July 14, 1906) was the last person in the United States forced to return to slavery in the South under the Fugitive Slave Act.[1]

Born in the early 1840s in Virginia, she eventually escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad and made her way to Cleveland, Ohio, in a free state.[2][3] In January 1861, she was pursued by her owners, William Goshorn and his son, and arrested by a U.S. Marshall.

Despite the state government's and citizens of Cleveland's attempts to intervene—including a purported dramatic armed standoff in a courtroom—she was transported back to Goshorn's property in Wheeling, then still part of Virginia.[2] This episode forms the subject of a poem by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, titled "To the Cleveland Union-Savers".[1][4][5][6]

After the Emancipation Proclamation, Bagby walked to Pittsburgh to leave the South. She eventually resettled in Cleveland, where she died in 1906 and was buried.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b Barrett, Faith, 1965- Miller, Cristanne. (2005). "Words for the hour" : a new anthology of American Civil War poetry. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1-55849-509-6. OCLC 60796177.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Biography: Sara Lucy Bagby > Research | Ohio County Public Library | Ohio County WV | Wheeling WV History | Ohio County West Virginia Public Library". Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  3. ^ a b Day, Michelle A.; Wickens, Joseph. "The Arrest and Trial of Lucy Bagby". Cleveland Historical. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  4. ^ David Dirck Van Tassel; John Vacha (2006). "Behind Bayonets": The Civil War in Northern Ohio. Kent State University Press. pp. 28–. ISBN 978-0-87338-850-4.
  5. ^ United States. Work Projects Administration. Ohio (1937). Annals of Cleveland--1818–1935 ... pp. 513–.
  6. ^ R. J. M. Blackett (25 January 2018). The Captive's Quest for Freedom. Cambridge University Press. pp. 441–. ISBN 978-1-108-41871-3.