From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Sam (slave)

Sam, an escaped slave from Kentucky, is believed to be the last fugitive slave sought in Janesville, WI. Sam was employed in William Eager's blacksmith shop in 1861 when Steuben, Sam's owner, arrived to take Sam back to Kentucky. Later that evening, Eager, along with Sam and men from the city fire department, all confronted Steuben at the local hotel; they were prepared to hang Steuben if he tried to take Sam back to Kentucky.

Those inside the hotel led Steuben out the back door, and he rode off fast, heading south toward Beloit and the Wisconsin/Illinois border. The person from Janesville who had contacted Steuben about Sam's whereabouts was run out of town.

For more see "Janesville residents refused to turn over a fugitive slave in 1861" [newspaper article full-text], at the Wisconsin Historical Society website.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Sam (slave),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 5, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-12-23 20:53:34