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

Kentucky v Dennison (1861)

This was the last of four major slave cases heard by the U. S. Supreme Count. The case involved Willis Lago, a free African American who lived in Ohio; in 1859 he had helped a slave named Charlotte escape from Woodford County, Kentucky, into Ohio. Charlotte's owner, C. W. Nuckols, filed an indictment against Lago, and the state requested, via Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin, that both Charlotte and Lago be returned to Kentucky. Lago was to be extradited to stand trial for seducing and enticing Charlotte to escape. Ohio Governor William Dennison refused to extradite Lago or Charlotte. The case went before the Supreme Court in 1861: Dennison was admonished, but there were no orders that Lago and Charlotte be extradited to Kentucky. "Taney ruled that interstate extradition was a matter of gubernatorial discretion, to be performed out of comity and good citizenship. This precedent remained good law until 1987." For more see Paul Finkelman "Slavery," The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, Kermit L. Hall, Oxford University Press, 2005; Oxford Reference Online; and Kentucky v Dennison 65 U.S. 66; 16 L. Ed. 717; 1860 U.S. LEXIS 376; 24 HOW 66.

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NKAA Source: The Oxford companion to the Supreme Court of the United States
NKAA Source: Oxford reference online (database)

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“Kentucky v Dennison (1861),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:21