Abolitionist Deported to the North

Monday, November 19, 1860

Joseph H. Ribero, a 31 year old, fair skinned, free black man from Georgia and carpenter by trade, arrived via steamer at the port of Boston. In the month of October, Ribero told a slave that if Lincoln was elected, the slaves would be set free. Getting wind of this, vigilantes (called “Regulars”) seized Ribero and took him to a remote part of Savannah.

Here, a sham trial was conducted. Twelve “property holders” acted as jurors and found him guilty of trying to incite a slave insurrection. They whipped him severely and shaved one side of his head. He and his family (he had an English-born wife and two young children) were set aboard the steamer Jos. Whitney and deported to the North.

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Down south in Charleston, twelve hundred kegs of powder and eighty-four boxes of ammunition had arrived. They were placed in the arsenal, then guarded continuously by the Washington Light Infantry (a South Carolina militia unit). The Richmond Daily Dispatch reported:

It is generally believed that the pretext about this being a precaution against popular or servile outbreak is all fudge. The fact is, that an immense quantity of ammunition is stored there, and people believe the public good requires that it should not be removed. Any attempt to remove it would almost certainly precipitate revolution and bloodshed.

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An Atlanta diarist noted that the Georgia state flag, not the United States flag, was flying over the city. He does not describe the flag in detail, which is a shame since the state flag at the outbreak of the War seems to have been lost to antiquity. In more recent years, the period flag has been reconstructed based upon the Seal of Georgia.

A public meeting was held in Willimington, North Carolina where strong secession resolutions were unanimously adopted. There was word that other such meetings are taking place in other counties. A “corps” of minute men was forming.

Later this night, in Norfolk, Virginia, a “large and enthusiastic” meeting of minute men was held and a chief was elected. The meeting adjourned with ‘”three cheers for the man that hung John Brown.”’

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Abolitionist Deported to the North by CW DG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International
  1. I wrote this piece a few months ago, but still, I can’t believe that I didn’t cite sources for the Joseph H. Ribero story. I’ll do some checking around and will hopefully have something by the end of the day. Very sorry.

    -Eric

    • Some info was found in the November 22, 1861 edition of the Richmond Daily Dispatch. “Abolitionist sent North” was the article’s title.

      It is also told in A Fresh Catalogue of Southern Outrages upon Northern Citizens published by the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1860. They have his middle name as “William.”

      It’s too bad that stories like this have been forgotten.