Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson: Last Person Returned To Slavery Under The Fugitive Slave Act

0 Posted by - September 18, 2022 - LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY

Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson (1843-1906) was the last slave in the United States prosecuted under the Fugitive Slave Act, the federal law, that declared that runaway slaves must be returned to their owners.

Not much is known about Sara’s early life. However, we do know that she was born in Virginia in the early 1840’s and in 1852 was purchased from a slave trader in Richmond by John Goshorn of Wheeling for $600.

In 1857, Goshorn  gifted her to his son, William S. Goshorn.

Sara was not content to be enslaved and escaped from her captor in Oct. 1860 while he was away in Minnesota.

To erase her fugitive status she fabricated the story that William Goshorn’s daughter, Isabella, had brought her up north and into Pennsylvania and told her that she was now free because she was in a free state.

Sara eventually  made her way to Cleveland, Ohio where she worked as a domestic servant for A.G. Riddle who was a Republican Congressman-elect.

Her owner pursued her and she was  later arrested under the Fugitive Slave Act. After being arrested, Sara was  placed in a waiting carriage and taken to jail where she awaited trial on Monday, January 21. On her way to the jail U.S. Deputy Marshal J. H. Johnson asked Sara why she had escaped with her reply being that she was afraid she was going to be sold south.

There was no argument against the Fugitive Slave Act. Since John and William Goshorn had all the documents proving ownership of Sara the court had no choice but to enforce the law much to the dismay of Cleveland and the black community of the city.


She was later returned to slavery in Wheeling.

During the war while travelling south with her owner Sara was freed by a Union officer and following her emancipation she made her way to Pittsburgh. Later Sara married a Union soldier by the name of George Johnson and the two continued to live in Pittsburgh for a number of years before eventually returning to Cleveland where she remained until her death in 1906.






  • […] via Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson: Last Person Returned To Slavery Under The Fugitive Slave Act — Black Then […]

  • gamefly May 2, 2019 - 11:35 am

    I every time used to read article in news papers but now
    as I am a user of web thus from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

  • gamefly May 5, 2019 - 3:24 pm

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but,
    I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might
    be interested in hearing. Either way, great
    blog and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

  • minecraft free download May 7, 2019 - 3:16 pm

    Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look
    forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

  • gamefly free trial May 31, 2019 - 5:05 am

    Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that
    it is truly informative. I am going to watch
    out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • EllEffemn June 1, 2019 - 9:23 pm

    Cytotec Vente En Ligne Viagra Pfizer Nebenwirkungen Keflex Respiratory Infection

  • gamefly free trial June 3, 2019 - 10:56 am

    Hi colleagues, how is everything, and what you would like
    to say regarding this article, in my view its really
    awesome designed for me.

  • EllEffemn June 9, 2019 - 8:39 pm

    100mg Doxycycline Tablets From India viagra Metformin Order India

  • quest bars cheap June 14, 2019 - 5:10 am

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit
    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
    Nevertheless imagine if you added some great visuals
    or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent
    but with images and videos, this site could certainly be one of the very
    best in its field. Fantastic blog!

  • fortnite aimbot download June 16, 2019 - 7:52 am

    stays on topic and states valid points. Thank you.

  • cialis June 17, 2019 - 6:57 pm
  • cialis June 17, 2019 - 7:01 pm
  • EllEffemn June 17, 2019 - 10:05 pm

    Erectile Dysfunction Medication Prices Propecia O Cialis Buy Propecia In California Msm Propecia Levitra Bayer Online Levitra 10 Mg Gunstig Kaufen