Edward D. Ingraham (1793-1854)


TENURE:  – 11/1854




Adam Gibson Case (1850) – 1 returned

  • Seized as the alleged fugitive Emery Rice, enslaved to William Knight of Cecil county, Maryland, Adam Gibson was brought before Commissioner Ingraham for a hearing in late December 1850. When anti-slavery activists attempted to delay the proceedings and summon renowned anti-slavery attorney David Paul Brown “to act as counsel for the alleged fugitive,” Ingraham waited “a reasonable length of time” before noting “that the law in relation to the case required the matter to be proceeded with in a summary manner, and that it was necessary that the matter be proceeded with.” Gibson was remanded, but later released and returned to Philadelphia when the alleged Maryland slaveholder conceded that he was not Rice, the alleged fugitive. [1850-12-26 Honesdale, PA Wayne County Herald]

Stephen Bennett Case (1851) – 1 returned

  • Commissioner Ingraham issues the warrant of arrest for Stephen Bennett. [1851-01-22 Warrant of Arrest, PH-488, RG 21, NARA Philadelphia]

Euphemia Williams Case (1851) – 1 released

Hannah and Dick Dellan Case (1851) – 2 returned*

  • Hannah and her child Dick were arrested at Columbia under a warrant issued by Commissioner Ingraham, but a writ of habeas corpus filed by anti-slavery lawyers removed the case to the court of District Court Judge John K. Kane, who subsequently remanded the two to slavery.

Daniel Hawkins Case (1851) – 1 returned

  • Constable John Agen (Third Ward, Southwark) returned from Lancaster with Daniel Hawkins, a 20-year-old alleged freedom seeker in tow, who was purported to have escaped from Maryland in June 1850. Hawkins, who had been living in Columbia, was convicted of larceny, which his alleged slaveholder, Baltimore’s William M. Risteau, caught wind of. Risteau, “in company with constable Agen, who had a warrant for the arrest of the fugitive granted by Commissioner Ingraham, proceeded to Lancaster. The term of the imprisonment of the alleged fugitive expired on Sunday night [July 20], at 12 o’clock. A few minutes before that hour, the master and constable Agen went to the jail and paid the fine and costs of the court in the suit, and at 12 o’clock arrested the slave in the prison, and in the morning started for Philadelphia, where they arrived at about 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon [July 21].” Hawkins was placed in the Marshal’s office in Philadelphia overnight on July 21, and the hearing was held before Commissioner Ingraham on July 22. Anti-slavery activists in the meantime obtained a writ of habeas corpus from Circuit Court judge Robert Grier, who remanded Hawkins to the custody of Commissioner Ingraham. After taking testimony, Ingraham remanded Hawkins, though Risteau “made the necessary affidavit… to put the fugitive into the hands of the U.S. Marshal” A.E. Roberts who returned Hawkins to Baltimore. [1851-07-24 Pennsylvania Freeman]

Christiana Case (1851) – 4 escaped

Cassandra Harris Case (1851) – 1 returned

  • The mother of the wives of two Christiana freedom seekers, “Cassy” Harris (also known as Cassandra Warner) was seized by “negro-hunting officers” from her home in Christiana and “kept all night locked in a garret of the Christiana tavern.” Reports circulated that Harris had approached Commissioner Ingraham on the street, and requested to be sent back, though the Pennsylvania Freeman cast doubt on this, noting that “she was then in the custody of her captors, and was doubtless acting under their direction.” The Freeman also noted that while Harris “acknowledged that she had told the officers that she wished to go back,” she told anti-slavery activists that “she was terrified by their violence, and threats, and feared a worse fate, if she refused to go.” Harris was remanded to bondage by Commissioner Ingraham. [1851-10-02 Pennsylvania Freeman]

Henry Pierce Case (1851) – 1 returned

George Bordley Case (1852) – 1 returned

  • On Tuesday, November 2, 1852, alleged freedom seeker George Bordley (also known as Thomas Brown) was seized by George Alberti. He was brought before Commissioner Ingraham, and “a good deal of testimony [was] produced and offered” on behalf of the claimant to prove Bordley’s status. Even the venerable anti-slavery lawyer defending Bordley, David Paul Brown, concluded that “the weight of the evidence was with the claimants, and it only remained for the defence to ‘ground arms’ with the best grace they could.” Bordley was remanded to slavery in Maryland on Saturday, November 6. [1852-11-08 Philadelphia North American]
  • During the hearing, which spanned several days as the claimant buttressed his case with additional witnesses, Ingraham reportedly remarked as one session adjourned: “now that we have a secure place to keep fugitives from labor, he would postpone the further hearing until Friday, to give the claimant an opportunity to bring the person on whom the slave had been hired.” Ingraham was apparently referring to the recent repeal of Pennsylvania’s 1847 Personal Liberty Law, which forbade state jails from housing alleged freedom seekers. [1852-11-11 Concord NH Independent Democrat]

Charles Wesley Case (1853) – 1 returned

  • In January 1853, Delaware slaveholder Gideon E. Rothwell of New Castle county, Delaware, journeyed to Philadelphia and appeared before Commissioner Edward Ingraham, who on January 21 issued a warrant of arrest for Charles Wesley, the alleged freedom seeker. He entrusted U.S. Deputy marshal Henry L. Smith and Constable John Agen (3rd Ward, Southwark) with executing the warrant, and the arrest was made later that night “at the head of the Inclined Plane, on the north side of the Schuylkill.” Wesley claimed to be free born and a resident of New Jersey. Anti-slavery attorney David Paul Brown, representing Wesley, requested an adjournment “to afford the defendant an opportunity to send for his friends in New Jersey to establish his freedom.” The case was adjourned, though the Pennsylvania Freeman claimed it was due to Wesley’s “illness” rather than Ingraham’s willingness to afford Wesley a chance to defend himself. However, Ingraham brought up the case again “unexpectedly” on February 1, and remanded Wesley to Rothwell. [1853-01-24 Philadelphia Inquirer1853-02-03 Pennsylvania Freeman]
  • The Pennsylvania Freeman bemoaned this “instance of kidnapping in Lancaster County” followed by “the arrest and partial trial before the slave commissioner in this city,” which occurred around the same time of the kidnapping of Richard Neal, also seized in Lancaster County. This pair of cases demonstrated, the Freeman cried, “the rampant power of slavery in Pennsylvania.” [1853-02-03 Pennsylvania Freeman]

Basil White Case (1853) – 1 returned

  • On June 1, 1853, a “young colored man” named Basil White was seized by slave catcher George F. Alberti and brought before Commissioner Ingraham, claimed by Leonard Quinlan of Baltimore county, Maryland. White reportedly confided in John Dorsey, an African American who supposedly revealed White’s fugitive status to Alberti, even brining him to Alberti’s house where the veteran slave catcher summoned Quinlan to seize him. The case before Ingraham “lasted but a few minutes,” according to one report, and the claimant demanded federal assistance, “by making oath that he feared an attempt to rescue” White. [1853-06-09 Pennsylvania Freeman]

George Smith Case (1853) – 1 returned

  • George Smith (alias William Fisher) was arrested in Moyamensing (a suburb of Philadelphia) by police officer Robert Hill, and brought before Commissioner Ingraham, who promptly remanded him and issued a certificate of removal. The claimant made out an affidavit under Section 9, and Ingraham placed Smith in the custody of U.S. Marshal Francis Wynkoop, though anti-slavery lawyers made out two writs of habeas corpus, one against Marshal Wynkoop and the other against the claimant, both of whom were required to appear in court. All the while, Smith was still in Wynkoop’s custody, and the marshal refused to produce the alleged freedom seeker, prompting his own arrest for contempt of court. As one reporter wryly noted, “The fugitive is in charge of the Marshal, and the Marshal in jail.” The U.S. District Attorney, John W. Ashmead, represented Wynkoop, while the marshal reportedly received legal advice from former vice president George M. Dallas, who “advised him to amend his return to the State Court.” Wynkoop applied for a writ of habeas corpus from U.S. District Court Judge John Kane, where Wynkoop adopted a conciliatory tone, and “said he intended to do right, and if he was wrong, he wished to be set right.” After Kane lifted the contempt order, Wynkoop hurriedly placed Smith in a wagon and dashed away, “before a bail-piece could be issued,” prompting one reporter to seethe that his actions “looks more like the haste of an accomplice, than the dignified action of an officer of the law awaiting legal investigation.” [1853-07-25 Philadelphia Daily Pennsylvanian; 1853-07-26  Philadelphia Daily Pennsylvanian; 1853-08-04  Pennsylvania Freeman1853-08-05 Boston Liberator]

William Thomas Case (1853) – 1 escaped

Henry Massey Case (1854) – 1 returned

  • Alleged Maryland freedom seeker Henry Massey was apprehended in Harrisburg by two deputies on September 23, 1854, and transported to Philadelphia for a rendition hearing before Commissioner Ingraham. Both Deputy William Birely, and the claimant’s neighbor, who was present at the arrest in Harrisburg, claimed that Massey confessed that he “owed Mr. Bright service.” At the hearing, Ingraham reportedly asked Massey if “he wished to have counsel,” and adjourned the hearing when Massey replied affirmatively. David Paul Brown and W.A. Jackson appeared on Massey’s behalf, and contested the legitimacy of the claimant’s proof of ownership. During the initial hearing, Massey apparently alerted his lawyers to the fact that two wills existed (which provided the basis of the claimant’s case), though the claimant’s counsel attempted to dismiss this, noting that “it was introduced not by him, but by the fugitive, but that taking it granted it proved nothing in answer to the prima facie case made by the claimant.” Ingraham took an affidavit from Massey, despite the law’s stipulation that no testimony be admitted from the accused, and then adjourned the hearing. On October 4, Ingraham remanded Massey. [1854-09-26 Philadelphia Inquirer; 1854-10-11 Lancaster PA Examiner]