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February 19, 2018 : History Comes to Life in “Not On My Watch: The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue of 1858” Event

by Tea' Egleberry


owrThe past will come to life at Ohio University Lancaster with a live history performance of “Not On My Watch: The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue of 1858.” Living history performers will retell the story of a riveting piece of American history that took place in Lorain County, OH.


The history-based live performance will take place on Wednesday, February 28th, in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts and will begin at 7:00 pm. Admission is free and all are encouraged to come out and enjoy the show.


Nearly 160 years ago, eighteen-year-old John Price made an attempt to escape his life as a slave. The young slave abandoned a plantation in Kentucky, with a goal of reaching freedom. He made his way to Oberlin, OH. Unfortunately, after two years old searching, Price was eventually caught by a United States marshal.  John was taken to the small village of Wellington, and the news spread. Locals of Oberlin teamed up with residents of Wellington. Laws were broken, a mob stormed the town, and trials ensued. 37 abolitionists were arrested for breaking and violating the Fugitive Slave Laws, set in 1850.


“Not On My Watch: The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue of 1858,” tells the story and events that followed the capture of John Price, the consequences that followed and the court case that ultimately gave Price a chance of freedom.


The performance is presented and created by the Kelton House Underground Railroad Community Advisory Committee. Members of this committee aim to pay tribute to the historical, memorable events that took place in Wellington and Oberlin during the time period. Narratives selected from The Town that Started the Civil War, written by Nat Brandt, serves as the foundation of the performance, as well as other periodicals and historical scholars.


The event is hosted by the Ohio University Lancaster Diversity Committee.  The committee works to bring in presentations, speakers and acts throughout the academic year to enhance the cultural experience on campus. The Diversity Committees have hosted speakers in fields such as bullying prevention, civil rights history and deaf culture.