Bill Wheeler convicted in MD slave insurrection: 1845

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    The Port Tobacco Times reports on the conviction of Bill Wheeler, who along with Mark Caesar, led a mass attempt by enslaved African Americans to reach freedom in Pennsylvania July 7-8, 1845.

    Wheeler was sentenced to death, but escaped and was not recaptured. Caesar’s first trial for insurrection resulted in a hung jury, but a second trial convicted him of “aiding and abetting” escape and the judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison. He died of tuberculosis five years later.

    The slaves were encircled near Rockville and 31 were captured with several others killed. Still others escaped, at least temporarily.

    For a short blog post on the Maryland mass escape, see

    For more information and additional images, see

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