Stealing Freedom Along the Mason-Dixon Line: Thomas McCreary, the Notorious Slave Catcher from Maryland was published by the Maryland Historical Society. The narratives presented occurred in the Philadelphia–Wilmington–Baltimore corridor and offer a close-up view of slave catching and kidnapping that adds insight into how this issue contributed to the sectional hostility leading to Civil War. Prigg v. Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania’s personal liberty law of 1847; the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; trials in Philadelphia, including the first two federal trials held in that city under the new fugitive slave law; the career of Philadelphia’s most notorious slave catcher, George F. Alberti; and the Christiana Riot and subsequent treason trial—all of these fold neatly into the story of Thomas McCreary and his community. Historians have noted a connection between the slaying of Maryland slave owner Edward Gorsuch in Christiana and the hanging of a witness against McCreary in Baltimore, but my research revealed additional significant connections between the treason trial and McCreary that had been overlooked.
The rest of the article can be read on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities blog at this link.