IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Historical Markers > Find a Marker > Hannah Toliver Hannah Toliver

Hannah ToliverHannah Toliver

Location: Corner of Pearl Street and Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville (Clark County, Indiana)

Installed 2008 Indiana Historical Bureau, City of Jeffersonville and Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology, IDNR

ID#: 10.2008.1

Text

Side one:

Emancipation Proclamation (1863) did not free slaves in Kentucky. In April 1864, Hannah Toliver, a free black woman living in Jeffersonville, was arrested for aiding a fugitive slave from Kentucky. In May, she was convicted and sentenced to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary; She was pardoned January 5, 1865 and returned to Jeffersonville. (346 characters/spaces)

Side two:

Toliver and other blacks risked their freedom aiding fugitives. Slavery in U.S. abolished December 1865. (105 characters/spaces)

Standard Text:

The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.

Annotated Text

Hannah Toliver(1)

Side One:

Emancipation Proclamation (1863) did not free slaves in Kentucky.(2) In April 1864, Hannah Toliver, a free black woman living in Jeffersonville(3), was arrested for aiding a fugitive slave from Kentucky(4). In May, she was convicted and sentenced to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary(5); She was pardoned January 5, 1865(6) and returned to Jeffersonville.(7) (346 characters/spaces)

Side Two:

Toliver and other blacks risked their freedom aiding fugitives.(8) Slavery in U.S. abolished December 1865.(9) (105 characters/spaces)

(1) Hannah Coleman was born between 1826-1835 in Kentucky. U. S. Bureau of the Census, Seventh Census (1850), Schedule 1, Free Inhabitants, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, p. 365, www.ancestry.com (accessed June 12, 2007) (B061026). The 1850 Census lists Toliver as eighteen years old, making the year of her birth 1832.

U. S. Bureau of the Census, Eighth Census (1860), Schedule 1, Free Inhabitants, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, p. 46, www.ancestry.com (accessed June 12, 2007) (B061027). The 1860 Census lists Toliver as a twenty-five year old, making the year of her birth 1835.

U. S. Bureau of the Census, Ninth Census (1870), Schedule 1, Inhabitants, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, p. 57, www.ancestry.com (accessed June 12, 2007) (B061028). The 1870 Census lists Toliver as a forty-four year-old, making the year of her birth 1826.

Hannah married George Toliver on September 5, 1849 in Orange County, Indiana. Dodd, Jordan, Indiana Marriages to 1850 (Provo, 1997) www.ancestry.com (accessed June 12, 2007). (B061030).

(2) Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863, www.archives.gov (accessed July 6, 2007) (B061092). There is a misconception that the Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves in the United and Confederate States. This is not true. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in areas that President Lincoln determined were in rebellion against the United States. Kentucky, a slave state fighting for the Union against the Confederates, did not have its slaves freed by the Proclamation.

(3) U. S. Bureau of the Census, Seventh Census (1850), Schedule 1, ree Inhabitants, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, p. 365, www.ancestry.com (accessed June 12, 2007) (B061026). The Tolivers moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana sometime before September 11, 1850. Census records for 1850 show that George found employment as a boatman, and they lived in a household with six other people, including another boatman.

(4) "Running off Negroes," Louisville Daily Democrat, April 20, 1864 (B061020). The Louisville Daily Democrat claimed Toliver belonged to “a party of free negroes in Jeffersonville” who were with aiding escaping slaves.

(5) The Jefferson County Circuit Court in Louisville found Toliver guilty on May 12, 1864. Louisville Daily Journal, May 13, 1864 (B061019).

On May 14, 1864, Judge P. B. Muir sentenced Tolliver to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary Louisville Daily Journal, May 16, 1864 (B061264).

(6) Hannah Tolliver, f.w.b. Pardon, 5 January 1865, Governor Thomas Bramlette Papers, Box 12, Folder 254, Kentucky State Archives (B061267). Kentucky governor Thomas Bramlette issued the pardon.

P. B. Muir, the judge who sentenced Toliver to seven years in the Kentucky Penitentiary, was the person who requested that Governor Thomas Bramlette pardon her. Letter, P. B. Muir to Thomas Bramlette, December 27, 1864, Governor Thomas Bramlette Papers, Box 12, Folder 254, Kentucky State Archives (B061266).

(7) U. S. Bureau of the Census, Ninth Census (1870), Schedule 1, Inhabitants, Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, p. 57, www.ancestry.com (accessed June 12, 2007) (B061028).

(8) James M. Prichard, "Into the Fiery Furnace: Anti-Slavery Prisoners in the Kentucky State Penitentiary 1844-1864," www.ket.org/underground/research/Prichard.htm (accessed July 12, 2007) (B061124). Toliver was one of at least forty-four men and women, and one of nineteen "free persons of color," sentenced to the Kentucky Penitentiary for aiding fugitive slaves between 1844 and 1864.

Henry Lawrence and Henry Wheeler, black residents of Jeffersonville, were also arrested after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation for allegedly helping fugitive slaves escape from Kentucky. Louisville Daily Democrat, April 15, 1864 (B061022).

(9) U. S. Constitution, amend. 13, www.house.gov/house/Constitution/Amend.html (accessed July 19, 2007) (B061134). The Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, ratified by 3/4 of the states on December 6, 1865 and certified by Secretary of State William H. Seward on December 18, 1865, officially outlawed slavery in Kentucky. Kentucky originally rejected the 13th amendment on February 24, 1865. On March 18, 1976, Kentucky ratified the amendment.