Colonization Society of Wayne County, Ohio

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History

In the United States, before the Civil War, the idea of freeing slaves held in the United State created debates and conflict. While some groups of people wanted the immediate emancipation of all slaves, others thought that freeing the slaves should be done in a slower step-by-step process. One group that felt this way was The American Colonization Society, formed in 1817. They favored freeing slaves gradually by resettling them in Africa. In 1822, the American Colonization Society established a colony on the West Coast of Africa that eventually became the nation of Liberia. Each year the Society sent a group of immigrants from the United States to the colony.

On January 25, 1839, an auxiliary to the American Colonization Society was formed in Wayne County, Ohio. The first meeting was led by Gen. Reasin Beall, with Rev. J. H. Hoffman appointed Vice-President, and J. P. Coulter, acting as Secretary. John H. Harris, Constant Lake, and Levi Cox (all lawyers) were appointed to draft a constitution for the new organization. Reportedly, upwards of 125 people became members and appointed Levi Cox, President; James Jacobs, Vice President; J. P. Coulter, Secretary; and Joseph Stibbs Treasurer.

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