The St. John Genealogy

Origin and Ancestry DNA database

Thaddeus St. John

Male 1797 - 1872  (74 years)

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  • Name Thaddeus St. John 
    Born 2 Sep 1797  Northampton, Fulton, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 1841  Northampton, Fulton, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    County Judge 
    Died 23 Jun 1872  Eldora, Hardin, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • History Lesson: Kidnapping trial drew a nation's attention to Ballston SpaPublished Feb. 13, 2011
      by David Friske

      This is the first of a two-part installment on Solomon Northup, covering details of his enslavement and the apprehension some years later of two men alleged to have sold the free black man into slavery. Next week's final installment will cover the court proceedings, as well as information on Northup's later life.

      BALLSTON SPA -- In the 1850s, the trial in the village of two accused kidnappers attracted national attention. And the suspects were identified because the victim published a book detailing how he had been lured out of New York and sold as a slave.

      Solomon Northup, a free black man, was living in Saratoga Springs in 1841, and sometimes worked for one of the hotels. One day, two men he did not know offered him a chance to make money by accompanying them to New York City and playing the fiddle for a show they intended to put on.

      It sounded like easy money, so he agreed to go.

      After reaching New York, the men implored Northup to continue on with them to Washington, D. C., where they had a circus company in which they wanted him to perform. Northup again agreed, which was risky for a black man because slavery was allowed in Washington D.C.

      Not long after arriving in the nation's capital, Northup awoke -- after apparently having been drugged -- in a slave pen, where his insistence on his status as a free man earned him only beatings.

      Northup was transported, along with others, to New Orleans where he was sold at a slave market. He was purchased by a plantation owner from a remote section of Louisiana, where he remained for nearly 12 years, living the life of a slave.

      Northup eventually met a man who, sensitive to his plight, helped him send letters to some acquaintances in the Saratoga area. Henry ("H. B.") Northup, a lawyer and family friend, undertook a rescue trip and, in January 1853, Northup was re-united with his wife and children, who by then had moved to Glens Falls.

      Northup's story received national attention, and a lawyer and author named David Wilson helped him with a book, "Twelve Years A Slave," which recounted his experiences.

      The book was widely read, but one reader found it especially interesting. Thaddeus St. John, from Fonda, felt that two men whom he had seen during a trip to Washington D.C. in 1841 were the ones who enticed Northup to leave Saratoga Springs. He notified H. B. Northup, who had been actively seeking out Northup's kidnappers.

      H. B. and Solomon Northup went to Gloversville when informed that one of the men, Alexander Merrill, had recently arrived there from California.

      A tip provided by a man going door-to-door to buy chickens led them to the Mayfield home of Merrill's father. Told that the son was in bed, both Northups, along with local officials, stormed into the bedroom and found Merrill asleep with a revolver and Bowie knife within reach. He was seized and handcuffed, and eventually taken to the Saratoga County jail in Ballston Spa.

      Not long afterward, the second man, Joseph Russell, was also apprehended. Both were indicted on charges related to Northup's kidnapping and held for trial in county court.

      Newspapers around the country noted the arrests, and many people, especially those opposed to slavery, anxiously awaited word on the kidnappers receiving their come-uppance. Given the miraculous circumstances that led to their apprehension, expectations were high that their overdue punishment was finally at hand.

      David Fiske is a librarian with the New York State Library, a genealogist and historical researcher who has presented at the Researching New York Conference and at the Chapman Historical Museum. Fiske has also conducted historical programs for local libraries.
    • book link for more information:
    Person ID OSA0837D  St. John Origin and Ancestry DNA Database | St. John Generation One - Raoul de Sancto Johanne
    Last Modified 9 Jan 2015 

    Father Alexander Miller St. John,   b. 13 Oct 1825 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Martha Scribner 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married 1798 
    Family ID F324  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Louise Warner 
     1. Caroline R St. John
     2. Susan St. John
     3. Helena St. John
     4. Alexander St. John
    +5. James McKie St. John,   b. 29 May 1830
    +6. Thaddeus F St. John,   b. Jul 1830, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. May 1902, Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 71 years)  [Birth]
    +7. William W St. John,   b. abt. 1886
    Last Modified 13 Nov 2011 
    Family ID F527  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 2 Sep 1797 - Northampton, Fulton, New York, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - County Judge - 1841 - Northampton, Fulton, New York, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 23 Jun 1872 - Eldora, Hardin, Iowa, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

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