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Letter from Ralph Seete to A.M. Gangener Esq.
November 25, 1859
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society

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Photo of a letter from Ralph Seete to A.M. Gangener Esq.
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The Pollys were free blacks whose children and grandchildren were kidnapped from Ohio and sold into slavery in Kentucky and Virginia. In this letter, Ralph Seete advocates on behalf of the Polly parents in their fight to free their children. In the last paragraph, Seete appeals to the compassion of his reader, invoking an image of the grief-stricken mother.

Ironton Nov. 25. 1859


In reply to your letter relative to the Polly family kidnaped in this county in 1850 I have only to say that I will at my earliest convenience go to Barboursville & collect the facts as to the history and the present condition of the case, as it now stands in Virginia. That I understand to be the object of your letter.

I am now engaged in Court at Greenup, Ky. but will be more at leasure affer the first of Dec. The case in Virginia has been bungled and shamefully missmanaged from the commencement. I had the management of the cases in Ky, which were taken to the Court of Appeals in that State and in 1853 got a decree, that sent four of the kidnapped children home to this county where they now reside my opinion is that some additional counsel should be employed in the Va. case. The claimant has four able lawyers to defend. I would suggest that George W. Summers of Kenahwa be retained, he would probably do better than any one that could be sent from this locality. Our side of the case was completely made out in 1853 In addition to the testimony I sent to Frankfort, and got a complete record of the case tried in the Court of Appeals of Ky. which is now among the papers in Va. unless it has been destroyed.

The frequent visits from the mother of these children to make inquiries about them and her anguish, are enough to move any person of correct feeling to energeticaction I will {crossed out word "know"}do what I can in the premises- In point of fact I have done all the real labor in the matter from its commencement.

Please present my regards to Mr. Chase
Yours Truly
Ralph Seete
To A. M. Gangener Esqr.
Private Secretary & c
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