Union Humane Society
In 1815, Benjamin Lundy established the first society west of the Appalachian Mountains dedicated to the abolition of slavery. It was known as the Union Humane Society and was located in St. Clairsville, Ohio. It originally had just six members but eventually grew to include nearly five hundred people. The Union Humane Society consisted primarily of members of the Society of Friends. This religious group believed that violence and the enslavement of other human beings violated God's word.
Many Ohioans, however, were not receptive to the abolitionists. While many Northerners viewed slavery as immoral, they also believed that African Americans would move to the North in search of jobs if slavery ended. Lundy remained in Ohio until 1823, when he took his crusade against slavery to Tennessee.