Will Sleet

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Will Sleet, a free African American, was a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Clermont County, Ohio.

Little is known of Sleet's youth. He purportedly lived in Kentucky, but as an adult, Sims worked as a blacksmith in Felicity, Ohio. Sleet also owned a home at 411 Harrison Street in Felicity.

Sleet was actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Sleet sometimes hid fugitive slaves in his home in Felicity or in his barn, which he named "Canada," as his barn was the first stop for many runaways in Ohio on their way to Canada. Sleet was one of only two known African-American Underground Railroad conductors in Clermont County. It appears that he commonly crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky to assist runaways.

Sleet represents the growing tensions over slavery between Northerners and Southerners during the early nineteenth century. While many Northern states had provisions outlawing slavery, runaway slaves did not necessarily gain their freedom upon arriving in a free state. Federal law permitted slaveowners to reclaim their runaway slaves. Some slaves managed to escape their owners on their own, while others sometimes received assistance from sympathetic Northerners, such as Sleet.

See Also

References

  1. Stokes, Peter. "Route of Peter Stokes, a Fugitive." The Wilbur H. Siebert Underground Railroad Collection. The Ohio History Connection. Columbus, Ohio