From Ohio History Central
Jim Ditcher was a free African American. During the 1850s and 1860s, he lived in Ironton, Ohio, where he assisted runaway slaves in gaining their freedom.
Little is known of Ditcher, but in December 1860, he actively assisted two slaves, a brother and a sister, in escaping from Floyd County, Kentucky. Ditcher attempted to place the two fugitives on a train heading further north on the Scioto and Hocking Valley Railroad. As soon as Ditcher and the two slaves climbed onto the train, the United States Marshal in Ironton, a Mr. Boadarmour, arrested the three people. The marshal returned the two slaves to their owner, but Ditcher succeeded in escaping.
Ditcher's actions were typical of many other Ohioans, both white and black, during the 1850s and 1860s. Increasingly, Ohioans opposed slavery and actively assisted African Americans in gaining their freedom. Not all Ohioans supported abolitionist efforts, creating a divided state in the years leading to the American Civil War.
- "Fugitive Slave Case." Ironton Register. 13 December 1860.
- Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.