Tucker Issacs

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Tucker Isaacs assisted runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad in Ohio.

Isaacs was born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1809. His father was David Isaacs, a Jewish storeowner and a white man. His mother was Nancy West, an African-American woman and a baker. Tucker Isaacs was born free, but he eventually married Ann-Elizabeth Fossett, a slave woman, who was once owned by President Thomas Jefferson.

While African Americans faced immense discrimination during the early nineteenth century, Issacs was able to lead a relatively prosperous life. He eventually owned several parcels of land in Charlottesville. In 1837, Ann-Elizabeth Fossett received her freedom from slavery. It appears that her family actually purchased her freedom from her owner. Under Virginia law, manumitted slaves had to leave Virginia immediately. Due to this law, by the early 1840s, it appears that Isaacs and Fossett spent much time in Ross County, Ohio, where Fossett's parents, Joseph and Edith Fossett, President Thomas Jefferson's former slave blacksmith and head cook, lived. Isaacs continued to own property in Charlottesville until the early 1850s, when he finally sold this real estate and permanently moved to Ross County.

Upon settling permanently in Ohio, Isaacs and Fossett became active in the Underground Railroad. Isaacs's home served as a stop for runaway slaves. Following the American Civil War, Isaacs remained dedicated to improving the lives of his fellow African Americans. One way that he sought to attain additional rights for African Americans was by suing an Ohio hotel that refused to rent him a room because of his race. The outcome of the case is unknown. Issacs died in 1874.

See Also


  1. Rothman, Joshua D. "'Notorious in the Neighborhood': An Interracial Family in Early National and Antebellum Virginia." The Journal of Southern History 67 (February 2001): 73-114.