The Stirring Escape of
Charles Nallie
Across the Hudson River

Many thanks to Caleb G. Teffeteller for contributing this article from the Wednesday, June 18, 1890 edition of the Madisonville Democrat newspaper of Madisonville, Monroe County, Tennessee.

Historic Shackles Found

An Albany dispatch to the New York Sun states the following:

The finding of an old broken pair of slave shackles in the rubbish brought up from the bottom of the [Hudson] river, near West Troy [Albany County, NY], has recalled a stirring incident of ante-bellum times.

The shackles were broken from the wrists of one Charles NALLIE, a fugitive slave, who had run away from his master, Blucher W. HANSBROUGH of Culpeper, Va., in October, 1858. Nallie slowly worked his way north and finally reached Troy [Rensselaer County, NY], where he worked as a coachman for Uri GILBERT.

He had, prior to this, worked for a farmer in Sand Lake [Rensselaer County, NY], and while there foolishly told his story to a lawyer named Horace F. AVERILL. This lawyer wrote to Nallie's former master, informing him of the fugitive's whereabouts, and on Friday, April 27, 1860, Nallie was arrested under the fugitive-slave law.

The arrest caused great excitement in Troy, where the abolition sentiment ran high. Martin L. TOWNSEND, who is today [1890] a member of the Constitutional Commission, was secured as counsel for the slave, and a writ of habeas corpus was obtained from Judge GOULD. The fugitive was taken from the hands of the police officers and was surrounded by a crowd of citizens, who easily secured possession of him and hurried him toward the river.

Nallie, shackled as he was, sprang into the river and swam [across it] to West Troy, where friends broke the irons and threw them into the river, where they have ever since lain.

Subsequently, after being concealed for a long time, Nallie was taken to Watervliet [Albany County, NY] and made good his escape.

He was never recaptured.

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