John H. Wheeler
American politician, North Carolina / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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John Hill Wheeler (1806–1882) was an American attorney, politician, historian, planter and slaveowner. He served as North Carolina State Treasurer (1843–1845), and as United States Minister to Nicaragua (1855–1856).
Wheeler gained national attention as a central figure in an 1855 legal case that tested the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Pennsylvania was a free state, and enslaved Jane Johnson and her two sons walked away from Wheeler in Philadelphia, while he and his family were en route to New York City and a voyage to Nicaragua. Passmore Williamson, the abolitionist who aided her in claiming her freedom, was charged with a federal crime and held indefinitely in prison. Johnson was hidden in Pennsylvania and Boston, and returned to Philadelphia to testify at trial.
Hannah Bond escaped from Wheeler's North Carolina plantation about 1857, and settled in New Jersey. She came to prominence in 2001–2002, when a novel she wrote under the pseudonym "Hannah Crafts" was authenticated by historian Henry Louis Gates, revealing her connection to Wheeler. Her actual name was documented in 2013.