Anthony Burns:

After the Trial











History 312: Civil War and Reconstruction Student Web Sites



Upon arriving in Virginia, Burns was put in a jail. The room he was placed in was only six or eight square feet, accessible only through a trap door. There was no bed or chair, only a small bench fastened to the wall. His hands were in handcuffs and fetters were on his feet. He was prohibited to communicate with other prisoners. He lived in these conditions for four months before Suttle finally decided to sell him (Stevens 187-94).

David McDaniel from Rocky Mount, NC purchased Burns for $905.00 and made him a coachman and stable keeper (Stevens 196-99). While here, news reached some of Burns’ friends in Boston who approached Mr. McDaniel with the possibility of buying Burns’ freedom. Mr. McDaniel agreed, met Mr. Grimes, and sold Burns for $1300.00. "From this period he entered upon his career as a citizen of the United States . . ." (Stevens 213-14). Soon afterwards, Burns gave several speeches. In his first he described his experience (See Anthony Burns Speaks).

In the summer of 1855, Burns began attending Oberlin College on a donated scholarship. Soon after, Burns wanted to join a local church, so he wrote to his formal church in Virginia seeking a letter of dismissal. Instead he received word he had been excommunicated (von Frank 304). The church had given a defense of slavery taken from the New Testament. Burns sent a letter in response to this with his own sound interpretation of the Bible (See Letter from Anthony Burns to the Baptist Church). He served a short time as pastor for a church in Indianapolis in 1859. Late in 1860, he moved to St. Catherines, Ontario. The town had a large population of fugitive slaves. He became pastor for the black Baptist Church here and proceeded to straighten out their finances and repair the church’s meeting house. A couple of years later, Burns died of tuberculosis. On his tombstone, which is no longer there, one would have seen the following: (von Frank 304-305)

In Memoriam


The fugitive slave of the Boston riots, 1854.

Pastor of Zion Baptist Church.

Born in Virginia, May 31, 1834.

Died in the Triumph of Faith in St. Catherines,

July 27th, A.D. 1862.


This page was created by Karen Livingood

This page was last updated on 02/02/00