Who Sends Thee?
the proposed life-size bronze sculpture
to be placed near the
Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College
Office of College Advancement
Pyle Center Box 1307, 251 Ludovic Street
Wilmington, Ohio 45177-2499
Abraham Lincoln is the inspiration for the above sculpture.
The story of Isaac and Sarah’s journey to Washington D.C. to visit Abraham Lincoln is a wonderful example of how the individual “concerns” of a Quaker could lead him or her to put personal conviction into practice, no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible. Isaac, whose farm was near Wilmington, Ohio, had made it a point to go see the horrors of slavery himself. He had traveled by himself through the south to see the situation of the slaves. Consequently, he felt called to visit the president, Abraham Lincoln, to lay before him his belief that the Federal government should compensate southern slave owners for their slaves and then free them.
The story of Isaac and Sarah’s journey to Washington is enshrined in an article that was written by Nellie Blessing-Eyster and printed in the Harpers Monthly Magazine in September 1870. The story is also found in Henry W. Wilbur’s book President Lincoln’s Attitude towards Slavery and Emancipation (Philadelphia, Pa.: Jenkins, 140 on. 15th St., 1914).
Whatever the date, Isaac and Sarah did meet with Abraham Lincoln for about a half-hour and relayed their “concern” and suggestion. They learned that there had already been an attempt by the government to buy the slaves as Isaac suggested but it had not worked. Isaac asked the president to write a “minute” which he would then take back to the meeting to prove that he had seen the president. This, according to the Blessing-Eyster version of the story, all happen two days before the Lincoln issued his proclamation of emancipation of the slaves. Unfortunately, Lincoln's hand written note was destroyed many years ago.
“Ohio Quakers leave special heritage of abolitionist talk with Lincoln”, by Lloyd Ostendorf, Dayton Daily News (Dayton Leisure section), Sunday, February 7th, 1982, p. 6.