The Amazing Life of Charley Garlick


On February 11, 1790, the Religious Society of Friends (my people, better known as the Quakers) petitioned the US Congress to abolish slavery. On the same day, 71 years later, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.

In the middle of February, 1827, Abel Bougguess was born a slave in West Virginia. He escaped to Ohio via the Underground Railroad at 16 and was taken in by A. K. Garlick (tenuous connection to this blog) who sent him to school where he thrived. His benefactor called him Charley and on his suggestion and in his honor, Bouggess adopted the name Charley Garlick. (A.K. Garlick was known for his long “whiskers” which he refused to cut off until all the slaves were freed.)

Garlick went to Oberlin where, he writes, he was one of “sixty or seventy colored boys” in a class at Liberty Hall. He became an admirer of the noted abolitionist, Ohio Congressman Joshua R. Giddings and his fervent anti-slavery speeches. Garlick rode to Jefferson to shake hands with Giddings who took a liking to him. They became so close that when Garlick’s house burned down, he went to live with Giddings and his family. Garlick died in 1912 and was buried in the Giddings plot at Oakdale Cemetery, not far from the congressman.

No recipe. Just an amazing story.

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2 responses to “The Amazing Life of Charley Garlick

  1. Is this a true story? My maiden name is Bouggess, my family is from Louisville. I was very excited to read of Abel Bouggess and want to learn more….do tell

  2. http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/garlick/garlick.html

    Yes. This is a true story . Here’s a link to more information. How exciting to learn about a possible ancestor.

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