Solomon Northup, a free man of color from New York, was lured
to Washington, D.C. in 1841 and kidnapped into slavery.
Brought to New Orleans, he was sold to spend 12 years as a
slave in Central Louisiana arriving on the Red River in
Alexandria. After 2 years in Rapides, he was then sold to
Edwin Epps, a small planter, on Bayou Boeuf in Avoyelles near
he labored as a slave for 10 years.
Sam Bass, an itinerant carpenter and native of Canada, who
came to work at the Epps place, helped to send a letter to
New York about his whereabouts. In December 1852,
Attorney Henry Northup of New York came to free Northup with
the help of the Avoyelles Sheriff. In January 1853, he was
released with the help of Marksville Attorney John Waddill
and Judge Ralph Cushman in the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse.
Northup then left Marksville via the Red River eventually
returning to New York where he wrote his famous slave
narrative, "Twelve Years a Slave."