The “Lane Rebels” were a group of about 50 students who revolted against the civil magistrate of Cincinnati, Ohio which prohibited antislavery agitation that was growing at Lane Theological Seminary. Oberlin College seized upon this opportunity and invited the rebels to join them. The result of this was both an agreement and the founding of Oberlin Theological Seminary with the famous Charles Finney as the Professor of theology. Oberlin College became an interracial which was committed to the cause of emancipation as well as education of African Americans. Unlike Cincinnati the magistrate of Oberlin were not permitted to infringe upon either the enrollment of students or their freedom of speech.
While the slavery debates at Lane Theological Seminary were silenced their legacy lived on in Oberlin, Ohio, where the abolitionist cause would only grow. One of the leaders of the rebels Theodore D. Weld would be admitted to Oberlin Seminary. Calvin Ellis Stowe, the husband of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe was a professor at the theological seminary at this time. It was by this point that Oberlin became a vital and active point on the Underground Railroad as many slaves made their way to freedom.
One very important person who is connected with both Oberlin and the Lane Rebels is the minister Hirim Wilson who left with the rebels for Oberlin. After receiving his degree in 1836 the professor Charles Finney would give him some money to travel to Upper Canada and observe the slaves who travelled there. Hirim Wilson’s letters are central to the Historian’s Craft class at Huron and the research for Promised Land Project.