Milton Sutliff

Milton Sutliff photograph

Milton Sutliff (16 Oct. 1806 – 24 Apr. 1878) lawyer and Ohio Supreme Court justice was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, the fifth of seven children born to Samuel Sutliff (1765-1840) and Ruth Granger Sutliff (1796 – 1873). A dedicated abolitionist, early in his career Sutliff toured the country speaking out against slavery. In 1833 he was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia, and a year later founded the Anti-Slavery Society of the Western Reserve. Prior to a career as a politician and justice, he was a successful lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in Warren, Ohio in 1834. Sutliff began his political career as a Whig, later became a Free-Soiler, and finally a Republican. In addition to being an abolitionist and lawyer, he served as an Ohio State Senator for one year (1850-51) and as a member of the Ohio State Supreme Court for five years, from 1858 to 1863. On the bench he remained true to his antislavery convictions, and was one of two justices writing in the dissent in the case involving the conviction of Charles Langston and Simeon Bushnell in the infamous Oberlin-Wellington slave rescue case. Arguing that the convictions should be overturned, Sutliff opined that the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was unconstitutional. Following his term as a justice, he continued to practice law until he died suddenly on 24 April 1878.  History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties  (2 vols; Cleveland, OH: H.Z Wiliams & Bro., 1882), 1: 179-181.