The Story of Charles Nalle

There was a man named Charles Nalle. He was born about 1821 in Stevensburg, Virginia. He was a fugitive slave. He escaped from slavery in Virginia in October 1858. He came to Troy and worked for a noted industrialist, named Uri Gilbert.

On April 27, 1860, Charles Nalle was arrested under the Fugitive Slave Act. When Nalle was found guilty, he had to be returned back to his owner. Nalle's owner sent a slave agent to come to Troy to pick him up. The people in the town try to win Nalle's freedom, but the slave agent demanded for money that the people didn't have. Harriet Tubman was in Troy the day that Nalle was arrested. She got into the building where he was at and she started a commotion and blocked the stairs with her body from the police. She went to a second floor window and told the crowd to take Nalle to the river when he came out. When the police were taking Nalle out of the building, Harriet Tubman wrapped her hands around Nalle and told the people to drag her and Nalle out of the building and take him to the river. They carried Nalle to the Hudson River bank and shipped him to the other side of the river on a ferry. When he arrived on the west side he was rearrested by Albany County authorities.

The people went over the river on the next ferry and followed because they wanted Nalle to be free. They were throwing stones and they seized Nalle again. Nalle was placed on a wagon heading west and escaped to Niskayuna. Uri Gilbert and other citizens soon purchased Nalle's freedom.

Nalle later returned to Troy to live. He got married and raised a family as a free man. In remembrance to this event, a plaque was remounted near the northeast corner of the former National City Bank Building.