JEFFERSON, Ohio (AP) — A historic site connected to the roots of the Republican Party has been dedicated about 60 miles from Cleveland.
The Giddings Law Office, a National Historic Landmark and museum located in Jefferson, was dedicated Friday. The small white building houses a desk and other items belonging to Joshua Giddings, a 19th century Ohio congressman who was influential in the anti-slavery movement.
Giddings served in Ohio's House of Representatives as a member of the Whig Party and in 1838 was elected to Congress. When the Republican Party held its first convention in Philadelphia in 1856, Giddings played an important role in making sure that anti-slavery sentiment was part of the party platform.
The party is meeting this week in Cleveland to formally nominate its presidential candidate.
The law office dates to 1823 and was moved to its current location at 108 E. Jefferson St. in 2013. The building has undergone extensive preservation and restoration work.
A new marker at the site quotes Giddings saying that his "heart's desire and prayer to God shall be that every human soul may enjoy that liberty which is necessary to protect and cherish life, attain knowledge and prepare for heaven."
Giddings was forced to resign his seat after being censured for defending slave mutineers who revolted on a ship outside U.S. waters, but his constituents re-elected him and he served another 17 years. In 1861 President Abraham Lincoln appointed Giddings as the U.S. consul general to Canada.
The museum is owned by the Ashtabula County Historical Society. Giddings is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, not far from the law office.