SPALDING (SPAULDING), RUFUS (3 May 1798-29 Aug. 1886), lawyer, judge, congressman and a vocal opponent of slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law, was born on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., son of Rufus and Lydia Paine Spalding. He was educated in Presbyterian schools, and studied at Yale, 1813-17. He moved to Cincinnati in 1818, and the following year to Little Rock, Ark., to practice law. In 1821 he returned to Ohio, settling in Warren, then Ravenna and Akron.
He originally visited Cleveland in Mar. 1823, moving there permanently to practice law in 1852. Spalding led Cleveland lawyers against southern slaveowners who came North to claim fugitive slaves throughout the mid-1800s. In 1859 he defended Underground Railroad supporter Simeon Bushnell from charges he had tried obstructing a slaveowner from returning a captured runaway to the South. Bushnell was found guilty, but public opinion was moved by the abolitionists' efforts (see ABOLITIONISM).
Politically, Spalding had been a Democrat until the party turned proslavery, then joined the Free-Soilers and later became an organizer for the Republican party. On this ticket he was elected Ohio congressman in 1863 after having served as state representative from Portage (1839) and Summit (1841) counties. He also served as Ohio Supreme Court judge (1852).
Spalding assisted building the collection of the Cleveland Law Library and in 1883 was named to a committee to erect a monument to Gen. MOSES CLEAVELAND.
Spalding married Lucretia Swift in 1822. The couple had 7 children: Zephediah, George, Lucretia, William, Philura, Emily, and Lucretia (one of the daughters named Lucretia died four years before the other was born). Spalding married Nancy Sargeant Pierson in Jan. 1859. He died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.