After Writing "12 Years a Slave," Author Solomon Northrup Disappeared and Was Never Seen Again

Solomon Northup, author of 12 Years A Slave

Solomon Northup was an African American writer best known as the author of the 1853 best-selling memoir 12 Years A Slave about his personal experience as a slave. In 2013, his book was adapted into an award-winning film starring the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o. But one of the greatest mysteries surrounding the life of Solomon Northup is his death.
Sadly, some time after the year 1857, he just disappeared never to be seen again. However, the exact date, location and circumstances of his death are unknown.

There are many theories of what may have happened, but none of them have been confirmed. One of the theories is that he was kidnapped again and thrown back into slavery. Another theory suggests that he could have died in a place where no one knew him.

Other theories imply that he was captured and killed while serving as a spy for the Union Army. His skills would have come in handy in a situation where he was cooperating with Union troops in the South because he was familiar with people from Louisiana, and knew how to act like a slave. All of this would have been helpful to someone working as a scout or a spy.

The groundwork for such theories stem from Northup supposedly having had a desire to be involved in the civil war, and wanting to be a part of the cause.

But the truth remains at large. “There’s no paper trail for him,” said Union College professor Clifford Brown.