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Full text of "The underground rail road. A record of facts, authentic narratives, letters, &c., narrating the hardships, hair-breadth escapes, and death struggles of the slaves in their efforts for freedom, as related by themselves and others, or witnessed by the author; together with sketches of some of the largest stockholders, and most liberal aiders and advisers, of the road"

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Narrating the Hardships Hair-breadth Escapes and Death Straggles 


Slaves in their efforts for Freedom, 









For many years connected with the Anti-Slavery Office in Philadelphia, and Chairman 

of the Acting Vigilant Committee of the Philadelphia Branch of 

the Underground Rail Road. 

Illustrated with 70 fine Engravings by Bensell, Schell and otters, and 
Portraits from Photographs from Life. 

Thou shall not deliver unto his master the servant that has escaped from his master unto thee.Deut. xxiii. 15. 




Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1871, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


Electrotype t Printers, 
52 ft 54 North 6th Street, Philad'i 






By the AUTHOR. 


Whereas, The position of William Still in the vigilance committee connected with the 
" Underground Rail Road," as its corresponding secretary, and chairman of its active 
sub-committee, gave him peculiar facilities for collecting interesting facts pertaining to 
this branch of the anti-slavery service ; therefore 

Resolved, That the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society request him to compile and 
publish his personal reminiscences and experiences relating to the "Underground 
Rail Road." 

In compliance with this Resolution, unanimously passed at the 
closing meeting of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society held 
last May in Philadelphia, the writer, in the following pages, wil- 
lingly and he hopes satisfactorily discharges his duty. 

In these Records will be found interesting narratives of the 
escapes 'of many men, women and children, from the prison- 
house of bondage; from cities and plantations; from rice swamps 
and cotton fields; from kitchens and mechanic shops; from 
Border States and Gulf States; from cruel masters and mild mas- 
ters ; some guided by the north star alone, penniless, braving the 
perils of land and sea, eluding the keen scent of the bloodrhound 
as well as the more dangerous pursuit of the savage slave-hunter; 
some from secluded dens and caves of the earth, where for months 
and years they had been hidden away waiting for the chance to 
escape ; from mountains and swamps, where indescribable suffer- 
ing from hunger and other privations had patiently been endured. 
Occasionally fugitives came in boxes and chests, and not infre- 
quently some were secreted in steamers and vessels, and in some 
instances journeyed hundreds of miles in skiffs. Men; disguised in 
female attire and women dressed in the garb- of men have under 
very trying circumstances triumphed in thus making their way 
to freedom. And here and there when all other modes of escape 
seemed cut off, some, whose fair complexions have rendered them 
indistinguishable from their Anglo-Saxon brethren, feeling that 
they could endure the yoke no longer, with assumed airs of im- 


portance, such as they had been accustomed to see their masters 
show when traveling, have taken the usual modes of conveyance 
and have even braved the most scrutinizing inspection of slave- 
holders, slave-catchers and car conductors, who were ever on the 
alert to catch those who were considered base and white enough 
to practice such deception. Passes have been written and used 
by fugitives, with their masters' and mistresses' names boldly 
attached thereto, and have answered admirably as a protection, 
when passing through ignorant country districts of slave regions, 
where but few, either white or colored, knew how to read or write 

Not a few, upon arriving, of course, hardly had rags 
enough on them to cover their nakedness, even in the coldest 

It scarcely needs be stated that, as a general rule, the passengers 
of the U. G. R. R. were physically and intellectually above the 
average order of slaves. 

They were determined to have liberty even at the cost of life. 

The slave auction block indirectly proved to be in some respects 
a very active agent in promoting travel on the U. G. R. R., just 
as Jeff. Davis was an agent in helping to bring about the downfall 
of Slavery. The horrors of the block, as looked upon through 
the light of the daily heart-breaking separations it was causing to 
the oppressed, no pen could describe or mind imagine ; hence it 
will be seen that many of the passengers, whose narratives will be 
found in this work, ascribed their first undying resolution to strike 
for freedom to the auction block or to the fear of soon having to 
take their chances thereon. But other agencies were at work in 
the South, which in various ways aided directly or tacitly the 
U. G. R. R. cause. 

To refer in detail to any considerable number of these agents 
would be impossible, if necessary. Some there were who nobly 
periled their all for the freedom of the oppressed, whose sufferings 
and deeds of bravery must have a fitting place in this volume. 

Where in history, modern or ancient, could be found a more 
Christlike exhibition of love and humanity, of whole-souled devo- 
tion to freedom, than was proven in the character of the hero, 
Seth Concklin, who lost his life while endeavoring to rescue from 
Alabama slavery the wife and children of Peter Still ? 


So also do the heroic and faithful services of Samuel D. Burris 
demand special reference and commemoration, for his connection 
with the U. G. R. R. cost him not only imprisonment and the 
most barbarous treatment, but likewise the loss of his freedom. 
He was sold on the auction block. 

Here too come the overwhelming claims of S. A. Smith, who 
at the sad cost to himself of many of the best years of his life in 
the Richmond penitentiary, boxed up Henry Box Brown and 
others in Richmond, and committed them to Adams' Express 
office, to be carried in this most extraordinary manner to freedom. 

We must not omit from these records the boldness and the 
hazard of the unparalleled undertakings of Captains Dray ton, 
Lee, Baylis, &c. 

While the Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia was in no wise 
responsible for the suffering incurred by many of those who 
helped the slave, yet in order to show how men were moved 
to lend an ear to those hungering and thirsting for freedom, and 
to what extent the relentless spirit of Slavery would go in wreak- 
ing vengeance upon them out of the many who were called upon 
to suffer thus, the individual cases here brought forward must 
suffice. Without introducing a few of such incidents the records 
would necessarily be incomplete. 

Those who come after us seeking for information in regard 
to the existence, atrocity, struggles and destruction of Slavery, 
will have no trouble in finding this hydra-headed monster 
ruling and tyrannizing over Church and State, North and 
South, white and black, without let or hindrance, for at least 
several generations. Nor will posterity have any difficulty i^i 
finding the deeds of the brave and invincible opposers of Slavery, 
who in the language of Win. Lloyd Garrison, declared without 
concealment and without compromise : " I am in earnest, I will 
not equivocate I will not excuse I will not retreat a single 
inch and I will be heard." 

While this resolute spirit actuated the hearts of all true aboli- 
tionists, it was a peculiar satisfaction and gratification to them to 
know that the slaves themselves were struggling and hungering 
for deliverance. Hence such evidence from this quarter never 
failed to meet with hearty sympathy and aid. But here the 
enemy was never willingly allowed to investigate. 


The slave and his particular friends could only meet in private 
to transact the business of the Underground Rail Road ground. 
All others were outsiders. The right hand was not to know what 
the left hand was doing. 

Stockholders did not expect any dividends, nor did they re- 
quire special reports to be published. Indeed prudence often 
dictated that even the recipients of our favor should not know 
the names of their helpers, and vice versa they did not desire to 
know theirs. 

The risk of aiding fugitives was never lost sight of, and the safety 
of all concerned called for still tongues. Hence sad and thrilling 
stories were listened to, and made deep impressions ; but as a uni- 
versal rule, friend and fugitive parted with only very vivid recollec- 
tion of the secret interview and with mutual sympathy; for a length 
of time no narratives were written. The writer, in common with 
others, took no notes. But after the restoration of Peter 
Still, his own brother (the kidnapped and the ransomed), after 
forty years' cruel separation from his mother, the wonderful 
discovery and joyful reunion, the idea forced itself upon his 
mind that all over this wide and extended country thousands of 
mothers and children, separated by Slavery, were in a similar 
way living without the slightest knowledge of each other's where- 
abouts, praying and weeping without ceasing, as did this mother 
and son. Under these reflections it seemed reasonable to hope 
that by carefully gathering the narratives of Underground Rail 
Road passengers, in some way or other some of the bleeding and 
severed hearts might be united and comforted ; and by the use that 
might be made privately, if not publicly, of just such facts as would 
naturally be embraced in their brief narratives, re-unions might take 
place. For years it was the writer's privilege to see many travelers, 
to receive from their own lips the most interesting and in many 
cases exceedingly thrilling accounts of their struggles for liberty, 
and to learn who had held them in bondage, how they had been 
treated, what prompted them to escape, and whom that were near, 
and dear to them they had left in chains. Their hopes, fears and 
sufferings were thus recorded in a book. It scarcely need be 
added with no expectation, however, that the day was so near 
when these things could be published. 

It is now a source of great satisfaction to feel that not 


only these numerous narratives may be published, but that in 
connection therewith, for the completeness of the work, many in- 
teresting private letters from fugitives in Canada, slaves in the 
South, Underground Rail Road conductors arid stockholders, and 
last and least, from slaveholders, in the bargain all having a 
direct bearing on the mysterious road. 

In the use of these various documents, the writer begs to assure 
his readers that the most scrupulous* care has been taken to 
furnish artless stories, simple facts, to resort to no coloring 
to make the book seem romantic, as he is fully persuaded that 
any exaggerations or Additions of his own could not possibly 
equal in surpassing interest, the original and natural tales given 
under circumstances, when life and death seemed about equally 
balanced in the scale, and fugitives in transit were making their 
way from Slavery to Freedom, with the horrors of the Fugitive 
Slave-law staring them in the face. 

Thousands were either directly or indirectly interested in this en- 
terprise, and in all probability two generations will pass away before 
many who are now living witnesses to the truth of these records 
will cease to bring vividly to mind the hour and circumstance 
when for the first time they were led to resort to this road to 
escape the " barbarism" of Slavery. 

Far be it from the writer to assume, however, that these 
Records cover the entire Underground Rail Road operations. 
Many local branches existed in different parts of the country, 
which neither time nor limit would allow mention of in this 
connection. Good men labored and suffered, who deserve to be 
held in the highest admiration by the friends of Freedom, whose 
names may be looked for in vain in these pages ; for which reason 
some may be inclined to complain. With respect to these 
points it may here be remarked that in gathering narratives 
from unwritten sources from memory simply no amount of 
pains or labor could possibly succeed in making a trustworthy his- 
tory. The writer has deemed it best, therefore, to confine himself 
to facts coming within his personal knowledge, and to the records 
of his own preserving, which, by the way, are quite too voluminous 
to be all used in this work. Frequent abridgements and omissions 
must be made. 

The writer is fully conscious of his literary imperfections. The 


time allotted him from other pressing duties is, moreover, exceed- 
ingly limited. Nevertheless he feels that he owes it to the 
cause of Freedom, and to the Fugitives and their posterity in par- 
ticular, to bring the doings of the U. G. R. R. before the public 
in the most truthful manner; not for the purpose of amusing 
the reader, but to show what efforts were made and what suc- 
cess was gained for Freedom under difficulties. That some 
professing a love of liberty at this late date will be disposed to 
criticise some of the methods resorted to in aiding in the escape 
of fugitives as herein recounted, may be expected. While .the 
writer holds the labors of Abolitionists generally in very grateful 
appreciation, he hopes not to be regarded as making any invidious 
discriminations in favor of the individual friends of the slave, 
whose names may be brought out prominently in this work, as it 
( is not with the Anti-Slavery question proper that he is dealing, 
but simply the Underground Rail Road. In order, therefore, 
fittingly to bring the movements of this enterprise to light, 
the writer could not justly confine himself to the Acting 
Committee, but felt constrained to bring in others Friends 
who never forsook the fugitive, who visited him in prison, 
clothed him when naked, fed him when hungry, wept with 
him when he wept, and cheered him with their warmest sym- 
pathies and friendship. In addition to the names of the Act- 
ing Committee, he has felt constrained to beg the portraits of the 
following stockholders and advisers of the Road, whose names 
will be found on the next page, and in thus presenting a brief 
sketch of their labors, he feels that the true friends of the slave in 
recognizing them in this connection with many of the once Fugi- 
tives (now citizens), will regard it as a tribute to the Anti-Slavery 
cause rather than the individuals themselves. 

PHILADELPHIA, January, 1872. 


























UP A TREE 237 











N. W. DEPEE '. 400 






" IN A CAVE 425 















J. MILLER M'KIM % 654 




















From Thomas Garrett G. A. Lewis E. L. Stevens Sydney Howard Gay John 
Henry Hill J. Bigelowe Ham and Eggs Rev. H. Wilson Sheridan Ford 
E. F. Pennypacker J. C. Bustill Slave secreted in Richmond G. S. Nelson 
John Thompson Wm. Penn 39 

Came boxed \ipvia Erricson line of Steamers 46 


Arrived in Male Attire 60 


Secreted Ten Months Eight days on the Steamship City of Richmond bound for 
Philadelphia 61 

Eye knocked Out v 64 


Hearts full of joy for Freedom Very anxious for Wives in Slavery 64 


Sold, the day he escaped, for Fourteen Hundred Dollars Slave Trader loses his 
Bargain t 66 

Secreted in the Woods Escapes in a Steamer 67 


Young Master had a "Malignant Spirit" 68 




ARTICLE '. 69 



" Two Thousand Dollars Reward" offered 70 

Daniel Hughes, Thomas Elliott, and five others betrayed into Dover Jail 72 



A Slave Mother Loses her Speech at the Sale of her Child. ..Bob Escapes from his 
Master, a Trader, with Fifteen Hundred Dollars in North Carolina Money 74 


Arrived by Adams Express 81 



Sixty Passengers came in one Month Twenty-eight in one Arrival Great Panic 
and Indignation Meeting Interesting Correspondence from Masters and Fugi- 
tives 97 


Cordelia Loney, Slave of Mrs. Joseph Caheill, (widow of the late Hon. Joseph Caheill, 
of Virginia) Cordelia's Escape from her Mistress in Philadelphia 112 


Touching Scene on Meeting their Old Blind Father at the U. G. R. R. Depot 117 

Crossing the River on Horseback in the Night 121 

SCOTT. 122 


ALIAS ANN WOOD .. . 124 




Two Passengers via Liverpool 132 

"One Hundred Dollars Reward" 134 



Jefferson Pipkins alias David Jones, Louisa Pipkins, Elizabeth Brit, Harriet Brown, 
alias Jane Wooton, Gracy Murry alias Sophia Sims, Edward Williams alias Henry 
Johnson, Charles Lee alias Thomas Bushier 136 


Henry Anderson, Charles and Margaret Congo, Chaskey Brown, William Henry 
Washington, James Alfred Frisley, Charles Henry Salter, Stephen Taylor, Charles 
Brown, Charles H. Holli?, Luther Dorsey 137 

Jeremiah W. Smith and wife Julia 141 


James Massey, Perry Henry Trusty, George Rhoads, James Rhoads, George Wash- 
ington, Sarah Elizabeth Rhoadd, and Child, Mary Elizabeth Stevenson 143 

Carrier of "The National American" 146 


Abram Galloway and Richard Eden Secreted in a Vessel Loaded with Spirits of 
Turpentine Shrouds Prepared to Prevent being Smoked to Death Abram a Sol- 
dier under Father Abraham Senator of North Carolina 150 


" One Hundred Dollars Reward" Offered McHenry and McCulloch Anxious 
About John 153 

" Would rather Fight than Eat" 154 

Letter from "J. B. 1 ' Letters from E. L. Stevens... Great Anxiety and Care 155 

Baby, Little Girl and Husband left Behind Three Hundred Dollars Reward Offered 157 




Arrival from the Richmond Daily Dispatch Office "Uncle Tom's Cabin" turned 
Sam's Brain Affecting Letters 158 


Stephen Amos alias Henry Johnson, Harriet alias Mary Jane Johnson, and their 
four children, Ann Rebecca, William H., Elizabeth and Mary Ellen 160 


From Richmond " Five Hundred Dollars Reward" offered by R. J. Christian. ..Grate- 
ful letter from Canada 161 


Arrived per City of Richmond Letter from Canada containing expressions of Grati- 
tude 163 


Traveler from Maryland William was much troubled about his Wife left behind 
Letter from Canada 164 

Ann Johnson and Lavina Woolfley Sold Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire 164 


Twenty-one Passengers secreted in Captain Fountain's Boat Mayor and Posse of 
Officers on the Boat searching for U. G. R. R. Passengers 165 


Matilda Mahoney Dr. J. W. Pennington's Brother and Sons Great Adventure to 
deliver a Lover 172 


Ann Maria Weems alias Joe Wright Great Triumph Arrival on Thanksgiving 
Day Interesting letters from J. Bigelow 177 

John Henry, Hezekiah and James Hill IS'J 


Archer Barlow, alias Emet Robins Samuel Bush alias William Oblebee John Spen- 
cer and his son William and James Albert Robert Fisher NATHAN HARRIS 
Hansel Waples Rosanna Tonnell, alias Maria Hyde Mary Ennis alias Licia 
Hemmit and two Children Lydia and Louisa Caroline 203 

" One Thousand Dollars Reward"... .. 208 



William B. White, Susan Brooks, and Win. Henry Atkinson 211 


Charlotte and Harriet escape in deep Mourning White Lady and Child with a Col- 
ored Coachman Three likely Young Men from Baltimore Four large and two 
Small Hams U. G. R. R. Passengers Travelling with their Master's Horses and 
Carriage Six Passengers on two Horses, &c 214 



Fleeing from Davis, a Negro Trader Secreted under a Hotel Up a Tree Under a 
Floor In a Thicket On a Steamer 235 

Jim Bowlegs alias Bill Paul 240 



Ten Years in the Penitentiary for having a Copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin in his 
House '. 246 

In Love with a Slave Gets him off to Canada Follows him Marriage, &c 250 

The Escape of a Dentist on the U. G. R. R. &c 254 

From Loudoun County, Va., Norfolk, Baltimore, Md., Petersburg, Va., Ac 259 

" Two Thousand Six Hundred Dollars Reward" Offered 272 

Robert McCoy alias William Donar, and Elizabeth Sanders, arrived per steamer 274 

A Bill providing additional Protection for the Slave Property of Citizens of this Com- 
monwealth 277 

"One Hundred and Fifty Dollars Reward" Lear G'reen 281 





Cyrus Mitchell alias John Steel, Joshua Handy alias Hambleton Hamby, Charles 
Dutton alias William Robinson, Ephraim Hudson alias John Spry, Francis Molock 
alias Thomas Jackson 286 

Francis Billiard and Others 287 

Thomas Madden 294 

"I might as well be in the Penitentiary as in Slavery." 295 


John Atkinson 299 

He was abuseful" 300 


Harriet Shephard, and her five Children with five other Passengers 302 

Washington Somlor alias James Moore 304 


About the 1st of June, 1855 Emory Roberts and others 305 

Verenea Mercer and others 309 

James Griffin alias Thomas Brown 314 

Names of Passengers 316 





Three Hundred Dollars Reward "Tom" gone 324 



Joseph Cornish and others 334 

Thomas J. Gooseberry and others 339 


" An Act Respecting Fugitives from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Servi- 
ces of their Masters." 343 


"Treason at Christiana" 348 


Female Slave in Male Attire, fleeing as a Planter, with her Husband as her Body 
Servant 3G8 

Lewis Cobb and Nancy Brister 377 

Major Latham, William Wilson, Henry Goram, Wiley Madison, and Andrew Shep- 
herd .' 379 

Passed over the U. G. R. R. in the Fall of 1856 3S2 

Charles Hall and others 383 

Mother and Child from Norfolk, Va., &c 386 

William Henry MOODY, BELINDA BIVANS, &c 388 


George Carroll, Randolph Branson, John Clagart and William Royan 391 




Israel Todd and Bazil Aldridge 392 

Ordee Lee and Richard J. Booce 393 


Silas Long and Solomon Light " The Mother of Twelve Children" Old Jane 
Davis 394 

Fled from Caroline County, Eastern Shore of Maryland, June, 1857 395 















































































SUNDRY ARRIVALS, 1859 .. 500 










LUMBIA 508, 


























JOSEPH C. MILLER, IN 1851 AND 1852 551 

ARRIVAL FROM VIRGINIA, 1854 ,.....". 555 






















ROBERT PURVIS..., .. 711 
















IN the long list of names who have suffered and died in the cause of 
freedom, not one, perhaps, could be found whose efforts to redeem a poor 
family of slaves were more Christlike than Seth Concklin's. whose noblo 
and daring spirit has been so long completely shrouded in mystery. Except 
John Brown, it is a question, whether his rival could be found with respect 
to boldness, disinterestedness and willingness to be sacrificed for the de- 
liverance of the oppressed. 

By chance one day he came across a copy of the Pennsylvania Freeman, 
containing the story of Peter Still, " the Kidnapped and the Ransomed," 
how he had been torn away from his mother, when a little boy six years 
old ; how, for forty years and more, he had been compelled to serve under 
the yoke, totally destitute as to any knowledge of his parents' whereabouts; 
how the intense love of liberty and desire to get back to his mother had un- 
ceasingly absorbed his mind through all these years of bondage; how, amid 
the most appalling discouragements, prompted alone by his undying deter- 
mination to be free and be reunited with those from whom he had been sold 
away, he contrived to buy himself; how, by extreme economy, from doing 
over-work, he saved up five hundred dollars, the amount of money required 
for his ransom, which, with his freedom, he, from necessity, placed unre- 
servedly in the confidential keeping of a Jew, named Joseph Friedman, whom 
he had known for a long time and could venture to trust, how he had fur- 
ther toiled to save up money to defray his expenses on an expedition in 
search of his mother and kindred ; how, when this end was accomplished, 
with an earnest purpose he took his carpet-bag in his hand, and his heart 
throbbing for his old home and people, he turned his mind very privately to- 
wards Philadelphia, where he hoped, by having notices read in the colored 
churches to the effect that " forty-one or forty-two years before two little boys* 

* Sons of Levin and Sidney the last names of his parents he was too young to remember. 



were kidnapped and carried South " that the memory of some of the older 
members might recall the circumstances, and in this way he would be aided 
in his ardent efforts to become restored to them. 

And, furthermore, Seth Coucklin had read how, on arriving in Philadel- 
phia, after traveling sixteen hundred miles, that almost the first man whom 
Peter Still sought advice from was his own unknown brother (whom he had 
never seen or heard of), who made the discovery that he was the long-lost 
boy, whose history and fate had been enveloped in sadness so long, and 
for whom his mother had shed so many tears and offered so many prayers, 
during the long years of their separation ; and, finally, how this self-ran- 
somed and restored captive, notwithstanding his great success, was destined 
to suffer the keenest pangs of sorrow for his wife and children, whom he had 
left in Alabama bondage. 

Seth Coucklin was naturally too singularly sympathetic and humane not 
to feel now for Peter, and especially for his wife and children left in bonds 
as bound with them. Hence, as Seth was a man who seemed wholly insen- 
sible to fear, and to know no other law of humanity and right, than when- 
ever the claims of the suffering and the wronged appealed to him, to respond 
unreservedly, whether those thus injured were amongst his nearest kin or 
the greatest strangers, it mattered not to what race or clime they might be- 
long, he, in the spirit of the good Samaritan, owning all such as his neigh- 
bors, volunteered his services, without pay or reward, to go and rescue the 
wife and three children of Peter Still. 

The magnitude of this offer can hardly be appreciated. It was literally 
laying his life on the altar of freedom for the despised and oppressed whom 
he had never seen, whose kins-folk even he was not acquainted with. At this 
juncture even Peter was not prepared to accept this proposal. He wanted 
to secure the freedom of his wife and children as earnestly as he had ever 
desired to see his mother, yet he could not, at first, hearken to the idea of 
having them rescued in the way suggested by Concklin, fearing a failure. 

To J. M. McKim and the writer, the bold scheme for the deliverance of 
Peter's family was alone confided. It was never submitted to the Vigilance 
Committee, for the reason, that it was not considered a matter belonging 
thereto. On first reflection, the very idea of such an undertaking seemed 
perfectly appalling. Frankly was he told of the great dangers and diffi- 
culties to be encountered through hundreds of miles of slave territory. Seth 
was told of those \vho, in attempting to aid slaves to escape, had 
fallen victims to the relentless Slave Power, and had either lost their 
lives, or been incarcerated for long years in penitentiaries, where no friendly 
aid could be afforded them ; in short, he was plainly told, that without a 
very great chance, the undertaking would cost him his life. The occasion 
of this interview and conversation, the seriousness of Concklin and the utter 
failure in presenting the various obstacles to his plan, to create the slightest 
apparent misgiving in his mind, or to produce the slightest sense of fear or 


hesitancy, can never be effaced from the memory of the writer. The plan 
was, however, allowed to rest for a time. 

In the meanwhile, Peter's mind was continually vacillating between Ala- 
bama, with his wife and children, and his new-found relatives in the North. 
Said a brother, "If you cannot get your family, what will you do? Will 
you come North and live with your relatives?" "I would as soon go out 
of the world, as not to go back and do all I can for them," was the prompt 
reply of Peter. 

The problem of buying them was seriously considered, but here obstacles 
quite formidable lay in the way. Alabama laws utterly denied the right of 
a slave to buy himself, much less his wife and children. The right of slave 
masters to free their slaves, either by sale or emancipation, was positively 
prohibited by law. With these reflections weighing upon his mind, having 
stayed away from his wife as long as he could content himself to do, he took 
his carpet-bag in his hand, and turned his face toward Alabama, to embrace 
his family in the prison-house of bondage. 

His approach home could only be made stealthily, not daring to breathe 
to a living soul, save his own family, his nominal Jew master, and one 
other friend a slave where he had been, the prize he had found, or any- 
thing in relation to his travels. To his wife and children his return was 
unspeakably joyous. The situation of his family concerned him with ten- 
fold more weight than ever before. 

As the time drew near to make the offer to his wife's master to purchase 
her with his children, his heart failed him through fear of awakening the ire 
of slaveholders against him, as he knew that the law and public sentiment 
were alike deadly opposed to the spirit of freedom in the slave. Indeed, 
as innocent as a step in this direction might appear, in those days a man 
would have stood about as good a chance for his life in entering a lair of 
hungry hyenas, as a slave or free colored man would, in talking about 

He concluded, therefore, to say nothing about buying. The plan proposed 
by Seth Concklin was told to Vina, his wife ; also what he had heard from 
his brother about the Underground Kail Road, how, that many wti3 
could not get their freedom in any other way, by being aided a little, were 
daily escaping to Canada. Although the wife and children had never 
tasted the pleasures of freedom for a single hour in their lives, they hated 
slavery heartily, and being about to be far separated from husband and 
father, they were ready to assent to any proposition that looked like deliver- 

So Peter proposed to Vina, that she should give him certain small 
articles, consisting of a cape, etc., which he would carry with him as memo- 
rials, and, in case Concklin or any one else should ever come for her from 
him, as an unmistakable sign that all was right, he would send back, by 


whoever was to befriend them, the cape, so that she and the children might 
not doubt but have faith in the man, when he gave her the sign, (cape). 

Again Peter returned to Philadelphia, and was now willing to accept the 
offer of Concklin. Ere long, the opportunity of an interview was had, 
and Peter gave Seth a very full description of the country and of his family, 
and made known to him, that he had very carefully gone over with his 
wife and children the matter of their freedom. This interview interested 
Concklin most deeply. If his own wife and children had been in bondage, 
scarcely could he have manifested greater sympathy for them. 

For the hazardous work before him he was at once prepared to make a 
start. True he had two sisters in Philadelphia for whom he had always che- 
rished the warmest affection, but he conferred not with them on this mo- 
mentous mission. For full well did he know that it was not in human 
nature for them to acquiesce in this perilous undertaking, though one of 
these sisters, Mrs. Supplee, was a most faithful abolitionist. 

Having once laid his hand to the plough he was not the man to look 
back, not even to bid his sisters good-bye, but he actually left them as 
though he expected to be home to his dinner as usual. What had become 
of him during those many weeks of his perilous labors in Alabama to rescue 
this family was to none a greater mystery than to his sisters. On leaving 
home he simply took two or three small articles in the way of apparel with 
one hundred dollars to defray his expenses for a time ; this sum he con- 
sidered ample to start with. Of course he had very safely concealed about 
him Vina's cape and one or two other articles which he was to use for his 
identification in meeting her and the children on the plantation. 

His first thought was, on reaching his destination, after becoming 
acquainted with the family, being familiar with Southern manners, to have 
them all prepared at a given hour for the starting of the steamboat for 
Cincinnati, and to join him at the wharf, when he would boldly assume the 
part of a slaveholder, and the family naturally that of slaves, and in 
this way he. hoped to reach Cincinnati direct, before their owner had fairly 
discovered their escape. 

But alas for Southern irregularity, two or three days' delay after being 
Advertised to start, was no uncommon circumstance with steamers ; hence 
this plan was abandoned. What this heroic man endured from severe 
struggles and unyielding exertions, in traveling thousands of miles on water 
and on foot, hungry and fatigued, rowing his living freight for seven days 
and seven nights in a skiff, is hardly to be paralleled in the annals of the 
Underground Rail Road. 

The following interesting letters penned by the hand of Concklin con- 
vey minutely his last struggles and characteristically represent the singleness 
of heart which impelled him to sacrifice his life for the slave 


EASTPOKT, Miss., FEB. 3, 1851. 

To WM. STILL : Our friends in Cincinnati have failed finding anybody to assist me on 
my return. Searching the country opposite Paducah, I find that the whole country fifty 
miles round is inhabited only by Christian wolves. It is customary, when a strange negro 
is seen, for any white man to seize the negro and convey such negro through and out of 
the State of Illinois to Paducah, Ky., and lodge such stranger in Paducah jail, and there 
claim such reward as may be offered by the master. 

There is no regularity by the steamboats on the Tennessee River. I was four days 
getting to Florence from Paducah. Sometimes they are four days starting, from the time 
appointed, which alone puts to rest the plan for returning by steamboat. The distance 
from the mouth of the river to Florence, is from between three hundred and five to three 
hundred and forty-five miles by the river; by land, two hundred and fifty, or more. 

I arrived at the shoe shop on the plantation, one o'clock, Tuesday, 28th. William and 
two boys were making shoes. I immediately gave the first signal, anxiously waiting 
thirty minutes for an opportunity to give the second and main signal, during which time 
I was very sociable. It was rainy and muddy my pants were rolled up to the knees. I 
was in the character of a man seeking employment in this country. End of thirty minutes 
gave the second signal. 

William appeared unmoved ; soon sent out the boys ; instantly sociable ; Peter and 
Levin at the Island ; one of the young masters with them ; not safe to undertake to see 
them till Saturday night, when they would be at home : appointed a place to see Vina, 
in an open field, that night; they to bring me something to eat; our interview only four 
minutes; I left; appeared by night; dark and cloudy; at ten o'clock appeared William; 
exchanged signals ; led me a few rods to where stood Vina ; gave her the signal sent by 
Peter ; our interview ten minutes ; she did not call me " master," nor did she say " sir," 
by which I knew she had confidence in me. 

Our situation being dangerous, we decided that I meet Peter and Levin on the bank 
of the river early dawn of day, Sunday, to establish the laws. During our interview, 
William prostrated on his knees, and face to the ground ; arms sprawling ; head cocked 
back, watching for wolves, by which position a man can see better in the dark. No house 
to go to safely, traveled round till morning, eating hoe cake which William had given me 
for supper ; next day going around to get employment. I thought of William,, who is a 
Christian preacher, and of the Christian preachers in Pennsylvania. One watching for 
wolves by night, to rescue Vina and her three children from Christian licentiousness ; the 
other standing erect in open day, seeking the praise of men. 

During the four days waiting for the important Sunday morning, I thoroughly surveyed 
the rocks and shoals of the river from Florence seven miles up, where will be my place of 
departure. General notice was taken of me as being a stranger, lurking around. Fortu- 
nately there are several small grist mills within ten miles around. No taverns here, as in 
the North ; any planter's house entertains travelers occasionally.. 

One night I stayed at a medical gentleman's, who is not a large planter; another night 
at an ex-magistrate's house in South Florence a Virginian by birth one of the late 
census takers ; told me that many more persons cannot read and write than is reported ; 
one fact, amongst many others, that many persons who do not know the letters of the al- 
phabet, have learned to write their own names ; such are generally reported readers and 

It being customary for a stranger not to leave the house early in the morning where he 
has lodged, I was under the necessity of staying out all night Saturday, to be able to meet 
Peter and Levin, which was accomplished in due time. When we approached, I gave my 
signal first ; immediately they gave theirs. I talked freely. Levin's voice, at first, evi- 
dently trembled. No wonder, for my presence universally attracted attention by the lords 


of the land. Our interview was less than one hour ; the laws were written. I to go to 
Cincinnati to get a rowing boat and provisions ; a first class clipper boat to go with speed. 
To depart from the place where the laws were written, on Saturday night of the first of 
March. I to meet one of them at the same place Thursday night, previous to the fourth 
Saturday from the night previous to the Sunday when the laws were written. We to go 
down the Tennessee river to some place up the Ohio, not yet decided on, in our row boat. 
Peter and Levin are good oarsmf-n. So am I. Telegraph station at Tuscumbia, twelve 
miles from the plantation, also at Paducah. 

Came from Florence to here Sunday night by steamboat. Eastport is in Mississippi. 
Waiting here for a steamboat to go down ; paying one dollar a day for board. Like other 
taverns here, the wretchedness is indescribable; no pen, ink, paper or newspaper to be 
had ; only one room for everybody, except the gambling rooms. It is difficult for me to 
write. Vina intends to get a pass for Catharine and herself for the first Sunday in March. 

The bank of the river where I met Peter and Levin is two miles from the plantation. I 
have avoided saying I am from Philadelphia. Also avoided talking about negroes. I 
never talked so much about milling before. I consider most of the trouble over, till I 
arrive in a free State with my crew, the first week in March ; then will I have to be wiser 
than Christian serpents, and more cautious than doves. I do not consider it safe to keep 
this letter in my possession, yet I dare not put it in the post-office here; there is so little 
business in these post-offices that notice might be taken. 

I am evidently watched ; everybody knows me to be a miller. I may write again when 
I get to Cincinnati, if I should have time. The ex- magistrate, with whom I stayed in 
South Florence, held three hours' talk with me, exclusive of our morning talk. Is a man 
of good general information ; he was exceedingly inquisitive. " I am from Cincinnati, for- 
merly from the State of New York" I had no opportunity to get anything to eat from 
seven o'clock Tuesday morning till six o'clock Wednesday evening, except the hoe cake, 
and no sleep. 

Florence is the head of navigation for small steamboats. Seven miles, all the way up to 
my place of departure, is swift water, and rocky. Eight hundred miles to Cincinnati. I 
found all things here as Peter told me, except the distance of the river. South Florence 
contains twenty white families, three warehouses of considerable business, a post-office, 
but no school. McKiernon is here waiting for a steamboat to go to New Orleans, so we 
are in company. 


To WM. STILL : The plan is to go to Canada, on the Waba&h, opposite Detroit. There 
are four routes to Canada. One through Illinois, commencing above and below Alton ; 
one through to North Indiana, and the Cincinnati route, being the largest route in the 
United Slates. 

I intended to have gone through Pennsylvania, but the risk going up the Ohio river 
has caused me to go to Canada. Steamboat traveling is universally condemned; though 
many go in boats, consequently many get lost. Going in a skiff is new, and is approved 
of in my case. After I arrive at the mouth of the Tennessee river, I will go up the Ohio 
seventy-five miles, to the mouth of the Wabash, then up-the Wabash, forty-four miles to 
New Harmony, where I shall go ashore by night, and go thirteen miles east, to Charles 
Grier, a farmer, (colored man), who will entertain u^, and next night convey us sixteen 
miles to David Stormon, near Princeton, who will take the command, and I be released. 

David Stormon estimates the expenses from his house to Canada, at forty dollars, with- 
out which, no sure protection will be given. They might be instructed concerning the 
course, and beg their way through without money. If you wish to do what should be 
done, yon will send me fifty dollars, in a letter, to Princeton, Gibson county, Inda , so as 


to arrive there by the 8th of March. Eight days should be estimated for a letter to arrive 
from Philadelphia. 

The money to be State Bank of Ohio, or State Bank, or Northern Bank of Kentucky, 
or any other Eastern bank. Send no notes larger than twenty dollars. 

Levi Coflia had no money for me. I paid twenty dollars for the skiff. No money to 
get back to Philadelphia. It was not understood I would have to be at any expense 
seeking aid. 

One half of my time has been used in trying to find persons to assist, when I may 
arrive on the Ohio river, in which I have failed, except Stormon. 

Having no letter of introduction to Stormon from any source, on which I could fully 
rely, I traveled two hundred miles around, to find out his stability. I have found many 
Abolitionists, nearly all who have made propositions, which themselves would not comply 
with, and nobody else would. Already I have traveled over three thousand mil^s. TWJ 
thousand and four hundred by steamboat, two hundred by railroad, one hundred by 
stage, four hundred on foot, forty-eight in a skiff. 

I have yet five hundred miles to go to the plantation, to commence operations. I have 
been two weeks on the decks of steamboats, three nights out, two of which I got per- 
lectly wet. If I had had paper mon^, as McKim desired, it would have been destroyed. 
I have not been entertained gratis at any place except Stormon's. I had one hundred and 
twenty-six dollars when I left Philadelphia, one hundred from you, twenty-six mine. 

Telegraphed to station, at Evansville, thirty-three. miles from Stormon's, and at Vin- 
clure's, twenty-five miles from Stormon's. The Wabash route is considered the safest 
route. No one has ever been lost from Stormon's to Canada. Some have been lost 
between Stormon's and the Ohio. The wolves have never su?pected Stormon. Your 
asking aid in money for a case properly belonging east of Ohio, is detested. If you have 
sent money to Cincinnati, you should recall it. I will have no opportunity to use it. 

SETH CONCKLIN, Princeton, Gibson county, Ind. 

P. S. First of April, will be about the time Peter's family will arrive opposite Detroit. 
You should inform yourself how to find them there. I may have no opportunity. 

I will look promptly for your letter at Princeton, till the 10th of March, and longer if 
there should have been any delay by the mails. 


In March, as contemplated, Concklin arrived in Indiana, at the place 

designated, with Peter's wife and three children, and sent a thrilling letter 
to the writer, portraying in the most vivid light his adventurous flight from 
the hour they left Alabama until their arrival in Indiana. In this report 
he stated, that instead of starting early in the morning, owing to some un- 
foreseen delay on the part of the family, they did not reach the designated 
place till towards day, which greatly exposed them in passing a certain town 
which he had hoped to avoid. 

But as his brave heart was bent on prosecuting his journey without 
further delay, he concluded to start at all hazards, notwithstanding the 
dangers he apprehended from passing said town by daylight. For safety 
he endeavored to hide his freight by having them all lie flat down on the 
bottom of the skiff; covered them with blankets, concealing them from ihe 
effulgent beams of the early morning sun, or rather from the " Christian 
Wolves" who might perchance espy him from the shore in passing the 


The wind blew fearfully. Concklin was rowing heroically when loud 
voices from the shore hailed him, but he was utterly deaf to the sound. 
Immediately one or two guns were fired in the direction of the skiff, but he 
heeded not this significant call ; consequently here ended this difficulty, 
lie supposed, as the wind was blowing so hard, those on shore who hailed 
him must have concluded that he did not hear them and that he meant 
no disrespect in treating them with seeming indifference. Whilst many 
straits and great dangers had to be passed, this was the greatest before 
reaching their destination. 

But suffice it to say that the glad tidings which this letter contained filled 
the breast of Peter with unutterable delight and his friends and relations 
with wonder beyond degree.* No fond wife had ever waited with more 
longing desire for the return of her husband than Peter had for this blessed 
news. All doubts had disappeared, and a well grounded hope was cher- 
ished that within a few short days Peter and his fond wife and children 
would be reunited in Freedom on the Canada side, and that Concklin and 
the friends would be rejoicing with joy unspeakable over this great triumph. 
But alas, before the few days had expired the subjoined brief paragraph of 
news was discovered in the morning Ledger. 

RUNAWAY NEGROES CAUGHT. At Vincennes, Indiana, on Saturday last, a white man 
and four negroes were arrested. The negroes belong to B. McKiernon of South Florence, 
Alabama, and the man who was running them off calls himself John H. Miller. The 
prisoners were taken charge of by the Marshall of Evansville. April 9th. 

How suddenly these sad tidings turned into mourning and gloom the 
hope and joy of Peter and his relatives no pen could possibly describe; at 
least the writer will not attempt it here, but will at once introduce a wit- 
ness who met the noble Concklin an,d the panting fugitives in Indiana and 
proffered them sympathy and advice. And it may safely be said from a 
truer and more devoted friend of the slave they could not have received 


WM. STILL : Dear Sir, On last Tuesday I mailed a letter to you, written by Seth 
Concklin. I presume you have received that letter. It gave an account of his rescue of 
the family of your brother. If that is the last news you have had from them, I have 
very painful intelligence for yon. They passed on from near Princeton, where I saw them 
and had a lengthy interview with them, up north, I think twenty-three miles above Vin- 
cennes, Ind., where they were seized by a party of men, and lodged in jail. Telegraphic 
dispatches were sent all through the South. I have since learned that the Marshall of 
Evansville received a dispatch from Tuscumbia, to look out for them. By some means, 
he and the master, so says report, went to Vincennes and claimed the fugitives, chained 
Mr. Concklin and hurried all off. Mr. Concklin wrote to Mr. David Stormon, Princeton, 
as soon as he was cast into prison, to find bail. So soon as we got the letter and could 
get off, two of us were about setting off to render all possible aid, when we were told they 

* In some unaccountable manner this the last letter Concklin ever penned, perhaps, has been un- 
fortunately lost. 


all had passed, a few hours before, through Princeton, Mr. Conckliii in chains. What 
kind of process was had, if any, I know not. I immediately came down to this place, and 
learned that they had been put on a boat at 3 P. M. I did not arrive until 6. Now all 
hopes of their recovery are gone. No case ever so enlisted my sympathies. I had seen 
Mr. Concklin in Cincinnati. I had given him aid and counsel. I happened to see them 
after they landed in Indiana. I heard Peter and Levin tell their tale of suffering, shed 
tears of sorrow for them all ; but now, since they have fallen a prey to the unmerciful 
blood-hounds of this state, and have again been dragged back to unrelenting bondage, I 
am entirely unmanned. And poor Concklin ! I fear for him. When he is dragged back 
to Alabama, I fear they will go far beyond the utmost rigor of the law, and vent their 
savage cruelty upon him. It is with pain I have to communicate these things. But you 
may not hear them from him. I could not get to see him or them, as Vincennes is about 
thirty miles from Princeton, where I was when I heard of the capture. 

I take pleasure in stating that, according to the letter he (Concklin) wrote to Mr. D. 
Stewart, Mr. Concklin did not abandon them, but risked his own liberty to save them. 
He was not with them when they were taken ; but went afterwards to take them out 
of jail upon a writ of Habeas Corpus, when they seized him too and lodged him m prison. 

I write in much haste. If I can learn any more facts of importance, I may write you. 
If you desire to hear from me again, or if you should learn any thing specific from Mr. 
Concklin, be pleased to write me at Cincinnati, where I expect to be in a short time. If 
curious to know your correspondent, I may say I was formerly Editor of the "New Con- 
cord Free Press," Ohio. I only add that every case of this kind only tends to make me 
abhor my (no ! ) this country more and more. It is the Devil's Government, and God 
will destroy it. Yours for the slave, N. R. JOHNSTON. 

P. S. I broke open this letter to write you some more. The foregoing pages were 
written at night. I expected to mail it next morning before leaving Evansville ; but the 
boat for which I was waiting came down about three in the morning ; so I had to hurry 
on board, bringing the letter along. As it now is I am not sorry, for coming down, on my 
way to St. Louis, as far as Paducah, there I learned from a colored man at the wharf that, 
that same day, in the morning, the master and the family of fugitives arrived off the boat, 
and had then gone on their journey to Tuscumbia, but that the ''white man" (Mr. Conck- 
lin) had "g^ot away from them," about twelve miles up the river. It seems he got off the 
boat some way, near or at Smithland, Ky., a town at the mouth of the Cumberland 
River. I presume the report is true, and hope he will finally escape, though I was also 
told that they were in pursuit of him. Would that the others had also escaped. Peter 
and Levin could have done so, I think, if they had had resolution. One of them rode a 
horse, he not tied either, behind the coach in which the others were. He followed ap- 
parently " contented and happy." From report, they told their master, and even their 
pursuers, before the master came, that Concklin had decoyed them away, they coming 
unwillingly. I write on a very unsteady boat. Yours, N. R. JOHNSTON. 

A report found its way into the papers to the effect that "Miller," 
the white man arrested in connection with the capture of the family, was 
found drowned, with his hands and feet in chains and his skull frac- 
tured. It proved, as his friends feared, to be Seth Concklin. And in 
irons, upon the river bank, there is no doubt he was buried. 

In this dreadful hour one sad duty still remained to be performed. Up 
to this moment the two sisters were totally ignorant of their brother's where- 
abouts. Not the first whisper of his death had reached them. But they 
must now be made acquainted with all the facts in the case. Accordingly 


an interview was arranged for a meeting, and the duty of conveying this 
painful intelligence to one of the sisters, Mrs. Supplee, devolved upon Mr. 
McKim. And most tenderly and considerately did he perform his mournful 

Although a woman of nerve, and a true friend to the slave, an earnest 
worker and a liberal giver in the Female Anti-Slavery Society, for a time 
she was overwhelmed by the intelligence of her brother's death. As soon 
as possible, however, through very great effort, she controlled her emo- 
tions, and calmly expressed herself as being fully resigned to the awful 
event. Not* a word of complaint had she to make because she had not 
been apprised of his movements; but said repeatedly, that, had she known 
ever so much of his intentions, she would have been totally powerless in 
opposing him if she had felt so disposed, and as an illustration of the true 
character of the man, from his boyhood up to the day he died for his fellow- 
man, she related his eventful career, and recalled a number of instances 
of his heroic and daring deeds for others, sacrificing his time and often 
periling his life in the cause of those who he considered were suffering 
'gross wrongs and oppression. Hence, she concluded, that it was only 
natural for him in this case to have taken the steps he did. Now and 
then overflowing tears would obstruct this deeply thrilling and most re- 
markable story she was telling of her brother, but her memory seemed 
quickened by the sadness of the occasion, and she was enabled to recall 
vividly the chief events connected with his past history. Thus his agency in 
this movement, which cost him his life, could readily enough be accounted 
for, and the individuals who listened attentively to the story were prepared 
to fully appreciate his character, for, prior to offering his services in this 
mission, he had been a stranger to them. 

The following extract, taken from a letter of a subsequent date*, in addi- 
tion to the above letter, throws still further light upon the heart-rending 
affair, and shows Mr. Johnston's deep sympathy with the sufferers and the 
oppressed generally 


My heart bleeds when I think of those poor, hunted and heart-broken fugitives, though 
a most interesting family, taken back to bondage ten fold worse than Egyptian. And 
then pnor Concklin ! How my heart expanded in love to him, as he told me his adven- 
tures, his trials, his toils, his fears and his hopes ! After hearing. all, and then seeing and 
communine with the family, now joyful in hopes of soon seeing their husband and father 
in the land of freedom ; now in terror lest the human blood-hounds should be at their 
heels, I felt as though I could lay down my life in the cause of the oppressed. In that 
hour or two of intercourse with Peter's family, my heart warmed with love to them, 
never saw more interesting young men. They would make Remonds or Douglasses, if 
they had the same opportunities 

While. I was with them, I was elated with joy at their escape, and yet, when I heard 
their tale of woe, especially that of the mother, I could not suppress tears of deepest 


My joy was short-lived. Soon I heard of their capture. The telegraph had been the 
means of their being claimed. I could have torn down all the telegraph wires in the land. 
It was a strange dispensation of Providence. 

On Saturday the sad news of their capture came to my ears. We had resolved to go 
to their aid on Monday, as the trial was set for Thursday. On Sabbath, I spoke from 
Psalm xii. 5. " For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now 
will I arise," saith the Lord: '' I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at (from 
them that would enslave) him." When on Monday morning I learned that the fugitives 
had passed through the place on Sabbath, and Concklin in chains, probably at the very 
time I was speaking on the subject referred to, my heart sank within me. And even yet, 
I cannot but exclaim, when I think of it 0, Father ! how long ere Thou wilt arise to 
avenge the wrongs of the poor slave! Indeed, my dear brother, His ways are very mys- 
terious. We have the consolation, however, to know that all is for the best. Our 
Redeemer does all things well. When He hung upon the cross, His poor broken hearted 
disciples could not understand the providence ; it was a dark time to them ; and yet that 
was an event that was fraught with more joy to the world than any that has occurred or 
could occur. Let us stand at our post and wait God's time. Let us have on the whole 
armor of God, and fight for the right, knowing, that though we may fall in battle, the 
victory will be ours, sooner or later. 


May God lead you into all truth, and sustain you in your labors, and fulfill your prayers 
and hopes. Adieu. N. R. JOHNSTON. 


The following letters on the subject were received from the untiring and 
devoted friend of the slave, Levi Coffin, who for many years had occupied in 
Cincinnati a similar position to that of Thomas Garrett in Delaware, 
a sentinel and watchman commissioned of God to succor the fleeing bond- 

CINCINNATI, 4in MO., K)TH, 1851. 

FRIEND WM. STILL : We have sorrowful news from our friend Concklin, through the 
papers and otherwise. I received a letter a few days ago from a friend near Princeton, 
Ind., stating that Concklin and the four slaves are in prison in Vincennes, and that their 
trial would come on in a few days. He states that they rowed seven days and nights in 
the skiff, and got safe to Harmony, Ind., on the Wabash river, thence to Princeton, and 
were conveyed to Vincennes by friends, where they were takon. The papers state, that 
they were all given up to the Marshal of Evansville, Indiana. 

We have telegraphed to different points, to try to get some information concerning 
them, but failed. The last information is published in the Times of yesterday, though quite 
incorrect in the particulars of the case. Inclosed is the slip containing it. I fear all is 
over in regard to the freedom of the slaves. If the last account be true, we have some 
hope that Concklin will escape from those bloody tyrants. I cannot describe my feelings 
on hearing this sad intelligence. I feel ashamed to own my country. Oh ! what shall I 
gay. Surely a God of justice will avenge the wrongs of the oppressed. 

Thine for the poor slave, LEVI COFFIN. 

N. B. If thou hast any information, please write me forthwith. 

CINCINNATI, 5rn MO., HTH, 1851. 

WM. STILL: Dear Friend Thy letter of 1st inst., came duly to hand, but not being 
able to give any further information concerning our friend, Concklin, I thought best to 
wait a little before I wrote, still hoping to learn something more definite concerning him. 


We that became acquainted with Seth Concklin and his hazardous enterprises (here at Cin- 
cinnati), who were very few, have felt intense and inexpressible anxiety about them. 
And particularly about poor Seth, since we heard of his falling into the hands of the ty- 
rants. I fear that he has fallen a victim to their inhuman thirst for blood. 

I seriously doubt the rumor, that he had made his escape. I fear that he was sacrificed. 

Language would fail to express my feelings; the intense and deep anxiety I felt about 
them for weeks before I heard of their capture in Indiana, and then it seemed too much to 
bear. ! my heart almost bleeds when I think of it. The hopes of the dear family all blasted 
by the wretched blood-hounds in human shape. And poor Seth, after all his toil, and 
dangerous, shrewd and wise management, and almost unheard of adventures, the many 
narrow and almost miraculous escapes. Then to be given up to Indianians, to these 
fiendish tyrants, to be sacrificed. 0! Shame, Shame ! ! 

My heart aches,-my eyes fill with tears, I cannot write more. I cannot dwell longer on 
this painful subject now. If you get any intelligence, please inform me. Friend N. R. 
Johnston, who took so much interest in them, and saw them just before they were taken, 
has just returned to the city. He is a minister of the Covenanter order. He is truly a 
lovely man, and his heart is full of the milk of humanity ; one of our best Anti-Slavery 
spirits. I spent last evening with him. He related the whole story to me as he had it 
from friend Concklin and the mother and children, and then the story of their capture 
We wept together. He found thy letter when he got here. 

He said he would write the whole history to thee in a few days, as far as he could. He 
can tell it much better than I can. 

Concklin left his carpet sack and clothes here with me, except a shirt or two he took 
with him. What shall I do with them? For if we do not hear from him soon, we must 

conclude that he is lost, and the report of his escape all a hoax . . 

Truly thy friend, LEVI COFFIN. 

Stunning and discouraging as this horrible ending was to all con- 
cerned, and serious as the matter looked in the eyes of Peter's friends with 
regard to Peter's family, he could not for a moment abandon the idea 
of rescuing them from the jaws of the destroyer. But most formidable 
difficulties stood in the way of opening correspondence with reliable persons 
in Alabama. Indeed it seemed impossible to find a merchant, lawyer, doc- 
tor, planter or minister, who was not too completely interlinked with 
slavery to be relied upon to manage a negotiation of this nature. Whilst 
waiting and hoping for something favorable to turn up, the subjoined letter 
from the owner of Peter's family was received and is here inserted precisely 
as it was written, spelled and punctuated 



Mr WILLIAM STILL No 31 North Fifth street Philadelphia 

Sir a few days sine mr Lewis Tharenton of Tuscumbia Ala shewed me a letter dated 6 
June 51 from Cincinnati signd samuel Lewis in behalf of a Negro man by the name of 
peter Gist who informed the writer of the Letter that you ware his brother and wished 
an answer to be directed to you as he peter would be in philadelphi. the object of the 
letter was to purchis from me 4 Negros that is peters wife & 3 children 2 sons & 1 Girl 
the Name of said Negres are the woman Viney the (mother) Eldest son peter 21 or 2 
years old second son Leven 19 or 20 years 1 Girl about 13 or 14 years old. the Husband 
& Father of these people once Belonged to a relation of mine by the name of Gist now 


Decest & some few years since he peter was sold to a man by the Name of Freedman who 
removed to Cincinnati ohio & Tuck peter with him of course peter became free by the 
volentary act of the master some time last march a white man by the name of Miller 
apperd in the nabourhood & abducted the bove negroes was caut at vincanes Indi with 
said negroes & was thare convicted of steliug & remanded back to Ala to Abide the 
penalty of the law & on his return met his Just reward by Getting drownded at the 
mouth of Cumberland River on the ohio in attempting to make his escape I recovered & 
Brau^ht Back said 4 negroes or as You would say coulard people under the Belief that 
peter the Husband was accessery to the offence thareby putting me to much Expense 
& Truble to the amt $1000 which if he gets them he or his Friends must refund these 4 
negroes are worth in the market about 4000 for thea are Extraordinary fine & likely & 
but for the fact of Elopement I would not take 8000 Dollars for them but as the thing 
now stands you can say to peter & his new discovered Relations in Philadelphia I will 
take 5000 for the 4 culerd people & if this will suite him & he can raise the money I will 
delever to him or his' agent at paduca at mouth of Tennessee river said negroes but the 
money must be Deposeted in the Hands of some respectabl person at paduca before I 
remove the property it wold not be safe for peter to come to this countery write me a line 
on recpt of this & let me Know peters views on the above 

I am Yours &c B. McKiEENON 

N B say to peter to write & let me Know his viewes amediately as I am determined 
to act in a way if he dont take this offer he will never have an other opportunity 



PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 16th, 1851. 

To B. McKlEENON, ESQ. : Sir I have received your letter from South Florence, 
Ala., under date of the 6th inst. To say that it took me by surprise, as well as afforded 
me pleasure, for which I feel to be very much indebted to you, is no more than true. In 
regard to your informants of myself Mr. Thornton, of Ala., and Mr. Samuel Lewis, of 
Cincinnati to them both I am a stranger. However, I am the brother of Peter, referred 
to, and with the fact of his having a wife and three children in your service I am also 
familiar. This brother, Peter, I have only had the pleasure of knowing for the brief space 
of one year and thirteen days, although he is now past forty and I twenty-nine years of 
age. Time will not allow me at present, or I should give you a detailed account of how 
Peter became a slave, the forty long years which intervened between the time he was kid- 
napped, when a boy, being only six years of age, and his arrival in this city, from Alabama, 
one year and fourteen days ago, when he was re-united to his mother, five brothers and 
three sisters. 

None but a father's heart can fathom the anguish and sorrows felt by Peter during the 
many vicissitudes through which he has passed. He looked back to his boyhood and saw 
himself snatched from the tender embraces of his parents and home to be made a slave 
for life. 

During all his prime days he was in the faithful and constant service of those who had 
no just claim upon him. In the meanwhile he married a wife, who bore him eleven children, 
the greater part of whom were emancipated from the troubles of life by death, and three 
only survived. To them and his wife he was devoted. Indeed I. have never seen attach- 
ment between parents and children, or husband and wife, more entire than was manifested in 
the case of Peter. 

Through these many years of servitude, Peter was sold and resold, from one State to 
another, from one owner to another, till he reached the forty-ninth year of his age, when, 
in a good Providence, through the kindness of a friend and the sweat of his brow, he re- 


gained the God-given blessings of liberty. He eagerly sought his parents and home with 
all possible speed and pains, when, to his heart's joy, he found his relatives. 

Your present humble correspondent is the youngest of Peter's brothers, and the first 
one of the family he saw after arriving in this part of the country. I think you could not 
fail to be interested in hearing how we became known to each other, and the proof of our 
being brothers, etc., all of which I should be most glad to relate, but time will not permit 
me to do so. The news of this wonderful occurrence, of Peter finding his kindred, was 
published quite extensively, shortly afterwards, in various newspapers, in this quarter, 
which may account for the fact of " Miller's " knowledge of the whereabouts of the 
" fugitives." Let me say, it is my firm conviction that no one had any hand in per- 
suading " Miller " to go down from Cincinnati, or any other place, after the family. As 
glad as I should be, and as much as I would do for the liberation of Peter's family (now 
no longer young), and his three "likely" children, in whom he prides himself how much, if 
you are a father, you can imagine ; yet I would not, and could not, think of persuading 
any friend to peril his life, as would be the case, in an errand of that kind. 

As regards the price fixed upon by you for the family, I must say I do not think it 
possible to raise half that amount, though Peter authorized me to say he would give you 
twenty-five hundred for them. Probably he is not as well aware as I am, how difficult it 
is to raise so large a sum of money from the public. The applications for such objects are 
so frequent among us in the North, and have always been so liberally met, that it is no 
wonder if many get tired of being called upon. To be sure some of us brothers own some 
property, but no great amount; certainly not enough to enable us to bear so great a 
burden. Mother owns a small farm in New Jersey, on which she has lived for nearly 
forty years, from which she derives her support in her old age. This small farm contains 
between forty and fifty acres, and is the fruit of my father's toil. Two of my brothers 
own small places also, but they have young families, and consequently consume nearly as 
much as they make, with the exception of adding some improvements to their places. 

For my own part, I am employed as a clerk for a living, but my salary is quite too 
limited to enable me to contribute any great amount towards so large a sura as is de- 
manded. Thus you see how we are situated financially. We have plenty of friends, but 
little money. Now, sir, allow me to make an appeal to your humanity, although we are 
aware of your power to bold as property those poor slaves, mother, daughter and two 

sons, that in no part of the United States could they escape and be secure from your 

claim nevertheless, would your understanding, your heart, or your conscience reprove 

you, should you restore to them, without price, that dear freedom, which is theirs by right 
of nature, or would you not feel a satisfaction in so doing which all the wealth of the 
world could not equal ? At all events, could you not so reduce the price as to place it in 
the of Peter's relatives and friends to raise the means for their purchase ? At first, 
I doubt not, but that you will think my appeal very unreasonable; but, sir, serious re- 
flation will decide, whether the money demanded by you, after all, will be of as great a 
benefit to you, as the satisfaction you would find in bestowing so great a favor upon those 
whose entire happiness in this life depends mainly upon your decision in the matter. If 
the entire family cannot be purchased or freed, what can Vina and her daughter be pur- 
chased for? Hoping, sir, to hear from you, at your earliest convenience, I subscribe my- 
solf, Your obedient servant, WM. STILL. 

To B. McKiERNON, Esq. 

No reply to this letter was ever received from McKiernon. The cause of 
his reticence can be as well conjectured by the reader as the writer. 

Time will not admit of further details kindred to this narrative. The 
life, struggles, and success of Peter and his family were ably brought before 






the public in the "Kidnapped and the Ransomed," being the personal 
recollections of Peter Still and his wife "Vina," after forty years of slavery, 
by Mrs. Kate E. R. Pickard; with an introduction by Rev. Samuel J. May, 
and an appendix by William H. Furness, D. D., in 1856. But, of course, 
it was not prudent or safe, in the days of Slavery, to publish such facts as 
are now brought to light : all such had to be kept concealed in the breasts 

O O ' * 

of the fugitives and their friends. 

The following brief sketch, touching the separation of Peter and his 
mother, will fitly illustrate this point, and at the same time explain certain 
mysteries which have been hitherto kept hidden 


With regard to Peter's separation from his mother, when a little boy, in 
few words, the facts were these : His parents, Levin and Sidney, were both 
slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. " I will die before I submit to 
the yoke," was the declaration of his father to his young master before either 
was twenty-one years of age. Consequently he was allowed to buy himself 
at a very low figure, and he paid the required sum and obtained his " free 
papers " when quite a young man the young wife and mother remaining 
in slavery under Saunders Griffin, as also her children, the latter having 
increased to the number of four, two little boys and two little girls. But to 
escape from chains, stripes, and bondage, she took her four little children and 
fled to a place near Greenwich, New Jersey. Not a great while, however, 
did she remain there in a state of freedom before the slave-hunters pursued 
her, and one night they pounced upon the whole family, and, without judge 
or jury, hurried them all back to slavery. Whether this was kidnapping or 
not is for the reader to decide for himself. 

Safe back in the hands of her owner, to prevent her from escaping a 
second time, every night for about three months she was cautiously " kept 
locked up in the garret," until, as they supposed, she was fully "cured of 
the desire to do so again." But she was incurable. She had been a witness 
to the fact that her own father's brains had been blown out by the dis- 
charge of a heavily loaded gun, deliberately aimed at his head by his 
drunken master. She only needed half a chance to make still greater strug- 
gles than ever for freedom. 

She had great faith in God, and found much solace in singing some of 
the good old Methodist tunes, by day and night. Her owner, observing 
this apparently tranquil state of mind, indicating that she "seemed better 
contented than ever," concluded that it was safe to let the garret door 
remain unlocked at night. Not many weeks were allowed to pass before 
she resolved to again make a bold strike for freedom. This time she had to 
leave the two little boys, Levin and Peter, behind. 

On the night she started she went to the bed where they were sleeping, 


kissed them, and, consigning them into the hands of God, bade her mother 
good-bye, and with her two little girls wended her way again to Burlington 
County, New Jersey, but to a different neighborhood from that where she 
had been seized. She changed her name to Charity, and succeeded in again 
joining her husband, but, alas, with the heart-breaking thought that she 
had been compelled to leave her two little boys in slavery and one of the 
little girls on the road for the father to go back after. Thus she began 
life in freedom anew. 

Levin and Peter, eight and six years of age respectively, were now left at 
the mercy of the enraged owner, and were soon hurried off to a Southern 
market and sold, while their mother, for whom they were daily weeping, 
was they knew not where. They were too young to know that they were 
slaves, or to understand the nature of the afflicting separation. Sikteen 
years before Peter's return, his older brother (Levin) died a slave in the 
State of Alabama, and was buried by his surviving brother, Peter. 

No idea other than that they had been "kidnapped" from their mother 
ever entered their minds ; nor had they any knowledge of the State from 
whence they supposed they had been taken, the last names of their mother 
and father, or where they were born. On the other hand, the mother was 
aware that the safety of herself and her rescued children depended on keep- 
ing the whole transaction a strict family secret. During the forty years of 
separation, except two or three Quaker friends, including the devoted friend 
of the slave, Benjamin Lundy, it is doubtful whether any other individuals 
were let into the secret of her slave life. And when the account given of 
Peter's return, etc., was published in 1850, it led some of the family to 
apprehend serious danger from the partial revelation of the early condition 
of the mother, especially as it was about the time that the Fugitive Slave 
law was passed. 

Hence, the author of "The Kidnapped and the Ransomed" was com- 
pelled to omit these dangerous facts, and had to confine herself strictly to the 
" personal recollections of Peter Still " with regard to his being " kid- 
napped." Likewise, in the sketch of Seth Concklin's eventful life, written 
by Dr. "W. H. Furness, for similar reasons he felt obliged to make but bare 
reference to his wonderful agency in relation to Peter's family, although he 
was fully aware of all the facts in the case. 



Here are introduced a few out of a very large number of interesting 
letters, designed for other parts of the book as occasion may require. All 
letters will be given precisely as they were written by their respective 
authors, so that there may be no apparent room for charging the writer 
with partial colorings in any instance. Indeed, the originals, however 
ungrammatically written or erroneously spelt, in their native simplicity 
possess such beauty and force as corrections and additions could not possibly 


WILMINGTON, 3mo. 23d, 1856. 

DEAR FRIEND, WILLIAM STILL : Since I wrote thee this morning informing thee of 
the safe arrival of the Eight from Norfolk, Harry Craige has informed me, that he has a 
man from Delaware that he proposes to take along, who arrived since noon. He will 
take the man, woman and two children from here with him, and the four men will get in 
at Marcus Hook. Thee may take Harry Craige by the hand as a brother, true to the 
cause; he is one of our most efficient aids on the Rail Road, and worthy of full confidence. 
May they all be favored to get on safe. The woman and three children are no common 
stock. I assure thee finer specimens of humanity are seldom met with. I hope herself 
and children may be enabled to find her husband, who has been absent some years, and 
the rest of their days be happy together. I am, as ever, thy friend, THOS. GARRETT. 


KIMBERTON, October 28th, 1855. 

ESTEEMED FRIEND ; This evening a company of eleven friends reached here, having 
left their homes on the night of the 26th inst. They came into Wilmington, about ten 
o'clock on the morning of the 27th, and left there, in the town, their two carriages, drawn 
by two horses. They went to Thomas Garrett's by open day-light and from thence were 
sent hastily onward for fear of pursuit. They reached Longwood meeting-house in the 
evening, at which place a Fair Circle had convened, and stayed a while in the meeting, 
then, after remaining all night with one of the Kennet friends, they were brought to 
Downingtown early in the morning, and from thence, by daylight, to within a short dis- 
tance of this place. 

They come from New Chestertown, within five miles of the place from which the nine 
lately forwarded came, and left behind them a colored woman who knew of their intended 
flight and of their intention of passing through Wilmington and leaving their horses and 
carriages there. 

I have been thus particular in my statement, because the case seems to us one of un- 
usual danger. We have separated the company for the present, sending a mother and 
five children, two of them quite small, in one direction, and a husband and wife and three 
lads in another, until I could write to you and get advice if you have any to give, as to 
the best method of forwarding them, and assistance pecuniarily, in getting them to 
Canada. The mother and children we have sent off of the usual route, and to a place 
where I do not think they can remain many days. 


We shall await hearing from you. H. Kimber will be in the city on third day the 30th 
and any thing left at 408 Green Street directed to his care, will meet with prompt atten- 

Piease give me again the direction of Hiram Wilson and the friend in Elmira Mr. 
Jones, I think. If you have heard from any of the nine since their safe arrival, please let 
us know when you write. Very Respectfully, G. A. LEWIS. 

2d day morning, 29th. The person who took the husband and wife and three lads to 
E. F. Pennypecker, and Peart, has returned and reports that L. Peart sent three on to 
Norristown. We fear that there they will fall into the hands of an ignorant colored man 
Daniel Ross, and that he may not understand the necessity of caution. Will you please 
write to some careful person there? The woman and children detained in -this neighbor- 
hood are a very helpless set. Our plan was to assist them as much as possible, and when 
we get things into the proper train for sending them on, to get the assistance of the hus- 
band and wife, who have no children, but are uncle and aunt to the woman with five, in 
taking with them one of the younger children, leaving fewer for the mother. Of the lads, 
or young men, there is also one whom we thought capable of accompanying one of the 
older girls one to whom he is paying attention, they told us. Would it not be the best 
way to get those in Norristown under your own care ? It seems to me their being sent 
on could then be better arranged. This, however, is only a suggestion, 
, Hastily yours, G. A. LEWIS. 


(The reader will interpret for himself.) 

WASHINGTON, D. C., July llth, 1858. 

MY DEAR SIE : Susan Bell left here yesterday with the child of her relative, and since 
leaving I have thought, perhaps, you had not the address of the gentleman in Syracuse 
where the child is to be taken for medical treatment, etc. His name is Dr. H. B. Wilbur. 
A woman living with him is a most excellent nurse and will take a deep interest in the 
child, which, no doubt, will under Providence be the means of its complete restoration to 
health. Be kind enough to inform me whether Susan is with you, and if she is give her 
the proper direction. Ten packages were sent to your address last evening, one of them 
belongs to Susan, and she had better remain with you till she gets it, as it may not have 
come to hand. Susan thought she would go to Harrisburg when she left here and stay 
over Sunday, if so, she would not get to Philadelphia till Monday or Tuesday. Please 
acknowledge the receipt of this, and inform me of her arrival, also when the packages 
came safe to hand, inform me especially if Susan's came safely. 

Truly Yours, E. L. STEVENS. 


FRIEND STILL : The two women, Laura and Lizzy, arrived this morning. I shall for- 
ward them to Syracuse this afternoon. 

The two men came safely yesterday, but went to Gibbs'. He has friends on board the 
boat who are on the lookout for fugitives, and send them, when found, to his house. 
Those whom you wish to be particularly under my charge, must have careful directions 
to this office. 

There is now no other sure place, but the office, or Gibbs', that I could advise you to 
send such persons. Those to me, therefore, must come in office hours. In a few days, 
however, Napoleon will have a room down town, and at odd times they can be sent there. 
I am not willing to put any more with the family where I have hitherto sometimes sent 


When it is possible I wish you would advise me two days before a shipment of your 
intention, as Napoleon is not always on hand to look out for them at short notice. In 
special cases you might advise me by Telegraph, thus : " One M. (or one F.) this morning. 
W. S." By which I shall understand that one Male, or one Female, as the case may be, 
has left Phila. by the 6 o'clock train one or more, also, as the case may be. 

Aug. 17th, 1855. Truly Yours, S. H. GAY. 


HAMILTON, Sept. 15th, 1856. 

DEAR FP.IEND STILL : I write to inform you that Miss Mary Wever arrived safe in this 
city. You may imagine the happiness manifested on the part of the two lovers, Mr. H. 
and Miss W. I think they will be married as soon as they can get ready. I presume 
Mrs. Hill will commence to make up the articles to-morrow. Kind Sir, as all of us is 
concerned about the welfare of our enslaved brethren at the South, particularly our 
friends, we appeal to your sympathy to do whatever is in your power to save poor Willis 
Johnson from the hands of his cruel master. It is not for me to tell you of his case, be- 
cause Miss Wever has related the matter fully to you. All I wish to say is this, I wish 
you to write to my uncle, at Petersburg, by our friend, the Capt. Tell my uncle to go to 
Richmond and ask my mother whereabouts this man is. The best for him is to make his 
way to Petersburg ; that is, if you can get the Capt. to bring him. He have not much 
money. But I hope the friends of humanity will not withhold their aid on the account of 
money. However we will raise all the money that is wanting to pay for his safe delivery. 
You will please communicate this to the friends as soon as possible. 

Yours trujy, JOHN H. HILL. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., June 22d, 1854. 

ME. WILLIAM STILL : Sir I have just received a letter from my friend, Wm. Wright, 
of York Sulphur Springs, Pa., in which he says, that by writing to you, I may get some 
information about the transportation of some property from this neighborhood to your city 
or vicinity. 

A person who signs himself Wm. Penn, lately wrote to Mr. Wright, saying he would 
pay $300 to have this service performed. It is for the conveyance of only one SMALL 
package ; but it has been discovered since, that the removal cannot be so safely effected 
without taking two larger packages with it. I understand that the three are to be brought, 
to this city and stored in safety, as soon as the forwarding merchant in Philadelphia shall 
say he is ready to send on. The storage, etc., here, will cost a trifle, but the $300 will be 
promptly paid for the whole service. I think Mr. Wright's daughter, Hannah, has also 
seen you. I am also known to Prof. C. D. Cleveland, of your city. If you answer this 
promptly, you will soon hear from Wm. Penn himself. 

Very truly yours, J. BIGELOW. 


PETERSBURG, VA., Oct. 17th, 1860. 

MR. W. STILL : Dear Sir I am happy to think, that the time has come when we no 
doubt can open our correspondence with one another again. Also I am in hopes, that 
these few lines may find you and family well and in the enjoyment of good health, as it 
leaves me and family the same. I want you to know, that I feel as much determined to 
work in this glorious cause, as ever I did in all of my life, and I have some very good 


hams on hand that I would like very much for you to have. I have nothing of interest 
to write about just now, only that the politics of the day is in a high rage, and I don't 
know of the result, therefore, I want you to be one of those wide- a- wakes as is mentioned 
from your section of country nojv-a-days, &c. Also, if you wish to write to me Mr. J. 
Brown will inform you how to direct a letter to me. 
No more at present, until I hear from you ; but I want you to be a wide-a-wake. 

Yours in haste, HAM & EGGS. 


ST. CATHAEINE, C. W., July 2d, 1855. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, WM. STILL : Mr. Elias Jasper and Miss Lucy Bell having arrived 
here safely on Saturday last, and found their " companions in tribulation," who had ar- 
rived before them, I am induced to write and let you know the fact. They are a cheerful, 
happy company, and very grateful for their freedom. I have done the best I could for 
their comfort, but they are about to proceed across the lake to Toronto, thinking they can 
do better there than here, which is not unlikely. They all remember you as their friend 
and benefactor, and return to you their sincere thanks. My means of support are so 
scanty, that I am obliged to write without paying postage, or not write at all. I hope 
you are not moneyless, as I am. In attending to the wants of numerous strangers, I am 
much of the time perplexed from lack of means ; but send on as many as you can and I 
will divide with them to the last crumb. 

Yours truly, HIRAM WILSON. 


BOSTON, MASS., Feb. 15th, 1855. 

No. 2, Change Avenue. 

MY DEAR FRIEND: Allow me to take the liberty of addressing you and at the same 
time appearing troublesomes you all friend, but subject is so very important that i can 
not but ask not in my name but in the name of the Lord and humanity to do something 
for my Poor Wife and children who lays in Norfolk Jail and have Been there for three 
month i Would open myself in that frank and hones manner. Which should convince 
you of my cencerity of Purpoest don't shut your ears to the cry's of the Widow and the 
orphant & i can but ask in the name of humanity and God for he knows the heart of all 
men. Please ask the friends humanity to do something for her and her two lettle ones 
i cant do any thing Place as i am for i have to lay low Please lay this before the churches 
of Philadelphaise beg them in name of the Lord to do something for him i love my 
freedom and if it would do her and her two children any good i mean to change with her 
but cant be done for she is Jail and you most no she suffer for the jail in the South 
are not like yours for any thing is good enough for negros the Slave hunters Says & may 
God interpose in behalf of the demonstrative Race of Africa Whom i claim desendent 
i am sorry to say that friendship is only a name here but i truss it is not so in Philada 
i would not have taken this liberty had i not considered you a friend for you treaty as 
such Please do all you can and Please ask the Anti Slavery friends to do all they can and 
God will Reward them for it i am shure for the earth is the Lords and the fullness there, 
of as this note leaves me not very well but hope when it comes to hand it may find you 
and family enjoying all the Pleasure life Please answer this and Pardon me if the 
necessary sum can be required i will find out from my brotherinlaw i am with respectful 
consideration SHERIDAN W. FORD. 

Yesterday is the fust time i have heard from home Sence i left and i have not got any 
thing yet i have a tear yet for my fellow man and it is in my eyes now for God knows it 


is tha truth i sue for your Pity and all and may God open their hearts to Pity a poor 
Woman and two children. The Sum is i believe 14 hundred Dollars Please write to day 
for me and see if the cant do something for humanity. 


SCHUYLKILL, llth mo., 7th day, 1857. 

WM. STILL : Respected Friend There are three colored friends at my house now, who 
will reach the city by the Phil. & Reading train this evening. Please meet them. 

Thine, &c., E. P. PENNYPACKEE. 

We have within the past 2 mos. passed 4.3 through our hands, transported most of them 
to Norristown in our own conveyance. E. F. P. 


HAEEISBTJEG, March 24, '56. 

FEIEND STILL : I suppose ere this you have seen those five large and three small 
packages I sent by way of Reading, consisting of three men and women and children. 
They arrived here this morning at 8J o'clock and left twenty minutes past three. You 
will please send me any information likely to prove interesting in relation to them. 

Lately we have formed a Society here, called the Fugitive Aid Society. This is our 
first case, and I hope it will prove entirely successful. 

When you write, please inform me what signs or symbols you make use of in your 
despatches, and any other information in relation to operations of the Underground Rail 

Our reason for sending by the Reading Road, was to gain time ; it is expected the owners 
will be in town this afternoon, and by this Road we gained five hours' time, which is a 
matter of much importance, and we may have occasion to use it sometimes in future. In 
great haste, Yours with great respect, Jos. C. BUSTILL. 


RICHMOND, VA., Oct. 18th, 1860. 

To ME. WILLIAM STILL : Dear Sir Please do me the favor as to write to my uncle a 
few lines in regard to the bundle that is for John H. Hill, who lives in Hamilton, C. W. 
Sir, if this should reach you, be assured that it comes from the same poor individual that 
you have heard of before ; the person who was so unlucky, and deceived also. If you 
write, address your letter John M. Hill, care of Box No. 250. I am speaking of a person 
who lives in P.ya. I hope, sir, you will understand this is from a poor individual. 


ME. STILL : My Dear Sir I suppose you are somewhat uneasy because the goods did 
not come safe to hand on Monday evening, as you expected consigned from Harrisburg to 
you. The train only was from Harrisburg to Reading, and as it happened, the goods had 
to stay all night with us, and as some excitement exists here about goods of the kind, we 
thought it expedient and wise to detain them until we could hear from you. There aj-e 
two small boxes and two large ones ; we have them all secure ; what had better be done ? 
Let us know. Also, as we can learn, there are three more boxes still in Harrisburg. An- 
swer your communication at Harrisburg. Also, fail not to answer this by the return of 
mail, as things are rather critical, and you will oblige us. 


Reading, May 27, '57. 

We knew not that these goods were to come, consequently we were all taken by sur- 
prise. When you answer, use the word, goods. The reason of the excitement, is : some 


three weeks ago a big box was consigned to us by J. Bustill, of Harrisburg. We received 
it, and forwarded it on to J. Jones, Elmira, and the next day they were on the fresh hunt 
of said box ; it got safe to Elruira, as I have had a letter from Jones, and all is safe. 

Yours, G. S. N. 


ME. STILL: You will oblige me much Iff you will Direct this Letter to Vergenia for 
me to my Mother & iff it well sute you Beg her in my Letter to Direct hers to you & you 
Can send it to me iff it sute your Convenience I am one of your Chattle. 


Syracuse, Jeny 6th. 

Direction Matilda Tate Care of Dudley M Pattee Worrenton Farkiear County Ver- 


MY DEAR MOTHER: I have imbrace an opportunity of writing you these few lines 
(hoping) that they may fine you as they Leave me quite well I will now inform you how 
I am geting I am now a free man Living By the sweet of my own Brow not serving a 
nother man & giving him all I Earn But what I make is mine and iff one Plase do not 
sute me I am at Liberty to Leave and go some where elce & can ashore you I think 
highly of Freedom and would not exchange it for nothing that is offered me for it I am 
waiting in a Hotel I supose you Remember when I was in Jail I told you the time would 
Be Better and you see that the time has come when I Leave you my heart was so full & 
yours But I new their was a Better Day a head, & I have Live to see it I hird when I 
was on the Underground R. Road that the Hounds was on my Track but it was no go I 
new I was too far out of their Reach where they would never smell my track when I 
Leave you I was carred to Richmond & sold & From their I was taken to North Carolina 
& sold & I Ran a way & went Back to Virginna Between Richmond & home & their 
I was caught & Put in Jail & their I Remain till the oner come for me then I was taken 
& carred Back to Richmond then I was sold to the man who I now Leave he is nothing 
But a But of a Feller Remember me to your Husband & all in quirin Friends & say to 
Miss Rosa that I am as Free as she is & more happier I no I am getting $12 per month 
for what Little work I am Doing I hope to here from you a gain I your Son & ever By 



WASHINGTON, D. C., Dec. 9th, 1856. 

DEAR SIR : I was unavoidably prevented yesterday, from replying to yours of 6th in- 
stant, and although I have made inquiries, I am unable to-day, to answer your questions 
satisfactorily. Although I know some of the residents of Loudon county, and have often 
visited there, still I have not practiced much in the Courts of that county. There are 
several of my acquaintances here, who have lived in that co.unty, and possibly, through my 
assistance, your commissions might be executed. If a better way shall not suggest itself 
to you, and you see fit to give me the facts in the case, I can better judge of my ability 
to help you; but I know not the man resident there, whom 1 would trust with an impor- 
tant suit. I think it is now some four or five weeks since, that some packages left this vi- 
cinity, said to be from fifteen to twenty in number, and as I suppose, went through your 
hands. It was at a time of uncommon vigilance here, and to me it was a matter of ex- 
treme wonder, how and through whom, such a work was accomplished. Can you tell 
me? It is needful that I should know ! Not for curiosity merely, but for the good of others. 


An enclosed slip contains the marks of one of the packages, which you will read and then 
immediately burn. 

If you can give me any light that will benefit others, I am sure you will do so. 

A traveler here, very reliable, and .who knows his business, has determined not to leave 
home again till spring, at least not without extraordinary temptations. 

I think, however, he or others, might be tempted to travel in Virginia. 

Yours, WM. P. 



WILLIAM STILL: Dear Friend and Brother A thousand thanks for your good, gen- 
erous letter ! 

It was so kind of you to have in mind my intense interest and anxiety in the success 
and fate of poor Concklin ! That he desired and intended to hazard an attempt of the kind, 
I well understood ; but what particular one, or that he had actually embarked in the en- 
terprise, I had not been able to learn. 

His memory will ever be among the sacredly cherished with me. He certainly dis- 
played more real disinterestedness, more earnest, unassuming devotedness, than those who 
claim to be the sincerest friends of the slave can often boast. What more Saviour-like than 
the willing sacrifice he has rendered! 

Never shall I forget that night of our extremest peril (as we supposed), when he came 
and so heartily proffered his services at the hazard of his liberty, of life even, in behalf of 
William L. Chaplin. 

Such generosity ! at such a moment ! The emotions it awakened no words can bespeak ! 
They are to be sought but in the inner chambers of one's own soul! He as earnestly de- 
vised the means, as calmly counted the cost, and as unshrinkingly turned him to the task, 
as if it were his own freedom he would have won. 

Through his homely features, and humble garb, the intrepidity of soul came out in all 
its lustre ! Heroism, in its native majesty, commanded one's admiration and love! 

Most truly can I enter into your sorrows, and painfully appreciate the pang of disap- 
pointment which must have followed this sad intelligence. But so inadequate are words 
to the consoling of such griefs, it were almost cruel to attempt to syllable one's sympathies. 

I cannot bear to believe, that Concklin has been actually murdered, and yet I hardly 
dare hope it is otherwise. 

And the poor slaves, for whom he periled so much, into what depths of hopelessness and 
woe are they again plunged! But the deeper and blacker for the loss of their dearly 
sought and new-found freedom. How long must wrongs like these go unredressed? 
" How long, God, how long ?" 

Very truly yours, THEODOCIA GILBERT. 




APRIL, 1859. 

William is twenty-five years of age, unmistakably colored, good-looking, 
rather under the medium size, and of pleasing manners. William had him- 
self boxed up by a near relative and forwarded by the Erricson line of 
steamers. He gave the slip to Robert H. Carr, his owner (a grocer and 
commission merchant), after this wise, and for the following reasons: For 
some time previous his master had been selling off his slaves every now and 
then, the same as other groceries, and this admonished William that he was 
liable to be in the market any day ; consequently, he preferred the box to 
the auction-block. 

. He did not complain of having been treated very badly by Carr, but felt 
that no man was safe while owned by another. In fact, he "hated the very 
name of slaveholder." The limit of the box not admitting of straightening 
himself out he was taken with the cramp on the road, suffered indescribable 
misery, and had his faith taxed to the utmost, indeed was brought to the 
very verge of " screaming aloud " ere relief came. However, he controlled 
himself, though only for a short season, for before a great while an ex- 
cessive faintness came over him. Here nature became quite exhausted. 
He thought he must "die;" but his time had not yet come. After a severe 
struggle he revived, but only to encounter a third ordeal no less painful than 
the one through which he had just passed. Next a very " cold chill " came 
over him, which seemed almost to freeze the very blood in his veins and gave 
him intense agony, from which he only found relief on awaking, having ac- 
tually fallen asleep in that condition. Finally, however, he arrived at Phil- 
adelphia, on a steamer, Sabbath morning. A devoted friend of his, expecting 
him, engaged a carriage and repaired to the wharf for the box. The bill of 
lading and the receipt he had with him, and likewise knew where the box 
was located on the boat. Although he well knew freight was not usually 
delivered on Sunday, yet his deep solicitude for the safety of his friend 
determined him to do all that lay in his power to rescue him from his 
perilous situation. Handing his bill of lading to the proper officer of the 
boat, he asked if he could get the freight that it called for. The officer 
looked at the bill and said, "No, we do not deliver freight on Sunday;" 
but, noticing the anxiety of the man, he asked him if he would know it if 
he were to see it. Slowly fearing that too much interest manifested 
might excite suspicion he replied: "I think I should." Deliber- 
ately looking around amongst all the "freight," he discovered the box, 


and said, "I think that is it there." Said officer stepped to it, looked at the 
directions on it, then at the bill of lading, and said, " That is right, take it 
along." Here the interest in these two bosoms was thrilling in the highest 
degree. But the size of the box was too large for the carriage, and the driver 
refused to take it. Nearly an hour and a half was spent in looking for a 
furniture car. Finally one was procured, and again the box was laid hold 
of by the occupant's particular friend, when, to his dread alarm, the poor fel- 
low within gave a sudden cough. At this startling circumstance he dropped 
the box; equally as quick, although dreadfully frightened, and, as if helped 
by some invisible agency, he commenced singing, "Hush, my babe, lie still 
and slumber," with the most apparent indifference, at the same time slowly 
making his way from the box. Soon his fears subsided, and it was pre- 
sumed that no one was any the wiser on account of the accident, or coughing. 
Thus, after summoning courage, he laid hold of the box a third time, and 
the Rubicon was passed. The car driver, totally ignorant of the contents of 
the box, drove to the number to which he was directed to take it left it 
and went about his business. Now is a moment of intense interest now of 
inexpressible delight. The box is opened, the straw removed, and the poor 
fellow is loosed; and is rejoicing, I will venture to say, as mortal never did 
rejoice, who had not been in similar peril. This particular friend was 
scarcely less overjoyed, however, and their joy did not abate for several 
hours ; nor was it confined to themselves, for two invited members of the 
Vigilance Committee also partook of a full share. This box man was 
named Wm. Jones. He was boxed up in Baltimore by the friend who re- 
ceived him at the wharf, who did not come in the boat with him, but came 
in the cars and met him at the wharf. 

The trial in the box lasted just seventeen hours before victory was 
achieved. Jones was well cared for by the Vigilance Committee and sent on 
his way rejoicing, feeling that Resolution, Underground Rail Road, and 
Liberty were invaluable. 

On his way to Canada, he stopped at Albany, and the subjoined letter 
gives his view of things from that stand-point 

MR. STILL : I take this opportunity of writing a few lines to you hoping that tha may 
find you in good health and femaly. i am well at present and doing well at present i am 
now in a store and getting sixteen dollars a month at the present, i feel very much o 
blige to you and your family for your kindnes to me while i was with you i have got along 
without any trub le a tal. i am now in albany City, give my lov to mrs and mr miller 
and tel them i am very much a blige to them for there kind ns. give my lov to my Brother 
nore Jones tel him i should like to here from him very much and he must write, tel him 
to give my love to all of my perticular frends and tel them i should like to see them very 
much, tel him that he must come to see me for i want to see him for sum thing very per- 
ticler. please ansure this letter as soon as posabul and excuse me for not writting sooner 
as i dont write myself, no more at the present. WILLIAM JONES. 

derect to one hundred 125 lydus. stt 



His good friend returned to Baltimore the same day the box man started 
for the North, and immediately dispatched through the post the following 
brief letter, worded in Underground Rail Road parables : 

BALTIMO APRIL 16, 1859. 

W. STILL : Dear brother i have taken the opportunity of writing you these few lines 
to inform you that i am well an hoping these few lines may find you enjoying the same 
good blessing please to write me word at what time was it when isreal went to Jerico i am 
very anxious to hear for thare is a mighty host will pass over and you and i my brother 
will sing hally luja i shall notify you when the great catastrophe shal take place No more 
at the present but remain your brother. N. L. J. 


In setting out for freedom, Wesley was the leader of this party. After 
two nights of fatiguing travel at a distance of about sixty miles from 
home, the young aspirants for liberty were betrayed, and in an attempt 
made to capture them a most bloody conflict ensued. Both fugitives and 
pursuers were the recipients of severe wounds from gun shots, and other 
weapons used in the contest. 

Wesley bravely used his fire arms until almost fatally wounded by one of 
the pursuers, who with a heavily loaded gun discharged the contents with 
deadly aim in his left arm, which raked the flesh from the bone for a space 
of about six inches in length. One of Wesley's companions also fought 
heroically and only yielded when badly wounded and quite overpowered. 
The two younger (brothers of C. Matterson) it seemed made no resistance. 

In order to recall the adventures of this struggle, and the success of 
Wesley Harris, it is only necessary to copy the report as then penned 
from the lips of this young hero, while on the Underground Rail Road, 
even then in a very critical state. Most fearful indeed was his condition 
when he was brought to the Vigilance Committee in this City. 


November 2d, 1853. Arrived : Robert Jackson (shot man), alias Wesley 
Harris ; age twenty-two years ; dark color ; medium height, and of slender 

Robert was born in Martinsburg, "Va., and was owned by Philip Pendle- 
ton. From a boy he had always been hired out. At the first of this year 
he commenced services with Mrs. Carroll, proprietress of the United States 
Hotel at Harper's Ferry. Of Mrs. Carroll he speaks in very grateful 
terms, saying that she was kind to him and all the servants, and promised 
them their freedom at her death. She excused herself for not giving them 

* Shot by slave-hunters. 


their freedom on the ground that her husband died insolvent, leaving her 
the responsibility of settling his debts. 

But while Mrs. Carroll was very kind to her servants, her manager was 
equally as cruel. About a month before Wesley left, the overseer, for some 
trifling cause, attempted to flog him, but was resisted, and himself flogged. 
This resistance of the slave was regarded by the overseer as an unpardonable 
offence ; consequently he communicated the intelligence to his owner, which 
had the desired effect on his mind as appeared from his answer to the over- 
seer, which was nothing less than instructions that if he should again 
attempt to correct Wesley and he should repel the wholesome treatment, the 
overseer was to put him in prison and sell him. Whether he offended 
again or not, the following Christmas he was to be sold without fail. 

Wesley's mistress was kind enough to apprise him of the intention of his 
owner and the overseer, and told him that if he could help himself he had 
better do so. So from that time Wesley began to contemplate how he 
should escape the doom which had been planned for him. 

" A friend," says he, " by the name of C. Matterson, told me that he was 
going off. Then I told him of my master's writing to Mrs. Carroll con- 
cerning selling, etc., and that I was going off too. We then concluded 
to go together. There were two others brothers of Matterson who were 
told of our plaa to escape, and readily joined with us in the undertaking. 
So one Saturday night, at twelve o'clock, we set out for the North. After 
traveling upwards of two days and over sixty miles, we found ourselves 
unexpectedly in Terry town, Md. There we were informed by a friendly 
colored man of the danger we were in and of the bad character of the place 
towards colored people, especially those who were escaping to freedom; and he 
advised us to hide as quickly as we could. We at once went to the woods 
and hid. Soon after we had secreted ourselves a man came near by and 
commenced splitting wood, or rails, which alarmed us. We then moved 
to another hiding-place in a thicket near a farmer's barn, where we were 
soon startled again by a dog approaching and barking at us. The attention 
of the owner of the dog was drawn to his barking and to where we were. 
The owner of the dog was a farmer. He asked us where we were going. 
We replied to Gettysburg to visit some relatives, etc. He told us that we 
were running off. He then offered friendly advice, talked like a Quaker, 
and urged us to go with him to his barn for protection. After much per- 
suasion, we consented to go with him. 

"Soon after putting us in his barn, himself and daughter prepared us a 
nice breakfast, which cheered our spirits, as we were hungry. For this 
kindness we paid him one dollar. He next told us to hide on the mow till 
eve, when he would safely direct us on our road to Gettysburg. All, very 
much fatigued from traveling, fell asleep, excepting myself; I could not 
sleep; I felt as if all was not right. 


"About noon men were heard talking around the barn. I woke my com- 
panions up and told them that that man had betrayed us. At first they did 
not believe me. In a moment afterwards the barn door was opened, and in 
came the men, eight in number. One of the men asked the owner of the 
barn if he had any long straw. 'Yes/ was the answer. So up on the 
mow came three of the men, when, to their great surprise, as they pretended, 
we were discovered. The question was then asked the owner of the barn 
by one of the men, if he harbored runaway negroes in his barn? He 
answered, ' No/ and pretended to be entirely ignorant of their being in his 
barn. One of the men replied that four negroes were on the mow, and he 
knew of it. The men then asked us where we were going. "We told them 
to Gettysburg, that we had aunts and a mother there. Also we spoke of a 
Mr. Houghman, a gentleman we happened to have some knowledge of, 
having seen him in Virginia. We were next asked for our passes. We 
told them that we hadn't any, that we had not been required to carry them 
where we came from. They then said that we would have to go before a 
magistrate, and if he allowed us to go on, well and good. The men all being 
armed and furnished with ropes, we were ordered to be tied. I told them 
if they took me they would have to take me dead or crippled. At that in- 
stant one of my friends cried out 'Where is the man that betrayed us?' 
Spying him at the same moment, he shot him (badly wounding him). Then 
the conflict fairly began. The constable seized me by the collar, or rather 
behind my shoulder. I at once shot him with my pistol, but in consequence 
of his throwing up his arm, which hit mine as I fired, the effect of the load 
of my pistol was much turned aside; his face, however, was badly burned, 
besides his shoulder being wounded. I again fired on the pursuers, but do 
not know whether I hit anybody or not. I then drew a sword, I had 
brought with me, and was about cutting my way to the door, when I was 
shot by one of the men, receiving the entire contents of one load of a double 
barreled gun in my left arm, that being the arm with which I was de- 
fending myself. The load brought me to the ground, and I was unable to 
make further struggle for myself. I was then badly beaten with guns, &c. 
In the meantime, my friend Craven, who was defending himself, was 
shot badly in the face, and most violently beaten until he was conquered and 
tied. The two young brothers of Craven stood still, without making the 
least resistance. After we were fairly captured, we were taken to Terry- 
town, which was in sight of where we were betrayed. By this time I had 
lost so much blood from my wounds, that they concluded my situation was 
too dangerous to admit of being taken further; so I was made a prisoner at 
a tavern, kept by a man named Fisher. There my wounds were dressed, 
and thirty-two shot were taken from my arm. For three days I was crazy, 
and they thought I would die. During the first two weeks, while I was a 
prisoner at the tavern, I raised a great deal of blood, and was considered in a 
very dangerous condition so much so that persons desiring to see me were not 


permitted. Afterwards I began to get better, and was then kept very pri- 
vately was strictly watched day and night. Occasionally, however, the 
cook, a colored woman (Mrs. Smith), would manage to get to see me. Also 
James Matthews succeeded in getting to see me; consequently, as my wounds 
healed, and my senses came to me, I began to plan how to make another 
effort to escape. I asked one of the friends, alluded to above, to get me a 
rope. He got it. I kept it about me four days in my pocket; in the mean- 
time I procured three nails. On Friday night, October 14th, I fastened my 
nails in under the window sill ; tied my rope to the nails, threw my shoes 
out of the window, put the rope in my mouth, then took hold of it with my 
well hand, clambered into the window, very weak, but I managed to let 
myself down to the ground. I was so weak, that I could scarcely walk, but 
I managed to hobble off to a place three quarters of a mile from the tavern, 
where a friend had fixed upon for me to go, if I succeeded in making my 
escape. There I was found by my friend, who kept me secure till Saturday 
eve, when a swift horse was furnished by James Rogers, and a colored man 
found to conduct me to Gettysburg. Instead of going direct to Gettysburg, 
we took a different road, in order to shun our pursuers, as the news of my 
escape had created general excitement. My three other companions, who 
were captured, were sent to Westminster jail, where they were kept three 
weeks, and afterwards sent to Baltimore and sold for twelve hundred dollars 
a piece, as I was informed while at the tavern in Terrytown." 

The Vigilance Committee procured good medical attention and afforded 
the fugitive time for recuperation, furnished him with clothing and a free 
ticket, and sent him on his way greatly improved in health, and strong 
in the faith that, " He who would be free, himself must strike the blow." 
His safe arrival in Canada, with his thanks, were duly announced. And 
some time after becoming naturalized, in one of his letters, he wrote that he 
was a brakesman on the Great Western R. R., (in Canada promoted from 
the U. G. R. R.,) the result of being under the protection of the British 


In March, 1857, Abram Harris fled from John Henry Suthern, who 
lived near Benedict, Charles county, Md., where he was engaged in the 
farming business, and was the owner of about seventy head of slaves. He 
kept an overseer, and usually had flogging administered daily, on males and 
females, old and young. Abram becoming very sick of this treatment, re- 
solved, about the first of March, to seek out the Underground Rail Road. 
But for his strong attachment to his wife (who was owned by Samuel 


Adams, but was " pretty well treated "), he never would have consented to 
"suffer" as he did. 

Here no hope of comfort for the future seemed to remain. So Abram con- 
sulted with a fellow-servant, by the name of Romulus Hall, alias George 
Weems, and being very warm friends, concluded to start together. Both 
had wives to " tear themselves from," and each was equally ignorant of the 
distance they had to travel, and the dangers and sufferings to be endured. 
But they " trusted in God " and kept the North Star in view. For nine 
days and nights, without a guide, they traveled at a very exhausting rate, 
especially as they had to go fasting for three days, and to endure very cold 
weather. Abram's companion, being about fifty years of age, felt obliged to 
succumb, both from hunger and cold, and had to be left on the way. Abram 
was a man of medium size, tall, dark chestnut color, and could read and 
write a little and was quite intelligent ; " was a member of the Mount Zion 
Church," and occasionally officiated as an " exhorter," and really appeared 
to be a man of genuine faith in the Almighty, and equally as much in 

In substance, Abram gave the following information concerning his know- 
ledge of affairs on the farm under his master 

"Master and mistress very frequently visited the Protestant Church, 
but were not members. Mistress was very bad. About three weeks before 
I left, the overseer, in a violent fit of bad temper, shot and badly wounded 
a young slave man by the name of Henry Waters, but no sooner than he got 
well enough he escaped, and had not been heard of up to the time Abram 
left. About three years before this happened, an overseer of my master was 
found shot dead on the road. At once some of the slaves were suspected, 
and were all taken to the Court House, at Serentown, St. Mary's county ; 
but all came off clear. After this occurrence a new overseer, by the name 
of John Decket, was employed. Although his predecessor had been dead 
three years, Decket, nevertheless, concluded that it was not ' too late ' to 
flog the secret out of some of the slaves. Accordingly, he selected a young 
slave man for his victim, and flogged him so cruelly that he could scarcely 
walk or stand, and to keep from being actually killed, the boy told an un- 
truth, and confessed that he and his Uncle Henry killed Webster, the over- 
seer ; whereupon the poor fellow was sent to jail to be tried for his life." 

But Abram did not wait to hear the verdict. He reached the Committee 
safely in this city, in advance of his companion, and was furnished with a 
free ticket and other needed assistance, and was sent on his way rejoicing. 
After reaching his destination, he wrote back to know how his friend and 
companion (George) was getting along ; but in less than three weeks after he 
had passed, the following brief story reveals the sad fate of poor Romulus 
Hall, who had journeyed with him till exhausted from hunger and badly 

A few days after his younger companion had passed on North, Romulus 


was brought by a pitying stranger to the Vigilance Committee, in a most 
shocking condition. The frost had made sad havoc with his feet and legs, 
so much so that all sense of feeling had departed therefrom. 

How he ever reached this city is a marvel. On his arrival medical at- 
tention and other necessary comforts were provided by the Committee, who 
hoped with himself, that he would be restored with the loss of his toes aloue. 
For one week he seemed to be improving; at the expiration of this time, how- 
ever, his symptoms changed, indicating not only the end of slavery, but also 
the end of all his earthly troubles. 

Lockjaw and mortification set in in the most malignant form, and for 
nearly thirty-six hours the unfortunate victim suffered in extreme agony, 
though not a murmur escaped him for having brought upon himself in 
seeking his liberty this painful infliction and death. It was wonderful to see 
how resignedly he endured his fate. 

Being anxious to get his testimony relative to his escape, etc., the 
Chairman of the Committee took his pencil and expressed to him his 
wishes in the matter. Amongst other questions, he was asked: "Do you 
regret having attempted to escape from slavery?" After a severe spasm 
he said, as his friend was about to turn to leave the room, hopeless of being 
gratified in his purpose: "Don't go; I have not answered your question. 
I am glad I escaped from slavery!" He then gave his name, and tried 
to tell the name of his master, but was so weak he could not be under- 

At his bedside, day and night, Slavery looked more heinous than it had 
ever done before. Only think how this poor man, in an enlightened Chris- 
tian land, for the bare hope of freedom, in a strange land amongst strangers, 
was obliged not only to bear the sacrifice of his wife and kindred, but also 
of his own life. 

Nothing ever appeared more sad than seeing him in a dying posture, and 
instead of reaching his much coveted destination in Canada, going to that 
" bourne whence no traveler returns." Of course it was expedient, even after 
his death, that only a few friends should follow him to his grave. Never- 
theless, he was decently buried in the beautiful Lebanon Cemetery. 

In his purse was found one single five cent piece, his whole pecuniary 

This was the first instance of death on the Underground Rail Road in 
this region. 

The Committee were indebted to the medical services of the well-known 
friends of the fugitive, Drs. J. L. Griscom and H. T. Childs, whose faithful 
services were freely given ; and likewise to Mrs. H. S. Duterte and Mrs. 
Williams, who generously performed the offices of charity and friendship at 
his burial. 

From his companion, who passed on Canada-ward without delay, we re- 


ceived a letter, from which, as an item of interest, we make the following 
extract : 

" I am enjoying good health, and hope when this reaches you, you may be enjoying the 

same blessing. Give my love to Mr. , and family, and tell them I am in a land 

of liberty ! I am a man among men I" (The above was addressed to the deceased.) 

The subjoined letter, from Rev. L. D. Mansfield, expressed on behalf of 
Romulus' companion, his sad feelings on hearing of his friend's death. 
And here it may not be inappropriate to add, that clearly enough is it to 
be seen, that Rev. Mansfield was one of the rare order of ministers, who 
believed it right "to do unto others as one would be done by" in practice, 
not in theory merely, and who felt that they could no more be excused for 
"falling down," in obedience to the Fugitive Slave Law under President 
Fill more, than could Daniel for worshiping the "golden image" under 



DEAR Ba. STILL : Henry Lemmon wishes me to write to you in reply to your kind 
letter, conveying the intelligence of the death of your fugitive guest, Geo. Weems. He 
was deeply affected at the intelligence, for he was most devotedly attached to him and had 
been for many years. Mr. Lemmon now expects his sister to come on, and wishes you 
to aid her in any way in your power as he knows you will. 

He wishes you to send the coat and cap of Weems by his sister when she comes. And 
when you write out the history of Weems' escape, and it is published, that you would 
send him a copy of the papers. He has not been very successful in getting work yet. 

Mr. and Mrs. Harris left for Canada last week. Ths friends made them a purse of $15 
or $20, and we hope they will do well. 

Mr. Lemraon sends his respects to you and Mrs. Still. Give my kind regards to her 
and accept also yourself, Yours very truly, L. D. MANSFIELD. 



This arrival came by Steamer. But they neither came in State-room nor 
as Cabin, Steerage, or Deck passengers. 

A certain space, not far from the boiler, where the heat and coal dust 
were almost intolerable, the colored steward on the boat in answer to an 
appeal from these unhappy bondmen, could point to no other place for 
concealment but this. Nor was he at all certain that they could endure 
the intense heat of that place. It admitted of no other posture than lying 
flat down, wholly shut out from the light, and nearly in the same predica- 
ment in regard to the air. Here, however, was a chance of throwing off 
the yoke, even if it cost them their lives. They considered and resolved to 
try it at all hazards. 

Henry Box Brown's sufferings were nothing, compared to what these men 
submitted to during the entire journey. 


They reached the house of one of the Committee about three o'clock, 

All the way from the wharf the cold rain poured down in torrents and 
they got completely drenched, but their hearts were swelling with joy and 
gladness unutterable. From the thick coating of coal dust, and the effect 
of the rain added thereto, all traces of natural appearance were entirely 
obliterated, and they looked frightful in the extreme. But they had placed 
their lives in mortal peril for freedom. 

Every step of their critical journey was reviewed and commented on, 
with matchless natural eloquence, how, when almost on the eve of suffoca- 
ting in their warm berths, in order to catch a breath of air, they were com- 
pelled to crawl, one at a time, to a small aperture ; but scarcely would one 
poor fellow pass three minutes being thus refreshed, ere the others would 
insist that he should "go back to his hole." Air was precious, but for the 
time being they valued their liberty at still greater price. 

After they had talked to their hearts' content, and after they had been 
thoroughly cleansed and changed in apparel, their physical appearance could 
be easily discerned, which made it less a wonder whence such outbursts of 
eloquence had emanated. They bore every mark of determined manhood. 

The date of this arrival was February 26, 1854, and the following 
description was then recorded 

Arrived, by Steamer Pennsylvania, James Mercer, William H. Gilliam 
and John Clayton, from Richmond. 

James was owned by the widow, Mrs. T. E. White. He is thirty-two 
years of age, of dark complexion, well made, good-looking, reads and 
writes, is very fluent in speech, and remarkably intelligent. From a boy, 
he had been hired out. The last place he had the honor to fill before 
escaping, was with Messrs. Williams and Brother, wholesale commission 
merchants. For his services in this store the widow had been drawing one 
hundred and twenty-five dollars per annum, clear of all expenses. 

He did not complain of bad treatment from his mistress, indeed, he spoke 
rather favorably of her. But he could not close his eyes to the fact, that at 
one time Mrs. White had been in possession of thirty head of slaves, although 
at the time he was counting the cost of escaping, two only remained him- 
self and William, (save a little boy) and on himself a mortgage for seven 
hundred and fifty dollars was then resting. He could, therefore, with his 
remarkably quick intellect, calculate about how long it would be before he 
reached the auction block. 

He had a wife but no child. She was owned by Mr. Henry W. Quarles. 
So out of that Sodom he felt he would have to escape, even at the cost of 
leaving his wife behind. Of course he felt hopeful that the way would open 
by which she could escape at a future time, and so it did, as will appear by 
and by. Hie aged mother he had to leave also. 


Wm. Henry Gilliam likewise belonged to the Widow White, and he had 
been hired to Messrs. White and Brother to drive their bread wagon. 
William was a baker by trade. For his services his mistress had received one 
hundred and thirty-five dollars per year. He thought his mistress quite as 
good, if not a little better than most slave-holders. But he had never felt 
persuaded to believe that she was good enough for him to remain a slave 
for her support. 

Indeed, he had made several unsuccessful attempts before this time to 
escape from slavery and its horrors. He was fully posted from A to Z, but 
in his own person he had been smart enough to escape most of the more 
brutal outrages. He knew how to read and write, and in readiness of 
speech and general natural ability was far above the average of slaves. 

He was twenty-five years of age, well made, of light complexion, and 
might be put down as a valuable piece of property. 

This loss fell with crushing weight upon the kind-hearted mistress, as 
will be seen in a letter subjoined which she wrote to the unfaithful William, 
spme time after he had fled. 


RICHMOND, 16th, 1854. 

DEAR HENRY : Your mother and myself received your letter; she is much distressed 
at your conduct ; she is remaining just as you left her, she says, and she will never be 
reconciled to your conduct. 

I think Henry, you have acted most dishonorably ; had you have made a confidant of 
me I would have been better off; and you as you are. I am badly situated, living with 
Mrs. Palmer, and having to put up with everything your mother is also dissatisfied I 
am miserably poor, do not get a cent of your hire or James', besides losing you both, but 
if you can reconcile so do. By renting a cheap house, I might have lived, now it seems 
starvation is before me. Martha and the Doctor are living in Portsmouth, it is not in her 
power to do much for me. I know you will repent it. I heard six weeks before you 
went, that you were trying to persuade him off but we all liked you, and I was un- 
willing to believe it however, I leave it in God's hands He- will know what to do. Your 
mother says that I must tell you servant Jones is dead and old Mrs. Gait. Kit is well, 
but we are very uneasy, losing your and James" hire, I fear poor little fellow, that he 
will be obliged to go, as I am compelled to live, and it will be your fault. I am quite 
unwell, but of course, you don't care. Yours, L. E. WHITE. 

Jf you choose to come back you could. I would do a very good part by you, Toler and 
Cooke has none. 

This touching epistle was given by the disobedient William to a member 
of the Vigilant Committee, when on a visit to Canada, in 1855, and it was 
thought to be of too much value to be lost. It was put away with 
other valuable U. G. R. R. documents for future reference. Touching 
the " rascality " of William and James and the unfortunate predicament in 
which it placed the kind-hearted widow, Mrs. Louisa White, the following 
editorial clipped from the wide-awake Richmond Despatch, was also highly 


appreciated, and preserved as conclusive testimony to the successful working 
of the U. G. R. R. in the Old Dominion. It reads thus 

" RASCALITY SOMEWHERE. We called attention yesterday to the adver- 
tisement of two negroes belonging to Mrs. Louisa White, by Toler & Cook, 
and in the call we expressed the opinion that they were still lurking about 
the city, preparatory to going off. Mr. Toler, we find, is of a different 
opinion. He believes that they have already cleared themselves have 
escaped to a Free State, and we think it extremely probable that he is in the 
right. They were both of them uncommonly intelligent negroes. One of 
them, the one hired to Mr. White, was a tip-top baker. He had been all 
about the country, and had been in the habit of supplying the U. S. Penn- 
sylvania with bread; Mr. W. having the contract. In his visits for this 
purpose, of course, he formed acquaintances with all sorts of sea-faring cha- 
racters ; and there is every reason to believe that he has been assisted to get 
off in that way, along with the other boy, hired to the Messrs. Williams. 
That the two acted in concert, can admit of no doubt. The question is 
now to find out how they got off. They must undoubtedly have had white 
men in the secret. Have we then a nest of Abolition scoundrels among us? 
There ought to be a law to put a police officer on board every vessel as soon 
as she lands at the wharf. There is one, we believe for inspecting vessels 
before they leave. If there is not there ought to be one. 

"These negroes belong to a widow lady and constitute all the property she 
has on earth. They have both been raised with the greatest indulgence. 
"Had it been otherwise, they would never have had an opportunity to escape, 
as they have done. Their flight has left her penniless. Either of them 
would readily have sold for $1200 ; and Mr. Toler advised their owner to 
sell them at the commencement of the year, probably anticipating the very 
thing that has happened. She refused to do so, because she felt too much 
attachment to them. They have made a fine return, truly." 

No comment is necessary on the above editorial except simply to ex- 
press the hope that the editor and his friends who seemed to be utterly 
befogged as to how these " uncommonly intelligent negroes " made their 
escape, will find the problem satisfactorily solved in this book. 

However, in order to do even-handed justice to all concerned, it seems 
but proper that William and James should be heard from, and hence a 
letter from each is here appended for what they are worth. True they 
were intended only for private use, but since the " True light " (Freedom) 
has come, all things may be made manifest. 


ST. CATHARINES, C. W., MAY 15th, 1854. 

MY DEAR FRIEND: I receaved yours, Dated the 10th and the papers on the 13th, I 
also saw the pice that was in Miss Shadd's paper About me. I think Tolar is right 


About my being in A free State, I am and think A great del of it. Also I have no com- 
passion on the penniless widow lady, I have Served her 25 yers 2 months, I think that is 
long Enough for me to live A Slave. Dear Sir, I am very sorry to hear of the Accadent 
that happened to our Friend Mr. Meakins, I have read the letter to all that lives in St. 
Catharines, that came from old Virginia, and then I Sented to Toronto to Mercer & 
Clayton to see, and to Farman to read fur themselves. Sir, you must write to me soon 
and let me know how Meakins gets on with his tryal, and you must pray for him, I 
have told all here to do the same for him. May God bless and protect him from prison, 
I have heard A great del of old Richmond and Norfolk. Dear Sir, if you see Mr. or Mrs. 
Gilbert Give my love to them aod tell them to write to me, also give my respect to your 
Family and A part for yourself, love from the friends to you Soloman Brown, H. Atkins, 
Was. Johnson, Mrs Brooks, Mr. Dykes. Mr. Smith is better at presant. And do not 
forget to write the News of Meakin's tryal. I cannot say any more at this time ; but 
remain yours and A true Friend ontell Death. W. H. GILLIAM, the widow's Mite. 

" Our friend Minkins," in whose behalf William asks the united prayers 
of his friends, was one of the " scoundrels " who assisted him and his two 
companions to escape on the steamer. Being suspected of " rascality " in 
this direction, he was arrested and put in jail, but as no evidence could be 
found against him he was soon released. 


TORONTO, MARCH 17th, 1854. 

MY DEAR FRIEND STILL : I take this method of informing you that I am well, and 
when this comes to hand it may find you and your family enjoying good health. Sir, my 
particular for writing is that I wish to hear from you, and to hear all the news from down 
South. I wish to know if all things are working Right for the Rest of my Brotheran 
whom in bondage. I will also Say that I am very much please with Toronto, So also the 
friends that came over with. It is true that we have not been Employed as yet ; but 
we are in hopes of be'en so in a few days. We happen here in good time jest about time 
the people in this country are going work. I am in good health and good Spirits, and 
feeles Rejoiced in the Lord for my liberty. I Received cople of paper from you to-day. 
I wish you see James Morris whom or Abram George the first and second on the Ship 
Penn., give my respects to them, and ask James if he will call at Henry W. Quarles pn 
May street oppisit the Jews synagogue and call for Marena Mercer, give my love to her 
ask her of all the times about Richmond, tell her to Send me all the news. Tell Mr. 
Morris that there will be no danger in going to that place. You will also tell M. to 
make himself known to her as she may know who sent him. And I wish to get a letter 
from you. JAMES M. MERCER. 


MY FRIEND, I would like to hear from you, I have been looking for a letter from you 
for Several days as the last was very interesting to me, please to write Right away. 

Yours most Respectfully, JOHN H. HILL. 

Instead of weeping over the sad situation of his " penniless " mistress and 
showing any signs of contrition for having wronged the man who held the 
mortgage of seven -hundred and fifty dollars on him, James actually " feels 
rejoiced in the Lord for his liberty," and is " very much pleased with 


Toronto ; " but is not satisfied yet, he is even concocting a plan by which 
his wife might be run off from Richmond, which would be the cause of her 
owner (Henry W. Quarles, Esq.) losing at least one thousand dollars. 


MB. STILL, DEAR FRIEND: I received a letter from the poor old widow, Mrs. L. E. 
White, and she says I may come back if I choose and she will do a good part by me. 
Yes, yes I am choosing the western side of the South for my home. She is smart, but 
cannot bung my eye, so she shall have to die in the poor house at last, so she says, and 
Mercer and myself will be the cause of it. That is all right. I am getting even with her 
now for I was in the poor house for twenty-five years and have just got out. And she 
said she knew I was coming away six weeks before I started, so you may know my 
chance was slim. But Mr. John Wright said I came off like a gentleman and he did not 
blame me for coming for I was a great boy. Yes I here him enough he is all gas. I am 
in Canada, and they cannot help themselves. 

About that subject I will not say anything more. You must write to me as soon as 
you can and let me here the news and how the Family is and yourself. Let me know 
how the times is with the U G. R. R. Co. Is it doing good business ? Mr. Dykes sends 
his respects to you. Give mine to your family. Your true friend, W. H. GILLIAM. 

John Clayton, the companion in tribulation of William and James, must 
not be lost sight of any longer. He was owned by the Widow Clayton, and 
was white enough to have been nearly related to her, being a mulatto. He 
was about thirty-five years of age, a man of fine appearance, and quite intel- 
ligent. Several years previous he had made an attempt to escape, but failed. 
Prior to escaping in this instance, he had been laboring in a tobacco factory 
at $150 a year. It is needless to say that he did not approve of the " pecu- 
liar institution." He left a wife and one child behind to mourn after him. 
Of his views of Canada and Freedom, the following frank and sensible let- 
ter, penned shortly after his arrival, speaks for itself 

TORONTO, March 6th, 1854. 

DEAR MR. STILL : I take this method of informing you that I am well both in health 
and mind You may rest assured that I fells myself a free man and do not fell as I did 
when I was in Virginia thanks be to God I have no master into Canada but I am my own 
man. I arrived safe into Canada on friday last. I must request of you to write a few 
lines to my wife and jest state to her that her friend arrived safe into this glorious land of 
liberty and I am well and she will make very short her time in Virginia, tell her that I 
likes here very well and hopes to like it better when I gets to work I don't meane for you 
to write the same words that are written above but I wish you give her a clear under- 
standing where I am and Shall Remain here untel She comes or I hears from her. 

Nothing more at present but remain yours most respectfully, JOHN CLAYTON. 

You will please to direct the to Petersburg Luenena Johns or Clayton John is best. 




Clarissa fled from Portsmouth, Va., in May, 1854, with two of her 
brothers. Two months and a half before she succeeded in getting off, Cla- 
rissa had made a desperate effort, but failed. The brothers succeeded, but 
she was left. She had not given up all hope of escape, however, and there- 
fore sought " a safe hiding-place until an opportunity might offer," by 
which she could follow her brothers on the U. G. E-. R. Clarissa was 
owned by Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Burkley, of Portsmouth, under whom she 
had always served. 

Of them she spoke favorably, saying that she " had not been used as hard 
as many others were." At this period, Clarissa was about twenty-two years 
of age, of a bright brown complexion, with handsome features, exceedingly 
respectful and modest, and possessed all the characteristics of a well-bred 
young lady. For one so little acquainted with books as she was, the cor- 
rectness of her speech was perfectly astonishing. 

For Clarissa and her two brothers a "reward of one thousand dollars" 
was kept standing in the papers for a length of time, as these (articles) were 
considered very rare and valuable; the best that could be produced in Vir- 

In the meanwhile the brothers had passed safely on to New Bedford, but 
Clarissa remained secluded, " waiting for the storm to subside." Keeping 
up courage day by day, for seventy-five days, with the fear of being detected 
and severely punished, and then sold, after all her hopes and struggles, re- 
quired the faith of a martyr. Time after time, when she hoped to succeed 
in making her escape, ill luck seemed to disappoint her, and nothing but 
intense suffering appeared to be in store. Like many others, under the 
crushing weight of oppression, she thought she "should have to die" ere 
she tasted liberty. In this state of mind, one day, word was conveyed to 
her that the steamship, City of Richmond, had arrived from Philadelphia, 
and that the steward on board (with whom she was acquainted), had con- 
sented to secrete her this trip, if she could manage to reach the ship safely, 
which was to start the next day. This news to Clarissa was both cheering 
and painful. She had been "praying all the time while waiting," but now 
ehe felt "that if it would only rain right hard the next morning about three 
t)'clock, to drive the police officers off the street, then she could safely make 
her way to the boat." Therefore she prayed anxiously all that day that it 
would rain, " but no sign of rain appeared till towards midnight." The 
prospect looked horribly discouraging; but she prayed on, and at the 
appointed hour (three o'clock before day), the rain descended in torrents. 
Dressed in male attire, Clarissa left the miserable coop where she had been 
almost without light or air for two and a half months, and unmolested, 


reached the boat safely, and was secreted in a box by Wm. Bagnal, a clever 
young man who sincerely sympathized with the slave, having a wife in 
slavery himself; and by him she was safely delivered into the hands of the 
Vigilance Committee. 

Clarissa Davis here, by advice of the Committee, dropped her old name, 
and was straightway christened "Mary D. Armstead." Desiring to join her 
brothers and sister in New Bedford, she was duly furnished with her U. G. 
R. R. passport and directed thitherward. Her father, who was left behind 
when she got off, soon after made his way on North, and joined his children. 
He was too old and infirm probably to be worth anything, and had been al- 
lowed to go free, or to purchase himself for a mere nominal sum. Slave- 
holders would, on some such occasions, show wonderful liberality in letting 
their old slaves go free, when they could work no more. After reaching 
New Bedford, Clarissa manifested her gratitude in writing to her friends in 
Philadelphia repeatedly, and evinced a very lively interest in the U. G. R. R. 
The appended letter indicates her sincere feelings of gratitude and deep 
interest in the cause 

NEW BEDFORD, August 26, 1855. 

MR. STILL: I avail my self to write you thes few lines hopeing they may find you and 
your family well as they leaves me very well and ill the family well except my father he 
seams to be improveing with his shoulder he has been able to work a little I received 
the papers I was highly delighted to receive them I was very glad to hear from you 
in the wheler case I was very glad to hear that the persons ware safe I was very sory 
to hear that mr Williamson was put in prison but I know if the praying part of the 
people will pray for him and if he will put his trust in the lord he will bring him out 
more than conquer please remember my Dear old farther and sisters and brothers to your 
family kiss the children for me I hear that the yellow fever is very bad down south now 
if the underground railroad could have free course the emergrant would cross the river of 
gordan rapidly I hope it may continue to run and I hope the wheels of the car may be 
greesed with more substantial greese so they may run over swiftly I would have wrote 
before but circumstances would not permit me Miss Sanders and all the friends desired 
to be remembered to you and your family I shall be pleased to hear from the under- 
ground rail road often Yours respectfully, MARY D. ARMSTEAD. 



Arrived from Norfolk, about the 1st of November, 1854. Ten months 
before starting, Anthony had been closely concealed. He belonged to the 
estate of Mrs. Peters, a widow, who had been dead about one year before his 

On the settlement of his old mistress' estate, which was to take place one 
year after her death, Anthony was to be transferred to Mrs. Lewis, a daugh- 


ter of Mrs. Peters (the wife of James Lewis, Esq.). Anthony felt well 
satisfied that he was not the slave to please the " tyrannical whims " of his 
anticipated master, young Lewis, and of course he hated the idea of having 
to come under his yoke. And what made it still more unpleasant for 
Anthony was that Mr. Lewis would frequently remind him that it was 
his intention to "sell him as soon as he got possession the first day of 
January." " I can get fifteen hundred dollars for you easily, and I will do 
it." This contemptuous threat had caused Anthony's blood to boil time and 
again. But Anthony had to take the matter as calmly as possible, which, 
however, he was not always able to do. 

At any rate, Anthony concluded that his " young master had counted the 
chickens before they were hatched." Indeed here Anthony began to be a 
deep thinker. He thought, for instance, that he had already been shot 
three times, at the instance of slave-holders. The first time he was shot 
was for refusing a flogging when only eighteen years of age. The second 
time, he was shot in the head with squirrel shot by the sheriff, who was 
attempting to arrest him for having resisted three " young white ruffians," 
who wished to have the pleasure of beating him, but got beaten themselves. 
And in addition to being shot this time, Anthony was still further "broke 
in " by a terrible flogging from the Sheriff. The third time Anthony was 
shot he was about twenty-one years of age. In this instance he was punished 
for his old offence he " would not be whipped." 

This time his injury from being shot was light, compared with the two 
preceding attacks. Also in connection with these murderous conflicts, he 
could not forget that he had been sold on the auction block. But he had 
still deeper thinking to do yet. He determined that his young master 
should never get "fifteen hundred dollars for him on the 1st of January," 
unless he got them while he (Anthony) was running. For Anthony had 
fully made up his mind that when the last day of December ended, his 
bondage should end also, even if he should have to accept death as a substi- 
tute. He then began to think of the Underground Rail Road and of Canada; 
but who the agents were, or how to find the depot, was a serious puzzle to 
him. But his time was getting so short he was convinced that whatever he 
did would have to be done quickly. In this frame of mind he found 
a man who professed to know something about the Underground Rail Road, 
and for " thirty dollars " promised to aid him in the matter. 

The thirty dollars were raised by the hardest effort and passed over to the 
pretended friend, with the expectation that it would avail greatly in the 
emergency. But Anthony found himself sold for thirty dollars, as nothing 
was done for him. However, the 1st day of January arrived, but Anthony 
was not to be found to answer to his name at roll call. He had "took out" 
very early in the morning. Daily he prayed in his place of concealment 
how to find the U. G. R. R. Ten months passed away, during which time 


he suffered almost death, but persuaded himself to believe that even that 
was better than slavery. With Anthony, as it has been with thousands of 
others similarly situated, just as everything was looking the most hopeless, 
word came to him in his place of concealment that a friend named Miukins, 
employed on the steamship City of Eichmond, would undertake to conceal 
him on the boat, if he could be crowded in a certain place, which was about 
the only spot that would be perfectly safe. This was glorious news to 
Anthony ; but it was well for him that he was ignorant of the situation 
that awaited him on the boat, or his heart might have failed him. He was 
willing, however, to risk his life for freedom, and, therefore, went joyfully. 

The hiding-place was small and he was large. A sitting attitude was 
the only way he could possibly occupy it. He was contented. This place 
was " near the range, directly over the boiler," and of course, was very warm. 
Nevertheless, Anthony felt that he would not murmur, as he knew what 
suffering was pretty well, and especially as he took it for granted that he 
would be free in about a day and a half the "usual time it took the steamer 
to make her trip. At the appointed hour the steamer left Norfolk for 
Philadelphia, with Anthony sitting flat down in his U. G. R. R. berth, 
thoughtful and hopeful. But before the steamer had made half her dis- 
tance the storm was tossing the ship hither and thither fearfully. Head 
winds blew terribly, and for a number of days the elements seemed per- 
fectly mad. In addition to the extraordinary state of the weather, when 
the storm subsided the fog took its place and held the mastery of the ship 
with equal despotism until the end of over seven days, when finally the 
storm, wind, and fog all disappeared, and on the eighth day of her boister- 
ous passage the steamship City of Richmond landed at the wharf of Phil- 
adelphia, with this giant and hero on board who had suffered for ten months 
in his concealment on land and for eight days on the ship. 

Anthony was of very powerful physical proportions, being six feet three 
inches in height, quite black, very intelligent, and of a temperament that 
would not submit to slavery. For some years his master, Col. Cunnagan, had 
hired him out in Washington, where he was accused of being in the schooner 
Pearl, with Capt. Drayton's memorable " seventy fugitives on board, bound for 
Canada." At this time he was stoker in a machine shop, and was at work 
on an anchor weighing "ten thousand pounds." In the excitement over 
the attempt to escape in the Pearl, many were arrested, and the officers with 
irons visited Anthony at the machine shop to arrest him, but he declined to 
let them put the hand-cuffs on him, but consented to go with them, if per- 
mitted to do so without being ironed. The officers yielded, and Anthony 
went willingly to the jail. Passing unnoticed other interesting conflicts in 
his hard life, suffice it to say, he left his wife, Ann, and three children, 
Benjamin, John and Alfred, all owned by Col. Cunnagan. In this brave- 
hearted man, the Committee felt a deep interest, and accorded him their 
usual hospitalities. 




Perry's exit was in November, 1853. He was owned by Charles John- 
son, who lived at Elkton. The infliction of a severe "flogging" from the 
hand of his master awakened Perry to consider the importance of the U. G. 
R. R. Perry had the misfortune to let a "load of fodder upset," about 
which his master became exasperated, and in his agitated state of mind he 
succeeded in affixing a number of very ugly stationary marks on Perry's 
back. However, this was no new thing. Indeed he had suffered at the 
hands of his mistress even far more keenly than from these " ugly marks." 
He had but one eye; the other he had been deprived of by a terrible stroke 
with a cowhide in the " hand of his mistress." This lady he pronounced 
to be a " perfect savage," and added that " she was in the habit of cowhiding 
any of her slaves whenever she felt like it, which was quite often." Perry 
was about twenty-eight years of age and a man of promise. The Committee 
attended to his wants and forwarded him on North. 



These passengers all arrived together, concealed, per steamship City of 
Richmond, December, 1853. Isaac Forman, the youngest of the party 
twenty-three years of age and a dark mulatto would be considered by a 
Southerner capable of judging as "very likely." He fled from a widow by 
the name of Mrs. Sanders, who had been in the habit of hiring him out for 
"one hundred and twenty dollars a year." She belonged in Norfolk, Va.; 
so did Isaac. For four years Isaac had served in the capacity of steward 
on the steamship Augusta. He stated that he had a wife living in Rich- 
mond, and that she was confined the morning he took the U. G. R. R. Of 
course he could not see her. The privilege of living in Richmond with his 
wife " had been denied him." Thus, fearing to render her unhappy, he was 
obliged to conceal from her his intention to escape. " Once or twice in the 
year was all the privilege allowed" him to visit her. This only added "in- 
sult to injury," in Isaac's opinion; wherefore he concluded that he would 
make one less to have to suffer thus, and common sense said he was wise in 
the matter. No particular charges are found recorded on the U. G. R. R. 
books against the mistress. He went to Canada. 

In the subjoined letters (about his wife) is clearly revealed the sincere 
gratitude he felt towards those who aided him: at the same time it may be 


seen how the thought of his wife being in bondage grieved his heart. It 
would have required men with stone hearts to have turned deaf ears to 
such appeals. Extract from letter soon after reaching Canada hopeful and 


TORONTO, Feb. 20th, 1854. 

MR. WILLIAM STILL : Sir Your kind letter arrived safe at hand on the 18th, and I 
was very happy to receive it. I now feel that I should return you some thanks for your 
kindness. Dear sir I do pray from the bottom of my heart, that the high heavens may 
bless you for your kindness ; give my love to Mr. Bagnel and Mr. Minkins, ask them if 
they have heard anything from my brother, tell Mr. Bagnel to give my love to my sister- 
in-law and mother and all the family. I am now living at Russell's Hotel ; it is the first 
situation 1 have had since I have been here and I like it very well. Sir you would oblige 
me by letting me know if Mr. Minkins has seen my wife ; you will please let me know as 
soon as possible. I wonder if Mr. Minkins has thought of any way that he can get my 
wife away. I should like to know in a few days. Your well wisher, ISAAC FORMAN. 

Another letter from Isaac. He is very gloomy and his heart is almost 
breaking about his wife. 


TORONTO, May 7, 1854. 

MR. W. STILL : Dear Sir I take this opportunity of writing you these few lines and 
hope when they reach you they will find you well. I would have written you before, but 
I was waiting to hear from my friend, Mr. Brown. I judge his business has been of im- 
portance as the occasion why he has not written before. Dear sir, nothing would have 
prevented me from writing, in a case of this kind, except death. 

My soul is vexed, my troubles are inexpressible. I often feel as if I were willing to die. 
I must see my wife in short, if not, I will die. What would I not give no tongue can 
utter. Just to gaze on her sweet lips one moment I would be willing to die the next. I 
am determined to see her some time or other. The thought of being a slave again is mis- 
erable. I hope heaven will smile upon me again, before I am one again. I will leave 
Canada again shortly, but I don't name the place that I go, it may be in the bottom of 
the ocean. If I had known as much before I left, as I do now, I would never have left 
until I could have found means to have brought her with me. You have never suffered 
from being absent from a wife, as I have. I consider that to be nearly superior to death, 
and hope you will do all you can for me, and inquire from your friends if nothing can be 
done for me. Please write to me immediately on receipt of this, and say something that 
will cheer up my drooping spirits. You will oblige me by seeing Mr. Brown and ask him 
if he would oblige me by going to Richmond and see my wife, and see what arrangements 
he could make with her, and I would be willing to pay all his expenses there and back. 
Please to see both Mr. Bagnel and Mr. Minkins, and ask them if they have seen my wife. 
I am determined to see her, if I die the next moment. I can say I was once happy, but 
never will be again, until I see her; because what is freedom to me, when I know that my 
wife is in slavery? Those persons that you shipped a few weeks ago, remained at St. Cath- 
erine, instead of coming over to Toronto. I sent you two letters last week and I hope 
you will please attend to them. The post-office is shut, so I enclose the money to pay 
the post, and please write me in haste. 

I remain evermore your obedient servant, I. FORMAN. 




He was owned by S. J. Wilson, a merchant, living in Portsmouth, Va. 
Willis was of a very dark hue, thickset, thirty-two years of age, and possessed 
of a fair share of mind. The owner had been accustomed to hire Willis out 
for "one hundred dollars a year." Willis thought his lot "pretty hard," 
and his master rather increased this notion by his severity, and especially bv 
"threatening" to sell him. He had enjoyed, as far as it was expected for a 
slave to do, "five months of married life," but he loved slavery no less on 
this account. In fact he had just begun to consider what it was to have a 
wife and children that he "could not own or protect," and who were claimed 
as another's property. Consequently he became quite restive tinder these 
reflections and his master's ill-usage, and concluded to " look out," without 
consulting either the master or the young wife. 

This step looked exceedingly hard, but what else could the poor fellow 
do? Slavery existed expressly for the purpose of crushing souls and 
breaking tender hearts. 


William might be described as a good-looking mulatto, thirty-one years 
of age, and capable of thinking for himself. He made no grave complaints 
of ill-usage under his master, "Joseph Reynolds," who lived at Newton, 
Portsmouth, Va. However, his owner had occasionally " threatened to 
sell him." As this was too much for William's sensitive feelings, he took 
umbrage at it and made a hasty and hazardous move, which resulted in 
finding himself on the U. G. R. R. The most serious regret William had 
to report to the Committee was, that he was compelled to " leave " his 
"wife," Catharine, and his little daughter, Louisa, two years and one month, 
and an infant son seven months old. He evidently loved them very ten- 
derly, but saw no way by which he could aid them, as long as he was daily 
liable to be put on the auction block and sold far South. This argument 
was regarded by the Committee as logical and unanswerable ; consequently 
they readily endorsed his course, while they deeply sympathized with his 
poor wife and little ones. "Before escaping," he "dared not" even apprise 
his wife and child, whom he had to leave behind in the prison house. 



In November, 1853, in the twentieth year of his age, Camp was held to 
" service or labor " in the City of Richmond, Va., by Dr. K. Clark. Being 


uncommonly smart and quite good-looking at the same time, he was a 
saleable piece of merchandise. Without consulting his view of the matter 
or making the least intimation of any change, the master one day struck up 
a bargain with a trader for Joseph, and received Fourteen Hundred Dollars 
cash in consideration thereof. Mr. Eobert Parrett, of Parson & King's 
Express office, happened to have a knowledge of what had transpired, and 
thinking pretty well of Joseph, confidentially put him in full possession of . 
all the facts in the case. For reflection he hardly had five minutes. But he 
at once resolved to strike that day for freedom not to go home that evening 
to be delivered into the hands of his new master. In putting into execution 
his bold resolve, he secreted himself, and so remained for three weeks. In 
the meantime his mother, who was a slave, resolved to escape also, but 
after one week's gloomy foreboding, she became " faint-hearted and gave 
the struggle over." But Joseph did not know what surrender meant. His 
sole thought was to procure a ticket on the U. G. R. R. for Canada, which by 
persistent effort he succeeded in doing. He hid himself in a steamer, and by 
this way reached Philadelphia, where he received every accommodation at the 
usual depot, was provided with a free ticket, and sent off rejoicing for Canada. 
The unfortunate mother was "detected and sold South." 



About the twenty-ninth of January, 1855, Sheridan arrived from the Old 
Dominion and a life of bondage, and was welcomed cordially by the Vigi- 
lance Committee. Miss Elizabeth Brown of Portsmouth, Va. claimed 
Sheridan as her property. He spoke rather kindly of her, and felt that he 
" had not been used very hard " as a general thing, although, he wisely 
added, " the best usage was bad enough." Sheridan had nearly reached his 
twenty-eighth year, was tall and well made, and possessed of a considerable 
share of intelligence. 

Not a great while before making up his mind to escape, for some trifling 
offence he had been "stretched up with a rope by his hands," and "whipped 
unmercifully." In addition to this he had "got wind of the fact," that he 
was to be auctioneered off; soon these things brought serious reflections to 
Sheridan's mind, and among other questions, he began to ponder how he 
could get a ticket on the U. G. R. R., and get out of this "place of torment," 
to where he might have the benefit of his own labor. In this state of mind, 
about the fourteenth day of November, he took his first and daring step. 
He went not, however, to learned lawyers or able ministers of the Gospel 
in his distress and trouble, but wended his way "directly to the woods," 
where he felt that he would be safer with the wild animals nnd reptiles, in 
solitude, than with the barbarous civilization that existed in Portsmouth. 


The first day in the woods he passed in prayer incessantly, all alone. In 
this particular place of seclusion he remained " four days and nights " " two 
days suffered severely from hunger, cold and thirst." However, one who 
was a " friend " to him, and knew of his whereabouts, managed to get some 
food to him and consoling words ; but at the end of the four days this 
friend got into some difficulty and thus Sheridan was left to " wade through 
deep waters and head winds " in an almost hopeless state. There he could 
not consent to stay and starve to death. Accordingly he left and found another 
place of seclusion with a friend in the town for a pecuniary consideration. 
A secret passage was procured for him on one of the steamers running 
between Philadelphia and Richmond, Va. When he left his poor wife^ 
Julia, she was then " lying in prison to be sold," on the simple charge of 
having been suspected of conniving at her husband's escape. As a woman 
she had known something of the " barbarism of slavery," from every-day 
experience, which the large scars about her head indicated according to 
Sheridan's testimony. She was the mother of two children, but had never 
.been allowed to have the care of either of them. The husband, utterly 
powerless to offer her the least sympathy in word or deed, left this dark 
habitation of cruelty, as above referred to, with no hope of ever seeing wife 
or child again in this world. 

The Committee afforded him the usual aid and comfort, and passed him 
on to the next station, with his face set towards Boston. He had heard the 
slaveholders " curse " Boston so much, that he concluded it must be a pretty 
safe place for the fugitive. 


Joseph Kneeland arrived November 25, 1853. He was a prepossessing 
man of twenty-six, dark complexion, and intelligent. At the time of 
Joseph's escape, he was owned by Jacob Kneeland, who had fallen heir to 
him as a part of his father's estate. Joseph spoke of his old master as 
having treated him " pretty well," but he had an idea that his young master 
had a very "malignant spirit;" for even before the death of his old master, 
the heir wanted him, " Joe," sold, and after the old man died, matters 
appeared to be coming to a crisis very fast. Even as early as November, 
the young despot had distinctly given "Joe" to understand, that he was not 
to be hired out another year, intimating that he was to " go somewhere," 
but as to particulars, it was time enough for Joe to know them. 

Of course " Joe " looked at his master " right good " and saw right 
through him, and at the same time, saw the U. G. R. R., " darkly." Daily 
slavery grew awfully mean, but on the other hand, Canada was looked upon 
as a very desirable country to emigrate to, and he concluded to make his 


way there, as speedily as the U. G. R. R. could safely convey him. 
Accordingly he soon carried his design into practice, and on his arrival, the 
Committee regarded him as a very good subject for her British Majesty's 
possessions in Canada, 


James Hambleton Christian is a remarkable specimen of the " well fed, 
<fec." In talking with him relative to his life as a slave, he said very 
promptly, "I have always been treated well; if I only have half as good 
times in the North as I have had in the South, I shall be perfectly satisfied. 
Any time I desired spending money, five or ten dollars were no object." At 
times, James had borrowed of his master, one, two, and three hundred 
dollars, to loan out to some of his friends. With regard to apparel and 
jewelry, he had worn the best, as an every-day adornment. With regard to 
food also, he had fared as well as heart could wish, with abundance of 
leisure time at his command. His deportment was certainly very refined 
and gentlemanly. About fifty per cent, of Anglo-Saxon blood was visible 
in his features and his hair, which gave him no inconsiderable claim to 
sympathy and care. He had been to William and Mary's College in his 
younger days, to wait on young master James B. C., where, through the 
kindness of some of the students he had picked up a trifling amount of 
book learning. To be brief, this man was born the slave of old Major 
Christian, on the Glen Plantation, Charles City county, Va. The Chris- 
tians were wealthy and owned many slaves, and belonged in reality to the 
F. F. Vs. On the death of the old Major, James fell into the hands of 
his son, Judge Christian, who was executor to his father's estate. Subse- 
quently he fell into the hands of one of the Judge's sisters, Mrs. John 
Tyler (wife of Ex-President Tyler), and then he became a member of the 
President's domestic household, was at the White, House, under the Presi- 
dent, from 1841 to 1845. Though but very young at that time, James was 
only fit for training in the arts, science, and mystery of waiting, in which 
profession, much pains were taken to qualify him completely for his calling. 

After a lapse of time-, his mistress died. According to her request, 
after this event, James and his old mother were handed over to her nephew, 
William H. Christian, Esq., a merchant of Richmond. From this gentle- 
man, James had the folly to flee. 

Passing hurriedly over interesting details, received from him respecting 
his remarkable history, two or three more incidents too good to omit must 


" How did you like Mr. Tyler ?" said an inquisitive member of the 
Vigilance Committee. " I didn't like Mr. Tyler much," was the reply. 
"Why?" again inquired the member of the Committee. "Because Mr. 
Tyler was a poor man. I never did like poor people. I didn't like his 
marrying into our family, who were considered very far Tyler's superiors." 
" On the plantation," he said, " Tyler was a very cross man, and treated the 
servants very cruelly; but the house servants were treated much better, 
owing to their having belonged to his wife, who protected them from perse- 
cution, as they had been favorite servants in her father's family." James 
estimated that " Tyler got about thirty-five thousand dollars and twenty-nine 
slaves, young and old, by his wife." 

What prompted James to leave such pleasant quarters ? It was this : He 
had become enamored of a young and respectable free girl in Richmond, 
with whom he could not be united in marriage solely because he was a slave, 
and did not own himself. The frequent sad separations of such married 
couples (where one or the other was a slave) could not be overlooked ; conse- 
quently, the poor fellow concluded that he would stand a better chance of 
gaining his object in Canada than by remaining in Virginia. So he began 
to feel that he might himself be sold some day, and thus the resolution came 
home to him very forcibly to make tracks for Canada. 

In speaking of the good treatment he had always met with, a member of 
the Committee remarked, "You must be akin to some one of your master's 
family?" To which he replied, "I am Christian's son." Unquestionably this 
passenger was one of that happy class so commonly referred to by apologists 
for the "Patriarchal Institution." The Committee, feeling a deep interest 
in his story, and desiring great success to him in his Underground efforts to 
get rid of slavery, and at the same time possess himself of his affianced, 
made him heartily welcome, feeling assured that the struggles and hard- 
ships he had submitted to in escaping, as well as the luxuries he was leaving 
behind, were nothing to be compared with the blessings of liberty and a free 
wife in Canada. 


"Two THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD. The above Reward will be paid for the appre- 
hension of two blacks, who escaped on Sunday last. It is supposed they have made their 
way to Pennsylvania. $500 will be paid for the apprehension of either, so that we can 
get them again. The oldest is named Edward Morgan, about five feet six or seven 
inches, heavily made is a dark black, has rather a down look when spoken to, and is 
about 21 years of age. 

" Henry Johnson is a colored negro, about five feet seven or eight inches, heavily 
made, aged nineteen years, has a pleasant countenance, and has a mark on his neck below 
the exr. 


''Stephen Butler is a dark-complexioned negro, about five feet seven inches; has a 
pleasant countenance, with a scar above his eye; plays on the violin; about twenty-two 
years old. 

"Jim Butler is a dark-complexioned negro, five feet eight or nine inches; is rather 
sullen when spoken to; face rough; aged about twenty-one years. The clothing not re- 
collected. They had black frock coats and slouch hats with them. Any information of 
them address Elizabeth Brown, Sandy Hook P. O., or of Thomas Johnson, Abingdon P. 
0., Harford county, Md. "ELIZABETH BROWN. 



The following memorandum is made, which, if not too late, may afford 
some light to "Elizabeth Brown and Thomas Johnson," if they have not 
already gone the way of the " lost cause " 

June 4, 1857. Edward is a hardy and firm-looking young man of 
twenty-four years of age, chestnut color, medium size, and " likely," would 
doubtless bring $1,400 in the market. He had been held as the property 
of the widow, " Betsy Brown," who resided near Mill Green P. O., in Har- 
ford county, Md. " She was a very bad woman ; would go to church every 
Sunday, come home and go to fighting amongst the colored people ; was 
never satisfied; she treated my mother very hard, (said Ed.) ; would beat her 
with a walking-sfick, &c. She was an old woman and belonged to the 
Catholic Church. Over her slaves she kept an overseer, who was a very 
wicked man ; very bad on colored people ; his name was ' Bill Eddy ;' Eli- 
zabeth Brown owned twelve head." 

Henry is of a brown skin, a good-looking young man, only nineteen years 
of age, whose prepossessing appearance would insure a high price for him in 
the market perhaps $1,700. With Edward, he testifies to the meanness of 
Mrs. Betsy Brown, as well as to his own longing desire for freedom. Being a 
fellow-servant with Edward, Henry was a party to the plan of escape. In 
slavery he left his mother and three sisters, owned by the " old woman " 
from whom he escaped. 

James is about twenty-one years of age, full black, and medium size. As 
he had been worked hard on poor fare, he concluded to leave, in com- 
pany with his brother and two cousins, leaving his parents in slavery, 
owned by the " Widow Pyle," who was also the owner of himself. " She 
was upwards of eighty, very passionate and ill-natured, although a member 
of the Presbyterian Church." James may be worth $1,400. 

Stephen is a brother of James', and is about the same size, though a year 
older. His experience differed in no material respect from his brother's; was 
owned by the same woman, whom he "hated for her bad treatment" of 
him. Would bring $1,400, perhaps. 

In substance, and to a considerable extent in the exact words, these facts 
are given as they came from the lips of the passengers, who, though having 
been kept in ignorance and bondage, seemed to have their eyes fuiiy open to 


the wrongs that had been heaped upon them, and were singularly determined 
to reach free soil at all hazards. The Committee willingly attended to their 
financial and other wants, and cheered them on with encouraging advice. 

They were indebted to "The Baltimore Sun" for the advertisement infor- 
mation. And here it may be further added, that the " Sun " was quite fa- 
mous for this kind of U. G. R. R. literature, and on that account alone the 
Committee subscribed for it daily, and never failed to scan closely certain 
columns, illustrated with a black man running away with a bundle on his 
back. Many of these popular illustrations and advertisements were pre- 
served, many others were sent away to friends at a distance, who took a 
special interest in the U. G. R. R. matters. Friends and stockholders in 
England used to take a great interest in seeing how the fine arts, in these 
particulars, were encouraged in the South (" the land of chivalry "). 



Henry fled from Buckstown, Dorchester Co., Md., March, 1857. Physi- 
cally he is a giant. About 27 years of age, stout and well-made, quite black, 
and no fool, as will appear presently. Only a short time before he escaped, 
his master threatened to sell him south. To avoid that fate, therefore, he 
concluded to try his luck on the Underground Rail Road, and, in company 
with seven others two of them females be started for Canada. For 
two or three days and nights they managed to outgeneral all their adver- 
saries, and succeeded bravely in making the best of their way to a Free 

In the meantime, however, a reward of $3,000 was offered for their 
arrest. This temptation was too great to be resisted, even by the man who 
had been intrusted with the care of them, and who had faithfully promised to 
pilot them to a safe place. One night, through the treachery of their pre- 
tended conductor, they were all taken into Dover Jail, where the Sheriff 
and several others, who had been notified beforehand by the betrayer, were 
in readiness to receive them. Up stairs they were taken, the betrayer remark- 
ing as they were going up, that they were "cold, but would soon have a 
good warming." On a light being lit they discovered the iron bars and 
the fact that they had been betrayed. Their liberty-loving spirits and pur- 
poses, however, did not quail. Though resisted brutally by the sheriff with 
revolver in hand, they made their way down one flight of stairs, and in the 
moment of excitement, as good luck would have it, plunged into the sheriff's 
private apartment, where his wife and children were sleeping. The wife 
cried murder lustily. A shovel full of fire, to the great danger of burning 


the premises, was scattered over the room ; out of the window jumped two 
of the female fugitives. Our hero Henry, seizing a heavy andiron, 
smashed out the window entire, through which the others leaped a dis- 
tance of twelve feet. The railing or wall around the jail, though at first 
it looked forbidding, was soon surmounted by a desperate effort. 

At this stage of the proceedings, Henry found himself without the walls, 
and also lost sight of his comrades at the same time. The last enemy he 
spied was the sheriff in his stockings without his shoes. He snapped his 
pistol at him, but it did not go off. Six of the others, however, marvel- 
lously got off safely together ; where the eighth went, or how he got off, 
was not known. 


Daniel fled from Buckstown, Dorchester Co., also. His owner's name was 
Richard Meredith, a farmer. Daniel is one of the eight alluded to above. 
In features he is well made, dark chestnut color, and intelligent, possessing 
an ardent thirst for liberty. The cause of his escape was : " Worked hard in 
all sorts of weather in rain and snow," so he thought he would " go where 
colored men are free." His master was considered the hardest man around. 
His mistress was " eighty-three years of age," " drank hard," was " very 
stormy," and a "member of the Methodist Church" (Airy's meeting-house). 
He left brothers and sisters, and uncles and aunts behind. In the combat 
at the prison he played his part manfully. 


Thomas is also one of the brave eight who broke out of Dover Jail. He 
was about twenty-three years of age, well made, wide awake, and of a 
superb black complexion. He too had been owned by Richard Meredith. 
Against the betrayer, who was a black man, he had vengeance in store if the 
opportunity should ever offer. Thomas left only one brother living ; his 
" father and mother were dead." 

The excitement over the escape spread very rapidly next morning, and 
desperate efforts were made to recapture the fugitives, but a few friends 
there were who had sympathy and immediately rendered them the needed 

The appended note from the faithful Garrett to Samuel Rhoads, may 
throw light upon the occurrence to some extent. 

WILMINGTON, 3d mo. 13th, 1857. 

DEAR COUSIN, SAMUEL RHOADS : I have a letter this day from an agent of the Under- 
ground Rail Road, near Dover, in this state, saying I must be on the look out for six 
brothers and two sisters, they were decoyed and betrayed, he says by a colored man 


named Thomas Otwell, who pretended to be their friend, and sent a while scamp ahead 
to wait for them at Dover till they arrived ; they were arrested and put in Jail there, with 
Tom's assistance, and some officers. On third day morning about four o'clock, they broke 
jail; six of them are secreted in the neighborhood, and the writer has not known what 
became of the other two. The six were to start last night for this place. I hear that 
their owners have persons stationed at several places on the road watching. I fear they 
will be taken. If they could lay quiet for ten days or two weeks,, they might then get 
up safe. I shall have two men sent this evening some four or five miles below to keep 
them away from this town, and send them (if found to Chester County). Thee may show 
this to Still and McKim, and oblige thy cousin, THOMAS GARRETT. 

Further light about this exciting contest, may be gathered from a colored 
conductor on the Road, in Delaware, who wrote as follows to a member of 
the Vigilance Committee at Philadelphia. 

CAMDEN, DEL., March 23d, 1857. 

DEAR SIR; I tak'my pen in hand to write to you, to inform you what we have had to 
go throw for the last two weaks. Thir wir six men and two woman was betraid on the 
tenth of this month, thea had them in prison but thea got out was conveyed by a black 
man, he told them he wood bring them to my hows, as he wos told, he had ben ther 
Befor, he has com with Harrett, a woman that stops at my hous when she pases tow and 
throw yau. You don't no me I supos, the Rev. Thomas H. Kennard dos, or Peter Lowis. 
He Road Camden Circuit, this man led them in dover prisin and left them with a whit 
man ; but tha tour out the winders and jump out, so cum back to camden. We put them 
throug, we hav to carry them 19 mils and cum back the sam night wich maks 38 mils. 
It is tou much for our littel horses. We must do the- bes we can, ther is much Bisness 
dun on this Road. We hav to go throw dover and smerny, the two wors places this 
sid of mary land lin. If you have herd or sean them pies let me no. I will Com to Phila 
be for long and then I will call and se you. There is much to do her. Pies to wright, I 
Remain your frend, WILLIAM BEINKLY. 

Remember me to Thorn. Kennard. 

The balance of these brave fugitives, although not named in this connec- 

O * <J 

tion, succeeded in getting off safely. But how the betrayer, sheriff and 
hunters got out of their dilemma, the Committee was never fully posted. 

The Committee found great pleasure in assisting these passengers, for 
they had the true grit. Such were always doubly welcome. 




Mary fled from Petersburg and the Robinsons from Richmond. A fugi- 
tive slave law-breaking captain by the name of B., who owned a schooner, 
and would bring any kind of freight that would pay the most, was the con- 
ductor 111 this instance. Quite a number of passengers at different times 


availed themselves of his accommodations and thus succeeded in reaching 

* His risk was very great. On this account he claimed, as did certain 
others, that it was no more than fair to charge for his services indeed he did 
not profess to bring persons for nothing, except in rare instances. In this 
matter the Committee did not feel disposed to interfere directly in any way, 
further than to suggest that whatever understanding was agreed upon by the 
parties themselves should be faithfully adhered to. 

Many slaves in cities could raise, " by hook or by crook," fifty or one 
hundred dollars to pay for a passage, providing they could find one who 
was willing to risk aiding them. Thus, while the Vigilance Committee of 
Philadelphia especially neither charged nor accepted anything for their 
services, it was not to be expected that any of the Southern agents could 
afford to do likewise. 

The husband of Mary had for a long time wanted his own freedom, but 
did not feel that he could go without his wife ; in fact, he resolved to get 
her off first, then to try and escape himself, if possible. The first essential 
step towards success, he considered, was to save his money and make it an 
object to the captain to help him. So when he had managed to lay by one 
hundred dollars, he willingly offered this sum to Captain B., if he would 
engage to deliver his wife into the hands of the Vigilance Committee of 
Philadelphia. The captain agreed to the terms and fulfilled his engage- 
ment to the letter. About the 1st of March, 1855, Mary was presented to 
the Vigilance Committee. She was of agreeable manners, about forty-five 
years of age, dark complexion, round built, and intelligent. She had been 
the mother of fifteen children, four of whom had been sold away from her; 
one was still held in slavery in Petersburg ; the others were all dead. 

At the sale of one of her children she was so affected with grief that she 
was thrown into violent convulsions, which caused the loss of her speech 
for one entire month. But this little episode was not a matter to excite sym- 
pathy in the breasts of the highly refined and tender-hearted Christian 
mothers of Petersburg. In the mercy of Providence, however, her reason 
and strength returned. 

She had formerly belonged to the late Littleton Reeves, whom she repre- 
sented as having been "kind" to her, much more so than her mistress (Mrs. 
Reeves). Said Mary, "She being of a jealous disposition, caused me to be 
hired out with a hard family, where I was much abused, frequently flogged, 
and stinted for food," etc. 

But the sweets of freedom in the care of the Vigilance Committee now 
delighted her mind, and the hope that her husband would soon follow her 
to Canada, inspired her with expectations that she would one day "sit under 
her own vine and fig tree where none dared to molest or make her afraid." 

The Committee rendered her the usual assistance, and in due time, for- 


warded her on to Queen Victoria's free land in Canada. On her arrival 
she wrote back as follows 

TORONTO, March 14th, 1855. 

DEAR MR. STILL : I take this opportunity of addressing you with these few lines to 
inform you that I arrived here to day, and hope that this may find yourself and Mrs. 
Still well, as this leaves me at the present. I will also say to you, that I had no difficulty 
in getting along, the two young men that was with me left me at Suspension Bridge, 
they went another way. 

I cannot say much about the place as I have ben here but a short time but so far as I 
have seen I like very well, you will give my Respect to your lady, & Mr & Mrs Brown. 
If you have not written to Petersburg you will please to write as soon as can I have 
nothing More to Write at present but yours Respectfully 


Now, Joseph and Robert (Mary's associate passengers from Richmond) 
must here be noticed. Joseph was of a dark orange color, medium size, 
very active and intelligent, and doubtless, well understood the art of 
behaving himself. He was well acquainted with the auction block having 
been sold three times, and had had the misfortune to fall into the hands of a 
cruel master each time. Under these circumstances he had had but few 
privileges. Sundays and week days alike he was kept pretty severely bent 
down to duty. He had been beaten and knocked around shamefully. He 
had a wife, and spoke of her in most endearing language, although, on 
leaving, he did not feel at liberty to apprise her of his movements, u fearing 
that it would not be safe so to do." His four little children, to whom he 
appeared warmly attached, he left as he did his wife in Slavery. He declared 
that he " stuck to them as long as he could." George E. Sadler, the keeper 
of an oyster house, held the deed for " Joe," and a most heartless wretch 
he was in Joe's estimation. The truth was, Joe could not stand the burdens 
and abuses which Sadler was inclined to heap upon him. So he concluded 
to join his brother and go off on the U. G. R. R. 

Robert, his younger brother, was owned by Robert Slater, Esq., a regular 
negro trader. Eight years this slave's duties had been at the slave prison, 
and among other daily offices he had to attend to, was to lock up the prison, 
prepare the slaves for sale, etc. Robert was a very intelligent young man, 
and from long and daily experience with the customs and usages of the 
slave prison, he was as familiar with the business as a Pennsylvania farmer 
with his barn-yard stock. His account of things was too harrowing for detail 
here, except in the briefest manner, and that only with reference to a few 
particulars. . In order to prepare slaves for the market, it was usual to 
have them greased and rubbed to make them look bright and shining. 
And he went on further to state, that " females as well as males were not 
uncommonly stripped naked, lashed flat to a bench, and then held by two 
men, sometimes four, while the brutal trader would strap them with a broad 
leather strap." The strap being preferred to the cow-hide, as it would not 


break the skin, and damage the sale. " One hundred lashes would only be 
a common flogging." The separation of families was thought nothing of. 
" Often I have been flogged for refusing to flog others." While not yet 
twenty-three years of age, Robert expressed himself as having become so 
daily sick of the brutality and suffering he could not help witnessing, that 
he felt he could not possibly stand it any longer, let the cost be what it 
might. In this state of mind he met with Captain B. Only one obstacle 
stood in his way material aid. It occurred to Robert that he had frequent 
access to the money drawer, and often it contained the proceeds of fresh 
sales of flesh and blood ; and he reasoned that if some of that would help 
him and his brother to freedom, there could be no harm in helping himself 
the first opportunity. 

The captain was all ready, and provided he could get three passengers at 
$100 each he would set sail without much other freight. Of course he was 
too shrewd to get out papers for Philadelphia. That would betray him at 
once. Washington or Baltimore, or even Wilmington, Del., were names 
which stood fair in the eyes of Virginia. Consequently, being able to pack 
the fugitives away in a very private hole of his boat, and being only bound 
for a Southern port, the captain was willing to risk his share of the danger. 
" Very well," said Robert, " to-day I will please my master so well, that I 
will catch him at an unguarded moment, and will ask him for a pass to go to 
a ball to-night (slave-holders love to see their slaves fiddling and dancing of 
nights), and as I shall be leaving in a hurry, I will take a grab from the 
day's sale, and when Slater hears of me again, I will be in Canada." So 
after having attended to all his disagreeable duties, he made his " grab," and 
got a hand full. He did not know, however, how it would hold out. That 
evening, instead of participating with the gay dancers, he was just one 
degree lower down than the regular bottom of Captain B's. deck, with 
several hundred dollars in his pocket, after paying the worthy captain one 
hundred each for himself and his brother, besides making the captain an addi- 
tional present of nearly one hundred. Wind and tide were now what they 
prayed for to speed on the U. G. R. R. schooner, until they might reach 
the depot at Philadelphia. 

The Richmond Dispatch, an enterprising paper in the interest of slave- 
holders, which came daily to the Committee, was received in advance of the 
passengers, when lo ! and behold, in turning to the interesting column con- 
taining the elegant illustrations of "runaway negroes," it was seen that tlie 
unfortunate Slater had "lost $1500 in North Carolina money, and also his 
dark orange-colored, intelligent, and good-looking turnkey, Bob." " Served 
him right, it is no stealing for one piece of property to go off with another 
piece," reasoned a member of the Committee. 

In a couple of days after the Dispatch brought the news, the three U. G. 
R. R. passengers were safely landed at the usual place, and so accurate were 


the descriptions in the paper, that, on first seeing them, the Committee 
recognized them instantly, and, without any previous ceremonies, read to 
them the advertisement relative to the "1500 in N. C. money, &c." and 
put the question to them direct: "Are you the ones?" "We are," they 
owned up without hesitation. The Committee did not see a dollar of their 
money, but understood they had about $900, after paying the captain; 
while Bob considered he made a "very good grab," he did not admit that 
the amount advertised was correct. After a reasonable time for recruiting, 
having been so long in the hole of the vessel, they took their departure for 

From Joseph, the elder brother, is appended a short letter, announcing 
their arrival and condition under the British Lion 

SAINT CATHARINE, April 16, 1855. 

MR. WILLIAM STILL, DEAR SIR : Your letter of date April 7th I have just got, it 
had been opened before it came to me. I have not received any other letter from you 
and can get no account of them in the Post Office in this place, I am well and have got a 
good situation in this city and intend staying here. I should be very glad to hear from 
you as soon as convenient and also from all of my friends near you. My Brother is also 
at work with me and doing well. 

There is nothing here that would interest you in the way of news. There is a Masonic 
Lodge of our people and two churches and societys here and some other institutions for 
our benefit. Be kind enough to send a few lines to the Lady spoken of for that mocking 
bird and much oblige me. Write me soon and believe me your obedient Servt 

Love & respects to Lady and daughter JOSEPH KOBINSON. 

As well as writing to a member of the Committee, Joe' and Bob had the 
assurance to write back to the trader and oyster-house keeper. In their 
letter they stated that they had arrived safely in Canada, and were having 
good times, in the eating line had an abundance of the best, also had 
very choice wines and brandies, which they supposed that they (trader and 
oyster-house keeper) would give a great deal to have a "smack at." And 
then they gave them a very cordial invitation to make them a visit, and 
suggested that the quickest way they could come, would be by telegraph, 
which they admitted was slightly dangerous, and without first greasing 
themselves, and then hanging on very fast, the journey might not prove 
altogether advantageous to them. This was wormwood and gall to the 
trader and oyster-house man. A most remarkable coincidence was that, 
about the time this letter was received in Richmond, the captain who 
brought away the three passengers, made it his business for some reason or 
other, to call at the oyster-house kept by the owner of Joe, and while there, 
this letter was read and commented on in torrents of Billingsgate phrases; 
and the trader told the captain that he would give him " two thousand 
dollars if he would get them;" finally he told him he would "give evsry 
cent they would bring, which would be much over 2000," as they were 
"so very likely." How far the captain talked approvingly, he did not 


exactly tell the Committee, but they guessed he talked strong Democratic 
doctrine to them under the frightful circumstances. But he was good at 
concealing his feelings, and obviously managed to avoid suspicion. 


The above representatives of the unrequited laborers of the South fled 
directly from Washington, D. C. Nothing remarkable was discovered in 
their stories of slave life; their narratives will therefore be brief. 

George Solomon was owned by Daniel Minor, of Moss Grove, ~Va. 
George was about thirty-three years of age ; mulatto, intelligent, and of pre- 
possessing appearance. His old master valued George's services very highly, 
and had often declared to others, as well as to George himself, that without 
him he should hardly know how to manage. And frequently George was 
told by the old master that at his " death he was not to be a slave any longer, 
as he would have provision made in his will for his freedom." For a long 
time this old story was clung to pretty faithfully by George, but his "old 
master hung on too long," consequently George's patience became exhausted. 
And as he had heard a good deal about Canada, U. G. R. R., and the Abo- 
litionists, he concluded that it would do no harm to hint to a reliable friend 
or two the names of these hard places and bad people, to see what impression 
would be made on their minds ; in short, to see if they were ready to second 
a motion to get rid of bondage. In thus opening his mind to his friends, he 
soon found a willing accord in each of their hearts, and they put their heads 
together to count up the cost and to fix a time for leaving Egypt and the host 
of Pharaoh to do their own "hewing of wood and drawing of water." Ac- 
cordingly George, Daniel, Benjamin and Maria, all of one heart and mind, 
one " Saturday night " resolved that the next Sunday should find them on 
the U. G. R. R., with their faces towards Canada. 

Daniel was young, only twenty-three, good looking, and half white, with 
a fair share of intelligence. As regards his slave life, he acknowledged 
that he had not had it very rough as a general thing; nevertheless, he was 
fully persuaded that he had " as good a right to his freedom " as his 
" master had to his," and that it was his duty to contend for it. 

Benjamin was twenty-seven years of age, small of stature, dark com- 
plexion, of a pleasant countenance, and quite smart. He testified, that "ill- 
treatment from his master," Henry Martin, who would give him "no chance 
at all," was the cause of his leaving. He left a brother and sister, belonging 
to Martin, besides he left two other sisters in bondage, Louisa and Letty, but 
his father and mother were both dead. Therefore, the land of slave-whips 


and auction-blocks had no charms for him. He loved his sisters, but he 
knew if he could not protect himself, much less could he protect them. So 
he concluded to bid them adieu forever in this world. 

Turning from the three male companions for the purpose of finding a brief 
space for Maria, it will be well to state here that females in attempting 
to escape from a life of bondage undertook three times the risk of failure 
that males were liable to, not to mention the additional trials and struggles 
they had to contend with. In justice, therefore, to the heroic female who 
was willing to endure the most extreme suffering and hardship for freedom, 
double honors were due. 

Maria, the heroine of the party, was about forty years of age, chestnut 
color, medium size, and possessed of a good share of common sense. She was 
owned by George Parker. As was a common thing with slave-holders, Maria 
had found her owners hard to please, and quite often, without the slightest 
reason, they would threaten to " sell or make a change." These threats 
only made matters worse, or rather it only served to nerve Maria for the 
conflict. The party walked almost the entire distance from Washington to 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

In the meantime George Parker, the so-called owner of Daniel and 
Maria, hurriedly rushed their good names into the ^ Baltimore Sun," after 
the following manner 

"FouR HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD. Ranaway from my house on Saturday night, 
August 30, my negro man 'Daniel/ twenty-five years of age, bright yellow mulatto, 
thick set and stout made. 

Also, my negro woman, ' Maria,' forty years of age, bright mulatto. The above re- 
ward will be paid if delivered in Washington city. GEORGE PARKER." 

While this advertisement was in the Baltimore papers, doubtless these 
noble passengers were enjoying the hospitalities of the Vigilance Committee, 
and finally a warm reception in Canada, by which they were greatly pleased. 
Of Benjamin and Daniel, the subjoined letter from Rev. H. Wilson is of 
importance in the way of throwing light upon their whereabouts in Canada : 

ST. CATHARINE, C. W., Sept. 15th, 1856. 

MR. WILLIAM STILL: Dear Sir Two young men arrived here on Friday evening 
last from Washington, viz : Benjamin R. Fletcher and Daniel Neall. Mr. Neall (or Neale) 
desires to have his box of clothing forwarded on to him. It is at Washington in the care 
of John Dade, a colored man, who lives at Doct. W. H. Oilman's, who keeps an Apothe- 
cary store on the corner of 4J and Pennsylvania Avenue. Mr. Dade is a slave, but a free 
dealer. You will please write to John Dade, in the care of Doct. W. H. Oilman, on behalf 
of Daniel Neale, but make use of the name of George Harrison, instead of Neale, and 
Dade will understand it. Please have John Dade direct the box by express to you in 
Philadelphia ; he has the means of paying the charges on it in advance, as far as Philadel- 
phia; and as soon as it comes, you will please forward it on to my care at St. Catherine. 
Say to John Dade, that George Harrison sends his love to his sister and Uncle Allen 
Sims, and all inquiring friends. Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Neale both send their respects to 
you, and I may add mine. Yours truly, HIRAM WILSON. 

P. S. Mr. Benjamin R. Fletcher wishes to have Mr. Dade call on his brother James, 


and communicate to him his affectionate regards, and make known to him that he is safe, 
and cheerful and happy. He desires his friends to know, through Dade, that he found 
Mrs. Starke here, his brother Alfred's wife's sister ; that she is well, and living in St, 
Catharine, C. W., near Niagara Falls. H. W. 



Althouo-h the name of Henry Box Brown has been echoed over the land 
for a number of years, and the simple facts connected with his marvelous 
escape from slavery in a box published widely through the medium of 
anti-slavery papers, nevertheless it is not unreasonable to suppose that 
very little is generally known in relation to this case. 

Briefly, the facts are these, which doubtless have never before been fully 

Brown was a man of invention as well as a hero. . In point of interest, 
however, his case is no more remarkable than many others. Indeed, 
neither before nor after escaping did he suffer one-half what many others 
have experienced. 

He was decidedly an unhappy piece of property in the city of Richmond, 
Va. In the condition of a slave he felt that it would be impossible for 
him to remain. Full well did he know, however, that it was no holiday 
task to escape the vigilance of Virginia slave-hunters, or the wrath of an 
enraged master for committing the unpardonable sin of attempting to escape 
to a land of liberty. So Brown counted well the cost before venturing upon 
this hazardous undertaking. Ordinary modes of travel he concluded might 
prove disastrous to his hopes; he, therefore, hit upon a new invention 
altogether, which was to have himself boxed up and forwarded to Philadel- 
phia direct by express. The size of the box and how it was to be made to 
fit him most comfortably, was of his own ordering. Two feet eight inches 
deep, two feet wide, and three feet long were the exact dimensions of the 
box, lined with baize. His resources with regard to food and water con- 
sisted of the following : One bladder of water and a few small biscuits. 
His mechanical implement to meet the death-struggle for fresh air, all told, 
was one large gimlet. Satisfied that it would be far better to peril his life 
for freedom in this way than to remain under the galling yoke of Slavery, 
he entered his box, which was safely nailed up and hooped with five 
hickory hoops, and was then addressed by his next friend, James A. Smith, 
a shoe dealer, to Wm. H. Johnson, Arch street, Philadelphia, marked, "This 
side up with care." In this condition he was sent to Adams' Express 
office in a dray, and thence by overland express to Philadelphia. It was 
twenty-six hours from the time he left Richmond until his arrival in the 
City of Brotherly Love. The notice, " This side up, &c.," did not avail 


with the different expressmen, who hesitated not to handle the box in the 
usual rough manner common to this class of men. For a while they 
actually had the box upside down, and had him on his head for miles. A 
few days before he was expected, certain intimation was conveyed to a mem- 
ber of the Vigilance Committee that a box might be expected by the three 
o'clock morning train from the South, which might contain a man. One of 
the most serious walks he ever took and they had not been a few to 
meet and accompany passengers, he took at half past two o'clock that morn- 
ing to the depot. Not once, but for more than a score of times, he fancied 
the slave would be dead. He anxiously looked while the freight was being 
unloaded from the cars, to see if he could recognize a box that might con- 
tain a man; one alone had that appearance, and he confessed it really 
seemed as if there was the scent of death about it. But on inquiry, he soon 
learned that it was not the one he was looking after, and he was free to say 
he experienced a marked sense of relief. That same afternoon, however, 
he received from Richmond a telegram, which read thus, "Your case of 
goods is shipped and will arrive to-morrow morning." 

At this exciting j imcture of affairs, Mr. McKim, who had been engineer- 
ing this important undertaking, deemed it expedient to change the pro- 
gramme slightly in one particular at least to insure greater safety. In- 
stead of having a member of the Committee go again to the depot for the 
box, which might excite suspicion, it was decided that it would be safest to 
have the express bring it direct to the Anti-Slavery Office. 

But all apprehension of danger did not now disappear, for there was no 
room to suppose that Adams' Express office had any sympathy with the 
Abolitionist or the fugitive, consequently for Mr. McKim to appear per- 
sonally at the express office to give directions with reference to the coming 
of a box from Richmond which would be directed to Arch street, and yet 
not intended for that street, but for the Anti-Slavery office at 107 North 
Fifth street, it needed of course no great discernment to foresee that a step of 
this kind was wholly impracticable and that a more indirect and covert 
method would have to be adopted. In this dreadful crisis Mr. McKim, 
with his usual good judgment and remarkably quick, strategical mind, 
especially in matters pertaining to the U. G. R. R., hit upon the following 
plan, namely, to go to his friend, E. M. Davis,* who was then extensively 
engaged in mercantile business, and relate the circumstances. Having daily 
intercourse with said Adams' Express office, and being well acquainted with 
the firm and some of the drivers, Mr. Davis could, as Mr. McKim thought, 
talk about " boxes, freight, etc.," from any part of the country without risk. 
Mr. Davis heard Mr. McKim's plan and instantly approved of it, and was 
heartily at his service. 

* E. M. Davis was a member of the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery 
Society and a long-tried Abolitionist, son-in-law of James and Lucretia Mott. 


"Dan, an Irishman, one of Adams' Express drivers, is just the fellow to 
go to the depot after the box," said Davis. " He drinks a little too much 
whiskey sometimes, but he will do anything I ask him to do, promptly and 
obligingly. I'll trust Dan, for I believe he is the very man." The difficulty 
which Mr. McKim had been so anxious to overcome was thus pretty 
well settled. It was agreed that Dan should go after the box next morning 
before daylight and bring it to the Anti-Slavery office direct, and to make it 
all the more agreeable for Dan to get up out of his warm bed and go on this 
errand before day, it was decided that he should have a five dollar gold 
piece for himself. Thus these preliminaries having been satisfactorily 
arranged, it only remained for Mr. Davis to see Dan and give him instruc- 
tions accordingly, etc. 

Next morning, according to arrangement, the box was at the Anti- 
Slavery office in due time. The witnesses present to behold the resurrection 
were J. M. McKim, Professor C. D. Cleveland, Lewis Thompson, and the 

Mr. McKim was deeply interested ; but having been long identified with 
the Anti-Slavery cause as one of its oldest and ablest advocates in the darkest 
days of slavery and mobs, and always found by the side of the fugitive to 
counsel and succor, he was on this occasion perfectly composed. 

Professor Cleveland, however, was greatly moved. His zeal and earnestness 
in the cause of freedom, especially in rendering aid to passengers, knew no 
limit. Ordinarily he could not too often visit these travelers, shake them too 
warmly by the hand, or impart to them too freely of his substance to aid 
them on their journey. But now his emotion was overpowering. 

Mr. Thompson, of the firm of Merrihew & Thompson about the only 
printers in the city who for many years dared to print such incendiary docu- 
ments as anti-slavery papers and pamphlets one of the truest friends 
of the slave, was composed and prepared to witness the scene. 

All was quiet. The door had been safely locked. The proceedings com- 
menced. Mr. McKim rapped quietly on the lid of the box and called 
out, "All right!" Instantly came the answer from within. "All right, 

The witnesses will never forget that moment. Saw and hatchet quickly 
had the five hickory hoops cut and the lid off, and the marvellous resurrec- 
tion of Brown ensued. Rising up in his box, he reached out his hand, 
saying, "How do you do, gentlemen?" The little assemblage hardly 
knew what to think or do at the moment. He was about as wet as if he 
had come up out of the Delaware. Very soon he remarked that, before 
leaving Richmond he had selected for his arrival-hymn (if he lived) the 
Psalm beginning with these words: "/ waited patiently for the Lord, and 
He heard my prayer." And most touchingly did he sing the psalm, much 
to his own relief, as well as to the delight of his small audience. 


He was then christened Henry Box Brown, and soon afterwards was sent 
to the hospitable residence of Jaines Mott and E. M. Davis, on Ninth street, 
where, it is needless to say, he met a most cordial reception from Mrs. 
Lucretia Mott and her household. Clothing and creature comforts were 
furnished in abundance, and delight and joy filled all hearts in that strong- 
hold of philanthropy. 

As he had been so long doubled up in the box he needed to promenade 
considerably in the fresh air, so James Mott put one of his broad-brim hats 
on his head and tendered him the hospitalities of his yard as well as his 
house, and while Brown promenaded the yard flushed with victory, great 
was the joy of his friends. 

After his visit at Mr. Mott's, he spent two days with the writer, and 
then took his departure for Boston, evidently feeling quite conscious of 
the wonderful feat he had performed, and at the same time it may be safely 
said that those who witnessed this strange resurrection were not only elated 
at his success, but were made to sympathize more deeply than ever before 
with the slave. Also the noble-hearted Smith who boxed him up was 
made to rejoice over Brown's victory, and was thereby encouraged to render 
similar service to two other young bondmen, who appealed to him for 
deliverance. But, unfortunately, in this attempt the undertaking proved a 
failure. Two boxes containing the young men alluded to above, after 
having been duly expressed and some distance on the road, were, through 
the agency of the telegraph, betrayed, and the heroic young fugitives were 
captured in their boxes and dragged back to hopeless bondage. Conse- 
quently, through this deplorable failure, Samuel A. Smith was arrested, im- 
prisoned, and was called upon to suffer severely, as may be seen from the 
subjoined correspondence, taken from the New York Tribune soon after his 
release from the penitentiary. 



[Correspondence of the N. Y. Tribune.] 

PHILADELPHIA, Saturday, July 5, 1856. 

Samuel A. Smith, who boxed up Henry Box Brown in Richmond, Va., 
and forwarded him by overland express to Philadelphia, and who was ar- 
rested and convicted, eight years ago, for boxing up two other slaves, also 
directed to Philadelphia, having served out his imprisonment in the Peni- 
tentiary, was released on the J8th ultimo, and arrived in this city on the 21st. 

Though he lost all his property; though he was refused witnesses on his 
trial (no officer could be found, who would serve a summons on a witness) ; 
though for five long months, in hot weather, he was kept heavily chained 
in a cell four by eight feet in dimensions; though he received five dreadful 
stabs, aimed at his heart, by a bribed assassin, nevertheless he still rejoices 
in the motives which prompted him to " undo the heavy burdens, and let 


the oppressed go free." Having resided nearly all his life in the South, 
where he had traveled and seen much of the " peculiar institution/' and had 
witnessed the most horrid enormities inflicted upon the slave, whose cries 
were ever ringing in his ears, and for whom he had the warmest sympathy, 
Mr. Smith could not refrain from believing that the black man, as well as the 
white, had God-given rights. Consequently, he was not accustomed to shed 
tears when a poor creature escaped from his " kind master ;" nor was he 
willing to turn a deaf ear to his appeals and groans, when he knew he was 
thirsting for freedom. From 1828 up to the day he was incarcerated, 
many had sought his aid and counsel, nor had they sought in vain. In 
various places he operated with success. In Richmond, however, it seemed 
expedient to invent a new plan for certain emergencies, hence the Box and 
Express plan was devised, at the instance of a few heroic slaves, who had 
manifested their willingness to die in a box, on the road to liberty, rather 
than continue longer under the yoke. But these heroes fell into the power of 
their enemies. Mr. Smith had not been long in the Penitentiary before he 
had fully gained the esteem and confidence of the Superintendent and other 
officers. Finding him to be humane and generous-hearted showing kind- 
ness toward all, especially in buying bread, <fec., for the starving prisoners, 
and by a timely note of warning, which had saved the life of one of the 
keepers, for whose destruction a bold plot had been arranged the officers 
felt disposed to show him such favors as the law would allow. But their 
good intentions were soon frustrated. The Inquisition (commonly called the 
Legislature), being in session in Richmond, hearing that the Superintendent 
had been speaking well of Smith, and circulating a petition for his pardon, 
indignantly demanded to know if the rumor was well founded. Two weeks 
were spent by the Inquisition, and many witnesses were placed upon oath, 
to solemnly testify in the matter. One of the keepers swore that his life had 
been saved by Smith. Col. Morgan, the Superintendent, frequently testi- 
fied in writing and verbally to Smith's good deportment; acknowledging 
that he had circulated petitions, &c. ; and took the position, that he sin- 
cerely believed, that it would be to the interest of the institution to pardon 
him; calling the attention of the Inquisition, at the same time, to the fact, that 
not unfrequently pardons had been granted to criminals, under sentence of 
death, for the most cold-blooded murder, to say nothing of other gross 
crimes. The effort for pardon was soon abandoned, for the following reason 
given by the Governor : u I can't, and I won't pardon him !" 

In view of the unparalleled injustice which Mr. S. had suffered, as well as 
on account of the aid he had rendered to the slaves, on his arrival in this city 
the colored citizens of Philadelphia felt that he was entitled to sympathy 
and aid, and straightway invited him to remain a few days, until arrange- 
ments could be made for a mass meeting to receive him. Accordingly, on 
last Monday evening, a mass meeting convened in the Israel church, and 


the Rev. Wm. T. Catto was called to the chair, and Wm. Still was ap- 
pointed secretary. The chairman briefly stated the object of the meeting. 
Having lived in the South, he claimed to know something of the workings of 
the oppressive system of slavery generally, and declared that, notwith- 
standing the many exposures of the evil which came under his own obser- 
vation, the most vivid descriptions fell far short of the realities his own 
eyes had witnessed. He then introduced Mr. Smith, who arose and in a 
plain manner briefly told his story, assuring the audience that he had al- 
ways hated slavery, and had taken great pleasure in helping many out of it, 
and though he had suffered much physically and pecuniarily for the cause' 
sake, yet he murmured not, but rejoiced in what he had done. After taking 
his seat, addresses were made by the Rev. S. Smith, Messrs. Kinnard, Brun- 
1 ner, Bradway, and others. The follosving preamble and resolutions were 

WHEREAS, We, the colored citizens of Philadelphia, have among us Samuel A. Smith, 
who was incarcerated over seven years in the Richmond Penitentiary, for doing an act 
that was honorable to his feelings and his sense of justice and humanity, therefore, 

Resolved, That we welcome him to this city as a martyr to the cause of Freedom. 

Resolved, That we heartily tender him our gratitude for the good he has done to our 
suffering race. 

Resolved, That we sympathize with him in his losses and sufferings in the cause of the 
poor, down-trodden slave. W. S. 

During his stay in Philadelphia, on this occasion, he stopped for about a 
fortnight with the writer, and it was most gratifying to learn from him that 
he was no new worker on the U. G. R. R. But that he had long hated 
slavery thoroughly, and although surrounded with perils on every side, he 
had not failed to help a poor slave whenever the opportunity was presented. 

Pecuniary aid, to some extent, was rendered him in this city, for which he 
was grateful, and after being united in marriage, by Wm. H. Furness, D.D., 
to a lady who had remained faithful to him through all his sore trials and 
sufferings, he took his departure for Western New York, with a good con- 
science and an unshaken faith in the belief that in aiding his fellow-man to 
freedom he had but simply obeyed the word of Him who taught man to do 
unto others as he would be done by. 


Among other duties devolving on the Vigilance Committee when hearing 
of slaves brought into the State by their owners, was immediately to inform 
such persons that as they were not fugitives, but were brought into the State 
by their masters, they were entitled to their freedom without another 
moment's service, and that they could have the assistance of the Committee 


and the advice of counsel without charge, by simply availing themselves 
of these proffered favors. 

Many slave-holders fully understood the law in this particular, and were 
also equally posted with regard to the vigilance of abolitionists. Consequently 
they avoided bringing slaves beyond Mason and Dixon's Line in traveling 
North. But some slave-holders were not thus mindful of the laws, or were 
too arrogant to take heed, as may be seen in the case of Colonel John H. 
"Wheeler, of North Carolina, the United States Minister to Nicaragua. In 
passing through Philadelphia from "Washington, one very warm July day in 
1855, accompanied by three of his slaves, his high official equilibrium, as 
well as his assumed rights under the Constitution, received a terrible shock 
at the hands of the Committee. Therefore, for the readers of these pages, 
and in order to completely illustrate the various phases of the work of the 
Committee in the days of Slavery, this case, selected from many others, is a 
fitting one. However, for more than a brief recital of some of the more promi- 
nent incidents, it will not be possible to find room in this volume. And, 
indeed, the necessity of so doing is precluded'by the fact that Mr. Wil- 
liamson in justice to himself and the cause of freedom, with great pains and 
singular ability, gathered the most important facts bearing on his memorable 
trial and imprisonment, and published them in a neat volume for historical 

In order to bring fully before the reader the beginning of this interesting 
and exciting case, it seems only necessary to publish the subjoined letter/ 
written by one of the actors in the drama, and addressed to the New York 
Tribune, and an additional paragraph which may be requisite to throw light 
on a special point, which Judge Kane decided was concealed in the "obsti- 
nate" breast of Passmore Williamson, as said Williamson persistently refused 
before the said Judge's court, to own that he had a knowledge of the mystery 
in question. After which, a brief glance at some of the more important 
points of the case must suffice. 


[Correspondence of The N. Y. Tribune.] 

PHILADELPHIA, Monday, July 30, 1855. 

As the public have not been made acquainted with the facts and particulars 
respecting the agency of Mr. Passmore Williamson and others, in relation to 
the slave case now agitating this city, and especially as the poor slave mother 
and her two sons have been so grossly misrepresented, I deem it my duty to 
lay the facts before you, for publication or otherwise, as you may think 

On Wednesday afternoon, week, at 4J o'clock, the following note was 
placed in my hands by a colored boy whom I had never before seen, to my 
recollection : 


"MR. STILL Sir: Will you come down to Bloodgood's Hotel as soon as 
possible as there are three fugitive slaves here and they want liberty. Their 
master is here with them, on his way to New York." 

The note was without date, and the signature so indistinctly written as 
not to be understood by me, having evidently been penned in a moment of 

Without delay I ran with the note to Mr. P. Williamson's office, Seventh 
and Arch, found him at his desk, and gave it to him, and after reading it, he 
remarked that he could not go down, as he had to go to Harrisburg that 
night on business but he advised me to go, and to get the names of the 
slave-holder and the slaves, in order to telegraph to New York to have them 
arrested there, as no time remained to procure a writ of habeas corpus here. 

I could not have been two minutes in Mr. W.'s office before starting in 
haste for the wharf. To my surprise, however, when I reached the wharf, 
there I found Mr. W., his mind having undergone a sudden change; he was 
soon on the spot. 

I saw three or four colored persons in the hall at Bloodgood's, none of 
whom I recognized except the boy who brought me the note. Before having 
time for making inquiry some one said they had gone on board the boat. " Get 
their description," said Mr. W. I instantly inquired of one of the colored 
persons for the desired description, and was told that she was " a tall, dark 
woman, with two little boys." 

Mr. W. and myself ran on board of the boat, looked among the pas- 
sengers on the first deck, but saw them not. " They are up on the second 
deck," an unknown voice uttered. In a second we were in their presence. 
We approached the anxious-looking slave-mother with her two boys on her 
left-hand ; close on her right sat an ill-favored white man having a cane in 
his hand which I took to be a sword-cane. (As to its being a sword-cane, 
however, I might have been mistaken.) 

The first words to the mother were : " Are you traveling?" "Yes," was the 
prompt answer. " With whom ?" She nodded her head toward the ill-favored 
man, signifying with him. Fidgeting on his seat, he said something, exactly 
what I do not now recollect. In reply I remarked : " Do they belong to 
you, Sir?" " Yes, they are in my charge," was his answer. Turning from 
him to the mother and her sons, in substance, and word for word, as near as 
I can remember, the following remarks were earnestly though calmly ad- 
dressed by the individuals who rejoiced to meet them on free soil, and who 
felt unmistakably assured that they were justified by the laws of Pennsylvania 
as well as the Law of God, in informing them of their rights : 

" You are entitled to your freedom according to the laws of Pennsylvania, 
having been brought into the State by your owner. If you prefer freedom to 
slavery, as we suppose everybody does, you have the chance to accept it now. 
Act calmly don't be frightened by your master you are as much entitled 


to your freedom as we are, or as he is be determined and you need have no 
fears but that you will be protected by the law. Judges have time and again 
decided cases in this city and State similar to yours in favor of freedom ! 
Of course, if you want to remain a slave with your master, we cannot force 
you to leave ; we only want to make you sensible of your rights. Remember , 
if you lose this cJiance you may never get such another" etc. 

This advice to the woman was made in the hearing of a number of per- 
sons present, white and colored ; and one elderly white gentleman of genteel 
address, who seemed to take much interest in what was going on, remarked 
that they would have the same chance for their freedom in New Jersey and 
New York as they then had seeming to sympathize with the woman, etc. 

During the few moments in which the above remarks were made, the slave- 
holder frequently interrupted said she understood all about the laws making 
her free, and her right to leave if she wanted to; but contended that she did 
not want to leave that she was on a visit to New York to see her friends 
afterward wished to return to her three children whom she left in Virginia, from 
whom it would be HARD to separate her. Furthermore, he diligently tried to 
constrain her to say that she did not want to be interfered with that she 
wanted to go with him that she was on a visit to New York had children 
in the South, etc. ; but the woman's desire to be free was altogether too strong 
to allow her to make a single acknowledgment favorable to his wishes in the 
matter. On the contrary, she repeatedly said, distinctly and firmly, u 1 am 
not free, but I want my freedom ALWAYS wanted to be free ! ! but he holds me" 

While the slaveholder claimed that she belonged to him, he said that she 
was free ! Again he said that he was going to give her her freedom, etc. 
When his eyes would be off of hers, such eagerness as her looks expressed, 
indicative of her entreaty that we would not forsake her and her little ones 
in their weakness, it had never been my lot to witness before, under any cir- 

The last bell tolled ! The last moment for further delay passed ! The 
arm of the woman being slightly touched, accompanied with the word, 
" Come !" she instantly arose. " Go along go along !" said some, who 
sympathized, to the boys, at the same time taking hold of their arms. By 
this time the parties were fairly moving toward the stairway leading to the 
deck below. Instantly on their starting, the slave-holder rushed at the woman 
and her children, to prevent their leaving ; and, if I am not mistaken, he 
simultaneously took hold of the woman and Mr. Williamson, which resistance 
on his part caused Mr. W. to take hold of him and set him aside quickly. 

The passengers were looking on all around, but none interfered in behalf of 
the slaveholder except one man, whom I took to be another slaveholder. He 
said harshly, " Let them alone ; they are his property !" The youngest boy, 
about 7 years of age too young to know what these things meant cried 
" Massa John ! Massa John !" The elder boy, 11 years of age, took the 


matter more dispassionately, and the mother quite calmly. The mother and 
her sympathizers all moved down the stairs together in the presence of quite 
a number of spectators on the first deck and on the wharf, all of whom, as 
far as I was able to discern, seemed to look upon the whole affair with the 
greatest indifference. The woman and children were assisted, but not forced 
to leave. Nor were there any violence or threatenings as I saw or heard. 
The only words that I heard from any one of an objectionable character, were : 
" Knock him down ; knock him down !" but who uttered it or who was 
meant I knew not, nor have I since been informed. However, if it was 
uttered by a colored man, I regret it, as there was not the slightest cause for 
such language, especially as the sympathies of the spectators and citizens 
seemed to justify the course pursued. 

While passing off of the wharf and down Delaware-avenue to Dock st., 
and up Dock to Front, where a carriage w&s procured, the slaveholder and 
one police officer were of the party, if no more. 

The youngest boy on being put in the carriage was told that he was " a 
fool for crying so after ' Massa John/ who would sell him if he ever caught 
him." Not another whine was heard on the subject. 

The carriage drove down town slowly, the horses being fatigued and the 
weather intensely hot ; the inmates were put out on Tenth street not at any 
house after which they soon found hospitable friends and quietude. The 
excitement of the moment having passed by, the mother seemed very cheerful, 
and rejoiced greatly that herself and boys had been, as she thought, so "provi- 
dentially delivered from the house of bondage !" For the first time in her 
life she could look upon herself and children and feel free ! 

Having felt the iron in her heart for the best half of her days having 
been sold with her children on the auction block having had one of her 
children sold far away from her without hope of her seeing him again she 
very naturally and wisely concluded to go to Canada, fearing if she re- 
mained in this city as some assured her she could do with entire safety 
that she might again find herself in the clutches of the tyrant from whom 
she had fled. 

A few items of what she related concerning the character of her master 
may be interesting to the reader 

"Within the last two years he had sold all his slaves between thirty and 
forty in number having purchased the present ones in that space of time. 
She said that before leaving Washington, coming on the cars, and at his 
father-in-law's in this city, a number of persons had told him that in bring- 
ing his slaves into Pennsylvania they would be free. When told at his 
father-in-law's, as she overheard it, that he " could not have done a worse 
thing," &c., he replied that " Jane would not leave him." 

As much, however, as he affected to have such implicit confidence in Jane, 
he scarcely allowed her to be out of his presence a moment while in this 


city. To use Jane's own language, he was " on her heels every minute," 
fearing that some one might get to her ears the sweet music of freedom. By 
the way, Jane had it deep in her heart before leaving the South, and was 
bent on succeeding in New York, if disappointed in Philadelphia. 

At Bloodgood's, after having been belated and left by the 2 o'clock train, 
while waiting for the 5 o'clock line, his appetite tempted her " master " to take 
a hasty dinner. So after placing Jane where bethought she would be pretty 
secure from " evil communications " from the colored waiters, and after giv- 
ing her a double counselling, he made his way to the table ; remained 
but a little while, however, before leaving to look after Jane ; finding her 
composed, looking over a bannister near where he left her, he returned to the 
table again and finished his meal. 

But, alas, for the slave-holder ! Jane had her " top eye open," and in that 
brief space had appealed to the sympathies of a person whom she ventured 
to trust, saying, "I and my children are slaves, and we want liberty !" I 
am not certain, but suppose that person, in the goodness of his heart, was 
the cause of the note being sent to the Anti-Slavery office, and hence the 

As to her going on to New York to see her friends, and wishing to return 
to her three children in the South, and his going to free her, &c., Jane de- 
clared repeatedly and very positively, that there was not a particle of truth 
in what her master said on these points. The truth is she had not the 
slightest hope of freedom through any act of his. She had only left one boy 
in the South, who had been sold far away, where she scarcely ever heard 
from him, indeed never expected to see him any more. 

In appearance Jane is tall and well formed, high and large forehead, of 
genteel manners, chestnut color, and seems to possess, naturally, uncommon 
good sense, though of course she has never been allowed to read. 

Thus I have given as truthful a report as I am capable of doing, of Jane 
and the circumstances connected with her deliverance. W. STILL. 

P. S. Of the five colored porters who promptly appeared, with warm 
hearts throbbing in sympathy with the mother and her children, too much 
cannot be said in commendation. In the present case they acted nobly, 
whatever may be said of their general character, of which I know nothing. 
How human beings, who have ever tasted oppression, could have acted 
differently under the circumstances I cannot conceive. 

The mystery alluded to, which the above letter did not contain, and which 
the court failed to make Mr. Williamson reveal, might have been truthfully 
explained in these words. The carriage was procured at the wharf, while 
Col. Wheeler and Mr. Williamson were debating the question relative to the 
action of the Committee, and at that instant, Jane and her two boys were in- 
vited into it and accompanied by the writer, who procured it, were driven 
down town, and on Tenth Street, below Lombard, the inmates were invited 


out of it, and the said conductor paid the driver and discharged him. For 
prudential reasons he took them to a temporary resting-place, where they 
could tarry until after dark ; then they were invited to his own residence, 
where they were made welcome, and in due time forwarded East. Now, 
what disposition was made of them after they had left the wharf, while 
. Williamson and Wheeler were discussing matters (as was clearly sworn to 
by Passmore, in his answer to the writ of Habeas Corpus) he Williamson 
did not know. That evening, before seeing the member of the Committee, 
with whom he acted in concert on the boat, and who had entire charge of 
Jane and her boys, he left for Harrisburg, to fulfill business engagements. 
The next morning his father (Thomas Williamson) brought the writ of 
Habeas Corpus (which had been served at Passmore's office after he left) to 
the Anti-Slavery Office. In his calm manner he handed it to the writer, at 
the same time remarking that " Passmore had gone to Harrisburg," and 
added, " thee had better attend to it " (the writ). Edward Hopper, Esq., 
was applied to with the writ, and in the absence of Mr. Williamson, ap- 
peared before the court, and stated " that the writ had not been served, as 
Mr. W. was out of town," etc. 

After this statement, the Judge postponed further action until the next 
day. In the meanwhile, Mr. Williamson returned and found the writ 
awaiting him, and an agitated state of feeling throughout the city besides. 
Now it is very certain, that he did not seek to know from those in the 
secret, where Jane Johnson and her boys were taken after they left the 
whacf, or as to what disposition had been made of them, in any way; except 
to ask simply, " are they safe ?" (and when told " yes," he smiled) conse- 
quently, he might have been examined for a week, by the most skillful 
lawyer, at the Philadelphia bar, but he could not have answered other than 
he did in making his return to the writ, before Judge Kane, namely : " That 
the persons named in the writ, nor either of them, are now nor was at the time 
of issuing of the writ, or the original writ, or at any other time in the custody, 
power, or possession of the respondent, nor by him confined or restrained ; 
wherefore he cannot have the bodies," etc. 

Thus, while Mr. W. was subjected to the severest trial of his devotion to 
Freedom, his noble bearing throughout, won for him the admiration and 
sympathy of the friends of humanity and liberty throughout the entire 
land, and in proof of his fidelity, he most cheerfully submitted to imprison- 
ment rather than desert his principles. But the truth was not wanted in 
this instance by the enemies of Freedom; obedience to Slavery was 
demanded to satisfy the South. The opportunity seemed favorable for 
teaching abolitionists and negroes, that they had no right to interfere with a 
" chivalrous southern gentleman," while passing through Philadelphia with 
his slaves. Thus, to make an effective blow, all the pro-slavery elements 
of Philadelphia were brought into action, and matters looked for a time as 


though Slavery in this instance would have everything its own way. Pass- 
more was locked up in prison on the flimsy pretext of contempt of court, and 
true bills were found against him and half a dozen colored men, charging 
them with "riot," "forcible abduction," and "assault and battery," and 
there was no lack of hard swearing on the part of Col. Wheeler and his pro- 
slavery sympathizers in substantiation of these grave charges. But the 
pro-slaveryites had counted without their host Passmore would not yield 
an inch, but stood as firmly by his principles in prison, as he did on the 
boat. Indeed, it was soon evident, that his resolute course was bringing 
floods of sympathy from the ablest and best minds throughout the North. 
On the other hand, the occasion was rapidly awakening thousands daily, 
who had hitherto manifested little or no interest at all on the subject, to the 
wrongs of the slave. 

It was soon discovered by the " chivalry " that keeping Mr. Williamson in 
prison would indirectly greatly aid the cause of Freedom that every day 
he remained would make numerous converts to the cause of liberty ; that 
Mr. Williamson was doing ten-fold more in prison for the cause of univer- 
sal liberty than he could possibly do while pursuing his ordinary vocation. 

With regard to the colored men under bonds, Col. Wheeler and his satellites 
felt very confident that there was no room for them to escape. They must 
have had reason so to think, judging from the hard swearing they did, 
before the committing magistrate. Consequently, in the order of events, 
while Passmore was still in prison, receiving visits from hosts of friends, and 
letters of sympathy from all parts of the North, William Still, William 
Curtis, James P. Braddock, John Ballard, James Martin and Isaiah Moore, 
were brought into court for trial. The first name on the list in the proceed- 
ings of the court was called up first. 

Against this individual, it was pretty well understood by the friends of 
the slave, that no lack of pains and false swearing would be resorted to on 
the part of Wheeler and his witnesses, to gain a verdict. 

Mr. McKim and other noted abolitionists managing the defense, were 
equally alive to the importance of overwhelming the enemy in this par- 
ticular issue. The Hon. Charles Gibbons, was engaged to defend William 
Still, and William S. Pierce, Esq., and William B. Birney, Esq., the other 
five colored defendants. 

In order to make the victory complete, the anti-slavery friends deemed it 
of the highest importance to have Jane Johnson in court, to face her master, 
and under oath to sweep away his " refuge of lies," with regard to her being 
"abducted," and her unwillingness to "leave her master," etc. So Mr. 
McKim and the friends very privately arrange^ to have Jane Johnson on 
hand at the opening of the defense. 

Mrs. Lucretia Mott, Mrs. McKim, Miss Sarah Pugh and Mrs. Plumly, 
volunteered to accompany this poor slave mother to the court-house and 


to occupy seats by her side, while she should face her master, and boldly, 
on oath, contradict all his hard swearing. A better subject for the occasion 
than Jane, could not have been desired. She entered the court room veiled, 
and of course was not known by the crowd, as pains had been taken to keep 
the public in ignorance of the fact, that she was to be brought on to bear 
witness. So that, at the conclusion of the second witness on the part of the 
defense, "Jane Johnson" was called for, in a shrill voice. Deliberately, 
Jane arose and answered, in a lady-like manner to her name, and was then 
the observed of all observers. Never before had such a scene been wit- 
nessed in Philadelphia. It was indescribable. Substantially, her testi- 
mony on this occasion, was in keeping with the subjoined affidavit, which 
was as follows 
"State of New York, City and County of New York. 

"Jane Johnson being sworn, makes oath and says 

" My name is Jane Jane Johnson ; I was the slave of Mr. Wheeler of 
Washington ; he bought me and my two children, about two years ago, of 
Mr. Cornelius Crew, of Richmond, Va.; my youngest child is between six 
and seven years old, the other between ten and eleven ; I have one other 
child only, and he is in Richmond ; I have not seen him for about two 
years; never expect to see him again; Mr. Wheeler brought me and my two 
children to Philadelphia, on the way to Nicaragua, to wait on his wife ; I 
didn't want to go without my two children, and he consented to take them ; 
we came to Philadelphia by the cars; stopped at Mr. Sully's, Mr. Wheeler's 
father-in-law, a few moments ; then went to the steamboat for New York at 
2 o'clock, but were too late ; we went into Bloodgood's Hotel ; Mr. Wheeler 
went to dinner; Mr. Wheeler had told me in Washington to have nothing 
to say to colored persons, and if any of them spoke to me, to say I was a 
free woman traveling with a minister; we staid at Bloodgood's till 5 o'clock; 
Mr. Wheeler kept his eye on me all the time except when he was at dinner ; 
he left his dinner to come and see if I was safe, and then went back again ; 
while he was at dinner, I saw a colored woman and told her I was a slave 
woman, that my master had told me not to speak to colored people, and that 
if any of them spoke to me to say that I was free ; but I am not free ; but 
I want to be free; she said : l poor thing, I pity you ;' after that I saw a 
colored man and said the same thing to him, he said he would telegraph to 
New York, and two men would meet me at 9 o'clock and take me with 
them ; after that we went on board the boat, Mr. Wheeler sat beside me on 
the deck ; I saw a colored gentleman come on board, he beckoned to me ; I 
nodded my head, and could not go ; Mr. Wheeler was beside me and I was 
afraid ; a white gentleman then came and said to Mr. Wheeler, ' I want to 
speak to your servant, and tell her of her rights ;' Mr. Wheeler rose and 
said, 'If you have anything to say, say it to me she knows her rights;' 
the white gentleman asked me if I wanted to be free; I said 'I do, but I 




belong to this gentleman and I can't have it;' he replied, 'Yes, you can, 
come with us, you are as free as your master, if you want your freedom 
come now ; if you go back to Washington you may never get it ;' I rose to 
go, Mr. Wheeler spoke, and said, 'I will give you your freedom,' but he 
had never promised it before, and I knew he would never give it to me ; the 
white gentleman held out his hand and I went toward him ; I was ready for 
the word before it was given me ; I took the children by the hands, who 
both cried, for they were frightened, but both stopped when they got on 
shore; a colored man carried the little one, I led the other by the hand. We 
walked down the street till we got to a hack ; nobody forced me away ; 
nobody pulled me, and nobody led me; I went away of my own free will; 
I always wished to be free and meant to be free when I came North ; I 
hardly expected it in Philadelphia, but I thought I should get free in New 
York; I have been comfortable and happy since I left Mr. Wheeler, and 
so are the children ; I don't want to go back ; I could have gone in Phila- 
delphia if I had wanted to ; I could go now; but I had rather die than go 
back. I wish to make this statement before a magistrate, because I under- 
stand that Mr. Williamson is in prison on my account, and I hope the truth 
may be of benefit to him." 




It might have been supposed that her honest and straightforward testi- 
mony would have been sufficient to cause even the most relentless slave- 
holder to abandon at once a pursuit so monstrous and utterly hopeless as 
Wheeler's was. But although he was sadly confused and put to shame, he 
hung on to the " lost.cause " tenaciously. And his counsel, David Webster, 
Esq., and the United States District Attorney, Vandyke, completely im- 
bued with the pro-slavery spirit, were equally as unyielding. And thus, 
with a zeal befitting the most worthy object imaginable, they labored with 
untiring effort to convict the colored men. 

By this policy, however, the counsel for the defense was doubly aroused. 
Mr. Gibbons, in the most eloquent and indignant strains, perfectly annihi- 
lated the "distinguished Colonel John H. Wheeler, United States Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary near the Island of Nicaragua," taking special pains 
to ring the changes repeatedly on his long appellations. Mr. Gibbons ap- 
peared to be precisely in the right mood to make himself surpassingly forci- 
ble and eloquent, on whatever point of law he chose to touch bearing on the 
case; or in whatever direction he chose to glance at the injustice and cruelty 
of the South. Most vividly did he draw the contrast between the States of 
"Georgia" and "Pennsylvania," with regard to the atrocious laws of 
Georgia. Scarcely less vivid is the impression after a lapse of sixteen years, 
than when this eloquent speech was made. With the District Attorney, 
Wm. B. Mann, Esq., and his Honor, Judge Kelley, the defendants had no 


cause to complain. Throughout the entire proceedings, they had reason to 
feel, that neither of these officials sympathized in the least with Wheeler or 
Slavery. Indeed in the Judge's charge and also in the District Attorney's 
closing speech the ring of freedom could be distinctly heard much more so 
than was agreeable to Wheeler and his Pro-Slavery sympathizers. The case 
of Wm. Still ended in his acquittal ; the other five colored men were taken 
up in order. And it is scarcely necessary to say that Messrs. Peirce and 
Birney did full justice to all concerned. Mr. Peirce, especially, was one of 
the oldest, ablest and most faithful lawyers to the slave of the Philadelphia 
Bar. He never was known, it may safely be said, to hesitate in the darkest 
days of Slavery to give his time and talents to the fugitive, even in the most 
hopeless cases, and when, from the unpopularity of such a course, serious sacri- 
fices would be likely to result. Consequently he was but at home in this 
case, and most nobly did he defend his clients, with the same earnestness 
that a man would defend his fireside against the approach of burglars. 
At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned a verdict of "not guilty," 
as to all the persons in the first count, charging them with riot. In the 
second count, charging them with " Assault and Battery " (on Col. Wheeler) 
Ballard and Curtis were found " guilty," the rest " not guilty." The guilty 
were given about a week in jail. Thus ended this act in the Wheeler 

The following extract is taken from the correspondence of the New York 
Tribune touching Jane Johnson's presence in the court, and will be interest- 
ing on that account : 

" But it was a bold and perilous move on the part of her friends, and the 
deepest apprehensions were felt for a while, for the result. The United 
States Marshal was there with his warrant and an extra force to execute it. 
The officers of the court and other State officers were there to protect the 
witness and vindicate the laws of the State. Vandyke, the United States 
District Attorney, swore he would take her. The State officers swore he 
should not, and for a while it seemed that nothing could avert a bloody 
scene. It was expected that the conflict would take place at the door, 
when she should leave the room, so that when she and her friends went out, 
and for some time after, the most intense suspense pervaded the court-room. 
She was, however, allowed to enter the carriage that awaited her without 
disturbance. She was accompanied by Mr. McKim, Secretary of the Penn- 
sylvania Anti-Slavery Society, Lucretia Mott and George Corson, one of our 
most manly and intrepid police officers. The carriage was followed by 
another filled with officers as a guard ; and thus escorted she was taken back 
in safety to the house from which she had been brought. Her title to 
Freedom under the laws of the State will hardly again be brought into 

Mr. Williamson was committed to prison by Judge Kane for contempt of 


Court, on the 27th day of July, 1855, and was released on the 3d day of 
November the same year, having gained, in the estimation of the friends 
of Freedom every where, a triumph and a fame which but few men in the 
great moral battle for Freedom could claim. 





The great number of cases to be here noticed forbids more than a brief 
reference to each passenger. As they arrived in parties, their narratives will 
be given in due order as found on the book of records : 

William Griffen, Henry Moor, James Camper, Noah Ennells and Levin 
Parker. This party came from Cambridge, Md. 

WILLIAM is thirty-four years of age, of medium size and substantial ap- 
pearance. He fled from James Waters, Esq., a lawyer, living in Cam- 
bridge. He was "wealthy, close, and stingy," and owned nine head of 
slaves and a farm, on which William served. He was used very hard, which 
was the cause of his escape, though the idea that he was entitled to his free- 
dom had been entertained for the previous twelve years. On preparing to take 
the Underground, he armed himself with a big butcher-knife, and resolved, 
if attacked, to make his enemies stand back. His master was a member of 
the Methodist Church. 

HENRY is tall, copper-colored, and about thirty years of age. He com- 
plained not so much of bad usage as of the utter distaste he had to working 
all the time for the " white people for nothing." He was also decidedly of 
the opinion that every man should have his liberty. Four years ago his 
wife was "sold away to Georgia" by her young master; since which time 
not a word had he heard of her. She left three children, and he, in escaping, 
also had to leave them in the same hands that sold their mother. He 
was owned by Levin Dale, a farmer near Cambridge. Henry was armed 
with a six-barreled revolver, a large knife, and a determined mind. 

JAMES is twenty-four years of age, quite black, small size, keen look, and 
full of hope for the " best part of Canada." He fled from Henry Hooper, 
" a (lashing young man and a member of the Episcopal Church.'' Left be- 
cause he "did not enjoy privileges" as he wished to do. He was armed 
with two pistols and a dirk to defend himself. 

NOAH is only nineteen, quite dark, well-proportioned, and possessed of a 
fair average of common sense. He was owned by " Black-head Bill Le- 
Count," who "followed drinking, chewing tobacco, catching l runaways,' and 
hanging around the court-house." However, he owned six head of slaves, 
and had a " rough wife," who belonged to the Methodist Church. Left be- 


cause he " expected every day to be sold " his master being largely in 
" debt." Brought with him a butcher-knife. 

LEVIN is twenty-two, rather short built, medium size and well colored. 
He fled from Lawrence G. Colson, " a very bad man, fond of drinking, great 
to fight and swear, and hard to please. His mistress was " real rough ; very 
bad, worse than he was as ' fur ' as she could be." Having been stinted 
with food and clothing and worked hard, was the apology offered by Levin 
for running off. 

STEBNEY SWAN, John Stinger, Robert Emerson, Anthony Pugh and Isa- 
bella . This company came from Portsmouth, Va. Stebney is thirty- 
four years of age, medium size, mulatto, and quite wide awake. He was 
owned by an oystermau by the name of Jos. Carter, who lived near Ports- 
mouth. Naturally enough his master " drank hard, gambled " extensively, 
and in every other respect was a very ordinary man. Nevertheless, he 
" owned twenty-five head," and had a wife and six children. Stebney testi- 
fied that he had not been used hard, though he had been on the " auction- 
block three times." Left because he was "tired of being a servant." Armed 
with a broad-axe and hatchet, he started, joined by the above-named com- 
panions, and came in a skiff, by sea. Robert Lee was the brave Captain 
engaged to pilot this Slavery-sick party from the prison-house of bondage. 
And although every rod of rowing was attended with inconceivable peril, 
the desired haven was safely reached, and the overjoyed voyagers conducted 
to the Vigilance Committee. 

JOHN is about forty years of age, and so near white that a microscope 
would be required to discern his colored origin. His father was white, and 
his mother nearly so. He also had been owned by the oysterman alluded to 
above ; had been captain of one of his oyster-boats, until recently. And but 
for his attempt some months back to make his escape, he might have been 
this day in the care of his kind-hearted master. But, because of this way- 
ward step on the part of John, his master felt called upon to humble him. 
Accordingly, the captaincy was taken from him, and he was compelled to 
struggle on in a less honorable position. Occasionally John's mind would be 
refreshed by his master relating the hard times in the North, the great starva- 
tion among the blacks, etc. He would also tell John how much better off he 
was as a " slave with a kind master to provide for all his wants," etc. Not- 
withstanding all this counsel, John did not rest contented until he was on the 
Underground Rail Road. 

ROBERT was only nineteen, with an intelligent face and prepossessing man- 
ners; reads, writes and ciphers; and is about half Anglo-Saxon. He fled 
from Wm. H. Wilson, Esq., Cashier of the Virginia Bank. Until within 
the four years previous to Robert's escape, the cashier was spoken of as a 
" very good man ;" but in consequence of speculations in a large Hotel in 
Portsmouth, and the then financial embarrassments, "he had become seri- 


ously involved," and decidedly changed in his manners. Robert noticed 
this, and concluded he had " better get out of danger as soon as possible." 

ANTHONY and Isabella were an engaged couple, and desired to cast their 
lot where husband and wife could not be separated on the auction-block. 

The following are of the Cambridge party, above alluded to. All left 
together, but for prudential reasons separated before reaching Philadelphia. 
The company that left Cambridge on the 24th of October may be thus 
recognized: Aaron Cornish and wife, with their six children; Solomon, 
George Anthony, Joseph, Edward James, Perry Lake, and a nameless babe, 
all very likely ; Kit Anthony and wife Leah, and three children, Adam, 
Mary, and Murray; Joseph Hill and wife Alice, and their son Henry; also 
Joseph's sister. Add to the above, Marshall Dutton and George Light, 
both single young men, and we have twenty-eight in one arrival, as hearty- 
looking, brave and interesting specimens of Slavery as could well be pro- 
duced from Maryland. Before setting out they counted well the cost. 
Being aware that fifteen had left their neighborhood only a few days ahead 
of them, and that every slave-holder and slave-catcher throughout the com- 
munity, were on the alert, and raging furiously against the inroads of the 
Underground Rail Road, they provided themselves with the following 
weapons of defense: three revolvers, three double-barreled pistols, three 
single-barreled pistols, three sword-canes, four butcher knives, one bowie- 
knife, and one paw.* Thus, fully resolved upon freedom or death, with 
scarcely provisions enough for a single day, while the rain and storm was 
piteously descending, fathers and mothers with children in their arms (Aaron 
Cornish had two) the entire party started. Of course, their provisions gave 
out before they were fairly on the way, but not so with the storm. It 
continued to pour upon them for nearly three days. With nothing to 
appease the gnawings of hunger but parched corn and a few dry crackers, 
wet and cold, with several of the children sick, some of their feet bare and 
worn, and one of the mothers with an infant in her arms, incapable of par- 
taking of the diet, it is impossible to imagine the ordeal they were passing. 
It was enough to cause the bravest hearts to falter. But not for a moment 
did they allow themselves to look back. It was exceedingly agreeable to 
hear even the little children testify that in the most trying hour on the road, 
not for a moment did they want to go back. The following advertisement, 
taken from The Cambridge Democrat of November 4, shows how the Rev. 
Levi Traverse felt about Aaron 

$300 REWARD. Ran away from the subscriber, from the neighborhood 
of Town Point, on Saturday night, the 24th inst., my negro man, AAEON 
CORNISH, about 35 years old. He is abojit five feet ten inches high, black, 
good-looking, rather pleasant countenance, and carries himself with a confident 
manner. He went off with his wife, DAFFNEY, a negro woman belonging to 
Reuben E. Phillips. I will give the above reward if taken out of the county, 
and $200 if taken in the county ; in either case to be lodged in Cambridge Jail. 
October 25, 1857. LEVI D. TRAVEHSE. 

* A paw is a weapon with iron prongs, four inches long, to be grasped with the hand and used in 
close encaunter. 


To fully understand the Rev. Mr. Traverse's authority for taking the 
liberty he did with Aaron's good name, it may not be amiss to give briefly 
a paragraph of private information from Aaron, relative to his master. 
The Rev. Mr. Traverse belonged to the Methodist Church, and was 
described by Aaron as a " bad young man; rattle-brained; with the appear- 
ance of not having good sense, not enough to manage the great amount of 
property (he had been left wealthy) in his possession." Aaron's servitude 
commenced under this spiritual protector in May prior to the escape, imme- 
diately after the death of his old master. His deceased master, William D. 
Traverse, by the way, was the father-in-law, and at the same time own 
uncle of Aaron's reverend owner. Though the young master, for marrying 
his own cousin and uncle's daughter, had been for years the subject of the 
old gentleman's wrath, and was not allowed to come near his house, or to 
entertain any reasonable hope of getting any of his father-in-laVs estate, 
nevertheless, scarcely had the old man breathed his last, ere the young 
preacher seized upon the inheritance, slaves and all; at least he claimed two- 
thirds, allowing for the widow one-third. Unhesitatingly he had taken 
possession of all the slaves (some thirty head), and was making them feel 
his power to the fullest extent. To Aaron this increased oppression was 
exceedingly crushing, as he had been hoping at the death of his old master 
to be free. Indeed, it was understood that the old man had his will made, 
and freedom provided for the slaves. But, strangely enough, at his death 
no will could be found. Aaron was firmly of the conviction that the 
Rev. Mr. Traverse knew what became of it. Between the widow and 
the son-in-law, in consequence of his aggressive steps, existed much hostility, 
which strongly indicated the approach of a law-suit ; therefore, except by 
escaping, Aaron could not see the faintest hope of freedom. Under his old 
master, the favor of hiring his time had been granted him. He had also 
been allowed by his wife's mistress (Miss Jane Carter, of Baltimore), to 
have his wife and children home with him that is, until his children would 
grow to the age of eight and ten years, then they would be taken away and 
hired out at twelve or fifteen dollars a year at first. Her oldest boy, sixteen, 
hired the year he left for forty dollars. They had had ten children ; two had 
died, two they were compelled to leave in chains ; the rest they brought 
away. Not one dollar's expense had they been to their mistress. The 
industrious Aaron not only had to pay his own hire, but was obliged to do 
enough over- work to support his large family. 

Though he said he had no special complaint to make against his old mas- 
ter,, through whom he, with the rest of the slaves, hoped to obtain freedom, 
Aaron, nevertheless, spoke of him as a man of violent temper, severe on his 
slaves, drinking hard, etc., though he was a man of wealth and stood high 
in the community. One of Aaron's brothers, and others, had been sold South 
by him. It was on account of his inveterate hatred of his son-in-law, who, 


he declared, should never have his property (having no other heir but his 
niece, except his widow), that the slaves relied on his promise to free them. 
Thus, in view of the facts referred to, Aaron was led to commit the unpar- 
donable sin of running away with his wife Daftney, who, by the way, looked 
like a woman fully capable of taking care of herself and children, instead of 
having them stolen away from her, as though they were pigs. 

JOSEPH VINEY and family Joseph was "held to service or labor," by 
Charles Bryant, of Alexandria, Va. Joseph had very nearly finished paying 
for himself. His wife and children were held by Samuel Pattison, Esq., a 
member of the Methodist Church, "a great big man," " with red eyes, bald 
head, drank pretty freely," and in the language of Joseph, " wouldn't bear 
nothing." Two of Joseph's brothers-in-law had been sold by his master. 
Against Mrs. Pattison his complaint was, that "she was mean, sneaking, and 
did not want to give half enough to eat." 

For the enlightenment of all Christendom, and coming posterity espe- 
cially, the following advertisement and letter are recorded, with the hope that 
they will have an important historical value. The writer was at great pains 
to obtain these interesting documents, directly after the arrival of the memo- 
rable Twenty-Eight ; and shortly afterwards furnished to the New York 
Tribune, in a prudential manner, a brief sketch of these very passengers, 
including the advertisements, but not the letter. It was safely laid away for 

$2,000 REWARD. Ran away from the subscriber on Saturday night, the 24th 
inst, FOURTEEN HEAD OF NEGROES, viz : Four men, two women, one boy and 
seven children. KIT is about 35 years of age, five feet six or seven inches high, 
dark chestnut color, and has a scar on one of his thumbs. JOE is about 30 years 
old, very black, his teeth are very white, and is about five feet eight inches high. HENRY 
is about 22 years old, five feet ten inches high, of dark chestnut color and large front 
teeth. JOE is about 20 years old, about five feet six inches high, heavy built and black. 
TOM is about 16 years old, about five feet high, light chestnut color. SUSAN is about 35 
years old, dark chestnut color, and rather stout built ; speaks rather slow, and has with 
her FOUR CHILDREN, varying from one to seven years of age. LEAH is about 28 years 
old, about five feet high, dark chestnut color, with THREE CHILDREN, two boys and one 
girl, from one to eight years old. 

I will give $1,000 if taken in the county, $1,500 if taken out of the county and in the 
State, and $2,000 if taken out of the State ; in either case to be lodged in Cambridge (Md.) 
Jail, so that I can get them again ; or I will give a fair proportion of the above reward if 
any part be secured. SAMUEL PATTISON, 

October 26, 1857. Near Cambridge, Md. 

P. S. Since writing the above, I have discovered that my negro woman, SARAH 
JANE, 25 years old, stout built and chestnut color, has also run off. S. P. 


CAMBRIDGE, Nov. 16th, 1857. 

L. W. THOMPSON : SIR, this morning I received your letter wishing an accurate de- 
scription of my Negroes which ran away on the 24th of last month and the amt of reward 
offered &o &c. The description is as follows. Kit is about 35 years old, five feet, six or . 
seven inches high, dark chestnut^color and has a scar on one of his thumbs, he has a very 


quick step and walks very straight, and can read and write. Joe, is about 30 years old, 
very black and about five feet eight inches high, has a very pleasing appearance, he has 
a free wife who left with him she is a light molatoo, she has a child not over one year old. 
Henry is about 22 years old, five feet, ten inches high, of dark chestnut coller and large 
front teeth, he stoops a little in his walk and has a downward look. Joe is about 20 years 
old, about five feet six inches high, heavy built, and has a grum look and voice dull, and 
black. Tom is about 16 years old about five feet high light chestnut coller, smart active 
boy, and swagers in his walk. Susan is about 35 years old, dark chesnut coller and stout 
built, speaks rather slow and has with her four children, three boys and one girl the girl 
has a thumb or finger on her left hand (part of it) cut off, the children are from 9 months 
to 8 years old. (the youngest a boy 9 months and the oldest whose name is Lloyd is about 
8 years old) The husband of Susan (Joe Viney) started off with her, he is a slave, be- 
longing to a gentleman in Alexandria D. C. he is about 40 years old and dark chesnut 
cotler rather slender built and about five feet seven or eight inches high, he is also the 
Father of Henry, Joe and Tom. A reward of $400. will be given for his apprehension. 
Leah is about 28 years old about five feet high dark chesnut coller, with three children. 
2 Boys and 1 girl, they are from one to eight years old, the oldest boy is called Adam, 
Leah is the wife of Kit, the first named man in the list. Sarah Jane is about 25 years 
old, stout built and chesnut coller, quick and active in her walk. Making in all 15 head, 
men, women and children belonging to me, or 16 head including Joe Viney, the husband 
of my woman Susan. 

A Reward of $2250. will be given for my negroes if taken out of the State of Maryland 
and lodged in Cambridge or Baltimore Jail, so that I can get them or a fair proportion 
for any part of them. And including Joe Viney's reward $2650 00. 

At the same time eight other negroes belonging to a neighbor of mine ran off, for which 
a reward of $1400 00 has been offered for them. 

If you should want any information, witnesses to prove or indentify the negroes, write 
immediately on to me. Or if you should need any information with regard to proving 
the negroes, before I could reach Philadelphia, you can call on Mr. Burroughs at Martin & 
Smith's store, Market Street, No 308. Phila and he can refer you to a gentleman who 
knows the negroes. Yours &c SAML. PATTISON. 

This letter was in answer to one written in Philadelphia and signed, " L. 
W. Thompson." It is not improbable that Mr. Pattison's loss had pro- 
duced such a high state of mental excitement that he was hardly in a con- 
dition for cool reflection, or he would have weighed the matter a little more 
carefully before exposing himself to the U. G. R. R. agents. But the letter 
possesses two commendable features, nevertheless. It was tolerably well 
written and prompt. 

Here is a wonderful exhibition of affection for his contented and happy 
negroes. Whether Mr. Pattison suspended on suddenly learning that he 
was minus fifteen head, the writer cannot say. But that there was a great 
slave hunt in every direction there is no room to doubt. Though much 
more might be said about the parties concerned, it must suffice to add that 
they came to the Vigilance Committee in a very sad plight in tattered 
garments, hungry, sick, and penniless ; but they were kindly clothed, fed, 
doctored, and sent on their way rejoicing. 

DANIEL STANLY, Nat Amby, John Scott, Hannah Peters, Henrietta 
Dobson, Elizabeth Amby, Josiah Stanly, Caroline Stanly, Daniel Stanly, jr., 


John Stanly and Miller Stanly (arrival from Cambridge.) Daniel is about 
35, well-made and wide-awake. Fortunately, in emancipating himself, he 
also, through great perseverance, secured the freedom of his wife and six 
children ; one child he was compelled to leave behind. Daniel belonged to 
Robert Calender, a farmer, and, "except when in a passion," said to be 
"pretty clever." However, considering as a father, that it was his "duty to 
do all he could " for his children, and that all work and no play makes Jack a 
dull boy, Daniel felt bound to seek refuge in Canada. His wife and children 
were owned by "Samuel Count, an old, bald-headed, bad man," who "had 
of late years been selling and buying slaves as a business," though he stood 
high and was a "big bug in Cambridge." The children were truly likely- 

Nat is no ordinary man. Like a certain other Nat known to history, his 
honest and independent bearing in every respect was that of a natural 
hero. He was full black, and about six feet high ; of powerful physical pro- 
portions, and of more than ordinary intellectual capacities. With the 
strongest desire to make the Port of Canada safely, he had resolved to be 
" carried back," if attacked by the slave hunters, " only as a dead man." He 
was held to service by John Muir, a wealthy farmer, and the owner of 40 or 
50 slaves. " Muir would drink and was generally devilish." Two of Nat's 
sisters and one of his brothers had been "sold away to Georgia by him." 
Therefore, admonished by threats and fears of having to pass through the 
same fiery furnace, Nat was led to consider the U. G. R. R. scheme. It was 
through the marriage of Nat's mistress to his present owner that he came 
into Muir's hands. " Up to the time of her death," he had been encouraged 
to " hope " that he would be " free ;" indeed, he was assured by her " dying 
testimony that the slaves were not to be sold." But regardless of the 
promises and will of his departed wife, Muir soon extinguished all hopes of 
freedom from that quarter. But not believing that God had put one man 
here to " be the servant of another to work," and get none of the benefit of 
his labor, Nat armed himself with a good pistol and a big knife, and taking 
his wife with him, bade adieu forever to bondage. Observing that Lizzie 
(Nat's wife) looked pretty decided and resolute, a member of the committee 
remarked, "Would your wife fight for freedom?" "I have heard her say 
she would wade through blood and tears for her freedom," said Nat, in the 

O ' ' 

most serious mood. 

The following advertisement from The Cambridge Democrat of Nov. 4, 
speaks for itself 

$300 REWARD. Ran away from the subscriber, on Saturday night last, 17th 
inst., my negro woman Lizzie, about 28 years old. She is medium sized, dark com- 
plexion, good-looking, with rather a down look. When spoken to, replies quickly. 
She was well dressed, wearing a red and green blanket shawl, and carried with her 
a variety of clothing. She ran off in company with her husband, Nat Amby (belonging 
to John Muir, Esq.), who is about 6 feet in height, with slight impediment in his speech, 
dark chestnut color, and a large scar on the side of his neck. 


I will give the above reward if taken in this County, or one-half of what she sells for if 
taken out of the County or State. In either case to be lodged in Cambridge Jail. 

Cambridge, Oct. 21, 1857. ALEXANDER H. BAYLY. 

P. S. For the apprehension of the above-named negro man Nat, and delivery in Cam- 
bridge Jail, I will give $500 reward. JOHN Mum. 

Now since Nat's master has been introduced in the above order, it seems 
but appropriate that Nat should be heard too; consequently the following 
letter is inserted for what it is worth : 

AUBURN, June 10th, 1858. 

MR. WILLIAM STILL : Sir, will you be so Kind as to write a letter to affey White in 
straw berry alley in Baltimore city on the point Say to her at nat Ambey that I wish to 
Know from her the Last Letar that Joseph Ambie and Henry Ambie two Brothers and 
Ann Warfield a couisin of them two boys I state above I would like to hear from my 
mother sichy Ambie you will Please write to my mother and tell her that I am well and 
doing well and state to her that I perform my Relissius dutys and I would like to hear 
from her and want to know if she is performing her Relissius dutys yet and send me word 
from all her children I left behind say to affey White that I wish her to write me a Let- 
ter in Hast my wife is well and doing well and my nephew is doing well Please teli 
affey White when she writes to me to Let me know where Joseph and Henry Ambie is 

Mr. Still Please Look on your Book and you will find my name on your Book They 
was eleven of us children and all when we came through and I feal interrested about my 
Brothers I have never heard from them since I Left home you will Please Be Kind 
annough to attend to this Letter When you send the answer to this Letter you will 
Please send it to P. R. Freeman Auburn City Cayuga County New York 

Yours Truly NAT AMBIE. 

WILLIAM is 25, complexion brown, intellect naturally good, with no favor- 
able notions of the peculiar institution. He was armed with a formidable 
dirk-knife, and declared he would use it if attacked, rather than be dragged 
back to bondage. 

HANNAH is a hearty-looidng young woman of 23 or 24, with a countenance 
that indicated that liberty was what she wanted and was contending for, and 
that she could not willingly submit to the yoke. Though she came with the 
Cambridge party, she did not come from Cambridge, but from Marshall 
Hope, Caroline County, where she had been owned by Charles Peters, a man 
who had distinguished himself by getting " drunk, scratching and fighting, 
etc.," not unfrequently in his own family even. She had no parents that she 
knew of. Left because they used her " so bad, beat and knocked " her about. 

" JACK SCOTT." Jack is about thirty-six years of age, substantially built, 
dark color, and of quiet and prepossessing manners. He was owned by 
David B. Turner, Esq., a dry goods merchant of New York. By birth, 
Turner was a Virginian, and a regular slave-holder. His slaves were kept 
hired out by the year. As Jack had had but slight acquaintance with his 
New York owner, he says but very little about him. He was moved to 
leave simply because he had got tired of working for the " white people for 
nothing." Fled from Richmond, Va. Jack went to Canada direct. The 
following letter furnishes a clew to his whereabouts, plans, etc. 


MONTREAL, September 1st 1859. 

DEAR SIR : It is with extreme pleasure that I set down to inclose you a few lines to 
let you know that I am well & I hope when these few lines come to hand they may find 
you & your family in good health and prosperity I left your house Nov. 3d, 1857, for 
Canada I Received a letter here from James Carter in Peters burg, saying that my wife 
would leave there about the 28th or the first September and that he would send her on by 
way of Philadelphia to you to send on to Montreal if she come on you be please to send 
her on and as there is. so many boats coming here all times a day I may not know what 
time she will. So you be please to give her this direction, she can get a cab and go to the 
Donegana Hotel and Edmund Turner is there he will take you where I lives and if he is 
not there cabman take you to Mr Taylors on Durham St. nearly opposite to the Methodist 
Church. Nothing more at present but Remain your well wisher JOHN SCOTT. 

C. KITCHENS. This individual took his departure from Milford, Del., 
where he was owned by Wm. Hill, a farmer, who took special delight in 
having " fighting done on the place." This passenger was one of our least 
intelligent travelers. He was about 22. 

MAJOR Ross. Major fled from John Jay, a farmer residing in the neigh- 
borhood of Havre de Grace, Md. But for the mean treatment received from 
Mr. Jay, Major might have been foolish enough to have remained all his 
days in chains. " It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." 

HENRY OBERNE. Henry was to be free at 28, but preferred having it 
at 21, especially as he was not certain that 28 would ever come. He is of 
chestnut color, well made, &c., and came from Seaford, Md. 

PERRY BURTON. Perry is about twenty-seven years of age, decidedly 
colored, medium size, and only of ordinary intellect. He acknowledged John 
R. Burton, a farmer on Indian River, as his master, and escaped because he 
wanted "some day for himself." 

ALFRED HUBERT, Israel Whitney and John Thompson. Alfred is of 
powerful muscular appearance and naturally of a good intellect. He is full 
dark chestnut color, and would doubtless fetch a high price. He was owned 
by Mrs. Matilda Niles, from whom he had hired his time, paying $110 
yearly. He had no fault to find with his mistre&s, except he observed she 
had a young family growing up, into whose hands he feared he might un- 
luckily fall some day, and saw no way of avoiding it but by flight. Being 
only twenty-eight, he may yet make his mark. 

ISRAEL, was owned by Elijah Money. All that he could say in favor of 
his master was, that he treated him " respectfully," though he " drank hard." 
Israel was about thirty-six, and another excellent specimen of an able-bodied 
arid wide-awake man. He hired his time at the rate of $120 a year, and 
had to find his wife and child in the bargain. He came from Alexandria, Va. 


HAMILTON, Oct. 16. 1858. 

WILLIAM STILL My Dear Friend: I saw Carter and his friend a few days ago, and 
they told me, that you was well. On the seventh of October my wife came to Hamilton. 
Mr. A. Hurberd, who came from Virginia with me, is going to get married the 20th of 


November, next. I wish you would write to me how many of my friends you have seen 
since October, 1857. Montgomery Green keeps a barber shop in Cayuga, in the State of 
New York. I have not heard of Oscar Ball but once since I came here, and then he was 
well and doing well. George Carroll is in Hamilton. The times are very dull at present, 
and have been ever since I came here. Please write soon. Nothing more at present, only 
I still remain in Hamilton, C. W. ISRAEL WHITNEY. 

JOHX is nineteen years of age, mulatto, spare made, but not lacking in 
courage, mother wit or perseverance. He was born in Fauquier county, 
Va., and, after experiencing Slavery for a number of years there being sold 
two or three times to the " highest bidder " he was finally purchased by a 
cotton planter named Hezekiah Thompson, residing at Huntsville, Alabama. 
Immediately after the sale Hezekiah bundled his new "purchase" off to 
Alabama, where he succeeded in keeping him only about two years, for at 
the end of that time John determined to strike a blow for liberty. The in- 
centive to this step was the inhuman treatment he was subjected to. Cruel 
indeed did he find it there. His master was a young man, " fond of drinking 
and carousing, and always ready for a fight or a knock-down." A short time 
before John left his master whipped him so severely with the "bull whip" that 
he could not use his arm for three or four days. Seeing but one way of 
escape (and that more perilous than the way William and Ellen Craft, or 
Henry Box Brown traveled), he resolved to try it. It was to get on the 
top of the car, instead of inside of it, and thus ride of nights, till nearly day- 
light, when, at a stopping-place on the road, he would slip off the car, and 
conceal himself in the woods until under cover of the next night he could 
manage to get on the top of another car. By this most hazardous mode of 
travel he reached Virginia. 

It may be best not to attempt to describe how he suffered at the hands of 
his owners in Alabama ; or how severely he was pinched with hunger in 
traveling ; or how, when he reached his old neighborhood in Virginia, he 
could not venture to inquire for his mother, brothers or sisters, to receive 
from them an affectionate word, an encouraging smile, a crust of bread, or a 
drink of water. 

Success attended his efforts for more than two weeks; but alas, after 
having got back north of Richmond, on his way home to Alexandria, he 
was captured and put in prison ; his master being informed of the fact, came 
on and took possession of him again. At first he refused to sell him ; said 
he "had money enough and owned about thirty slaves;" therefore wished to 
" take him back to make an example of him." However, through the persua- 
sion of an uncle of his, he consented to sell. Accordingly, John was put on 
the auction-block and bought for $1,300 by Green McMurray, a regular 
trader in Richmond. McMurray again offered him for sale, but in conse- 
quence of hard times and the high price demanded, John did not go off, at 
least not in the way the trader desired to dispose of him, but did, neverthe- 
less, succeed in going off on the Underground Rail Road. Thus once more 



he reached his old home, Alexandria. His mother was in one place, and his 
six brothers and sisters evidently scattered, where he knew not. Since he 
was five years of age, not one of them had he seen. 

If such sufferings and trials were not entitled to claim for the sufferer the 
honor of a hero, where in all Christendom could one be found who could 
prove a better title to that appellation ? 

It is needless to say that the Committee extended to him brotherly kind- 
ness, sympathized with him deeply, and sent hinfon his way rejoicing. 

Of his subsequent career the following extract from a letter written at 
London shows that he found no rest for the soles of his feet under the Stars 
and Stripes in New York : 

I hope that you will remember John Thompson, who passed through your hands, I 
think, in October, 1857, at the same time that Mr. Cooper, from Charleston, South Caro- 
lina, came on. I was engaged at New York, in the barber business, with a friend, and 
was doing very well, when I was betrayed and obliged to sail for England very suddenly, 
my master being in the city to arrest me. (LONDON, December 21st. 1860.) 

JEREMIAH COLBTJRN. Jeremiah is a bright mulatto, of prepossessing 
appearance, reads and writes, and is quite intelligent. He fled from Charles- 
ton, where he had been owned by Mrs. E. Williamson, an old lady about 
seventy-five, a member of the Episcopal Church, and opposed to Freedom. 
As far as he was concerned, however, he said, she had treated him well ; 
but, knowing that the old lady would not be long here, he judged it was 
best to look out in time. Consequently, he availed himself of an Under- 
ground Rail Road ticket, and bade adieu to that hot-bed of secession, South 


Carolina. Indeed, he was fair enough to pass for white, and actually came 
the entire journey from Charleston to this city under the garb of a white 
gentleman. With regard to gentlemanly bearing, however, he was all right 
in this particular. Nevertheless, as he had been a slave all his days, he 
found that it required no small amount of nerve to succeed in running the 
gauntlet with slave-holders and slave -catchers for so long a journey. 

The following pointed epistle, from Jeremiah Colburn alias William 
Cooper, beautifully illustrates the effects of Freedom on many a passenger 
who received hospitalities at the Philadelphia depot 

SYRACUSE, June 9th, 1858. 

MR. STILL: Dear Sir: One of your Underground R. R. Passenger Drop you these 
few Lines to let you see that he have not forgoteu you one who have Done so much for 
him well sir I am still in Syracuse, well in regard to what I am Doing for a Living I no 
you would like to hear, I am in the Painting Business, and have as ranch at that as I can 
do, and enough to Last me all the Summer, I had a knolledge of Painting Before I Left 
the South, the Hotell where I was working Last winter the Proprietor fail & shot up in 
the Spring and I Loose evry thing that I was working for all Last winter. I have Kitten 
a Letter to my Friend P. Christianson some time a goo & have never Received an 
Answer, I hope this wont Be the case with this one, I have an idea sir, next winter iff I 
can this summer make Enough to Pay Expenses, to goo to that school at McGrowville & 
spend my winter their. I am going sir to try to Prepair myself for a Lectuer, I am 
going sir By the Help of god to try and Do something for the Caus to help my Poor 
Breathern that are suffering under the yoke. Do give my Respect to Mrs Stills & Per- 
ticular to Miss Julia Kelly, I supose she is still with you yet. I am in great hast you 
must excuse my short letter. I hope these few Lines may fine you as they Leave me 
quite well. It will afford me much Pleasure to hear from you. 

yours Truly, WILLIAM COOPER. 

John Thompson is still here and Doing well. 

It will be seen that this young Charlestonian had rather exalted notions 
in his head. He was contemplating going to McGrawville College, for the 
purpose of preparing himself for the lecturing field. Was it not rather 
strange that he did not want to return to his "kind hearted old mistress?" 

mas is about twenty-six, quite dark, rather of a raw-boned make, indicating 
that times with him had been other than smooth. A certain Josiah Wilson 
owned Thomas. He was a cross, rugged man, allowing not half enough to 
eat, and worked his slaves late and early. Especially within the last two or 
three months previous to the escape, he had been intensely savage, in con- 
sequence of having lost, not long before, two of his servants. Ever since 
that misfortune, he had frequently talked of "putting the rest in his 
pocket." This distressing threat made the rest love him none the more ; 
but, to make assurances doubly sure, after giving them their supper every 
evening, which consisted of delicious "skimmed milk, corn cake and a 
herring each," he would very carefully send them up in the loft over the 
kitchen, and there " lock them up," to remain until called the next morning 


at three or four o'clock to go to work again. Destitute of money, clothing, 
and a knowledge of the way, situated as they were they concluded to. make 
an effort for Canada. 

NATHAN was also a fellow-servant with Thomas, and of course owned by 
Wilson. Nathan's wife, however, was owned by Wilson's son, Abram. 
Nathan was about twenty-five years of age, not very dark. He had a 
remarkably large head on his shoulders and was the picture of determina- 
tion, and apparently was exactly the kind of a subject that might be 
desirable in the British possessions, in the forest or on the farm. 

His wife, Mary Ellen, is a brown-skinned, country-looking young 1 woman, 
about twenty years of age. In escaping, they had to break jail, in the dead 
of nio-ht, while all were asleep in the big house ; and thus they succeeded. 
What Mr. Wilson did, said or thought about these "shiftless" creatures we 
are not prepared to say ; we may, notwithstanding, reasonably infer that the 
Underground has come in for a liberal share of his indignation and wrath. 
The above travelers came from near New Market, Md. The few rags they 
were clad in were not really worth the price that a woman would ask for 
washing them, yet they brought with them about all they had. Thus they 
had to be newly rigged at the expense of the Vigilance Committee. 

The Cambridge Democrat, of Nov. 4, 1857, from which the advertise- 
ments were cut, said 

" At a meeting of the people of this county, Jield in Cambridge, on the 2d of November, 
to take into consideration the better protection of the interests of the slave-owners; among 
other things that were done, it was resolved to enforce the various acts of Assembly * * 
* * relating to servants and slaves. 

" The act of 1715, chap. 44, sec. 2, provides ' that from and after the publication thereof 
no servant or servants whatsoever, within this province, whether by indenture or by the 
custom of the counties, or hired for wages shall travel by land or water ten miles from 
the house of his, her or their master, mistress or dame, without a note under their hands, 
or under the hands of his, her or their overseer, if any be, under the penalty of being 
taken for a runaway, and to suffer such penalties as hereafter provided against runaways.' 
The. Act of 1806, chap. 81, sec. 5, provides, ' That any person taking up such runaway, 
shall have and receive $6,' to be paid by the master or owner. It was also determined to 
have put in force the act of 1825, chap. 161, and the act of 1839, chap. 320, relative to 
idle, vagabond, free negroes, providing for their sale or banishment from the State. All 
persons interested, are hereby notified that the aforesaid laws, in particular, will be 
enforced, and all officers failing to enforce them will be presented to the Grand Jury, and 
those who desire to avoid the penalties of the aforesaid statutes are requested to conform 
to these provisions." 

As to the modus operand! by which so many men, women and children 
were delivered and safely forwarded to Canada, despite slave-hunters and the 
fugitive slave law, the subjoined letters, from different agents and depots, 
will throw important light on the question. 

Men and women aided in this cause who were influenced by no oath of 
secresy, who received not a farthing for their labors, who believed that God 


had put it into the hearts of all mankind to love liberty, and had com- 
manded men to " feel for those in bonds as bound with them," " to break 
every yoke and let the oppressed go free." But here are the letters, bearing 
at least on some of the travelers : 

WILMINGTON, 10th Mo. 31st, 1857. 

ESTEEMED FRIEND WILLIAM STILL: I write to inform Ihee that we have either 17 
or 27, I am not certain which, of that large Gang of God's poor, and I hope they are safe. 
The man who has them in charge informed me there were 27 safe and one boy lost during 
last night, about 14 years of age, without shoes ; we have felt some anxiety about him, for 
fear he may be taken up and betray the rest. I have since been informed there are but 17 
so that I cannot at present tell which is correct. I have several looking oat for the lad ; 
they will be kept from Phila. for the present. My principal object in writing thee at this 
time is to inform thee of what one of our constables told me this morning ; he told me that 
a colored man in Phila. who professed to be a great friend of the colored people was a 
traitor ; that he had been written to by an Abolitionist in Baltimore, to keep a look out 
for those slaves that left Cambridge this night week, told him they would be likely to 
pass through Wilmington on 6th day or 7th day night, and the colored man in Phila. had 
written to the master of part of them telling him the above, and the master arrived here 
yesterday in consequence of the information, and told one of our constables the above ; the 
man told the name of the Baltimore writer, which he had forgotten, but declined telling 
the name of the colored man in Phila. I hope you will be able to find out who he is, and 
should I be able to learn the name of the Baltimore friend, I will put him on his Guard, 
respecting his Phila. correspondents. As ever thy friend, and the friend of Humanity, 
without regard to color or clime. THOS. GARRETT. 

How much truth there was in the " constable's " story to the effect, " that 
a colored man in Philadelphia, who professed to be a great friend of the 
colored people, was a traitor, etc.," the Committee never learned. As a 
general thing, colored people were true to the fugitive slave; but now and 
then some unprincipled individuals, under various pretenses, would cause us 
great anxiety. 


NORRISTOWN Oct 18th 1857 2 o'clock P M 

DEAR SIR : There is Six men and women and Five children making Eleven Persons. 
If you are willing to Receve them write to me imediately and I will bring them to your 
To morrow Evening I would not Have wrote this But the Times are so much worse Fi- 
nancialy that I thought It best to hear From you Before I Brought such a Crowd Down 
Pleas Answer this and Oblige JOHN AUGUSTA. 

This document has somewhat of a military appearance about it. It is 
short and to the point. Friend Augusta was well known in Norristown as 
a first-rate hair-dresser and a prompt and trustworthy Underground Rail 
Road agent. Of course a speedy answer was returned to his note, and he 
was instructed to bring the eleven passengers on to the Committee in 
Brotherly Love. 




SUNNYSIDE, Nov. Gtli, 1857. 

DEAR FRIEND : Eight more of the large company reached our place last night, direct 
from Ercildown. The eight constitute one family of them, the husband and wife with four 
children under eight years of age, wish tickets for Elmira. Three sons, nearly grown, will 
be forwarded to Phila., probably by the train which passes Phoenixville at seven o'clock 
of to-morrow evenin<* the seventh. It would be safest to meet them there. We shall 
Bend them to Elijah with the request for them to be sent there. And I presume they will 
be. If they should not arrive you may suppose it did not suit Elijah to send them. 

We will send the money for the tickets by C. C. Burleigh, who will be in Phila. on second 
day morning. If you please, you will forward the tickets by to-morrow's mail as we do 
not have a mail again till third day. Yours hastily, G. LEWIS. 

Please give directions for forwarding to Elmira and name the price of tickets. 

At first Miss Lewis thought of forwarding only a part of her fugitive 
guests to the Committee in Philadelphia, but on further consideration, all 
were safely sent along in due time, and the Committee took great pains to 
have them made as comfortable as possible, as the cases of these mothers 
and children especially called forth the deepest sympathy. 

In this connection it seems but fitting to allude to Captain Lee's suffer- 
ings on account of his having brought away in a skiff, by sea, a party of 
four, alluded to in the beginning of this single month's report. 

Unfortunately he was suspected, arrested, tried, convicted, and torn from 
his wife and two little children, and sent to the Richmond Penitentiary for 
twenty-five years. Before being sent away from Portsmouth, Va., where he 
was tried, for ten days in succession in the prison five lashes a day were laid 
heavily on his bare back. The further suffererings of poor Lee and his 
heart-broken wife, and his little daughter and son, are too painful for minute 
recital. In this city the friends of Freedom did all in their power to comfort 
Mrs. Lee, and administered aid to her and her children ; but she broke 
down under her mournful fate, and went to that bourne from whence no 
traveler ever returns. 

Captain Lee suffered untold misery in prison, until he, also, not a great 
while before the Union forces took possession of Richmond, sank beneath 
the severity of his treatment, and went likewise to the grave. The two 
children for a long time were under the care of Mr. "Wm. Ingram of I^hila- 
dclphia, who voluntarily, from pure benevolence, proved himself to be a 
father and a friend to them. To their poor mother also he had been a 
true friend. 

The way in which Captain Lee came to be convicted, if the Committee were 
correctly informed and they think they were, was substantially in this wise : 
In the darkness of the night, four men, two of them constables, one of the 


other two, the owner of one of the slaves who had been aided away by Lee, 
seized the wife of one of the fugitives and took her to the woods, where the 
fiends stripped every particle of clothing from her person, tied her to a tree, 
and armed with knives, cowhides and a shovel, swore vengeance against her, 
declaring they would kill her if she did not testify against Lee. At first 
she refused to reveal the secret ; indeed she knew but little to reveal ; but 
her savage tormentors beat her almost to death. Under this barbarous in- 
fliction she was constrained to implicate Captain Lee, which was about all the 
evidence the prosecution had against him. And in reality her evidence, for 
two reasons, should not have weighed a straw, as it was contrary to the laws 
of the State of Virginia, to admit the testimony of colored persons against 
white ; then again for the reason that this testimony was obtained wholly 
by brute force. 

But in this instance, this woman on whom the murderous attack had 
been made, was brought into court on Lee's trial and was bid to simply 
make her statement with regard to Lee's connection with the escape of her 
husband. This she did of course. And in the eyes of this chivalric court, 
this procedure " was all right." But thank God the events since those 
dark and dreadful days, afford abundant proof that the All-seeing Eye was 
not asleep to the daily sufferings of the poor bondman. 





Rarely did the peculiar institution present the relations of mistress and 
maid-servant in a light so apparently favorable as in the case of Mrs. Joseph 
Cahell (widow of the late Hon. Jos Cahell, of Va.), and her slave, Cordelia. 
The Vigilance Committee's first knowledge of either of these memorable 
personages was brought about in the following manner. 

About the 30th of March, in the year 1859, a member of the Vigilance 
Committee was notified by a colored servant, living at a fashionable boarding- 
house on Chestnut street that a lady with a slave woman from Fredericks- 
burg, Va,, was boarding at said house, and, that said slave woman desired 
to receive counsel and aid from the Committee, as she was anxious to secure 
her freedom, before her mistress returned to the South. On further consul- 
tation about the matter, a suitable hour was named for the meeting of the 
Committee and the Slave at the above named boardings-house. Finding that 


the woman was thoroughly reliable, the Committee told her " that two modes 
of deliverance were open before her. One was to take her trunk and all 
her clothing and quietly retire." The other was to " sue out a writ of 
habeas corpus,, and bring the mistress before the Court, where she would 
l)e required, under the laws of Pennsylvania, to show cause why she restrained 
this woman of her freedom." Cordelia concluded to adopt the former ex- 
pedient, provided the Committee would protect her. Without hesitation the 
Committee answered her, that to the extent of their ability, she should have 
their aid with pleasure, without delay. Consequently a member of the 
Committee was directed to be on hand at a given hour that evening, as 
Cordelia would certainly be ready to leave her mistress to take care of 
herself. Thus, at the appointed hour, Cordelia, very deliberately, accom- 
panied the Committee away from her " kind hearted old mistress." 

In the quiet and security of the Vigilance Committee Room, Cordelia 
related substantially the following brief story touching her relationship as 
a slave to Mrs. Joseph Cahell. In this case, as with thousands and tens 
of thousands of others, as the old adage fitly expresses it, " All is not gold 
that glitters." Under this apparently pious and noble-minded lady, it will 
be seen, that Cordelia had known naught but misery and sorrow. 

Mrs. Cahell, having engaged board for a month at a fashionable private 
boarding-house on Chestnut street, took an early opportunity to caution 
Cordelia against going into the streets, and against having anything to say 
or do with "free niggers in particular" ; withal, she appeared unusually kind, 
so much so, that before retiring to bed in the evening, she would call Cordelia 
to her chamber, and by her side would take her Prayer-book and Bible, and 
go through the forms of devotional service. She stood very high both 
as a church communicant and a lady in society. 

For a fortnight it seemed as though her prayers were to be answered, for 
Cordelia apparently bore herself as submissively as ever, and Madame re- 
ceived calls and accepted invitations from some of the elite of the city, with- 
out suspecting any intention on the part of Cordelia to escape. But Cordelia 
could not forget how her children had all been sold by her mistress! 

Cordelia was about fifty-seven years of age, with about an equal proportion 
of colored and white blood in her veins; very neat, respectful and pre- 
possessing in manner. 

From her birth to the hour of her escape she had worn the yoke under 
Mrs. C., as her most efficient and reliable maid-servant. She had been- at 
her mistress' beck and call as seamstress, dressing-maid, nurse in the sick- 
room, etc., etc., under circumstances that might appear to the casual observer 
uncommonly favorable for a slave. Indeed, on his first interview with her, 
the Committee man was so forcibly impressed with the belief, that her con- 
dition in Virginia had been favorable, that he hesitated to ask her if she did 
not desire her liberty. A few moments' conversation with her, however, con- 


vinced him of her good sense and decision of purpose with regard to this 
matter. For, in answer to the first question he put to her, she answered, 
that " As many creature comforts and religious privileges as she had been 
the recipient of under her ' kind mistress/ still she ' wanted to be free/ and 
' was bound to leave/ that she had been * treated very cruelly / that her 
children had * all been sold away ' from her; that she had been threatened 
with sale herself ' on the first insult/ " etc. 

She was willing to take the entire responsibility of taking care of 
herself. On the suggestion of a friend, before leaving her mistress, she 
was disposed to sue for her freedom, but, upon a reconsideration of the 
matter, she chose rather to accept the hospitality of the Underground Rail 
Road, and leave in a quiet way and go to Canada, where she would be free 
indeed. Accordingly she left her mistress and was soon a free woman. 

The following sad experience she related calmly, in the presence of several 
friends, an evening or two after she left her mistress: 

Two sons and two daughters had been sold from her by her mistress, 
within the last three years, since the death of her master. Three of her 
children had been sold to the Richmond market and the other in Nelson 

Paulina was the first sold, two years ago last May. Nat was the next; 
he was sold to Abram "VVarrick, of Richmond. Paulina was sold before 
it was named to her mother that it had entered her mistress's mind to dis- 
pose of her. ' Nancy, from infancy, had been in poor health. Nevertheless, 
she had been obliged to take her place in the field with the rest of the slaves, 
of more rugged constitution, until she had passed her twentieth year, and 
had become a mother. Under these circumstances, the overseer and his wife 
complained to the mistress that her health was really too bad for a field hand 
and begged that she might be taken where her duties would be less oppres- 
sive. Accordingly, she was withdrawn from the field, and was set to spin- 
ning and weaving. When too sick to work her mistress invariably took the 
ground, that " nothing was the matter," notwithstanding the fact, that her 
family physician, Dr. Ellsom, had pronounced her " quite weakly and sick." 

In an angry mood one day, Mrs. Cahell declared she would cure her ; and 
again sent her to the field, " with orders to the overseer, to whip her every 
day, and make her work or kill her." Again the overseer said it was " no 
use to try, for her health would not stand it," and she was forthwith re- 
turned. The mistress then concluded to sell her. 

One Sabbath evening a nephew of hers, who resided in New Orleans, hap- 
pened to be on a visit to his aunt, when it occurred to her, that she had 
" better get Nancy off if possible." Accordingly, Nancy was called in for 
examination. Being dressed in her " Sunday best " and " before a poor 
candle-light," she appeared to good advantage; and the nephew concluded 
to start with her on the following Tuesday morning. However, the next 


morning, he happened to see her by the light of the sun, and in her working 
garments, which satisfied him that he had been grossly deceived; that she 
would barely live to reach New Orleans ; he positively refused to carry 
out the previous evening's contract, thus leaving her in the hands of her 
mistress, with the advice, that she should " doctor her up." 

The mistress, not disposed to be defeated, obviated the difficulty by select- 
ing a little boy, made a lot of the two, and thus made it an inducement to a 
purchaser to buy the sick woman ; the boy and the woman brought $700. 

In the sale of her children, Cordelia was as little regarded as if she had 
been a cow. 

" I felt wretched," she said, with emphasis, " when I heard that Nancy 
had been sold," which was not until after she had been removed. " But," 
she continued, " I was not at liberty to make my grief known to a single 
white soul. I wept and couldn't help it." But remembering that she was 
liable, " on the first insult," to be sold herself, she sought no sympathy 
from her mistress, whom she describes as " a woman who shows as little 
kindness towards her servants as any woman in the States of America. She 
neither likes to feed nor clothe well." 

With regard to flogging, however, in days past, she had been up to the 
mark. " A many a slap and blow " had Cordelia .received since she arrived 
at womanhood, directly from the madam's own hand. 

One day smarting under cruel treatment, she appealed fe her mistress in 
the following strain: "I stood by your mother in all her sickness and nursed 
her till she died !" " I waited on your niece, night and day for months, till 
she died." " I waited upon your husband all my life in his sickness 
especially, and shrouded him in death, etc., yet I am treated cruelly." It 
was of no avail. 

Her mistress, at one time, was the owner of about five hundred slaves, but 
within the last few years she had greatly lessened the number by sales. 

She stood very high as a lady, and was a member of the Episcopal 

To punish Cordelia, on several occasions, she had been sent to one of the 
plantations to work as a field hand. Fortunately, however, she found the 
overseers more compassionate than her mistress, though she received no par- 
ticular favors from any of them. 

Asking her to name the overseers, etc., she did so. The first was "Marks, 
a thin-visaged, poor-looking man, great for swearing." The second was 
"Gilbert Brower, a very rash, portly man." The third was "Buck Young, 
a stout man, and very sharp." The fourth was " Lynn Powell, a tall man 
with red whiskers, very contrary and spiteful." There was also a fifth one, 
but his name was lost. 

Thus Cordelia's experience, though chiefly confined to the " great house," 
extended occasionally over the corn and tobacco fields, among the overseers 


and field hands generally. But under no circumstances could she find it in 
her heart to be thankful for the privileges of Slavery. 

After leaving her mistress she learned, with no little degree of pleasure, 
that a perplexed state of things existed at the boarding-house ; that her 
mistress was seriously puzzled to imagine how she would get her shoes and 
stockings on and off; how she would get her head combed, get dressed, be 
attended to in sickness, etc., as she (Cordelia), had been compelled to dis- 
charge these offices all her life. 

Most of the boarders, being slave-holders, naturally sympathized in her 
affliction ; and some of them went so far as to offer a reward to some of the 
colored servants to gain a knowledge of her whereabouts. Some charged 
the servants with having a hand in her leaving, but all agreed that " she 
had left a very kind and indulgent mistress," and had acted very foolishly 
in running out of Slavery into Freedom. 

A certain Doctor of Divinity, the pastor of an Episcopal church in this 
city and a friend of the mistress, hearing of her distress, by request or 
Voluntarily, undertook to find out Cordelia's place of seclusion. Hailing on 
the street a certain colored man with a familiar face, who he thought knew 
nearly all the colored people about town, he related to him the predicament 
of his lady friend from the South, remarked how kindly she had always 
treated her servants, signified that Cordelia would rue the change, and be 
left to suffer among the " miserable blacks down town," that she would not 
be able to take care of herself; quoted Scripture justifying Slavery, and 
finally suggested that he (the colored man) would be doing a duty and a 
kindness to the fugitive by using his influence to " find her and prevail upon 
her to return." 

It so happened that the colored man thus addressed, was Thomas Dorsey, 
the well-known fashionable caterer of Philadelphia, who had had the ex- 
perience of quite a number of years as a slave at the South, had himself once 
been pursued as a fugitive, and having, by his industry in the condition of 
Freedom, acquired a handsome estate, he felt entirely qualified to reply to 
the reverend gentleman, which he did, though in not very respectful phrases, 
telling him that Cordelia had as good a right to her liberty as he had, or 
her mistress either; that God had never intended one man to be the slave 
of another ; that it was all false about the slaves being better off than the 
free colored people; that he would find as many "poor, miserably degraded," 
of his own color " down-town," as among the " degraded blacks "; and con- 
cluded by telling him that he would "rather give her a hundred dollars 
to help her off, than to do aught to make known her whereabouts, if he 
knew ever so much about her." 

What further steps were taken by the discomfited divine, the mistress, or 
her boarding-house sympathizers, the Committee was not informed. 

But with regard to Cordelia : she took her departure for Canada, in the 


midst of the Daniel Webster (fugitive) trial, with the hope of being per- 
mitted to enjoy the remainder of her life in Freedom and peace. Being a 
member of the Baptist Church, and professing to be a Christian, she was 
persuaded that, by industry and assistance of the Lord, a way would be 
opened to the seeker of Freedom even in a strange land and among 

This story appeared in part in the N. Y. Evening Post, having been 
furnished by the writer, without his name to it. It is certainly none the less 
interesting now, as it may be read in the light of Universal Emancipation. 



About the latter part of December, 1857, Isaac and Edmondson, brothers, 
succeeded in making their escape together from Petersburg, Va. They 
barely escaped the auction block, as their mistress, Mrs. Ann Colley, a 
widow, had just completed arrangements for their sale on the coming first 
day of January. In this kind of property, however, Mrs. Colley had not 
largely invested. In the days of her prosperity, while all was happy and 
contented, she could only boast of " four head :" these brothers, Jackson, 
Isaac and Edmondson and one other. In May, 1857, Jackson had fled and 
was received by the Vigilance Committee, who placed him upon their books 
briefly in the following light : 

" RUNAWAY Fifty Dollars Reward, Ran away some time in May last, my Servant- 
man, who calls himself Jackson Turner. He is about 27 years of age, and has one of his 
front teeth out. He is quite black, with thick lips, a little bow-legged, and looks down 
when spoken to. I will give a reward of Fifty dollars if taken out of the city, and 
twenty five Dollars if taken within the city. I forewarn all masters of vessels from har- 
boring or employing the said slave ; all persons who disregard this Notice will be pun- 
ished as the law directs. ANN COLLET. 
Petersburg, June 8th, 1857." 

JACKSON is quite dark, medium size, and well informed for one in his 
condition. In Slavery, he had been "pressed hard." His hire, "ten 
dollars per month " he was obliged to produce at the end of each month, no 
matter how much he had been called upon to expend for " doctor bills, &c." 
The woman he called mistress went by the name of Ann Colley, a widow, 
living near^Petersburg. " She was very quarrelsome," although a " member 
of the Methodist Church." Jackson seeing that his mistress was yearly 
growing " harder and harder," concluded to try and better his condition if 
possible." Having a free wife in the North, who was in the habit of 


communicating with him, he was kept fully awake to the love of Freedom. 
The Underground Rail Road expense the Committee gladly bore. No fur- 
ther record of Jackson was made. Jackson found his poor old father here, 
where he had resided for a number of years in a state of almost total blind- 
ness, and of course in much parental anxiety about his boys in chains. On 
the arrival of Jackson, his heart overflowed with joy and gratitude not easily 
described, as the old man had hardly been able to muster faith enough to 
believe that he should ever look with his dim eyes upon one of his sons 
in Freedom. After a day or two's tarrying, Jackson took his departure for 
safer and more healthful localities, her "British Majesty's possessions." 
The old man remained only to feel more keenly than ever, the pang of 
having sons still toiling in hopeless servitude. 

In less than seven months after Jackson had shaken off the yoke, to the 
unspeakable joy of the father, Isaac and Edmondson succeeded in following 
their brother's example, and were made happy partakers of the benefits and 
blessings of the Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia. On first meeting his 
two boys, at the Underground Rail Road Depot, the old man took each 
one in his arms, and as looking through a glass darkly, straining every 
nerve of his almost lost sight, exclaiming, whilst hugging them closer and 
closer to his bosom for some minutes, in tears of joy and wonder, " My son 
Isaac, is this you ? my son Isaac, is this you, &c. ?" The scene was calcu- 
lated to awaken the deepest emotion and to bring tears to eyes not accus- 
tomed to weep. Little had the old man dreamed in his days of sadness, that 
he should share such a feast of joy over the deliverance of his sons. But it 
is in vain to attempt to picture the affecting scene at this reunion, for that 
would be impossible. Of their slave life, the records contain but a short 
notice, simply as follows : 

" ISAAC is twenty-eight years of age, hearty-looking, well made, dark 
color and intelligent. He was owned by Mrs. Ann Colley, a widow, resid- 
ing near Petersburg, Va. Isaac and Edmondson were to have been sold, 
on New Year's day ; a few days hence. How sad her disappointment must 
have been on finding them gone, may be more easily imagined than de- 

EDMONDSON is about twenty-five, a brother of Isaac, and a smart, good- 
looking young man, was owned by Mrs. Colley also. " This is just the class 
of fugitives to make good subjects for John Bull," thought the Committee, 
feeling pretty well assured that they would make good reports after having 
enjoyed free air in Canada for a short time. Of course, the Committee 
enjoined upon them very earnestly " not to forget their brethren left behind 
groaning in fetters ; but to prove by their industry, uprightness, economy, 
sobriety and thrift, by the remembrance of their former days of oppression 
and their obligations to their God, that they were worthy of the country to 
which they were going, and so to help break the bands of the oppressors, and 


undo the heavy burdens of the oppressed." Similar advice was impressed 
upon the minds of all travelers passing over this branch of the Underground 
Rail Road. From hundreds thus admonished, letters came affording the 
most gratifying evidence that the counsel of the Committee was not in 
vain. The appended letter from the youngest brother, written with his 
own hand, will indicate his feelings and views in Canada : 


MB. STILL, DEAR SIR : I have taken the opportunity to enform you yur letter came 
to hand 27th I ware glad to hear from you and yer famly i hope this letter May fine you 
and the famly Well i am Well my self My Brother join me in Love to you and all the 
frend. I ware sorry to hear of the death of Mrs freaman. We all must die sune or Late 
this a date we all must pay we must Perpar for the time she ware a nise lady dear sir the 
all is well and san thar love to you Emerline have Ben sick But is better at this time. I 
saw the hills the war well and san thar Love to you. I war sory to hear that My 
brother war sol i am glad that i did come away when i did god works all the things for 
the Best he is young he may get a long in the wole May god Bless hem ef you have any 
News from Petersburg Va Plas Rite me a word when you anser this Letter and ef any 
person came form home Letter Me know. Please sen me one of your Paper that had the 
under grands R wrod give My Love to Mr Careter and his family I am Seving with a 
barber at this time he have promust to give me the trad ef i can lane it he is much of a 
gentman. Mr Still sir i have writing a letter to Mr Brown of Petersburg Va Pleas reed 
it and ef you think it right Plas sen it by the Mail or by hand you wall see how i have 
writen it the will know how sent it by the way this writing ef the ancer it you can sen it 
to Me i have tol them direc to yor care for Ed. t. Smith Philadelphia i hope it may be 
right i promorst to rite to hear Please rite to me sune and let me know ef you do sen it on 
write wit you did with that ma a bught the cappet Bage do not fergit to rite tal John he 
mite rite to Me. I am doing as well is i can at this time but i get no wagges But my 
Bord but is satfid at that thes hard time and glad that i am Hear and in good helth. 
Northing More at this time yor truly EDMUND TUENER. 

The same writer sent to the Corresponding Secretary the following " Warn- 
ing to Slave-holders." At the time these documents were received, Slave- 
holders were never more defiant. The right to trample on the weak in 
oppression was indisputable. " Cinnamon and odors, and ointments, and 
frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour and wheat, and beasts, and 
sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men," slave-holders 
believed doubtless were theirs by Divine Right. Little dreaming that in 
less than three short years " Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, 
death, and mourning, and famine." In view of the marvelous changes 
which have been wrought by the hand of the Almighty, this warning 
to slave-holders from one who felt the sting of Slavery, as evincing a par- 
ticular phase of simple faith and Christian charity is entitled to a place in 
these records. 


Well may the Southern slaveholder say, that holding their Fellow men in Bondage is no 
(sin, because it is their delight as the Egyptians, so do they ; but nevertheless God in his 


own good time will bring them out by a mighty hand, as it is recorded in the sacred oracles 
of truth, that Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God, speaking in the positive 
(shall). And my prayer is to you, oh, slaveholder, in the name of that God who in the 
beginning said, Let there be light, and there was light. Let my People go that they may 
serve me; thereby good may come unto thee and to thy children's children. Slave-holder 
have you seriously thought upon the condition yourselves, family and slaves ; have you 
read where Christ has enjoined upon all his creatures to read his word, thereby that they 
may have no excuse when coming before his judgment seat? But you say he shall not 
read his word, consequently his sin will be upon your head. I think every man has as 
much as he can do to answer for his own sins. And now my dear slave-holder, who with 
you are bound and fast hastening to judgment? As one that loves your soul repent ye, 
therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the time of refresh- 
ing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 
In the language of the poet : 

Stop, poor sinner, stop and think, 

Before you further go ; 
Think upon the brink of death 

Of everlasting woe. 
Say, have you an arm like God, 

That you his will oppose ? 
Fear you not that iron rod 

With which he breaks his foes? 
Is the prayer of one that loves your souls. EDMUND TUENEB. 

N. B. The signature bears the name of one who knows and felt the sting of Slavery ; 
but now, thanks be to God, I am now where the poisonous breath taints not our air, but 
every one is sitting under his own vine and fig tree, where none dare to make him 
ashamed or afraid. EDMUND TURNER, formerly of Petersburg, Va. 

HAMILTON, June 22d, 1858, C. W. 

To ME. WM. STILL, DEAE SIB: A favorable opportunity affords the pleasure of acknow- 
ledging the receipt of letters and papers; certainly in this region they were highly appreci- 
ated, and I hope the time may come that your kindness will be reciprocated we are al well 
at present, but times continue dull. I also deeply regret the excitement recently on the 
account of those slaves, you will favor me by keeping me posted upon the subject. Those 
words written to slaveholder is the thought of one who had sufferd, and now I thought it 
a duty incumbent upon me to cry aloud and spare not, &c., by sending these few lines 
where the slaveholder may hear. You will still further oblige your humble servant also, 
to correct any inaccuracy. My respects to you and your family and all inquiring friends. 
Your friend and well wisher, EDMUND TURNER. 

The then impending judgments seen by an eye of faith as set forth in this 
" Warning," soon fell with crushing weight upon the oppressor, and Slavery 
died. But the old blind father of Jackson, Isaac and Edmondson, still 
lives and may be seen daily on the streets of Philadelphia ; and though 
" halt, and lame, and blind, and poor," doubtless resulting from his early 
oppression, he can thank God and rejoice that he has lived to see Slavery 




, In very desperate straits many new inventions were sought after by 
deep-thinking and resolute slaves, determined to be free at any cost. But 
it must here be admitted, that, in looking carefully over the more perilous 
methods resorted to, Robert Brown, alias Thomas Jones, stands second 
to none, with regard to deeds of bold daring. This hero escaped from 
Martinsburg, Va., in 1856. He was a man of medium size, mulatto, about 
thirty-eight years of age, could read and write, and was naturally sharp- 
witted. He had formerly been owned by Col. John F. Franic, whom 
Robert charged with various offences of a serious domestic character. 

Furthermore, he also alleged, that his " mistress was cruel to all the 
slaves," declaring that " they (the slaves), could not live with her," that 
" she had to hire servants," etc. 

In order to effect his escape, Robert was obliged to swim the Potomac 
river on horseback, on Christmas night, while the cold, wind, storm, and 
darkness were indescribably dismal. This daring bondman, rather than 
submit to his oppressor any longer, perilled his life as above stated. Where 
he crossed the river was about a half a mile wide. Where could be found 
in history a more noble and daring struggle for Freedom ? 

The wife of his bosom and his four children, only five days before he 
fled, were sold to a trader in Richmond, Va., for no other offence than 
Bimply " because she had resisted " the lustful designs of her master, being 
"true to her own companion." After this poor slave mother and her 
children were cast into prison for sale, the husband and some of his friends 
tried hard to find a purchaser in the neighborhood ; but the malicious and 
brutal master refused to sell her wishing to gratify his malice to the 
utmost, and to punish his victims all that lay in his power, he sent them to 
the place above named. 

In this trying hour, the severed and bleeding heart of the husband 
resolved to escape at all hazards, taking with him a daguerreotype likeness 
of his wife which he happened to have on hand, and a lock of hair from 
her head, and from each of the children, as mementoes of his unbounded 
.(though sundered) affection for them. 

After crossing the river, his wet clothing freezing to him, he rode all 
night, a distance of about forty miles. In the morning he left his faithful 
horse tied to a fence, quite broken down. He then commenced his dreary 
journey on foot cold and hungry in a strange place, where it was quite 
unsafe to make known his condition and wants. Thus for a day or two, 
without food or shelter, he traveled until his feet were literally worn out, 
and in this condition he arrived at Harrisburg, where he found friends. 
Passing over many of the interesting incidents on the road, suffice it to say, 


he arrived safely in this city, on New Year's night, 1857, about two hours 
before day break (the telegraph having announced his coming from Harris- 
burg), having been a week on the way. The night he arrived was very 
cold ; besides, the Underground train, that morning, was about three hours 
behind time ; in waiting for it, entirely out in the cold, a member of the 
Vigilance Committee thought he was frosted. But when he came to 
listen to the story of the Fugitive's sufferings, his mind changed. 

Scarcely had Robert entered the house of one of the Committee, where 
he was kindly received, when he took from his pocket his wife's likeness, 
speaking very touchingly while gazing upon it and showing it. Subse- 
quently, in speaking of his family, he showed the locks of hair referred to, 
which he had carefully rolled up in paper separately. Unrolling them, he 
said, " this is my wife's ;" " this is from my oldest daughter, eleven years 
old;" "and this is from my next oldest ;" "and this from the next," "and 
this from my infant, only eight weeks old." These mementoes he cherished 
with the utmost care as the last remains of his affectionate family. At the 
sight of these locks of hair so tenderly preserved, the member of the Com- 
mittee could fully appreciate the resolution of the fugitive in plunging into 
the Potomac, on the back of a dumb beast, in order to flee from a place and 
people who had made such barbarous havoc in his household. 

His wife, as represented by the likeness, was of fair complexion, prepos- 
sessing, and good looking perhaps not over thirty-three years of age. 


ANTHONY had been serving under the yoke of Warring Talvert, of Rich- 
mond, Va. Anthony was of a rich black complexion, medium size, about 
twenty-five years of age. He was intelligent, and a member of the Baptist 
Church. His master was a member of the Presbyterian Church and held 
family prayers with the servants. But Anthony believed seriously, that his 
master was no more than a " whitened sepulchre," one who was fond of 
saying, " Lord, Lord," but did not do what the Lord bade him, conse- 
quently Anthony felt, that before the Great Judge his " master's many 
prayers " would not benefit him, as long as he continued to hold his fellow- 
men in bondage. He left a father, Samuel Loney, and mother, Rebecca 
also, one sister and four brothers. His old father had bought him- 
self and was free ; likewise his mother, being very old, had been allowed to 
go free. Anthony escaped in May, 1857. 


Cornelius took passage per the Underground Rail Road, in March, 
1857, from the neighborhood of Salvingtou, Stafford county, Va. He 


stated that he had been claimed by Henry L. Brooke, whom he declared 
to be a " hard drinker and a hard swearer." Cornelius had been very 
much bleached by the Patriarchal Institution, and he was shrewd enough 
to take advantage of this circumstance. In regions of country where men 
were less critical and less experienced than Southerners, as to how the 
bleaching process was brought about, Cornelius Scott would have had no 
difficulty whatever in passing for a white man of the most improved Anglo- 
Saxon type. Although a young man only twenty-three years of age, and 
quite stout, his fair complexion was decidedly against him. He concluded, 
that for this very reason, he would not have been valued at more than five 
hundred dollars in the market. He left his mother (Ann Stubbs, and half 
brother, Isaiah), and traveled as a white man. 


This candidate for Canada had the good fortune to escape the clutches of 
his mistress, Mrs. Elvina Duncans, widow of the late Rev. James Duncans, 
who lived near Cumberland, Md. He had very serious complaints to allege 
against his mistress, " who was a member of the Presbyterian Church." To 
use his own language, " the servants in the house were treated worse than 
dogs." John was thirty-two years of age, dark chestnut color, well made, 
prepossessing in appearance, and he " fled to keep from being sold." With 
the Underground Rail Road he was " highly delighted." Nor was he less 
pleased with the thought, that he had caused his mistress, who was " one 
of the worst women who ever lived," to lose twelve hundred dollars by him. 
He escaped in March, 1857. He did not admit that he loved slavery any 
the better for the reason that his master was a preacher, or that his mistress 
was the wife of a preacher. Although a common farm hand, Samuel had 
common sense, and for a long time previous had been' watching closely the 
conduct of his mistress, and at the same time had been laying his plans for 
escaping on the Underground Rail Road the first chance. 

$100 REWAKD ! My negro man Richard has been missing since Sunday night, 
March 22d. I will give $100 to any one who will secure him or deliver him to me. 
Richard is thirty years old, but looks older ; very short legs, dark, but rather 
bright color, broad cheek bones, a respectful and serious manner, generally looks 
away when spoken to, small moustache and beard (but he may have them off). He is a re- 
markably intelligent man, and can turn his hand to anything. He took with him a bag 
made of Brussels carpet, with my name written in large, rough letters on the bottom, and 
a good stock of coarse and fine clothes, among them a navy cap and a low-crowned hat. 
He has been seen about New Kent C. H., and on the Pamunky river, and is no doubt 
trying to get off in some vessel bound North. 

April 18th, 1857. J. W. RANDOLPH, Richmond, Va. 

Even at this late date, it may perhaps afford Mr. R. a degree of satis- 


faction to know what became of Richard; but if this should not be the case, 
Richard's children, or mother, or father, if they are living, may possibly 
see these pages, and thereby be made glad by learning of Richard's wisdom 
as a traveler, in the terrible days of slave-hunting. Consequently here is 
what was recorded of him, April 3d, 1857, at the Underground Rail Road 
Station, just before a free ticket was tendered him for Canada. "Richard 
is thirty-three years of age, small of stature, dark color, smart and resolute. 
He was owned by Captain Tucker, of the United States Navy, from whom 
he fled." He was " tired of serving, and wanted to marry," was the cause of 
his escape. He had no complaint of bad treatment to make against his 
owner; indeed he said, that he had been "used well all his life." Never- 
theless, Richard felt that this Underground Rail Road was the " greatest 
road he ever saw." 

When the war broke out, Richard girded on his knapsack and went to 
help Uncle Sara humble Richmond and break the yoke. 



All these persons journeyed together from Loudon Co., Va. on horse- 
back and in a carriage for more than one hundred miles. Availing them- 
selves of a holiday and their master's horses and carriage, they as deliber- 
ately started for Canada, as though they had never been taught that it was 
their duty, as servants, to "obey their masters." In this particular showing 
a most utter disregard of the interest of their "kind-hearted and indulgent 
owners." They left home on Monday, Christmas Eve, 1855, under the 
leadership of Frank Wanzer, and arrived in Columbia the following Wed- 
nesday at one o'clock. As willfully as they had thus made their way 
along, they had not found it smooth sailing by any means. The biting 
frost and snow rendered their travel anything but agreeable. Nor did 
they escape the gnawings of hunger, traveling day and night. And 
whilst these " articles " were in the very act of running away with them- 
selves and their kind master's best horses and carriage when about one 
hundred miles from home, in the neighborhood of Cheat river, Maryland, 
they were attacked by " six white men, and a boy," who, doubtless, sup- 
posing that their intentions were of a " wicked and unlawful character " felt 
it to be their duty in kindness to their masters, if not to the travelers to 
demand of them an account of themselves. In other words, the assailants 


positively commanded the fugitives to " show what right " they possessed, to 
be found in a condition apparently so unwarranted. 

The spokesman amongst the fugitives, affecting no ordinary amount of 
dignity, told their assailants plainly, that " no gentleman would interfere 
with persons riding along civilly " not allowing it to be supposed that they 
were slaves, of course. These " gentlemen," however, were not willing to 
accept this account of the travelers, as their very decided steps indicated. 
Having the law on their side, they were for compelling the fugitives to 
surrender without further parley. 

At this juncture, the fugitives verily believing that the time had arrived 
for the practical use of their pistols and dirks, pulled them out of their 
concealment the young women as well as the young men and declared 
they would not be " taken !" One of the white men raised his gun, 
pointing the muzzle directly towards one of the young women, with the 
threat that he would "shoot," etc. "Shoot! shoot!! shoot!!!" she ex- 
claimed, with a double barrelled pistol in one hand and a long dirk knife in 
the other, utterly unterrified and fully ready for a death struggle. The 
male leader of the fugitives by this time had " pulled back the hammers " 
of his " pistols," and was about to fire ! Their adversaries seeing the wea- 
pons, and the unflinching determination on the part of the runaways to 
stand their ground, " spill blood, kill, or die," rather than be " taken," very 
prudently " sidled over to the other side of the road," leaving at least four 
of the victors to travel on their way. 

At this moment the four in the carriage lost sight of the two on horse- 
back. Soon after the separation they heard firing, but what the result 
was, they knew not. They were fearful, however, that their companions 
had been captured. 

The following paragraph, which was shortly afterwards taken from a 
Southern paper, leaves no room to doubt, as to the fate of the two. 

fugitive 'slaves from Virginia were arrested at the Maryland line, near Hood's 
Mill, on Christmas day, but, after a severe fight, four of them escaped and have not since 
been heard of. They came from Loudolin and Fauquier counties. 

Though the four who were successful, saw no " severe fight," it is not un- 
reasonable to suppose, that there was a fight, nevertheless; but not till after 
the number of the fugitives had been reduced to two, instead of six. As 
chivalrous as slave-holders and slave-catchers were, they knew the value of 
their precious lives and the fearful risk of attempting a capture, when the 
numbers were equal. 

The party in the carriage, after the conflict, went on their way rejoicing. 

The young men, one cold night, when they were compelled to take rest in 
the woods and snow, in vain strove to keep the feet of their female compan- 
ions from freezing by lying on them ; but the frost was merciless and bit 


them severely, as their feet very plainly showed. The following dis- 
jointed report was cut from the Frederick (Md.) Examiner, soon after the 
occurrence took place : 

" Six slaves, four men and two women, fugitives from Virginia, having with them two 
spring wagons and four horses, came to Hood's Mill, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 
near the dividing line between Frederick and Carroll counties, on Christmas day. After 
feeding their animals, one of them told a Mr. Dixon whence they came; believing them to 
be fugitives, he spread the alarm, and some eight or ten persons gathered round to arrest 
them ; but the negroes drawing revolvers and bowie-knives, kept their assailants at bay, 
until five of the party succeeded in escaping in one of the wagons, and as the last one 
jumped on a horse to flee, he was fired at, the load taking effect in the small of the back. 
The prisoner says he belongs to Charles W. Simpson, Esq., of Fauquier county, Va., and 
ran away with the others on the preceding evening." 

This report from the Examiner) while it is not wholly correct, evidently 
relates to the fugitives above described. Why the reporter made such 
glaring mistakes, may be accounted for on the ground that the bold stand 
made by the fugitives was so bewildering and alarming, that the " assail- 
ants " were not in a proper condition to make correct statements. Neverthe- 
less the Examiner's report was preserved with other records, and is here 
given for what it is worth. 

These victors were individually noted on the Record thus : Barnaby was 
owned by William Rogers, a farmer, who was considered a " moderate slave- 
holder," although of late " addicted to intemperance." He was the owner 
of about one " dozen head of slaves," and had besides a wife and two chil- 

Barnaby's chances for making extra "change "for himself were never 
favorable; sometimes of "nights" he would manage to earn a "trifle." He 
was prompted to escape because he " wanted to live by the sweat of his 
own brow," believing that all men ought so to live. This was the only 
reason he gave for fleeing. 

Mary Elizabeth had been owned by Townsend McVee (likewise a farmer), 
and in Mary's judgment, he was " Severe," but she added, " his wife made 
him so." McVee owned about twenty-five slaves ; " he hardly allowed 
them to talk would not allow them to raise chickens," and "only allowed 
Mary three dresses a year ;" the rest she had to get as she could. Sometimes 
McVee would sell slaves last year he sold two. Mary said that she could 
not say anything good of her mistress. On the contrary, she declared that 
her mistress " knew no mercy nor showed any favor." 

It was on account of this " domineering spirit," that Mary was induced 
to escape. 

Frank was owned by Luther Sullivan, " the meanest man in Virginia," 
he said ; he treated his people just as bad as he could in every respect. 
" Sullivan," added Frank, " would 'lowance the slaves and stint them to 
save food and get rich," and " would sell and whip," etc. To Frank's 


knowledge, he had sold some twenty-five head. "He sold my mother and 
her two children to Georgia some four years previous." But the motive 
which hurried Frank to make his flight was his laboring under the ap- 
prehension that his master had some " pretty heavy creditors who might 
come on him at any time." Frank, therefore, wanted to be from home in 
Canada when these gentry should make their visit. My poor mother has 
been often flogged by master, said Frank. As to his mistress, he said she 
was " tolerably good." 

Ann Wood was owned by McVee also, and was own sister to Elizabeth. 
Ann very fully sustained her sister Elizabeth's statement respecting the 
character of her master. 

The above-mentioned four, were all young and likely. Barnaby was 
twenty-six years of age, mulatto, medium size, and intelligent his 
wife was about twenty-four years of age, quite dark, good-looking, and of 
pleasant appearance. Frank was twenty-five years of age, mulatto, and very 
smart ; Ann was twenty-two, good-looking, and smart. After their pressing 
wants had been met by the Vigilance Committee, and after partial recuper- 
ation from their hard travel, etc., they were forwarded on to the Vigilance 
Committee in New York. In Syracuse, Frank (the leader), who was 
engaged to Emily, concluded that the knot might as well be tied on the U. 
G. R. R., although penniless, as to delay the matter a single day longer. 
Doubtless, the bravery, struggles, and trials of Emily throughout the 
journey, had, in his estimation, added not a little to her charms. Thus after 
consulting with her on the matter, her approval was soon obtained, she being 
too prudent and wise to refuse the hand of one who had proved himself so 
true a friend to Freedom, as well as so devoted to her. The twain were 
accordingly made one at the U. G. R. R. Station, in Syracuse, by Superinten- 
dent Rev. J. W. Loguen. After this joyful event, they proceeded to 
Toronto, and were there gladly received by the Ladies 7 Society for aiding 
colored refugees. 

The following letter from Mrs. Agnes Willis, wife of the distinguished 
Rev. Dr. Willis, brought the gratifying intelligence that these brave young 
adventurers, fell into the hands of distinguished characters and warm friends 

of Freedom : 

TORONTO, 28th January, Monday evening, 1856. 

ME. STILL, DEAR SIR : I have very great pleasure in making you aware that the fol- 
lowing respectable person3 have arrived here in safety without being annoyed in any way 
after you saw them. The women, two of them, viz : Mrs. Greegsby and Mrs. Graham, 
have been rather ailing, but we hope they will very soon be. well. They have been 
attended to by the Ladies' Society, and are most grateful for any attention they have re- 
ceived. The solitary person, Mrs. Graves, has also been attended to; also her box will 
be looked after. She is pretty well, but rather dull ; however, she will get friends and 
feel more at home by and bye. Mrs. Wanzer is quite well ; and also young William 
Henry Sanderson. They are all of them in pretty good spirits, and I have no doubt they 
will succeed in whatever business they take up. In the mean time the men are chopping 


wood, and the ladies are getting plenty sewing. We are always glad to see our colored 
refugees safe here. I remain, dear sir, yours respectfully, AGNES WILLIS, 

Treasurer to the Ladies' Society to aid colored refugees. 

For a time Frank enjoyed his newly won freedom and happy bride with 
bright prospects all around ; but the thought of having left sisters and other 
relatives in bondage was a source of sadness in the midst of his joy. He 
was not long, however, in making up his mind that he would deliver them 
or u die in the attempt." Deliberately forming his plans to go South, he 
resolved to take upon himself the entire responsibility of all the risks to be 
encountered. Not a word did he reveal to a living soul of what he 
was about to undertake. With " twenty-two dollars " in cash and " three 
pistols " in his pockets, he started in the lightning train from Toronto for 
Virginia. On reaching Columbia in this State, he deemed it not safe to go 
any further by public conveyance, consequently he commenced his long 
journey on foot, and as he neared the slave territory he traveled by night 
altogether. For two weeks, night and day, he avoided trusting himself in 
any house, consequently was compelled to lodge in the woods. Nevertheless, 
during that space of time he succeeded in delivering one of his sisters and 
her husband, and another friend in the bargain. You can scarcely imagine 
the Committee's amazement on his return, as they looked upon him and 
listened to his " noble deeds of daring " and his triumph. A more brave 
and self-possessed man they had never seen. 

He knew what Slavery was and the dangers surrounding him on his 
mission, but possessing true courage unlike most men, he pictured no 
alarming difficulties in a distance of nearly one thousand miles by the 
mail route, through the enemy's country, where he might have in truth said, 
" I could not pass without running the gauntlet of mobs and assassins, 
prisons and penitentiaries, bailiffs and constables, &c." If this hero had 
dwelt upon and magnified the obstacles in his way he would most assuredly 
have kept off the enemy's country, and his sister and friends would have 
remained in chains. 

The following were the persons delivered by Frank Wanzer. They were 
his trophies, and this noble act of Frank's should ever be held as a memorial 
and honor. The Committee's brief record made on their arrival runs thus : 

"August 18, 1856. Frank "VVanzer, Robert Stewart, alias Gasberry 
Robison, Vincent Smith, alias John Jackson, Betsey Smith, wife of Vincent 
Smith, alias Fanny Jackson. They all came from Alder, Loudon county, 

Robert is about thirty years of age, medium size, dark chestnut color, 
intelligent and resolute. He was held by the widow Hutchinson, who was 
also the owner of about one hundred others. Robert regarded her as a " very 
hard mistress " until the death of her husband, which took place the 
Fall previous to his escape. That sad affliction, he thought, was the cause 


of a considerable change in her treatment of her slaves. But yet " nothing 
was said about freedom," on her part. This reticence Robert understood to 
mean, that she was still unconverted on this great cardinal principle at least. 
As he could see no prospect of freedom through her agency, when Frank 
approached him with a good report from Canada and his friends there, he 
could scarcely wait to listen to the glorious news; he was so willing and anxious 
to get out of slavery. His dear old mother, Sarah Davis, and four brothers 
and two sisters, William, Thomas, Frederick and Samuel, Violet and Ellen, 
were all owned by Mrs. Hutchinson. Dear as they were to him, he saw no 
way to take them with him, nor was he prepared to remain a day longer under 
the yoke ; so he decided to accompany Frank, let the cost be what it might. 

Vincent is about twenty-three years of age, very " likely-looking," dark 
color, and more than ordinarily intelligent for one having only the common 
chances of slaves. 

He was owned by the estate of Nathan Skinner, who was " looked upon," 
by those who knew him, "as a good slave-holder." In slave property, 
however, he was only interested to the number of twelve head. Skinner 
"neither sold nor emancipated." A year and a half before Vincent es- 
caped, his master was called to give an account of his stewardship, and there 
in the spirit land Vincent was willing to let him remain, without much 
more to add about him. 

Vincent left his mother, Judah Smith, and brothers and sisters, Edwin, 
Angeline, Sina Ann, Adaline Susan, George, John and Lewis, all belonging 
to the estate of Skinner. 

Vincent was fortunate enough to bring his wife along with him. She was 
about twenty-seven years of age, of a brown color, and smart, and was owned 
by the daughter of the widow Hutchinson. This mistress was said to be a 
" clever woman." 


Under Governor Badger, of North Carolina, William had experienced 
Slavery in its most hateful form. True, he had only been twelve months 
under the yoke of this high functionary. But William's experience in this 
short space of time, was of a nature very painful. 

Previous to coming into the governor's hands, William was held as the 
property of Mrs. Mary Jordon, who owned large numbers of slaves. 
Whether the governor was moved by this consideration, or by the fascina- 
ting charms of Mrs. Jordon, or both, William was not able to decide. But 
the governor offered her his hand, and they became united in wedlock. By 
this circumstance, William was brought into his unhappy relations with the 
Chief Magistrate of the State of North Carolina. This was the third time 


the governor had been married. Thus it may be seen, that the governor 
was a firm believer in wives as well as slaves. Commonly he was regarded 
as a man of wealth. William being an intelligent piece of property, his 
knowledge of the governor's rules and customs was quite complete, as he 
readily answered such questions as were propounded to him. In this way a 
great amount of interesting information was learned from William respect- 
ing the governor, slaves, on the plantation, in the swamps, etc. The 
governor owned large plantations, and was interested in raising cotton, corn, 
and peas, and was also a practical planter. He was willing to trust neither 
overseers nor slaves any further than he could help. 

The governor and his wife were both equally severe towards them ; would 
stint them shamefully in clothing and food, though they did not get flogged 
quite as often as some others on neighboring plantations. Frequently, the 
governor would be out on the plantation from early in the morning till 
noon, inspecting the operations of the overseers and slaves. 

In order to serve the governor, William had been separated from his wife 
by sale, which was the cause of his escape. He parted not with his com- 
panion willingly. At the time, however, he was promised that he should 
have some favors shown him; could make over-work, and earn a little 
money, and once or twice in the year, have the opportunity of making visits 
to her. Two hundred miles was the distance between them. 

He had not been long on the governor's plantation before his honor gave 
him distinctly to understand that the idea of his going two hundred miles 
to see his wife was all nonsense, and entirely out of the question. "If I said 
so, I did not mean it," said his honor, when the slave, on a certain occasion, 
alluded to the conditions on which he consented to leave home, etc. 

Against this cruel decision of the governor, William's heart revolted, for 
he was warmly attached to his wife, and so he made up his mind, if he 
could not see her " once or twice a year even," as he had been promised, he 
had rather "die," or live in a "cave in -the wood," than to remain all his 
life under the governor's yoke. Obeying the dictates of his feelings, he went 
to the woods. For ten months before he was successful in finding the Under- 
ground Road, this brave-hearted young fugitive abode in the swamps three 
months in a cave surrounded with bears, wild cats, rattle-snakes and the like. 

While in the swamps and cave, he was not troubled, however, about 
ferocious animals and venomous reptiles. He feared only man! 

From his own story there was no escaping the conclusion, that if the choice 
had been left to him, he would have preferred at any time to have encoun- 
tered at the mouth of his cave a ferocious bear than his master, the 
governor of North Carolina. How he managed to subsist, and ultimately 
effected his escape, was listened to with the deepest interest, though the 
recital of these incidents must here be very brief. 

After night he would come out of his cave, and, in some instances, would 


succeed in making his way to a plantation, and if he could get nothing else, 
he would help himself to a "pig," or anything else he could conveniently 
convert into food. Also, as opportunity would offer, a friend of his would 
favor him with some meal, etc. "With this mode of living he labored to 
content himself until he could do better. During these ten months he 
suffered indescribable hardships, but he felt that his condition in the cave 
was far preferable to that on the plantation, under the control of his Excel- 
lency, the Governor. All this time, however, "William had a true friend, 
with whom he could communicate; one who was wide awake, and was on 
the alert to find a reliable captain from the North, who would consent 
to take this " property," or " freight," for a consideration. He heard at 
last of a certain Captain, who was then doing quite a successful business 
in an Underground way. This good news was conveyed to William, and 
afforded him a ray of hope in the wilderness. As Providence would have 
it, his hope did not meet with disappointment ; nor did his ten months' 
trial, warring against the barbarism of Slavery, seem too great to endure for 
Freedom. He was about to leave his cave and his animal and reptile 
neighbors, his heart swelling with gladness, but the thought of soon being 
beyond the reach of his mistress and master thrilled him with inexpressible 
delight. He was brought away by Captain F., and turned over to the 
Committee, who were made to rejoice with him over the signal victory he 
had gained in his martyr-like endeavors to throw off the yoke, and of course 
they took much pleasure in aiding him. William was of a dark color, 
stout made physically, and well knew the value of Freedom, and how to 
hate and combat Slavery. It will be seen by the appended letter of Thomas 
Garrett, that William had the good luck to fall into the hands of this tried 
friend, by whom he was aided to Philadelphia : 

WILMINGTON, 12th mo., 19th, 1855. 

DEAR FRIEND, WILLIAM STILL : The bearer of this is one of the twenty-one that I 
thought had all gone North ; he left home on Christmas day, one year since, wandered 
about the forests of North Carolina for about ten months, and then came here with those 
forwarded to New Bedford, where he is anxious to go. I have furnished him with a 
pretty good pair of boots, and gave him money to pay his passage to Philadelphia. He 
has been at work in the country near here for some three weeks, till taken sick ; he is, by 
no means, well, but thinks he had better try to get further North, which I hope his friends 
in Philadelphia will aid him to do. I handed this morning Captain Lambson's* wife 
twenty dollars to help fee a lawyer to defend him. She leaves this morning, with her 
child, for Norfolk, to be at the trial before the Commissioner on the 24th instant. Pass- 
more Williamson agreed to raise fifty dollars for him. As none came to hand, and a good 
chance to send it by his wife, I thought best to advance that much. 

Thy friend, THOS. GAREETT. 


* Captain Lambson had been suspected of having aided in the escape of slaves from the neighbor- 
hood of Norfolk, and was in prison awaiting his trial. 




It is to be regretted that, owing to circumstances, the account of these 
persons has not been fully preserved. Could justice be done them, probably 
their narratives would not be surpassed in interest by any other in the history 
of fugitives. In 1857, when these remarkable travelers came under the 
notice of the Vigilance Committee, as Slavery seemed likely to last for 
generations, and there was but little expectation that these records would 
ever have the historical value which they now possess, care was not always 
taken to prepare and preserve them. Besides, the cases coming under the 
notice of the Committee, were so numerous and so ' interesting, that it 
seemed almost impossible to do them anything like justice. In many instances 
the rapt attention paid by friends, when listening to the sad recitals of such 
passengers, would unavoidably consume so much time that but little oppor- 
tunity was afforded to make any record of them. Particularly was this the 
case with regard to the above-mentioned individuals. The story of each 
was so long and sad, that a member of the Committee in attempting to write 
it out, found that the two narratives would take volumes. That all traces, 
of these heroes might not be lost, a mere fragment is all that was preserved. 

The original names of these adventurers, were Joseph Grant and John 
Speaks. Between two and three years before escaping, they were sold from 
Maryland to John B. Campbell a negro trader, living in Baltimore, and 
thence to Campbell's brother, another trader in New Orleans, and subse- 
quently to Daniel McBeans and Mr. Henry, of Harrison county, Mississippi. 

Though both had to pass through nearly the same trial, and belonged to 
the same masters, this recital must be confined chiefly to the incidents in 
the career of Joseph. He was about twenty-seven years of age, well made, 
quite black, intelligent and self-possessed in his manner. 

He was owned in Maryland by Mrs. Mary Gibson, who resided at St. 
Michael's on the Eastern Shore. She was a nice woman he said, but her 
property was under mortgage and had to be sold, and he was in danger of 
sharing the same fate. 

Joseph was a married man, and spoke tenderly of his wife. She " pro- 
mised" him when he was sold that she would " never marry," and earnestly 
entreated him, if he " ever met with the luck, to come and see her." She 
was unaware perhaps at that time of the great distance that was to divide 
them ; his feelings on*being thus sundered need not be stated. However, he 
had scarcely been in Mississippi three weeks, ere his desire to return to his 
wife, and the place of his nativity constrained him to attempt to return ; 


accordingly he set off, crossing a lake eighty miles wide in a small boat, he 
reached Kent Island. There he was captured by the watchman on the Is- 
land, who with pistols, dirk and cutlass in hand, threatened if he resisted that 
death would be his instant doom. Of course he was returned to his master. 

He remained there a few months, but could content himself no longer to 
endure the ills of his condition. So he again started for home, walked to 
Mobile, and thence he succeeded in stowing himself away in a steamboat 
and was thus conveyed to Montgomery, a distance of five hundred and 
fifty miles through solid slave territory. Again he was captured and re- 
turned to his owners ; one of whom always went for immediate punishment, 
the other being mild thought persuasion the better plan in such cases. 
On the whole, Joseph thus far had been pretty fortunate, considering the 
magnitude of his offence. 

A third time he summoned courage and steered his course homewards 
towards Maryland, but as in the preceding attempts, he was again unsuc- 

In this instance Mr. Henry, the harsh owner, was exasperated, and the 
mild one's patience so exhausted that they concluded that nothing short of 
stern measures would cause Joe to reform. Said Mr. Henry; " 1 had rather 
lose my right arm than for him to get off without being punished, after having 
put us to so much trouble." 

Joseph will now speak for himself. 

" He (master) sent the overseer to tie me. I told him I would not be 
tied. I ran and stayed away four days, which made Mr. Henry very 
anxious. Mr. Beans told the servants if they saw me, to tell me to come 
back and I should not be hurt. Thinking that Mr. Beans had always 
stood to his word, I was over persuaded and came back. He sent for me 
in his parlor, talked the matter over, sent me to the steamboat (perhaps the 
one he tried to escape on.) After getting cleverly on board the captain told 
me, I am sorry to tell you, you have to be tied. I was tied and Mr. Henry 
was sent for. He came ; ' Well, I have got you at last, beg my pardon 
and promise you will never run away again and I will not be so hard on 
you.' I could not do it. He then gave me three hundred lashes well laid on. 
I was stripped entirely naked, and my flesh was as raw as a piece of beef. 
He made John (the companion who escaped with him) hold one of my feet 
which I broke loose while being whipped, and when done made him bathe 
me in salt and water. 

"Then I resolved to 'go or die ' in the attempt. Before starting, one 
week, I could not work. On getting better we went to Ship Island ; the 
sailors, who were Englishmen, were very sorry to hear of the treatment we 
had received, and counselled us how we might get free." 

The counsel was heeded, and in due time they found themselves in Liver- 
pool. There their stay was brief. Utterly destitute of money, education, 


and in a strange land, they very naturally turned their eyes again in the 
direction of their native land. Accordingly their host, the keeper of a sailor's 
boarding-house, shipped them to Philadelphia. 

But to go back, Joseph saw many things in New Orleans and Mississippi 
of a nature too horrible to relate, among which were the following : 

I have seen Mr. Beans whip one of his slaves to death, at the tree to 
which he was tied. 

Mr. Henry would make them lie down across a log, stripped naked, and 
with every stroke would lay the flesh open. Being used to it, some would 
lie on the log without being tied. 

In New Orleans, I have seen women stretched out just as naked as my 
hand, on boxes, and given one hundred and fifty lashes, four men hold- 
ing them. I have helped hold them myself: when released they could 
hardly sit or walk. This whipping was at the " Fancy House" 

The "chain-gangs" he also saw in constant operation. Four and five 
slaves chained together and at work on the streets, cleaning, &c., was a com- 
mon sight. He could hardly tell Sunday from Monday in New Orleans, 
the slaves were kept so constantly going. 


ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD. Ban away from Richmond City 
on Tuesday, the 2d of June, a negro man named WM. N. TAYLOE, belonging 
to Mrs. Margaret Tyler of Hanover county. 

Said negro was hired to Fitzhugh Mayo, Tobacconist ; is quite black, of gen- 
teel and easy manners, about five feet ten or eleven inches high, has one front 
tooth broken, and is about 35 years old. 

He is supposed either to have made his escape North, or attempted to do 
so. The above reward will be paid for his delivery to Messrs. Hill and Rawlings, in 
Richmond, or secured in jail, so that I get him again. 

JAS. G. TYLEE, Trustee for Margaret Tyler. 
June 8th &c2t Richmond Enquirer, June 9, 57. 

William unquestionably possessed a fair share of common sense, and just 
enough distaste to Slavery to arouse him most resolutely to seek his free- 

The advertisement of James G. Tyler was not altogether accurate with 
regard to his description of William ; but notwithstanding, in handing 
William down to posterity, the description of Tyler has been adopted in- 
stead of the one engrossed in the records by the Committee. But as a 
simple matter of fair play, it seems fitting, that the description given by 
William, while on the Underground Rail Road, of his master, &c., should 
come in just here. 

William acknowledged that he was the property of Walter H. Tyler, 
brother of EX-PRESIDENT TYLER, who was described as follows : " He 
(master) was about sixty-five years of age ; was a barbarous man, very in- 


temperate, horse racer,, chicken-cock fighter and gambler. He had owned 
as high as forty head of slaves, but he had gambled them all away. He was 
a doctor, circulated high amongst southerners, though he never lived 
agreeably with his wife, would curse her and call her all kinds of names 
that he should not call a lady. From a boy of nine up to the time I was 
fifteen or sixteen, I don't reckon he whipped me less than a hundred times. 
He shot at me once with a double-barrelled gun. 

" What made me leave was because I worked for him all my life-time 
and he never gave me but two dollars and fifteen cents in all his life. I 
was hired out this year for two hundred dollars, but when I would go to 
him to make complaints of hard treatment from the man I was hired to, he 
would say : " G d d n it, don't come to me, all I want is my money." 

Mr. Tyler was a thin raw-boned man, with a long nose, the picture of the 
president. His wife was a tolerably well-disposed woman in some instances 
she was a tall, thin-visaged woman, and stood high in the community. 
Through her I fell into the hands of Tyler. At present she owns about 
fifty slaves. His own slaves, spoken of as having been gambled away, 
came by his father he has been married the second time." 

Twice William had been sold and bought in, on account of his master's 
creditors, and for many months had been expecting to be sold again, to meet 
pressing claims in the hands of the sheriff against Tyler. Hs, by the way, 
"now lives in Hanover county, about eighteen miles from Richmond, and 
for fear of the sheriff, makes himself very scarce in that city." 

At fourteen years of age, William was sold for eight hundred dollars ; he 
would have brought in 1857, probably twelve hundred and fifty dollars; he 
was a member of the Baptist Church in good and regular standing. 


LOUISA is a good-looking, well-grown, intelligent mulatto girl of sixteen 
years of age, and was owned by a widow woman of Baltimore, Md. To 
keep from being sold, she was prompted to try her fortune on the U. G. E. R., 
for Freedom in Canada, under the protection of the British Lion. 


JACOB is twenty-one years of age, dark chestnut color, medium size, and 
of prepossessing manners. Fled from near Frederick, Md., from the clutches 
of a farmer by the name of William Dorsey, who was described as a severe 


master, and had sold two of Jacob's sisters, South, only three years prior to 
his escape. Jacob left three brothers in chains. 

ALFRED is twenty-three years of age, in stature quite small, full black, and 
bears the marks of ill usage. Though a member of the Methodist Church, 
his master, Fletcher Jackson, " thought nothing of taking the shovel to 
Alfred's head ; or of knocking him, and stamping his head with the heels of 
his boots." Repeatedly, of late, he had been shockingly beaten. To escape 
those terrible visitations, therefore, he made up his mind to seek a refuge in 



Six very clever-looking passengers, all in one party from Baltimore, Md., 
the first Sunday in April, 1853. Baltimore used to be in the days of 
Slavery one of the most difficult places in the South for even free colored 
people to get away from, much more for slaves. The rule forbade any 
colored person leaving there by rail road or steamboat, without such applicant 
had been weighed, measured, and then given a bond signed by unquestionable 
signatures, well known. Baltimore was rigid in the extreme, and was a 
never-failing source of annoyance, trouble and expense to colored people 
generally, and not unfrequently to slave-holders too, when they were travel- 
ing North with " colored servants." Just as they were ready to start, the 
" Rules " would forbid colored servants until the law was complied with. 
Parties hurrying on would on account of this obstruction " have to wait until 
their hurry was over." As this was all done in the interest of Slavery, the 
matter was not very loudly condemned. But, notwithstanding all this 
weighing, measuring and requiring of bonds, many travelers by the Under- 
ground Rail Road took passage from Baltimore. 

The enterprising individual, whose name stands at the head of this nar- 
rative, came directly from this stronghold of Slavery. The widow Pipkins 
held the title deed for Jefferson. She was unfortunate in losing him, as 
she was living in ease and luxury off of Jefferson's sweat and labor. Louisa, 
Harriet and Grace owed service to Geo. Stewart of Baltimore ; Edward was 
owned by Chas. Moondo, and Chas. Lee by the above Stewart. 

Those who would have taken this party for stupid, or for know-nothings, 
would have found themselves very much mistaken. Indeed they were far 
from being dull or sleepy on the subject of Slavery at any rate. They had 
considered pretty thoroughly how wrongfully they, with all others in similar 
circumstances, had been year in and year out subjected to unrequited toil so 


resolved to leave masters and mistresses to shift for themselves, while they 
would try their fortunes in Canada. 

Four of the party ranged in age from twenty to twenty-eight years of 
age, and the other two from thirty-seven to forty. The Committee on 
whom they called, rendered them due aid and advice, and forwarded them to 
the Committee in New York. 

The following letter from Jefferson, appealing for assistance on behalf of 
his children in Slavery, was peculiarly touching, as were all similar letters. 
But the mournful thought that these appeals, sighs, tears and prayers would 
continue in most cases to be made till death, that nothing could be done 
directly for the deliverance of such sufferers was often as painful as the 
escape from the auction block was gratifying. 


Sept. 28, 1856. 

To WM. STILL. SIB : I take the liberty of writing to you a few lines concerning my 
children, for I am very,anxious to get them and I wish you to please try what you can 
do for me. Their names are Charles and Patrick and are living with Mrs. Joseph G. 
Wray Murphysborough Hartford county, North Carolina ; Emma lives with a Lawyer 
Baker in Gatesville North Carolina and Susan lives in Portsmouth Virginia and is stop- 
ping with Dr. Collins sister a Mrs. Nash you can find her out by enquiring for Dr. Collins 
at the ferry boat at Portsmouth, and Rose a coloured woman at the Crawford House can 
tell where she is. And I trust you will try what you think will be the best way. And 
you will do me a great favour. Yours Respectfully, JEFFERSON PIPKINS. 

P. S. I am living at Yorkville near Toronto Canada West. My wife sends her best re- 
spects to Mrs. Still. 


In order to economize time and space, with a view to giving an account 
of as many of the travelers as possible, it seems expedient, where a number of 
arrivals come in close proximity to each other, to report them briefly, under 
one head. 

HENRY ANDERSON, alias WILLIAM ANDERSON. In outward appear- 
ance Henry was uninteresting. As he asserted, and as his appearance indi- 
cated, he had experienced a large share of " rugged " usage. Being far in 
the South, and in the hands of a brutal " Captain of a small boat," chances 
of freedom or of moderate treatment, had rarely ever presented themselves 
in any aspect. On the 3d of the preceding March he was sold to a negro 
trader the thought of having to live under a trader was so terrible, he 
was moved to escape, leaving his wife, to whom he had only been married 
three months. Henry was twenty-five years of age, quite black and a little 
below the medium size. 

He fled from Beaufort, North Carolina. The system of slavery in all 


the region of country whence Henry came, exhibited generally great bru- 
tality and cruelty. 

CHARLES CONGO AND WIFE, MARGARET. Charles and his wife were 
fortunate in managing to flee together. Their attachment to each other 
was evidently true. They were both owned by a farmer, who went by the 
name of David Stewart, and resided in Maryland. As Charles' owner did 
not require their services at home, as he had more of that kind of stock than 
he had use for he hired them out to another farmer Charles for $105 
per annum; how much for the wife they could not tell. She, however, 
was not blessed with good health, though she was not favored any more 
on that account. Charles' affection for his wife, on seeing how hard she 
had to labor when not well, aroused him to seek their freedom by flight. 
He resolved to spare no pains, to give himself no rest until they were both 
free. Accordingly the Underground Rail Road was 'sought and found. 
Charles was twenty-eight, with a good head and striking face, as well as 
otherwise well made; chestnut color and intelligent, though unable to read. 
Left two sisters in bondage. Margaret was about the same age as her 
husband, a nice-looking brown-skinned woman ; worth $500. Charles was 
valued at $1200. 

The atmosphere throughout the neighborhood where Charles and Mar- 
garet had lived and breathed, and had their existence, was heavily oppressed 
with slavery. No education for the freeman of color, much less for the 
slave. The order of the day was literally, as far as colored men were con- 
cerned : " No rights which white men were bound to respect." 

CHASKEY BROWN, Win. Henry Washington, James Alfred Frisley, and 
Charles Henry Salter. Chaskey is about twenty-four years of age, quite 
black, medium size, sound body and intelligent appearance, nevertheless he 
resembled a " farm hand " in every particular. His master was known by 
the name of Major James H. Gales, and he was the owner of a farm with 
eighteen men, women and children, slaves to toil for him. The Major in 
disposition was very abusive and profane, though old and grey-headed. 
His wife was pretty much the same kind of a woman as he was a man ; one 
who delighted in making the slaves tremble at her bidding. Chaskey was 
a member of the " Still Pond church," of Kent county, Md. Often Chaskey 
was made to feel the lash on his back, notwithstanding his good standing in 
the church. He had a wife and one child. In escaping, he was obliged to 
leave them both. Chaskey was valued at $1200.' 

WILLIAM HENRY was about 20 years of age, and belonged to Doctor 
B. Grain, of Baltimore, who hired him out to a farmer. Not relishing the 
idea of having to work all his life in bondage, destitute of all privileges, 
he resolved to seek a refuge in Canada. He left his mother, four sisters and 
two brothers. 

JAMES is twenty-four years of age, well made, quite black and pretty 


shrewd. He too was unable to see how it was that he should be worked, and 
flogged, and sold, at the pleasure of his master and " getting nothing ;" he 
" had rather work for himself." His master was a " speckled-faced pretty 
large stomach many but was not very abuseful." He only owned one other. 

CHARLES HENRY is about thirty years of age, of good proportion, nice- 
looking and intelligent ; but to rough usage he was no stranger. To select 
his own master was a privilege not allowed; privileges of all kinds were 
rare with him. So he resolved to flee. Left his mother, three sisters and 
five brothers in slavery. He was a member of " Albany Chapel," at Mas- 
sey's Cross Koads, and a slave of Dr. B. Grain. Charles left his wife Anna, 
living near the head of Sassafras, Md. The separation was painful, as was 
everything belonging to the system of Slavery. 

These were all gladly received by the Vigilance Committee, and the hand 
of friendship warmly extended to them ; and the best of counsel and en- 
couragement was offered ; material aid, food and clothing were also furnished 
as they had need, and they were sent on their way rejoicing to Canada. 

STEPHEN TAYLOR, Charles Brown, Charles Henry Hollis, and Luther 
Dorsey. Stephen was a fine young man, of twenty years of age ; he 
fled to keep from being sold. He " supposed his master wanted money." 
His master was a " tall, spare-faced man, with long whiskers, very wicked 
and very quick-tempered," and was known by the name of James Smithen, 
of Sandy Hook, Harford county, Md. His wife was also a very "close 
woman." They had four children growing up to occupy their places as op- 
pressors. Stephen was not satisfied to serve either old or young masters any 
longer, and made up his mind to leave the first opportunity. Before this 
watchful and resolute purpose the way opened, and he soon found it compa- 
ratively easy to find his way from Maryland to Pennsylvania, and likewise 
into the hands of the Vigilance Committee, to whom he made known fully 
the character of the place and people whence he had fled, the dangers he 
was exposed to from slave-hunters, and the strong hope he cherished of 
reaching free land soon. Being a young man of promise, Stephen was ad- 
vised earnestly to apply his mind to seek an education, and to use every 
possible endeavor to raise himself in the scale of manhood, morally, reli- 
giously and intellectually ; and he seemed to drink in the admonitions thus 
given with a relish. After recruiting, and all necessary arrangements had 
been made for his comfort and passage to Canada, he was duly forwarded. 
"One more slave-holder is minus another slave worth at least $1200, which 
is something to rejoice over," said Committee. Stephen's parents were dead; 
one brother was the only near relative he left in chains. 

CHARLES BROWN was about twenty-five years of age, quite black, and 
bore the marks of having been used hard, though his stout and hearty 
appearance would have rendered him very desirable to a trader. He fled 
from William Wheeling, of Sandy Hook, Md. He spoke of his master as 


a " pretty bad man," who was " always quarreling," and " would drink, 
swear and lie." Left simply because he " never got anything for his labor." 
On taking his departure for Canada, he was called upon to bid adieu to his 
mother and three brothers, all under the yoke. His master he describes 

" His face was long, cheek-bones high, middling tall, and about twenty-six 
years of age." With this specimen of humanity, Charles was very much 
dissatisfied, and he made up his mind not to stand the burdens of Slavery a 
day longer than he could safely make his way to the North. And in making 
an effort to reach Canada, he was quite willing to suffer many things. So 
the first chance Charles got, he started, and Providence smiled upon his 
resolution ; he found himself a joyful passenger on the Underground Rail 
Road, being entertained free, and receiving attentions from the Company all 
along the line through to her British Majesty's boundlessly free territory 
in the Canadas. 

True, the thought of his mother and brothers, left in the prison house, 
largely marred his joy, as it did also the Committee's, still the Committee 
felt that Charles had gained his Freedom honorably, and at the same time, 
had left his master a poorer, if not a wiser man, by at least f 1200. 

CHARLES HENRY was a good-looking young man, only twenty years 
of age, and appeared to possess double as much natural sense as he would 
require to take care of himself. John Webster of Sandy Hook, claimed 
Charles' time, body and mind, and this was what made Charles unhappy. 
Uneducated as he was, he was too sensible to believe that Webster had any 
God-given right to his manhood. Consequently, he left because his master 
"did not treat him right." Webster was a tall man, with large black 
whiskers, about forty years of age, and owned Charles' two sisters. Charles 
was sorry for the fate of his sisters, but he could not help them if he re- 
mained. Staying to wear the yoke, he felt would rather make it worse 
instead of better for all concerned. 

LUTHER DORSEY is about nineteen years of age, rather smart, black, 
well made and well calculated for a Canadian. He was prompted to escape 
purely from the desire to be "free." He fled from a " very insulting 
man," by the name of Edward Schriner, from the neighborhood of Sairs- 
ville Mills, Frederick Co., Md. This Schriner was described as a " low 
chunky man, with gram look, big mouth, etc.," and was a member of the 
German Reformed Church. " Don't swear, though might as well ; he was 
so bad other ways." 

LUTHER was a member of the Methodist church at Jones Hill. Left 
his father in chains ; his mother had wisely escaped to Canada years back, 
when he was but a boy. Where she was then, he could not tell, but hoped 
to meet her in Canada. 




Richmond was a city noted for its activity and enterprise in slave trade. 
Several slave pens and prisons were constantly kept up to accommodate the 
trade. And slave auctions were as common in Richmond as dress goods 
auctions in Philadelphia; notwithstanding this fact, strange as it may 
seem, the Underground Rail Road brought away large numbers of passen- 
gers from Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk, and not a few of them lived 
comparatively within a hair's breadth of the auction block. Many of those 
from these localities were amongst the most intelligent and respectable 
slaves in the South, and except at times when disheartened by some grave 
disaster which had befallen the road, as, for instance, when some friendly 
captain or conductor was discovered in aiding fugitives, many of the thinking 
bondmen were daily maneuvering and watching for opportunities to escape 
or aid their friends so to do. This state of things of course made the 
naturally hot blood of Virginians fairly boil. They had preached long and 
loudly about the contented and happy condition of the slaves, that the 
chief end of the black man was to worship and serve the white man, with 
joy and delight, with more willingness and obedience indeed than he would 
be expected to serve his Maker. So the slave-holders were utterly at a 
loss to account for the unnatural desire on the part of the slaves to escape to 
the North where they affirmed they would be far less happy in freedom than 
in the hands of those so " kind and indulgent towards them." Despite all 
this, daily the disposition increased, with the more intelligent slaves, to dis- 
trust the statements of their masters especially when they spoke against the 
North. For instance if the master was heard to curse Boston the slave was 
then satisfied that Boston was just the place he would like to go to; or if 
the master told the slave that the blacks in Canada were freezing and starv- 
ing to death by hundreds, his hope of trying to reach Canada was made ten- 
fold stronger ; he was willing to risk all the starving and freezing that the 
country could afford ; his eagerness to find a conductor then would become 
almost painful. . 

The situations of Jeremiah and Julia Smith, however, were not considered 
very hard, indeed they had fared rather better than most slaves in Virginia, 
nevertheless it will be seen that they desired to better their condition, to 
keep off of the auction-block at least. Jeremiah could claim to have no 
mixture in his blood, as his color was of such a pure black ; but with the 
way of the world, in respect to shrewdness and intelligence, he had evidently 
been actively conversant. He was about twenty-six years of age, and in 
stature only medium, with poor health. 

The name of James Kinnard, whom he was obliged to call master and 
serve, was disgusting to him. Kinnard, he said, was a "close and severe 


man." At the same time he was not considered by the community "a hard 
man." From the age of fifteen years Jeremiah ha'd been hired out, for 
which his owner had received from $50 to $130 per annum. In conse- 
quence of his master's custom of thus letting out Jeremiah, the master had 
avoided doctors' bills, &c. For the last two years prior to his escape, how- 
ever, Jeremiah's health had been very treacherous, in consequence of which 
the master had been compelled to receive only $50 a year, sick or well. 
About one month before Jeremiah left, he was to have been taken on his 
master's farm, with the hope that he could be made more profitable there 
than he was in being hired out. 

His owner had thought once of selling him, perhaps fearing that Jere- 
miah might unluckily die on his hands. So he put him in prison and 
advertised ; but as he had the asthma pretty badly at that time, he was not 
saleable, the traders even declined to buy him. 

"While these troubles were presenting themselves to Jeremiah, Julia, 
his wife, was still more seriously involved, which added to Jeremiah's per- 
plexities, of course. 

Julia was of a dark brown color, of medium size, and thirty years of age. 
Fourteen years she had been the slave of A. Judson Crane, and under him 
she had performed the duties of nurse, chamber-maid, etc., "faithfully and 
satisfactorily," as the certificate furnished her by this owner witnessed. She 
actually possessing a certificate, which he, Crane, gave her to enable her to 
find a new master, as she was then about to be sold. Her master had ex- 
perienced a failure in business. This was the reason why she was to be sold. 

Mrs. Crane, her mistress, had always promised Julia that she should be 
free at her death. But, unexpectedly, as Mrs. Crane was on her journey 
home from Cape May, where she had been for her health the summer before 
Julia escaped, she died suddenly in Philadelphia. Julia, however, had been 
sold twice before her mistress' death ; once to the trader, Reed, and afterwards 
to John Freeland, and again was on the eve of being sold. Freeland, her 
last owner, thought she was unhappy because she was denied the privilege 
of going home of nights to her husband, instead of being on hand at the 
beck and call of her master and mistress day and night. So the very day 
Julia and her husband escaped, arrangements had been made to put her up 
at auction a third time. But both Julia and her husband had seen enough 
of Slavery to leave no room to hope that they could ever find peace or rest 
so long as they remained. So there and then, they resolved to strike for 
Canada, via the Underground Rail Road. By a little good management, 
berths were procured for them on one of the Richmond steamers (berths 
not known to the officers of the boat), and they were safely landed in the 
hands of the Vigilance Committee, and a most agreeable interview was 

The Committee extended to them the usual hospitalities, in the way of 


board, accommodations, and free tickets Canada ward, and wished them 
a safe and speedy passage. The passengers departed, exceedingly light- 
hearted, Feb. 1, 1854. 





Doubtless there was a sensation in " the camp/' when this gang was found 

JAMES was a likely-looking young man of twenty years of age, dark, 
tall, and sensible ; and worth, if we may judge, about $1,600. He was 
owned by a farmer named James Pittman, a " crabid kind of a man," grey- 
headed, with a broken leg; drank very hard, at which times he would swear 
that he would " sell them all to Georgia;" this threat was always unpleasant 
to the ears of James, but it seemed to be a satisfaction to the master. Fear- 
ing that it would be put into execution, James thought he had better let no 
time be lost in getting on towards Canada, though he was entitled to his 
Freedom at the age of twenty-five. Left his father, four brothers and two 
sisters. Also left his wife, to whom he had been married the previous 

His master's further stock of slaves consisted of two women, a young 
man and a child. The name of his old mistress was Amelia. She was 
" right nice," James admitted. One of James' brothers had been sold to 
Georgia by Pittman, although he was also entitled to his Freedom at the 
age of twenty-five. 

His near relatives left in bondage lived near Level Square, Queen Ann's 
county, Maryland. His wife's name was Henrietta. " She was free." 

Interesting letter from James Massey to his wife. It was forwarded to 
the corresponding secretary, to be sent to her, but no opportunity was 
afforded so to do, safely. 

ST. CATHARINES, C. W., April 24, 1857. 

DEAR WIFE I take this opertunity to inform you that I have Arive in St. Catharines 
this Eving, After Jorney of too weeks, and now find mysilf on free ground and wish that 
you was here with me But you are not here, when we parted I did not know that I 
should come away so soon as I did, But for that of causin you pain I left as I did, I hope 
that you will try to come. But if you cannot, write to me as soon as you can and tell 
me all that you can But dont be Desscuredged I was sory to leave you, and I could not 
help it for you know that I promest see you to sister, But I was persuaded By Another 
man go part with it grived mutch, you must not think that I did not care for you. I 
cannot tell how I come, for I was some times on the earth and some times under the 
earth Do not Bee afraid to come But start and keep trying, if you are afrid fitch your 
tow sister with you for compeny and I will take care of you and treat you like a lady so 


long as you live. The talk of cold in this place is all a humbug, it is wormer here than it 
was there when I left, your father and mother has allways treated me like their own child 
I have no fault to find in them. I send my Respects to them Both and I hope that they 
will remember me in Prayer, if you make a start come to Philidelpa tell father and 
mother that I am safe and hope that they will not morn after me I shall ever Remember 
them. No more at present But yours in Body and mind, and if we no meet on Earth I 
hope that we shall meet in heven. Your husbern. Good night. 


PERRY was about thirty-one years of age, round-made, of dark complex- 
ion, and looked quite gratified with his expedition, and the prospect of 
becoming a British subject instead of a Maryland slave. He was not free, 
however, from the sad thought of having left his wife and three children in 
the "prison house" nor of the fact that his own dear mother was brutally 
stabbed to the heart with a butcher knife by her young master, while he 
(Perry) was a babe ; nor of a more recent tragedy by which a fellow-ser- 
vant, only a short while before he fled, was also murdered by a stab in the 
groin from another young master. " Powerful bad " treatment, and " no 
pay," was the only reward poor Perry had ever received for his life services. 
Perry could only remember his having received from his master, in all, 
eleven cents. Left a brother and sister in Slavery. Perry was worth 
$1200 perhaps. 

PERRY was compelled to leave his wife and three children namely, 
Hannah (wife), Perry Henry, William Thomas and Alexander, who were 
owned by John' McGuire, of Caroline county, Maryland. Perry was a 
fellow-servant of James Massey, and was held by the same owner who held 
James. It is but just, to say, that it was not in the Pittman family that his 
mother and his fellow-servant had been so barbarously murdered. These 
occurrences took place before they came into the hands of Pittman. 

The provocation for which his fellow-servant was killed, was said to be 
very trifling. In a moment of rage, his young master, John Piper, plunged 
the blade of a small knife into Perry's groin, which resulted in his death 
twenty-six hours afterwards. For one day only the young master kept him- 
self concealed, then he came forward and said he " did it in self-defense," 
and there the matter ended. The half will never be told of the barbarism 
of Slavery. 

PERRY'S letter subjoined, explains where he went, and how his mind was 
occupied with thoughts of his wife, children and friends. 

ST. CATHARINES, C. W. June 21, 1857. 

DEAR SIR. I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well at present, and hope 
that these few lines may find you injoying the same Blessing, I have Been for some 
time now, But have not written to you Before, But you must Excuse me. I want you to 
give my Respects to all my inquiring friends and to my wife, I should have let you know 
But I was afraid and all three of my little children too, P. H. Trusty if he was mine Wm. 
T. Trusty and to Alexander I have been A man agge But was assurd nuthin, H. Trusty, 
a hard grand citt. I should lie know how times is, Henry Turner if you get this keep it 


and read it to yourself and not let any one else But yourself, tell ann Henry, Samuel 
Henry, Jacob Bryant, Wm Claton, Mr James at Almira Receved at Mr Jones house the 
Best I could I have Been healthy since I arrived here. My Best Respect to all and my 
thanks for past favours. No more at present But Remain youre obedented Servent &c. 

Please send me an answer as son as you get this, an^ oblige yours, 


GEORGE RHOADS 19 a young man of twenty five years of age, chestnut 
color, face round, and hating Slavery heartily. He had come from 
under the control of John P. Dellum a farmer, and a crabbed master, who 
" would swear very much when crossed, and would drink moderately every 
day," except sometimes he would " take a spree" and would then get pretty 
high. Withal he was a member of the Presbyterian church at Perry- 
ville, Maryland ; he was a single man and followed farming. Within the 
last two or three years, he had sold a man and woman; hence, George 
thought it was time to take warning. Accordingly he felt it to be his duty 
to try for Canada, via Underground Rail Road. As his master had always 
declared that if one run off, he would sell the rest to Georgia, George very 
wisely concluded that as an effort would have to be made, they had better 
leave their master with as " few as possible to be troubled with selling." 
Consequently, a consultation was had between the brothers, which resulted 
in the exit of a party of eight. The market price for George would be about 
$1400. A horrid example professed Christians set before the world, while 
holding slaves and upholding Slavery. 

JAMES RHOADS, brother of George, was twenty-three years of age, 
medium size, dark color, intelligent and manly, and would doubtless have 
brought, in the Richmond market, $1700. Fortunately he brought his wife 
and child with him. James was also held by the same task-master who 
held George. Often had he been visited with severe stripes, and had borne 
his full share of suffering from his master. 

GEORGE WASHINGTON, one of the same party, was only about fifteen 
years of age ; he was tall enough, however, to pass for a young man of 
twenty. George was of an excellent, fast, dark color. Of course, mentally 
he was undeveloped, nevertheless, possessed of enough mother-wit to make 
good his escape. In the slave market he might have been valued at $800. 
George was claimed as the lawful property of Benjamin Sylves a Presby- 
terian, who owned besides, two men, three girls, and a boy. He was "toler- 
able good " sometimes, and sometimes " bad." Some of the slaves supposed 
themselves to be on the eve of being emancipated about the time George 
left ; but of this there was no certainty. George, however, was not among 
this hopeful number, consequently, he thought that he would start in time, 
and would be ready to shout for Freedom quite as soon as any other of his 
fellow-bondmen. George left a father and three sisters. Sarah Elizabeth 
Rhoads, wife of James Rhoads, was seventeen years of age, a tall, dark, 


young woman, who had had no chances for mental improvement, except 
such as were usual on a farm, stocked with slaves, where learning to read 
the Bible was against the "rules." Sarah was a young slave mother with a 
babe (of course a slave) only eight months old. She was regarded as having 
been exceedingly fortunate in having rescued herself and child from the 
horrid fate of slaves. 

MARY ELIZABETH STEPHENSON is a promising-looking young woman, 
of twenty years of age, chestnut color, and well made. Hard treatment 
had been her lot. Left her mother, two sisters and four brothers in bond- 
age. Worth $1100. 

Although these travelers were of the " field hand " class, who had never 
been permitted to see much off of the farm, and had been deprived of hear- 
ing intelligent people talk, yet the spirit of Freedom, so natural to man, was 
quite uppermost with all of them. The members of the Committee who saw 
them, were abundantly satisfied that these candidates for Canada would prove 
that they were able to " take care of themselves." 

Their wants were attended to in the usual manner, and they were sent on 
their way rejoicing, the Committee feeling quite a deep interest in them. It 
looked like business to see so many passing over the Road. 



The subjoined "pass" was brought to the Underground Rail Road sta- 
tion in Philadelphia by Charles, and while it was interesting as throwing 
light upon his escape, it is important also as a specimen of the way the "pass " 
system was carried on in the dark days of Slavery in Virginia: 


Richmond, July 20th, 1857. 

Permit Charles to pass and repass from this office to the residence of Rev. B. Manly's 
on Clay St., near llth, at any hour of the night for one month. WM. W. HAEDWICK." 

It is a very short document, but it used to be very unsafe for a slave in 
Richmond, or any other Southern city, to be found out in the evening 
without a legal paper of this description. The penalties for being found un- 
prepared to face the police were fines, imprisonment and floggings. The 
satisfaction it seemed always to afford these guardians of the city to find either 
males or females trespassing in this particular, was unmistakable. It gave 
them '(the police) the opportunity to prove to those they served (slave- 
holders), that they were the right men in the right place, guarding their in- 
terests. Then again they got the fine for pocket money, and likewise the 


still greater pleasure of administering the flogging. Who would want an 
office, if no opportunity should turn up whereby proof could be adduced" of 
adequate qualifications to meet emergencies? But Charles was too wide 
awake to be caught without his pass day or night. Consequently he hung 
on to it, even after starting on his voyage to Canada. He, however, will- 
ingly surrendered it to a member of the Committee at his special request. 

But in every way Charles was quite a remarkable man. It afforded the 
Committee great pleasure to make his acquaintance, and much practical and 
useful information was gathered from his story, which was felt to be truthful. 

The Committee feeling assured that this " chattel " must have been the 
subject of much inquiry and anxiety from the nature of his former position, 
as a prominent piece of property, as a member of the Baptist church, as 
taking "first premiums" in making tobacco, and as a paper carrier in the 
National American office, felt called upon to note fully his movements before 
and after leaving Richmond. 

In stature he was medium size, color quite dark, hair long and bushy 
rather of a raw-boned and rugged appearance, modest and self-possessed ; 
with much more intelligence than would be supposed from first observation. 
On his arrival, ere he had " shaken hands with the (British) Lion's paw," 
(which he was desirous of doing), or changed the habiliments in which he 
escaped, having listened to the recital of his thrilling tale, and wishing to get it 
word for word as it flowed naturally from his brave lips, at a late hour of the 
night a member of the Committee remarked to him, with pencil in hand, that 
he wanted to take down some account of his life. " Now," said he, "we shall 
have to be brief. Please answer as correctly as you can the following ques- 
tions :" " How old are you ?" " Thirty-two years old the 1st day of last 
June." "Were you born a slave?" "Yes." "How have you been treated?" 
" Badly all the time for the last twelve years." " What do you mean by 
being treated badly ?" " Have been whipped, and they never give me any- 
thing ; some people give their servants at Christmas a dollar and a half and 
two dollars, and some five, but my master would never give me anything." 
" What was the name of your master ?" " Fleming Bibbs." " Where did 
he live?" " In Caroline county, fifty miles above Richmond." " What did 
he do ?" " He was a farmer." " Did you ever live with him ?" " Never 
did ; always hired me out, and then I couldn't please him." " What kind of 
a man was he ?" " A man with a very severe temper ; would drink at all 
times, though would do it slyly." " Was he a member of any church ?" 
" Baptist church would curse at his servants as if he wern't in any 
church." "Were his family members of church, too?" "Yes." " What 
kind of family had he ?" "His wife was a tolerable fair woman, but his 
sons were dissipated, all of them rowdier and gamblers. His sons has had 
children by the servants. One of his daughters had a child by his grandson 
last April. They are traders, buy and sell." 


" How many slaves did he own ? " " Sam, Richmond, Henry, Dennis, 
Jesse, Addison, Hilliard, Jenny, Lucius, Julia, Charlotte, Easte, Joe, 
Taylor, Louisa, two more small children and Jim." Did any of them know 
that you were going to leave ? " No, I saw my brother Tuesday, but never 
told him a word about it." " What put it into your head to leave?" "It 
was bad treatment ; for being put in jail for sale the 7th of last January ; 
was whipped in jail and after I came out the only thing they told me was 
that I had been selling newspapers about the streets, and was half free." 

" Where did you live then ? " " In Richmond, Va. ; for twenty-two 
years I have been living out." " How much did your master receive a 
year for your hire?" "From sixty-five to one hundred and fifty dollars." 
"Did you have to find yourself?" "The people who hired me found me. 
The general rule is in Richmond, for a week's board, seventy-five cents is 
allowed; if he gets any more than that he has got to find it himself." 
" How about Sunday clothing ?" "Find them yourself ?" " How about 
a house to live in? " " Have that to find yourself." " Suppose you have a 
wife and family." "It makes no difference, they don't allow you anything 
for that at all." " Suppose you are sick who pays your doctor's bill ? " 
" He (master) pays that." " How do you manage to make a little extra 
money ? " " By getting up before day and carrying out papers and doing 
other jobs, cleaning up single men's rooms and the like of that." " What 
have you been employed at in Richmond ? " " Been working in tobacco 
factory in general ; this year I was hired at a printing-office. The National 
American. I carried papers." "Had you a wife?" "I did, but her 
master was a very bad man and was opposed to me, and was against my 
coming to his place to see my wife, and he persuaded her to take another 
husband in preference to me; being in his hands she took his advice.'' 
" How long ago was that ? " " Very near twelve months ; she got married 
last fall." " Had you any children?" "Yes." "How many?" "Five." 
" Where are they ? " " Three are with Joel Luck, her master, one with his 
sister Eliza, and the other belongs to Judge Hudgins, of Bowling Green 
Court House." " Do you ever expect to see them again?" "No, not till 
the day of the Great I am!" "Did you ever have any chance of schooling?" 
"Not a day in my life." "Can yon read?" "No, sir, nor write my own 
name." " What do you think of Slavery any how? " " I think it's a great 
curse, and I think the Baptists in Richmond will go to the deepest hell, if 
there is any, for they are so wicked they will work you all day and part of 
the night, and wear cloaks and long faces, and try to get all the work out 
of you they can by telling you about Jesus Christ. All the extra money 
you make they think you will give to hear talk about Jesus Christ. Out 
of their extra money they have to pay a white man Five hundred dollars a 
year for preaching." " What kind of preaching does he give them? " " He 
tells them if they die in their sins they will go to hell ; don't tell them any 


thing about their elevation ; he would tell them to obey their masters and 
mistresses, for good servants make good masters." " Did you belong to 
the Baptist Church?" "Yes, Second Baptist Church." "Did you feel 
that the preaching you heard was the true Gospel?" "One part of 
it, and one part burnt me as bad as ever insult did. They would tell 
us that we must take money out of our pockets to send it to Africa, to 
enlighten the African race. I think that we were about as blind in Rich- 
mond as the African race is in Africa. All they want you to know, is 
to have sense enough to say master and mistress, and run like lightning, 
when they speak to you, to do exactly what they want you to do." " When 
you made up your mind to escape, where did you think you would go to ?" 
" I made up my mind not to stop short of the .British protection ; to shake 
hands with the Lion's paw." " Were you not afraid of being captured on 
the way, of being devoured by the abolitionists, or of freezing and starv- 
ing in Canada ?" " Well, I had often thought that I would be in a bad 
condition to come here, without money and clothes, but I made up my mind 
to come, live or die." " What are your impressions from what little you 
have seen of Freedom ?" " I think it is intended for all men, and all men 
ought to have it." " Suppose your master was to appear before you, and 
offer you the privilege of returning to Slavery or death on the spot, which 
Would be your choice?" "Die right there. I made up my mind before I 
started." " Do you think that many of the slaves are anxious about their 
Freedom ?" " The third part of them ain't anxious about it, because the 
white people have blinded them, telling about the North, they can't live 
fare; telling them that the people are worse off than they are there; they 
say that the ' niggers ' in the North have no houses to live in, stand about 
freezing, dirty, no clothes to wear. They all would be very glad to get their 
time, but want to stay where they are." Just at this point of the interview, 
the hour of midnight admonished us that it was time to retire. Accord- 
ingly, said Mr. Thompson, " I guess we had better close," adding, if he 
"could only write, he could give seven volumes!" Also, said he, "give my 
best respects to Mr. W. W. Hardwicke, and Mr. Perry in the National 
American office, and tell them I wish they will pay the two boys who carry the 
papers for me, for they are as ignorant of this matter as you are." 

Charles was duly forwarded to Canada to shake hands with the Lion's 
paw, and from the accounts which came from him to the Committee, he was 
highly delighted. The following letter from him aiforded gratifying evi- 
dence, that he neither forgot his God nor his friends in freedom : 

DETROIT, Sept. 17, 1862. 

DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST : It affords me the greatest pleasure imaginable in the time 
I shall occupy in penning these few lines to you and your dear loving wife ; not be- 
cause I can write them to you myself, but for the love and regard I have for you, for I 


never can forget a man who will show kindness to his neighbor when in distress. I re- 
member when I was in distress and out of doors, you took me in; I was hungry, and you 
fed me; for these things God will reward you, dear brother. I am getting along as well 
as I can expect. Since I have been out Lere, I have endeavored to make every day tell 
for itself, and I can say, no doubt, what a great many men cannot say, that I have made 
good use of all the time that God has given me, and not one weelc has been spent in idle- 
ness. Brother William, I expect to visit you some time next summer to sit and have a 
talk with you and Mrs. Still. I hope to see that time, if it is God's will. You will re- 
member me, with my wife, to Mrs. Still. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends, 
and believe me to be yours forever. Well wishes both soul and body. Please write to 
me sometimes. C. W. THOMPSON. 





The Philadelphia branch of the Underground Rail Road was not for- 
tunate in having very frequent arrivals from North Carolina. Of course 
such of her slave population as managed to become initiated in the myste- 
ries of traveling North by the Underground Rail Road were sensible enough 
to find out nearer and safer routes than through Pennsylvania. Neverthe- 
less the Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia occasionally had the pleasure 
of receiving some heroes who were worthy to be classed among the bravest 
of the brave, no matter who they may be who have claims to this distinction. 

In proof of this bold assertion the two individuals whose names stand 
at the beginning of this chapter are presented. Abram was only twenty- 
one years of age, mulatto, five feet six inches high, intelligent and the pic- 
ture of good health. "What was your master's name?" inquired a 
member of the Committee. "Milton Hawkins," answered Abram. "What 
business did Milton Hawkins follow?" again queried said member. "He 
was chief engineer on t\\e Wilmington and Manchester Rail Road " (not a 
branch of the Underground Rail Road), responded Richard. "Describe 
him," said the member. " He was a slim built, tall man with whiskers. 
He was a man of very good disposition. I always belonged to him ; he 
owned three. He always said he would sell before he would use a whip. 
His wife was a very mean woman ; she would whip contrary to his orders." 
"Who was your father?" was further inquired. "John Wesley Galloway," 
was the prompt response. " Describe your father ? " " He was captain of 
a government vessel ; he recognized me as his son, and protected me as far 
as he was allowed so to do; he lived at Smithfield, North Carolina. 
Abram's master, Milton Hawkins, lived at Wilmington, N. C." " What 
prompted you to escape ? " was next asked. " Because times were hard 
and I could not come up with my wages as I was required to do, so I 


i Secreted in a vessel loaded with turpentine.) 


thought I would try and do better." At this juncture Abrara explained 
substantially in what sense times were hard, &c. In the first place he was 
not allowed to own himself; he, however, preferred hiring his time to serv- 
ing in the usual way. This favor was granted Abram ; but he was com- 
pelled to pay $15 per month for his time, besides finding himself in clothing, 
food, paying doctor bills, and a head tax of $15 a year. 

Even under this master, who was a man of very good disposition, Abram 
was not contented. In the second place, he " always thought Slavery was 
wrong," although he had "never suffered any personal abuse." Toiling 
month after month the year round to support his master and not himself, 
was the one intolerable thought. Abram and Richard were intimate 
friends, and lived near each other. Being similarly situated, they could 
venture to communicate the secret feelings of their hearts to each other. 
Richard was four years older than Abram, with not quite so much Anglo- 
Saxon blood in his veins, but was equally as intelligent, and was by 
trade, a " fashionable barber," well-known to the ladies and gentlemen of 
Wilmington. Richard owed service to Mrs. Mary Loren, a widow. " She 
was very kind and tender to all her slaves." " If I was sick," said 
Richard, "she would treat me the same as a mother would." She was the 
owner of twenty, men, women and children, who were all hired out, except 
the children too young for hire. Besides having his food, clothing and 
doctor's expenses to meet, he had to pay the " very kind and tender-hearted 
widow " $12.50 per month, and head tax to the State, amounting to twenty- 
five cents per month. It so happened, that Richard at this time, was 
involved in a matrimonial difficulty. Contrary to the laws of North Caro- 
lina, he had lately married a free girl, which was an indictable offence, and 
for which the penalty was then in soak for him said penalty to consist of 
thirty-nine lashes, and imprisonment at the discretion of the judge. 

So Abram and Richard put their heads together, and resolved to try the 
Underground Rail Road. They concluded that liberty was worth dying 
for, and that it was their duty to strike for Freedom even if it should 
cost them their lives. The next thing needed, was information about the 
Underground Rail Road. Before a great while the captain of a schooner 
turned up, from Wilmington, Delaware. Learning that his voyage extended to 
Philadelphia, they sought to find out whether this captain was true to Free- 
dom. To ascertain this fact required no little address. It had to be done 
in such a way, that even the captain would not really understand what they 
were up to, should he be found untrue. In this instance, however, he was 
the right man in the right place, and very well understood his business. 

Abram and Richard made arrangements with him to bring them away; 
they learned when the vessel would start, and that she was loaded with tar, 
rosin, and spirits of turpentine, amongst which the captain was to secrete 
them. But here came the difficulty. In order that slaves might not be 


secreted in vessels, the slave-holders of North Carolina had procured the 
enactment of a law requiring all vessels coming North to be smoked. 

To escape this dilemma, the inventive genius of Abram and Richard soon 
devised a safe-guard against the smoke. This safe-guard consisted in silk 
oil cloth shrouds, made large, with drawing strings, which, when pulled over 
their heads, might be drawn very tightly around their waists, whilst the 
process of smoking might be in operation. A bladder of water and towels 
were provided, the latter to be wet and held to their nostrils, should there 
be need. In this manner they had determined to struggle against death for 
liberty. The hour approached for being at the wharf. At the appointed 
time they were on hand ready to go on the boat; the captain secreted them, 
according to agreement. They were ready to run the risk of being smoked 
to death; but as good luck would have it, the law was not carried into 
effect in this instance, so that the "smell of smoke was not upon them." 
The effect of the turpentine, however, of the nature of which they were totally 
ignorant, was worse, if possible, than the smoke would have been. The 
blood was literally drawn from them at every pore in frightful quantities. 
But as heroes of the bravest type they resolved to continue steadfast as long 
as a pulse continued to beat, and thus they finally conquered. 

The invigorating northern air and the kind treatment of the Vigilance 
Committee acted like a charm upon them, and they improved very rapidly 
from their exhaustive and heavy loss of blood. Desiring to retain some me- 
morial of them, a member of the Committee begged one of their silk 
shrouds, and likewise procured an artist to take the photograph of one of 
them ; which keepsakes have been valued very highly. In the regular o/der 
of arrangements the wants of Abram and Richard were duly met by the 
Committee, financially and otherwise, and they were forwarded to Canada. 
After their safe arrival in Canada, Richard addressed a member of the Com- 
mittee thus : 

KINGSTON, July 20, 1857. 

MB. WILLIAM STILL Dear Friend: I take the opertunity of wrighting a few lines 
to let you no that we air all in good health hoping thos few lines may find you and your 
family engoying the same blessing. We arived in King all saft Canada West Abrara 
Galway gos to work this morning at $1 75 per day and John pediford is at work for mr 
george mink and i will opne a shop for my self jn a few days My wif will send a daug- 
retipe to your cair whitch you will pleas to send on to me Richard Edons to the cair of 
George Mink Kingston C W Yours with Respect, RICHARD EDONS. 

Abram, his comrade, allied himself faithfully to John Bull until Uncle 
Sam became involved in the contest with the rebels. In this hour of need 
Abram hastened back to North Carolina to help fight the battles of Free- 
dom. How well he acted his part, we are not informed. We only know 
that, after the war was over, in the reconstruction of North Carolina, Abram 
was promoted to a seat in its Senate. He died in office only a few months 
since. The portrait is almost a "fac-simile.'' 



Anglo-African and Anglo-Saxon were about equally mixed in the 
organization of Mr. Pettifoot. His education, with regard to books, was 
quite limited. He had, however, managed to steal the art of reading and 
writing, to a certain extent. Notwithstanding the Patriarchal Institution 
of the South, he was to all intents and purposes a rebel at heart, conse- 
quently he resolved to take a trip on the Underground Rail Road to Canada. 
So, greatly to the surprise of those whom he was serving, he was one 
morning inquired for in vain. No one could tell what had become of Jack 
no more than if he had vanished like a ghost. Doubtless Messrs. McHenry 
and McCulloch were under the impression that newspapers and money 
possessed great power and could, under the circumstances, be used with entire 
effect. The following advertisement is evidence, that Jack was much needed 
at the tobacco factory. 

$100 REWARD For the apprehension and delivery to us of a MULATTO 
MAN, named John Massenberg, or John Henry Pettifoot, who has been passing 
as free, under the name of Sydney. He is about 5 feet 6 or 8 inches high, spare 
made, bright, with a bushy head of hair, curled under and a small moustache. 
Absconded a few days ago from our Tobacco Factory. McHENEY & McCuLLocn. 

ju 16 3t. 

Jack was aware that a trap of this kind would most likely be set for him, 
and that the large quantity of Anglo-Saxon blood in his veins would not 
save him. He was aware, too, that he was the reputed son of a white gen- 
tleman, who was a professional dentist, by the name of Dr. Peter Cards. 
The Doctor, however, had been called away by death, so Jack could see no 
hope or virtue in having a white father, although a " chivalric gentleman," 
while living, and a man of high standing amongst slave-holders. Jack was 
a member of the Baptist church, too, and hoped he was a good Christian ; 
but he could look for no favors from the Church, or sympathy on the score 
of his being a Christian. He knew very well were it known, that he had 
the love of freedom in his heart, or the idea of the Underground Rail 
Road in his head, he would be regarded as having committed the " unpar- 
donable sin." So Jack looked to none of these "broken reeds" in Rich- 
mond in the hour of his trial, but to Him above, whom he had not seen, 
and to the Underground Rail Road. He felt pretty well satisfied, that if 
Providence would aid him, and he could get a conductor to put him on the 
right road to Canada, he would be all right. Accordingly, he acted up to 
his best light, and thus he succeeded admirably, as the sequel shows. 

" JOHN HENRY PETTIFOOT. John is a likely young man, quite bright 
in color and in intellect also. He was the son of Peter Cards, a dentist by 
profession, and a white man by complexion. As a general thing, he had 
been used 'very well;' had no fault to find, except this year, being hired to 


McHenry & McCulloch, tobacconists, of Petersburg, Va., whom he found 
rather more oppressive than he agreed for, and supposing that he had ' no 
right' to work for any body for nothing, he 'picked up his bed and 
walked.' His mistress had told him that he was l willed free,' at her death, 
but John was not willing to wait her " motions to die." 

He had a wife in Richmond, but was not allowed to visit her. He left 
one sister and a step-father in bondage. Mr. Pettifoot reached Philadelphia 
by the Richmond line of steamers, stowed away among the pots and cooking 
utensils. On reaching the city, he at once surrendered himself into the hands 
of the Committee, and was duly looked after by the regular acting members. 


EMANUEL was about twenty-five years of age, with seven-eighths 
of white blood in his veins, medium size, and a very smart and 
likely-looking piece of property generally. He had the good fortune to 
escape from Edward H. Hubbert, a ship timber merchant of Norfolk, Va. 
Under Hubbert's yoke he had served only five years, having been bought 
by him from a certain Aldridge Mandrey, who was described as a " very 
cruel man," and would " rather fight than eat." " I have licks that will 
carry me to my grave, and will be there till the flesh rots off my bones," 
said Emanuel, adding that his master was a " devil" though a member of the 
Reformed Methodist Church. But his mistress, he said, was a " right nice 
little woman, and kept many licks off me." " If you said you were sick, 
he would whip it out of you." From Mandrey he once fled, and was gone 
two months, but was captured at Williamsburg, Va., and received a severe 
flogging, and carried home. Hubbert finally sold Emanuel to a Mr. Grig- 
way of Norfolk; with Emanuel Mr. G. was pretty well suited, but his wife 
was not he had " too much white blood in him " for her. Grigway and 
his wife were members of the Episcopal Church. 

In this unhappy condition Emanuel found a conductor of the Underground 
Rail Road. A secret passage was secured for him on one of the Richmond 
steamers, and thus he escaped from his servitude. The Committee attended 
to his wants, and forwarded him on as usual. From Syracuse, where he was 
breathing quite freely under the protection of the Rev. J. W. Loguen, he 
wrote the following letter : 

SYRACUSE, July 29, 1857. 

MY DEAR FRIEND, MB. STILL : I got safe through to Syracuse, and found the house 
of our friend, Mr. J. W. Loguen. Many thanks to you for your kindness to me. I wish 
to say to you, dear sir, that I expect my clothes will be sent to Dr. Landa, and I wish, if 
you please, get them and send them to the care of Mr. Loguen, at Syracuse, for me. He 
will be in possession of my whereabouts and will send them to me. Remember me to 
Mr. Landa and Miss Milieu Jespan, and much to you and your family. 

Truly Yours, MANUAL T. WHITE. 



There is found the following brief memorandum on the Records of 
the Underground Rail Road Book, dated July, 1857 : 

" A little child of fourteen months old was conveyed to its mother, who 
had been compelled to flee without it nearly nine months ago." 

While the circumstances connected with the coming of this slave child were 
deeply interesting, no further particulars than the simple notice above were 
at that time recorded. Fortunately, however, letters from the good friends, 
who plucked this infant from the jaws of Slavery, have been preserved to 
throw light on this little one, and to show how true-hearted sympathizers 
with the Slave labored amid dangers and difficulties to save, the helpless 
bondman from oppression. It will be observed, that both these friends wrote 
from "Washington, D. C., the seat of Government, where, if Slavery was not 
seen in its worst aspects, the Government in its support of Slavery appeared 
in a most revolting light. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., July 12, 1857. 

DEAR SIR : Some of our citizens, I am told, lately left here for Philadelphia, three of 
whom were arrested and brought back. 

I beg you will inform me whether two others (I., whose wife is in Philadelphia, was 
one of them), ever reached your city. 

To-morrow morning Mrs. Weems, with her baby, will start for Philadelphia and see you 
probably over night. Yours Truly, J. B. 

" J. B." was not only a trusty and capable conductor of the Under- 
ground Rail Road in Washington, but was also a practical lawyer, at the 
same time. His lawyer-like letter, in view of the critical nature of the case, 
contained but few words, and those few naturally enough were susceptible 
of more than one construction. 

Doubtless those styled " our citizens," " three of whom were arrested 
and brought back/' were causing great anxiety to this correspondent, not 
knowing how soon he might find himself implicated in the " running off," 
etc. So, while he felt it to be his duty, to still aid the child, he was deter- 
mined, if the enemy intercepted his letter, he should not find much comfort 
or information. The cause was safe in such careful hands. The following 
letters, bearing on the same case, are also from another good conductor, who 
was then living in Washington. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., July 8, 1857. 

MY DEAR SIR : I write you now to let you know that the children of E. are yet well, 
and that Mrs. Arrah Weems will start with one of them for Philadelphia to-morrow or 
next day. She will be with you probably in the day train. She goes for the purpose of 


making an effort to redeem her last child, now in Slavery. The whole amount necessary 
is raised, except about $300. She will take her credentials with her, and you can place 
the most implicit reliance on her statements. The story in regard to the Weems' family 
was published in Frederick Douglass' paper two years ago. Since then the two middle 
boys have been redeemed and there is only one left in Slavery, and he is in Alabama. The 
master has agreed to take for him just what he gave, $1100. Mr. Lewis Tappan has his 
letter and the money, except the amount specified. There were about $5000 raised in 
England to redeem this family, and they are now all free except this one. And there never 
was a more excellent and worthy family than the Weems' family. I do hope, that Mrs. 
W. will find friends who can advance the amount required. 

Truly Yours, E. L. STEVENS. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., July 13th, 1857. 

MY FRIEND : Your kind letter in reply to mine about Arrah was duly received. Aa 
she is doubtless with you before this, she will explain all. I propose that a second jour- 
ney be made by her or some one else, in order to take the other. They have been a great 
burden to the good folks here and should have been at home long ere this. Arrah will 
explain everything. I want, however, to say a word in her behalf. If there is a 
person in the world, that deserves the hearty co-operation of every friend of humanity, 
that person is Arrah Weems, who now, after a long series of self-sacrificing labor to aid 
others in their struggle for their God-given rights, solicits a small amount to redeem 
the last one of her own children in Slavery. Never have I had my sympathies so 
aroused in behalf of any object as in behalf of this most worthy family. She can tell 
you what I have done. And I do hope, that our friends in Philadelphia and New York 
will assist her to make up the full amount required for the purchase of the boy. 

After she does what she can in P., will you give her the proper direction about getting 
to New York and to Mr. Tappan's ? Inform him of what she has done, &c. 

Please write me as soon as you can as to whether she arrived safely, &c. Give me your 
opinion, also, as to the proposal about the other. Had you not better keep the little one 
in P. till the other is taken there? Inform me also where E. is, how she is getting along, 
&c., who living with, &c. Yours Truly, E. L. S. 

In this instance, also, as in the case of " J. B.," the care and anxiety 
of other souls, besides this child, crying for deliverance, weighed heavily 
on the mind of Mr. Stevens, as may be inferred from certain references in 
his letters. Mr. Stevens' love of humanity, and impartial freedom, even in 
those dark days of Slavery, when it was both unpopular and unsafe to allow 
the cries of the bondman to awaken the feeling of humanity to assist the 
suffering, was constantly leading him to take sides with the oppressed, and 
as he appears in this correspondence, so it was his wont daily to aid the 
helpless, who were all around him. Arrah Weems, who had the care of the 
child, alluded to so touchingly by Mr. Stevens, had known, to her heart's 
sorrow, how intensely painful it was to a mother's feelings to have her chil- 
dren torn from her by a cruel master and sold. For Arrah had had a 
number of children sold, and was at that very time striving diligently to 
raise money to redeem the last one of them. And through such kind- 
hearted friends as Mr. Stevens, the peculiar hardships of this interesting 
family of Weems' were brought to the knowledge of thousands of philanthro- 
pists in this country and England, and liberal contributions had already 


been made by friends of the Slave on both sides of the ocean. It may now 
be seen, that while this child had not been a conscious sufferer from the 
wicked system of Slavery, it had been the object of very great anxiety and 
suffering to several persons, who had individually perilled their own free- 
dom for its redemption. This child, however, was safely brought to the 
Vigilance Committee, in Philadelphia, and was duly forwarded, vid friends 
in New York, to its mother, in Syracuse, where she had stopped to work 
and wait for her little one, left behind at the time she escaped. 



She anxiously waits their coming in Syracuse, N. Y. Not until after the 
foregoing story headed, the " Escape of a Child," etc., had been put into the 
hands of the printer and was in type, was the story of the mother discov- 
ered, although it was among the records preserved. Under changed names, 
in many instances, it has been found to be no easy matter to cull from a 
great variety of letters, records and advertisements, just when wanted, all the 
particulars essential to complete many of these narratives. The case of the 
child, alluded to above, is a case in point. Thus, however, while it is im- 
possible to introduce the mother's story in its proper place, yet, since it has 
been found, it is too important and interesting to be left out. It is here 
given as follows: 

$300 REWARD. KAN AWAY from the subscriber on Saturday, the 30th 
of August, 1856, my SERVANT WOMAN, named EMELINE CHAPMAN, 

about 25 years of age; quite dark, slender built, speaks short, and stammers some; 

with two children, one a female about two and a half years old; the other a male, seven 
or eight months old, bright color. I will give the above reward if they are delivered to 
me in Washington. MRS. EMILY THOMPSON, 

s2a-TTJ, Th&st Capitol Hill, Washington, D. C. 

Emeline Chapman, so particularly described in the " Baltimore Sun" of 
the 23d of September, 1856, arrived by the regular Underground Rail Road 
train from Washington. In order to escape the responsibility attached to 
her original name, she adopted the name of Susan Bell. Thus for free- 
dom she was willing to forego her name, her husband, and even her little 
children. It was a serious sacrifice; but she had been threatened with the 
auction block, and she well understood what that meant. With regard to 
usage, having lived away from her owner, Emeline did not complain of 
any very hard times. True, she had been kept at work very constantly, 
and her owner had very faithfully received all her hire. Emeline had not 
even been allowed enough of her hire to find herself in clothing, or any- 
thing for the support of her two children for these non-essentials, her 
kind mistress allowed her to seek elsewhere, as best she could. Emeline's 
husband was named John Henry; her little girl she called Margaret 


Arm, and her babe she had named after its father, all with the brand of 
Slavery upon them. The love of freedom, in the breast of this spirited 
young Slave-wife and mother, did not extinguish the love she bore to her 
husband and children, however otherwise her course, in leaving them, as she 
did, might appear. For it was just this kind of heroic and self-sacrificing 
struggle, that appealed to the hearts of men and compelled attention. 
The letters of Biglow and Stevens, relative to the little child, prove this 
fact, and additional testimony found in the appended letter from Rev. J. W. 
Loguen conclusively confirms the same. Indeed, who could close his eyes 
and ears to the plaintive cries of such a mother ? Who could refrain from 
aiding on to freedom children honored in such a heroic parent ? 

SYRACUSE, Oct. 5, 1856. 

DEAR FRIEND STILL : I write to you for Mrs. Susan Bell, who was at your city some 
time in September last. She is from Washington city. She left her dear little children 
behind (two children). She is stopping in our city, and wants to hear from her children 
very much indeed. She wishes to know if you have heard from Mr. Biglow, of Washing- 
ton city. She will remain here until she can hear from you. She feels very anxious about 
her children, I will assure you. I should have written before this, but I have been from 
home much of the time since she came to our city. She wants to know if Mr. Biglow has 
heard any thing- about her husband. If you have not written to Mr. Biglow, she wishes 
you would. She sends her love to you and your dear family. She says that you were 
all kind to her. and she does not forget it. You will direct your letter to me, dear brother, 
and I will see that she gets it. 

Miss F. E. Watkins left our house yesterday for Ithaca, and other places in that part of 
the State. Frederick Douglass, Wm. J. Watkins and others were with us last week ; 
Gerritt Smith with others. Miss Watkins is doing great good in our part of the State. 
We think much indeed of her. She is euch a good and glorious speaker, that we are all 
charmed with her. We have had thirty-one fugitives in the last twenty-seven days; but 
you. no doubt, have had many more than that. I hope the good Lord may bless you and 
spare you long to do good to the hunted and outraged among our brethren. 

Yours truly, J. W. LOGUEN, 

Agent of the Underground Kail Koad. 



" SAM" was doing Slave labor at the office of the Richmond "Daily Dis- 
patch," as a carrier of that thoroughly pro-slavery sheet. " Sam " had pos- 
sessed himself somehow of a knowledge of reading and writing a little, and 
for the news of the day he had quite an itching ear. Also with regard to 
his freedom he was quite solicitous. Being of an ambitious turn of mind, he 
hired his time, for which he paid his master $175 per annum in regular 
quarterly payments. Besides paying this amount, he had to find himself in 
board, clothing, and pay doctor's expenses. He had had more than one 
owner in his life. The last one, however, he spoke of thus : " His name is 


James B. Foster, of Richmond, a very hard man. He owns three more 
Slaves besides myself." In escaping, " Sam " was obliged to leave his wife, 
who was owned by Christian Bourdon. His attachment to her, judging 
from his frequent warm expressions of affection, was very strong. But, as 
strong as it was, he felt that he could not consent to remain in slavery 
any longer. "Sam" had luckily come across a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin, 
and in perusing it, all his notions with regard to " Masters and Servants," 
soon underwent an entire change, and he began to cast his eyes around him 
to see how he might get his freedom. One who was thoroughly awake as 
he was to the idea of being free, with a fair share of courage, could now 
and then meet with the opportunity to escape by the steamers or 
schooners coming North. Thus Samuel found the way open and on one of 
the steamers came to Philadelphia. On arriving, he was put at once in the 
charge of the Committee. While in their hands he seemed filled with as- 
tonishment at his own achievements, and such spontaneous expressions as 
naturally flowed from his heart thrilled and amazed his new found friends, 
and abundant satisfaction was afforded, that Samuel Washington Johnson 
would do no discredit to his fugitive comrades in Canada. So the Com- 
mittee gladly aided him on his journey. 

After arriving in Canada, Samuel wrote frequently and intelligently. The 
subjoined letter to his wife shows how deeply he was attached to her, and, 
at the same time, what his views were of Slavery. The member of the 
Committee to whom it was sent with the request, that it should be forwarded 
to her, did not meet with the opportunity of doing so. A copy of it was 
preserved with other Underground Rail Road documents. 


My Dear Wife I now embrace this golden opportunity of writing a few Lines to in- 
form you that 1 am well at present engoying good health and hope that these few lines 
may find you well also My dearest wife I have Left you and now I am in a foreign land 
about fourteen hundred miles from you but though my wife my thoughts are upon you 
all the time My dearest Frances I hope you will remember me now gust as same as you 
did when I were there with you because my mind are with you night and day the Love 
that I bear for you in my breast is greater than I thought it was if I had thought I had so 
much Love for you I dont think I ever could Left being I have escape I and has fled into 
a land of freedom I can but stop and look over my past Life and eay what a fool I was 
for staying in bondage as Long My dear wife I dont want you to get married before you 
send me some letters because I never shall get married until I see you again My mind 
dont deceive and it appears to me as if I shall see you again at my time of writing this 
letter I am desitute of money I have not got in no business yet but when I do get into 
busin'ess I shall write you and also remember you Tell my Mother and Brother and all 
enquiring friends that I am now safe in free state I cant tell where I am at present but 
Direct your Letters to Mr. William Still in Philadelphia and I will get them Answer 
this as soon as you can if you please for if you write the same day you receive it it will 
take a fortnight to reach me No more to relate at present, but still remain your affec- 
tionate husband Mr. Still please defore this piece out if you please 



Whether Samuel ever met with the opportunity of communicating with 
his wife, the writer cannot say. But of all the trials which Slaves had 
to endure, the separations of husbands and wives were the most difficult 
to bear up under. Although feeling keenly the loss of his wife, Samuel's 
breast swelled with the thought of freedom, as will be seen from the letter 
which he wrote immediately after landing in Canada : 


MR. WILLIAM STILL : I am now in safety I arrived at home safe on the llth inst at 
12 o'clock M. So I hope that you will now take it upon yourself to inform me something 
of that letter I left at your house that night when I left there and write me word how you 
are and how is your wife I wish you may excuse this letter for I am so full that I can- 
not express my mind at all I am only got $1.50 and I feel as if I had an independent 
fortune but I dont want you to think that I am going to be idle because I am on free 
ground and I shall always work though I am not got nothing to do at present Direct 
your letter to the post office as soon as possible. 



JOHNSON (man and wife), and their four children, ANN REBECCA, WM. H., 
ELIZABETH and MARY ELLEN. Doubtless, in the eyes of a Slaveholder, a more 
" likely-looking " family could not readily be found in Baltimore, than the 
one to be now briefly noticed. The mother and her children were owned by 
a young slave-holder, who went by the name of William Giddings, and 
resided in Prince George's county, Md. Harriet acknowledged, that she 
had been treated "tolerably well in earlier days" for one in her condition; 
but, as in so many instances in the experience of Slaves, latterly, times had 
changed with her and she was compelled to serve under a new master who 
oft-times treated her " very severely." OH one occasion, seven years pre- 
viously, a brother of her owner for a trifling offence struck and kicked 
her so brutally, that she was immediately thrown into a fit of sickness, which 
lasted " all one summer " from this she finally recovered. 

On another occasion, about one year previous to her escape, she was seized 
by her owner and thrust into prison to be sold. In this instance the inter- 
ference of the Uncle of Harriet's master saved her from the auction block. 
The young master, was under age, and at the same time under the guardian- 
ship of his Uncle. The young master had early acquired an ardent taste 
for fast horses, gambling, etc. Harriet felt, that her chances for the future 
in the hands of such a brutal master could not be other than miserable. 
Her husband had formerly been owned by John S. Giddings, who was said 
to have been a " mild man." He had allowed Stephen (her husband) to 
buy himself, and for eighteen months prior to the flight, he had been 


what was called a free man. It should also be further stated in justice to 
Stephen's master, that he was so disgusted with the manner in which 
Stephen's wife was treated, that he went so far as to counsel Stephen to 
escape with his wife and children. Here at least is one instance where a 
Maryland slave-holder lends his influence to the Underground Rail Road 
cause. The counsel was accepted, and the family started on their perilous 
flight. And although they necessarily had manifest trials and difficulties to 
discourage and beset them, they battled bravely with all these odds and 
reached the Vigilance Committee safely. Harriet was a bright mulatto, 
with marked features of character, and well made, with good address and 
quite intelligent. She was about twenty-six years of age. The children 
also were remarkably fine-looking little creatures, but too young to know 
the horrors of Slavery. The Committee at once relieved them of their heavy 
load of anxiety by cheering words and administering to their necessities with 
regard to food, money, etc. After the family had somewhat recovered from 
the fatigue and travel-worn condition in which they arrived, and were pre- 
pared to resume their journey, the Committee gave them the strictest caution 
with regard to avoiding slave-hunters, and also in reference to such points 
on the road where they would be most in danger of going astray from a 
lack of knowledge of the way. . Then, with indescribable feelings of sym- 
pathy, free tickets were tendered them, and they having been conducted to 
the depot, were sent on their way rejoicing. 



After many years of hard toiling for the support of others, the yoke 
pressed so heavily upon Elijah's shoulders, that he could not endure Slave 
life any longer. In the hope of getting rid of his bondage, by dexterous 
management and a resolute mind, which most determined and thoughtful 
men exercise when undertaking to accomplish great objects, he set about 
contriving to gain his freedom. In proof of Elijah's truthfulness, the adver- 
tisement of Mr. R. J. Christians is here offered, as taken from a Richmond 
paper, about the time that Elijah passed through Philadelphia on the Under- 
ground Rail Road, in 1857. 

RAN AW AT $500 REWARD. Left the Tobacco Factory of the sub- 
scriber, on the 14th inst., on the pretence of being sick, a mulatto man, named 
ELIJAH, the property of Maj. Edward Johnson, of Chesterfield county. He is 
about 5 feet 8 or 10 inches high, spare made, bushy hair, and very genteel ap- 
pearance ; he is supposed to be making his way North. The above reward will 
be paid if delivered at my factory. Ro. J. CHRISTIANS. 

jy 21 ts. 

From his infancy up to the hour of his escape, not a breath of free air 


had he ever been permitted to breathe. He was first owned by Mrs. Caro- 
line Johnson, " a stingy widow, the owner of about fifty slaves, and a mem- 
ber of Dr. Plummer's church." Elijah, at her death, was willed to her son, 
Major Johnson, who was in the United States service. Elijah spoke of 
him as a " favorable man," but added, " I'd rather be free. I believe I can 
treat myself better than he can or anybody else." For the last nineteen 
years he had been hired out, sometimes as waiter, sometimes in a tobacco 
factory, and for five years in the Coal Mines. 

At the mines he was treated very brutally, but at Cornelius Hall's To- 
bacco factory, the suffering he had to endure seems almost incredible. The 
poor fellow, with the scars upon his person and the unmistakable earnestness 
of his manner, only needed to be seen and heard to satisfy the most incre- 
dulous of the truth of his story. For refusing to be flogged, one time 
at Hall's Factory, the overseer, in a rage, "took up a hickory club" and 
laid his head " open on each side." Overpowered and wounded, he was 
stripped naked and compelled to receive THREE HUNDRED LASHES, by which 
he was literally excoriated from head to foot. For six months afterwards 
he was " laid up." Last year he was hired out for "one hundred and eighty 
dollars," out of which he " received but five dollars." This year he brought 
" one hundred and ninety dollars." Up to the time he escaped, he had re- 
ceived " two dollars," and the promise of " more at Christmas." Left 
brothers and sisters, all ignorant of his way of escape. The following pass 
brought away by Elijah speaks for itself, and will doubtless be interesting 
to some of our readers who are ignorant of what used to be Republican usages 

in the " land of the Free." 

RICHMOND, July 3d, 1857. 

Permit the Bearer Elijah to pass to and from my FACTORY, to Frederick Williams, 

In the Vallie, 
for one month, untill 11 o'clock at night. By A. B. Wells, 


As usual, the Vigilance Committee tendered aid to Elijah, and forwarded 
him on to Canada, whence he wrote back as follows : 

TOEONTO, Canada West, July 28. 

Dear friend in due respect to your humanity and nobility I now take my pen in hand 
to inform you of my health I am enjoying a reasonable proportion of health at this 
time and hope when these few lines come to hand they may find you and family the same 
dear Sir I am in Toronto and are working at my ole branch of business with meny of my 
friends I want you to send those to toronto to Mr Tueharts'on Edward St what I have 
been talking about is my Clothes I came from Richmond Va and expect my things to come 
to you So when they come to you then you will send them to Jesse Tuehart Edward 
St no 43. 

I must close by saying I have no more at present I still remain your brother, 





This candidate for Canada managed to secure a private berth on the steam- 
ship City of Richmond. He was thus enabled to leave his old mistress, 
Mary A. Ely, in Norfolk, the place of her abode, and the field of his servi- 
tude. Solomon was only twenty-two years of age, rather under the medium 
size, dark color, and of much natural ability. He viewed Slavery as a great 
hardship, and for a length of time had been watching for an opportunity to 
free himself. He had been in the habit of hiring his time of his mistress, 
for which he paid ten dollars per month. This amount failed to satisfy 
the mistress, as she was inclined to sell him to North Carolina, where Slave 
stock, at that time, was commanding high prices. The idea of North 
Carolina and a new v master made Solomon rather nervous, and he was 
thereby prompted to escape. On reaching the Committee he manifested 
very high appreciation of the attention paid him, and after duly resting for 
a day, he was sent on his way rejoicing. Seven days after leaving Phila- 
delphia, he wrote back from Canada as follows : 

ST. CATHARINES, Feb. 20th, 1854. 

MR. STILL DEAR SIR : It is with great pleasure that I have to inform you, that I have 
arrived safe in a land of freedom. Thanks to kind friends that helped me here. Thank 
God that I am treading on free soil. I expect to go to work to-morrow in a steam factory. 

I would like to have you, if it is not too much trouble, see Mr. Minhett, the steward on 
the boat that I came out on, when he gets to Norfolk, to go to the place where my clothes 
are, and bring them to you, and you direct them to the care of Rev. Hiram Wilson, St. 
Catharines, Niagara District, Canada West, by rail-road via Suspension Bridge. You men- 
tioned if I saw Mr. Foreman. I was to deliver a message he is not here. I saw two 
yesterday in church, from Norfolk, that I had known there. You will send my name, 
James Henry, as you knew me by that name; direct my things to James Henry. My 
love to your wife and children. 

Yours Respectfully, SOLOMON BROWN. 



WILLIAM fled from Lewis Roberts, who followed farming in Baltimore 
county, Md. In speaking of him, William gave him the character of being 
a "fierce and rough man," who owned nine head of slaves. Two of Wil- 
liam's sisters were held by Roberts, when he left. His excuse for running 
away was, "ill-treatment." In traveling North, he walked to Columbia (in 
Pennsylvania), and there took the cars for Philadelphia. The Committee 
took charge of him, and having given him the usual aid, sent him hopefully 
on his way. After safely reaching Canada, the thought of his wife in a land 


of bondage, pressed so deeply upon his mind, that he was prompted to make 
an effort to rescue her. The following letter, written on his behalf by the 
Rev. H. Wilson, indicates his feelings and wishes with regard to her : 

ST. CATHARINES, Canada West, 24th July, 1854. 

DEAR FRIEND, WILLIAM STILL : Your encouraging letter, to John Smith, was duly 
received by him, and I am requested to write again on his behalf. His colored friend in 
Baltimore county, who would favor his designs, is Thomas Cook, whom he wishes you to 
address, Baltimore post-office, care of Mr. Thomas Spicer. 

He has received a letter from Thomas Cook, dated the 6th of June, but it was a long 
time reaching him. He wishes you to say to Cook, that he got his letter, and that he 
would like to have him call on his wife and make known to her, that he is in good health, 
doing well here, and would like to have her come on as soon as she can. 

As she is a free woman, there will, doubtless, be no difficulty in her coming right 
through. He is working in the neighborhood of St. Catharines, but twelve miles from 
Niagara Falls. You will please recollect to address Thomas Cook, in the care of Thomas 
Spicer, Baltimore Post-office. Smith's wife is at, or near the place he came from, and, 
doubtless, Thomas Cook knows all about her condition and circumstances. Please write 
again to John Smith, in my care, if you please, and request Thomas Cook to do the same. 
Very respectfully yours in the cause of philanthropy. HIEAM WILSON. 


As the way of travel, via the Underground Rail Road, under the most 
favorable circumstances, even for the sterner sex, was hard enough to test 
the strongest nerves, and to try the faith of the bravest of the brave, 
every woman, who won her freedom, by this perilous undertaking, de- 
serves commemoration. It is, therefore, a pleasure to thus transfer from 
the old Record book the names of Ann Johnson and Lavina Woolfley, who 
fled from Maryland in 1857. Their lives, however, had not been in any 
way very remarkable. Ann was tall, and of a dark chestnut color, with an 
intelligent countenance, and about twenty-four years of age. She had filled 
various situations as a Slave. Sometimes she was required to serve in the 
kitchen, at other times she was required to toil in the field, with the plow, 
hoe, and the like. Samuel Harrington, of Cambridge District, Maryland, 
was the name of the man for whose benefit Ann labored during her younger 
days. She had no hesitation in saying, that he was a very " ill-natured 
man ;" he however, was a member of the "old time Methodist Church." In 
Slave property he had invested only to the extent of some five or six head. 
About three years previous to Ann's escape, one of her brothers fled and 
went to Canada. This circumstance so enraged the owner, that he declared 
he would " sell all " he owned. Accordingly Ann was soon put on the 
auction block, and was bought by a man who went by the name of William 
Moore. Moore was a married man, who, with his wife, was addicted to in- 


temperance and carousing. Ann found that she had simply got "out 
of the fire into the frying-pan." She was really at a loss to tell when 
her lot was the harder, whether under the " rum drinker," or the old 
time Methodist. In this state of mind she decided to leave all and go to 
Canada, the refuge for the fleeing bondman. Lavina, Ann's companion, 
was the wife of James Woolfley. She and her husband set out together, with 
six others, and were of the party of eight who were betrayed into Dover 
jail, as has already been described in these pages. After fighting their 
way out of the jail, they separated (for prudential reasons). The husband 
of Lavina, immediately after the conflict at the jail, passed on to Canada, 
leaving his wife under the protection of friends. Since that time several 
mo/iths had elapsed, but of each other nothing had been known, before she 
received information on her arrival at Philadelphia. The Committee was 
glad to inform her, that her husband had safely passed on to Canada, and 
that she would be aided on also, where they could enjoy freedom in a free 



CAPTAIN" F. was certainly no ordinary man. Although he had been 
living a sea-faring life for many years, and the marks of this calling were 
plainly enough visible in his manners and speech, he was, nevertheless, 
unlike the great mass of this class of men, not addicted to intemperance and 
profanity. On the contrary, he was a man of thought, and possessed, in a 
large measure, those humane traits of character which lead men to sympa- 
thize with suffering humanity wherever met with. 

It must be admitted, however, that the first impressions gathered from a 
hasty survey of his rough and rugged appearance, his large head, large 
mouth, large eyes, and heavy eye-brows, with a natural gift at keeping 
concealed the inner-workings of his mind and feelings, were not calculated 
to inspire the belief, that he was fitted to be entrusted with the lives of un- 
protected females, and helpless children; that he could take pleasure in 
risking his own life to rescue them from the hell of Slavery; that he could 
deliberately enter the enemy's domain, and with the faith of a martyr, face 
the dread slave-holder, with his Bowie-knives and revolvers Slave-hunters, 
and blood-hounds, lynchings, and penitentiaries, for humanity's sake. But 
his deeds proved him to be a true friend of the Slave ; whilst his skill, bra- 
very, and success stamped him as one of the most daring and heroic Cap- 
tains ever connected with the Underground Rail Road cause. 

At the time he was doing most for humanity in rescuing bondsmen from 


Slavery, Slave-laws were actually being the most rigidly executed. To show 
mercy, in any sense, to man or woman, who might be caught assisting a poor 
Slave to flee from the prison-house, was a matter not to be thought of in 
Virginia. This was perfectly well understood by Captain F. ; indeed he did 
not hesitate to say, that his hazardous operations might any day result in 
the "sacrifice" of his life. But on this point he seemed to give himself no 
more concern than he would have done to know which way the wind would 
blow the next day. He had his own convictions about dying and th,e future, 
and he declared, that he had " no fear of death," however it might come. 
Still, he was not disposed to be reckless or needlessly to imperil his life, or 
the lives of those he undertook to aid. Nor was he averse to receiving 
compensation for his services. In Richmond, Norfolk, Petersburg, and other 
places where he traded, many slaves were fully awake to their condition. 
The great slave sales were the agencies that served to awaken a large number. 
Then the various mechanical trades were necessarily given to the Slaves, for 
the master had no taste for " greasy, northern mechanics." Then, again, the 
stores had to be supplied with porters, draymen, etc., from the slave popula- 
tion. In the hearts of many of the more intelligent amongst the slaves, 
the men, as mechanics, etc., the women, as dress-makers, chamber-maids, etc., 
notwithstanding all the opposition and hard laws, the spirit of Freedom 
was steadily burning. Many of the slaves were half brothers, and sisters, 
cousins, nephews, and nieces to their owners, and of course " blood 
would tell." 

It was only necessary for the fact to be made known to a single reliable 
and intelligent slave, that a man with a boat running North had the love of 
Freedom for all mankind in his bosom to make that man an object of the 
greatest interest. If an angel had appeared amongst them doubtless his pre- 
sence would not have inspired greater anxiety and hope than did the presence 
of Captain F. The class most anxious to obtain freedom could generally 
manage to acquire some means which they would willingly offer to captains 
or conductors in the South for such assistance as was indispensable to their 
escape. Many of the slaves learned if they could manage to cross Mason 
and Dixon's line, even though they might be utterly destitute and penniless, 
that they would then receive aid and protection from the Vigilance Com- 
mittee. Here it may be well to state that, whilst the Committee gladly 
received and aided all who might come or be brought to them, they never 
employed agents or captains to go into the South with a 'view of enticing 
or running off slaves. So when captains operated, they did so with the 
full understanding that they alone were responsible for any failures attending 
their movements. 

The way is now clear to present Captain F. with his schooner lying at 
the wharf in Norfolk, loading with wheat, and at the same time with twenty- 
one fugitives secreted therein. While the boat was thus lying at her moor- 

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ing, the rumor was flying all over town that a number of slaves had escaped, 
which created a general excitement a degree less, perhaps, than if the 
citizens had been visited by an earthquake. The mayor of the city with a 
posse of officers with axes arid long spears repaired to Captain F.'s boat. 
The fearless commander received his Honor very coolly, and as gracefully 
as the circumstances would admit. The mayor gave him to understand who 
he was, and by what authority he appeared on the boat, and what he meant, 
to do. " Very well," replied Captain F., " here I am and this is my boat, 
go ahead and search." His Honor with his deputies looked quickly around, 
and then an order went forth from the mayor to "spear the wheat thoroughly." 
The deputies obeyed the command with alacrity. But the spears brought 
neither blood nor groans, and the sagacious mayor obviously concluded that 
he was "barking up the wrong tree." But the mayor was not there for 
nothing. " Take the axes and go to work," was the next order ; and the 
axe was used with terrible effect by one of the deputies. The deck and other 
parts of the boat were chopped and split ; no greater judgment being ex- 
ercised when using the axe than when spearing the wheat ; Captain F. all 
the while wearing an air of utter indifference or rather of entire composure. 
Indeed every step they took proved conclusively that they were wholly 
ignorant with regard to boat searching. At this point, with remarkable 
shrewdness, Captain F. saw wherein he could still further confuse them by a 
bold strategical move. As though about out of patience with the mayor's 
blunders, the captain instantly reminded his Honor that he had " stood still 
long enough" while his boat was being "damaged, chopped up," &c. "Now 
if you want to search," continued he, " give me the axe, and then point o\it 
the spot you want opened and I will open it for you very quick." While 
uttering these words he presented, as he was capable of doing, an indignant and 
defiant countenance, and intimated that it mattered not where or when .a man 
died provided he was in the right, and as though he wished to give particularly 
strong emphasis to what he was saying, he raised the axe, and brought it 
down edge foremost on the deck with startling effect, at the same time 
causing the splinters to fly from the boards. The mayor and his posse 
seemed, if not dreadfully frightened, completely confounded, and by the time 
Captain F. had again brought down his axe with increased power, demand- 
ing where they would have him open, they looked as though it was time for 
them to retire, and in a few minutes after they actually gave up the search 
and left the boat without finding a soul. Daniel in the lions' den was not 
safer than were the twenty-one passengers secreted on Captain F.'s boat. 
The law had been carried out with a vengeance, but did not avail with this 
skilled captain. The " five dollars" were paid for being searched, the amount 
which was lawfully required of every captain sailing from Virginia. And 
the captain steered direct for the City of Brotherly Love. The wind of 
heaven favoring the good cause, he arrived safely in due time, and delivered 


his precious freight in the vicinity of Philadelphia within the reach of the 
Vigilance Committee. The names of the passengers were as follows : 

WILSON, and one other, who subsequently passed on, having been 
detained on account of sickness. These passengers were most "likely- 
looking articles;" a number of them, doubtless, would have commanded the 
very highest prices in the Richmond market. Among them were some good 
mechanics one excellent dress-maker, some " prime " waiters and chamber- 
maids ; men and women with brains, some of them evincing remarkable 
intelligence and decided bravery, just the kind of passengers that gave 
the greatest satisfaction to the Vigilance Committee. The interview with 
these passengers was extremely interesting. Each one gave his or her 
experience of Slavery, the escape, etc., in his or her own way, deeply 
impressing those who had the privilege of seeing and hearing them, with 
the fact of the growing spirit of Liberty, and the wonderful perception and 
intelligence possessed by some of the sons of toil in the South. While all 
the names of these passengers were duly entered on the Underground Rail 
Road records, the number was too large, and the time they spent with the 
Committee too short, in which to write out even in the briefest manner more 
than a few of the narratives of this party. The following sketches, how- 
ever, are important, and will, doubtless, be interesting to those at least who 
were interested in the excitement which existed in Norfolk at the time of 
this memorable escape : 

ALAN TATUM. Alan was about thirty years of age, dark, intelligent, and 
of a good physical organization. For the last fourteen years he had been 
owned by Lovey White, a widow and the owner of nine slaves, from whom 
she derived a comfortable support. This slave-holding madam was a mem- 
ber of the Methodist Church, and was considered in her general deportment 
a " moderate slave-holder." For ten years prior to his escape, Alan had 
been hiring his time, for this privilege he paid his mistress, the widow, 
$120 per annum. If he happened to be so unfortunate as to lose time 
by sickness within the year, he was obliged to make that up. In 
addition to these items of expenditure, he had his own clothes, etc., to find. 
Although Alan had at first stated, that his mistress was "moderate," further 
on in his story, as he recounted the exactions above alluded to, his tune 
turned, and he declared, that he was prompted to leave because he disliked 
his mistress ; that " she was mean and without principle." Alan left three 
sisters, one brother, and a daughter. The names of the sisters and brother 
were as follows: Mary Ann, Rachel and William the daughter, Mary. 

DANIEL CARR. Daniel was about thirty-eight years of age, dark mu- 


latto, apparently of sound body, good mind and manly. The man to 
whom he had been compelled to render hard and unpaid labor and call 
master, was known by the name of John C. McBole. McBole lived at 
Plymouth, North Carolina, and was in the steam-mill business. McBole 
' had bought Daniel in Portsmouth, where he had been raised, for $1150, only 
two years previously to his escape. Twice Daniel had been sold on the auc- 
tion-block. A part of his life he had been treated hard. Two unsuccessful 
attempts to escape were made by Daniel, after being sold to North Carolina; 
for this offence, he was on one occasion stripped naked, and flogged 
severely. This did not cure him. Prior to his joining Captain F.'s party, 
he had fled to the swamps, and dwelt there for three months, surrounded 
with wild animals and reptiles, and it was this state of solitude that he left 
directly before finding Captain F. Daniel had a wife in Portsmouth, to 
whom he succeeded in paying a private visit, when, to his unspeakable joy, 
he made the acquaintance of the noble Captain F., whose big heart was de- 
lighted to give him a passage North. Daniel, after being sold, had been 
allowed, within the two years, only one opportunity of visiting his wife ; 
being thus debarred he resolved to escape. His wife, whose name was Han- 
nah, had three children slaves their names were Sam, Dan, and " baby." 
The name of the latter was unknown to him. 

MICHAEL VAUGHN. Michael was about thirty-one years of age, with 
superior physical proportions, and no lack of common sense. His color was 
without paleness dark and unfading, and his manly appearance was quite 
striking. Michael belonged to a lady, whom he described as a "very 
disagreeable woman." " For all my life I have belonged to her, but for the 
last eight years I have hired my time. I paid my mistress $120 a year; a 
part of the time I had to find my board and all my clothing." This was 
the direct, and unequivocal testimony that Michael gave of his slave life, 
which was the foundation for alleging that his mistress was a " very disa- 
greeable woman." 

Michael left a wife and one child in Slavery; but they were not owned by 
his mistress. Before escaping, he felt afraid to lead his companion into the 
secret of his contemplated movements, as he felt, that there was no possible 
way for him to do anything for her deliverance ; on the other hand, any 
revelation of the matter might prove too exciting for the poor soul ; her 
name was Esther. That he did not lose his affection for her whom he was 
obliged to leave so unceremoniously, is shown by the appended letter : 

NEW BEDFORD, August 22d, 1855. 

DEAR SIR : I send you this to inform you that I expect my wife to come that way. If 
she should, you will direct her to me. When I came through your city last Fall, you 
took my name in your office, which was then given you, Michael Vaughn ; since then my 
name is William Brown, No. 130 Kempton street. Please give my wife and child's name to 
Dr. Lundy, and tell him to attend to it for me. Her name is Esther, and the phild's 
name Louisa. Truly yours, WILLIAM BROWN. 


Michael worked in a foundry. In church fellowship he was connected 
with the Methodists his mistress with the Baptists. 

THOMAS NIXON was about nineteen years of age, of a dark hue, and 
quite intelligent. He had not much excuse to make for leaving, except, that 
he was " tired of staying " with his " owner," as he " feared he might 
be sold some day," so he " thought " that he might as well save him the 
trouble. Thomas belonged to a Mr. Bockover, a wholesale grocer, No. 12 
Brewer street. Thomas left behind him his mother and three brothers. 
His father was sold away when he was an infant, consequently he never saw 
him. Thomas was a member of the Methodist Church ; his master was of 
the same persuasion. 

FREDERICK NIXON was about thirty-three years of age, and belonged 
truly to the wide-awake class of slaves, as his marked physical and mental 
appearance indicated. He had a more urgent excuse for escaping than 
Thomas; he declared that he fled because his owner wanted "to work 
him hard without allowing him any chance, and had treated him rough." 
Frederick was also one of Mr. Bockover's chattels ; he left his wife, Eliza- 
beth, with four children in bondage. They were living in Eatontown, North 
Carolina. It had been almost one year since he had seen them. Had he 
remained in Norfolk he had not the slightest prospect of being reunited to 
his wife and children, as he had been already separated from them for about 
three years. This painful state of affairs only increased his desire to leave 
those who were brutal enough to make such havoc in his domestic 

PETER PETTY was about twenty-four years of age, and wore a happy 
countenance; he was a person of agreeable manners, and withal pretty 
smart. He acknowledged, that he had been owned by Joseph Boukley, 
Hair Inspector. Peter did not give Mr. Boukley a very good character, 
however; he said, that Mr. B. was "rowdyish in his habits, was deceitful and 
sly, and would sell his slaves any time. Hard bondage something like the 
children of Israel," was his simple excuse for fleeing. He hired his time of 
his master, for which he was compelled to pay $156 a year. When he lost 
time by sickness or rainy weather, he was required to make up the deficiency, 
also find his clothing. He left a wife Lavinia and one child, Eliza, both 
slaves. Peter communicated to his wife his secret intention to leave, and 
she acquiesced in his going. He left his parents also. All his sisters and 
brothers had been sold. Peter would have been sold too, but his owner 
was under the impression, that he was " too good a Christian" to violate 
the laws by running away. Peter's master was quite a devoted Methodist, 
and was attached to the same Church with Peter. While on the subject of 
religion, Peter was asked about the kind and character of preaching that he 
had been accustomed to hear ; whereupon he gave the following graphic spe- 
cimen : " Servants obey your masters ; good servants make good masters ; 


when your mistress speaks to you don't pout out your mouths ; when you 
want to go to church ask your mistress and master," etc., etc. Peter declared, 
that he had never heard but one preacher speak against slavery, and that 
"one was obliged to leave suddenly for the North." He said, that a Quaker 
lady spoke in meeting against Slavery one day, which resulted in an out- 
break, and final breaking up of the meeting. 

PHILLIS GAULT. Phillis was a widow, about thirty years of age ; the 
blood of two races flowed in about equal proportions through her veins. 
Such was her personal appearance, refinement, manners, and intelligence, 
that had the facts of her slave life been unknown, she would have readily 
passed for one who had possessed superior advantages. But the facts in 
her history proved, that she had been made to feel very keenly the horri- 
fying effects of Slavery ; not in the field, for she had never worked there ; 
nor as a common drudge, for she had always been required to fill higher 
spheres ; she was a dress-maker but not without fear of the auction block. 
This dreaded destiny was the motive which constrained her to escape with 
the twenty others ; secreted in the hold of a vessel expressly arranged for 
bringing away slaves. Death had robbed her of her husband at the time 
that the fever raged so fearfully in Norfolk. This sad event deprived her 
of the hope she had of being purchased by her husband, as he had intended. 
She was haunted by the constant thought of again being sold, as she had 
once been, and as she had witnessed the sale of her sister's four children 
after the death of their mother. 

Phillis was, to use her own striking expression in a state of "great 
horror ;" she felt, that nothing would relieve her but freedom. After having 
fully pondered the prospect of her freedom and the only mode offered 
by which she could escape, she consented to endure bravely whatever of 
suffering and trial might fall to her lot in the undertaking and as was the 
case with thousands of others, she succeeded. She remained several days in 
the family of a member of the Committee in Philadelphia, favorably impress- 
ing all who saw her. As she had formed a very high opinion of Boston, 
from having heard it so thoroughly reviled in Norfolk, she desired to go 
there. The Committee made no objections, gave her a free ticket, etc. 
From that time to the present, she has ever sustained a good Christian 
character, and as an industrious, upright, and intelligent woman, she has 
been and is highly respected by all who know her. The following letter is 
characteristic of her : 

BOSTON, March 22, 1858. 

MY DEAR SIB I received your photograph by Mr Cooper and it afforded me much 
pleasure to do so i hope that these few lines may find you and your family well as it 
leaves me and little Dicky at present i have no interesting news to tell you more than 
there is a great revival of religion through the land i all most forgoten to thank you for 
your kindness and our little Dick he is very wild and goes to school and it is my desire 
and prayer for him to grow up a useful man i wish you would try to gain some informa- 


tion from Norfolk and write me word how the times are there for i am afraid to write i 
wish yoo would see the Doctor for me and ask him if he could carefully find out any way 
that we could steal little Johny for i think to raise nine or ten hundred dollars for such a 
child is outraigust just at this time i feel as if i would rather steal him than to buy him 
give my kinde regards to the Dr and his family tell Miss Margret and Mrs Landy that i 
would like to see them out here this summer again to have a nice time in Cambridge 
Miss Walker that spent the evening with me in Cambridge sens much love to yoo and 
Mrs. Landy give my kindes regards to Mrs Still and children and receive a portion for 
yoo self i have no more to say at present but remain yoor respectfully. 

When you write direct yoo letters Mrs. Flarece P. Gault, No 62 Pinkney St. 




While many sympathized with the slave in his chains, and freely wept 
over his destiny, or gave money to help buy his freedom, but few could 
be found who were willing to take the risk of going into the South, and 
standing face to face with Slavery, in order to conduct a panting slave to 
freedom. The undertaking was too fearful to think of in most cases. 
But there were instances when men and women too, moved by the love of 
freedom, would take their lives in their hands, beard the lion in his den, and 
nobly rescue the oppressed. Such an instance is found in the case of Ma- 
tilda Mahoney, in Baltimore. 

The story of Matilda must be very brief, although it is full of thrilling 
interest. She was twenty-one years of age in 1854, when she escaped and 
came to Philadelphia, a handsome young woman, of a light complexion, 
quite refined in her manners, and in short, possessing great personal attrac- 
tions. But her situation as a slave was critical, as will be seen. 

Her claimant was Wm. Rigard, of Frederick, Md., who hired her to a 
Mr. Reese, in Baltimore ; in this situation her duties were general house- 
work and nursing. With these labors, she was not, however, so much 
dissatisfied as she was with other circumstances of a more alarming nature : 
her old master was tottering on the verge of the grave, and his son, a trader 
in New Orleans. These facts kept Matilda in extreme anxiety* For two 
years prior to her escape, the young trader had been trying to influence his 
father to let him have her for the Southern market ; but the old man had not 
consented. Of course the trader knew quite well, that an " article" of her 
appearance would command readily a very high price in the New Orleans 
market. But Matilda's attractions had won the heart of a young man in 
the North, one who had known her in Baltimore in earlier days, and this 


lover was willing to make desperate efforts to rescue her from her perilous 
situation. "Whether or not he had nerve enough to venture down to Balti- 
more to accompany his intended away on the Underground Rail Road, 
his presence would not have aided in the case. He had, however, a friend 
who consented to go to Baltimore on this desperate mission. The friend 
was James Jefferson, of Providence, R. I. AVith the strategy of a skilled 
soldier, Mr. Jefferson hurried to the Monumental City, and almost under 
the eyes of the slave-holders and slave-catchers, despite of pro-slavery 
breastworks, seized his prize and speeded her away on the Underground 
Railway, before her owner was made acquainted with the fact of her in- 
tended escape. On Matilda's arrival at the station in Philadelphia, several 
other passengers from different points, happened to come to hand just at that 
time, and gave great solicitude and anxiety to the Committee. Among these 
were a man and his wife and their four children, (noticed elsewhere), from 
Maryland. Likewise an interesting and intelligent young girl who had 
been almost miraculously rescued from the prison-house at Norfolk, and in 
addition to these, the brother of J. W< Pennington, D. D., with his two sons. 
While it was a great gratification to have travelers coming along so fast, 
and especially to observe in every countenance, determination, rare manly 
and womanly bearing, with remarkable intelligence, it must be admitted, 
that the acting committee felt at the same time, a very lively dread of 
the slave-hunters, and were on their guard. Arrangements were made to 
send the fugitives on by different trains, and in various directions. Matilda 
and all the others with the exception of the father and two sons (relatives 
of Dr. Pennington) successfully escaped and reached their longed-for haven 
in a free land. The Penningtons, however, although pains had been taken 
to apprize the Doctor of the good news of the coming of his kin, whom he 
had not seen for many, many years, were captured after being in New York 
some twenty-four hours. In answer to an advisory letter from the secretary 
of the Committee the following from the Doctor is explicit, relative to 
his wishes and feelings with regard to their being sent on to New York. 

29 6th AVENUE, NEW YORK, May 24th, 1854. 

MY DEAR MB. STILL : Your kind letter of the 22d inst has come to hand and I have 
to thank you for your offices of benevolence to my bone and my flesh, I have had the 
pleasure of doing a little for your brother Peter, but I do not think it an offset. My 
burden has been great about these brethren. I hope they have started on to me. Many 

thanks, my good friend. Yours Truly. 


This letter only served to intensify the deep interest which had already 
been awakened for the safety of all concerned. At the same time also it made 
the duty of the Committee clear with regard to forwarding them to N. Y. 
Immediately, therefore, the Doctor's brother and sons were furnished with 
free tickets and were as carefully cautioned as possible with regard to slave- 


hunters, if encountered on the road. In company with several other 
Underground Rail Road passengers, under the care of an intelligent guide, 
all were sent off in due order, looking quite as well as the most respectable 
of their race from any part of the country. The Committee in New 
York, with the Doctor, were on the look out of course ; thus without diffi- 
culty all arrived safely in the Empire City. 

It would seem that the coming of his brother and sons so overpowered 
the Doctor that he forgot how imminent their danger was. The meeting 
and interview was doubtless very joyous. Few perhaps could realize, even 
in imagination, the feelings that filled their hearts, as the Doctor and his 
brother reverted to their boyhood, when they were both slaves together in 
Maryland ; the separation the escape of the former many years previous 
the contrast, one elevated to the dignity of a Doctor of Divinity, a scholar 
and noted clergyman, and as such well known in the United States, and 
Great Britain, whilst, at the same time, his brother and kin were held in 
chains, compelled to do unrequited labor, to come and go at the bidding of 
another. Were not these reflections enough to incapacitate the Doctor for 
the time being, for cool thought as to how he should best guard against 
the enemy ? Indeed, in view of Slavery and its horrid features, the wonder 
is, not that more was not done, but that any thing was done, that the victims 
were not driven almost out of their senses. But time rolled on until nearly 
twenty-four hours had passed, and while reposing their fatigued and weary 
limbs in bed, just before day-break, hyena-like the slave-hunters pounced 
upon all three of them, and soon had them hand-cuffed and hurried off to a 
United States' Commissioner's office. Armed with the Fugitive Law, and 
a strong guard of officers to carry it out, resistance would have been simply 
useless. Ere the morning sun arose the sad news was borne by the telegraph 
wires to all parts of the country of this awful calamity on the Underground 
Rail Road. 

Scarcely less painful to the Committee was the news of this accident, than 
the news of a disaster, resulting in the loss of several lives, on the Camden 
and Amboy Road, would have been to its managers. This was the first 
accident that had ever taken place on the road after passengers had reached 
the Philadelphia Committee, although, in various instances, slave-hunters 
had been within a hair's breadth of their prey. 

All that was reported respecting the arrest and return of the Doctor's 
kin, so disgraceful to Christianity and civilization, is taken from the 
Liberator, as follows : 




NEW YORK, May 25th. 

About three o'clock this morning, three colored men, father and two sons, 
known as Jake, Bob, and Stephen Pennington, were arrested at the instance 
of David Smith and Jacob Grove, of Washington Co., Md., who claimed 
them as their slaves. They were taken before Commissioner Morton, of the 
United States Court, and it was understood that they would be examined at 
1 1 o'clock ; instead of that, however, the case was heard at once, no persons 
being present, when the claimnants testified that they were the owners of 
said slaves and that they escaped from their service at Baltimore, on Sunday 

From what we can gather of the proceedings, the fugitives acknowledged 
themselves to be slaves of Smith and Grove. The commissioner considering 
the testimony sufficient, ordered their surrender, and they were accordingly 
given up to their claimants, who hurried them off at once, and they are now 
on their way to Baltimore. A telegraph despatch has been sent to Philadel- 
phia, as it is understood an attempt will be made to rescue the parties, when 
the cars arrive. There was no excitement around the commissioner's office, 
owing to a misunderstanding as to the time of examination. The men were 
traced to this city by the claimants, who made application to the United 
States Court, when officers Horton and De Angeles were deputied by the 
marshal to effect their arrest, and those officers, with deputy Marshal 
Thompson scoured the city, and finally found them secreted in a house in 
Broome St. They were brought before Commissioner Morton this morning. 
No counsel appeared for the fugitives. The case being made out, the usual 
affidavits of fear of rescue were made, and the warrants thereupon issued, and 
the three fugitives were delivered over to the U. S. Marshal, and hurried off 
to Maryland. They were a father and his two sons, father about forty-five 
and sons eighteen or nineteen. The evidence shows them to have recently 
escaped. The father is the brother of the Rev. Dr. Pennington, a highly 
respected colored preacher of this city. 

NEW YORK, May 28. 

Last evening the church at the corner of Prince and Marion streets was 
filled with an intelligent audience of white and colored people, to hear Dr. 
Pennington relate the circumstance connected with the arrest of his brother 
and nephews. He showed, that he attempted to afford his brother the assis- 
tance of counsel, but was unable to do so, the officers at the Marshal's office 
having deceived him in relation to the time the trial was to take place be- 
fore the Commissioners. Hon. E. F. Culver next addressed the audience, 
showing, that a great injustice had been done to the brother of Dr. Pen- 


nington, and though he, up to that time, had advocated peace, he now had 
the spirit to tear down the building over the Marshal's head. Intense in- 
terest was manifested during the proceedings, and much sympathy in behalf 
of Dr. Pennington. 


The U. S. Marshal, A. T. Hillyer, Esq., received a dispatch this morning 
from officers Horton and Dellugelis, at Baltimore, stating, that they had ar- 
rived there with the three slaves, arrested here yesterday (the Penningtons), 
the owners accompanying them. The officers will return to New York, this 
evening. N. Y. Expess, 27th. 

NEW YORK, May 30. 

The Rev. Dr. Pennington has received a letter from Mr. Grove, the claim- 
ant of his brother, who was recently taken back from this city, oifering to 
sell him to Dr. Pennington, should he wish to buy him, and stating, that he 
would await a reply, before " selling him to the slave-drivers." Mr. Groce, 
who accompanied his "sweet heart," Matilda, in the same train which con- 
veyed the Penningtons to New York, had reason to apprehend danger to 
all the Underground Rail Road passengers, as will appear from his sub- 
joined letter: 

ELMIEA, May 28th. 

DEAR LUKE : I arrived home safe with my precious charge, and found all well. I 
have just learned, that the Penningtons are taken. Had he done as I wished him he 
would never have been taken. Last night our tall friend from Baltimore came, and 
caused great excitement here by his information. The lady is perfectly safe now in Can- 
ada. I will write you and Mr. Still as soon as I get over the excitement. This letter was 
first intended for Mr. Gains, but I now send it to you. Please let me hear their move- 
ments. -Yours truly, ~ T ~ 


But sadly as this blow was felt by the Vigilance Committee, it did not 
cause them to relax their efforts in the least. Indeed it only served to stir 
them up to renewed diligence and watchfulness, although for a length of 
time afterwards the Committee felt disposed, when sending, to avoid New 
York as much as possible, and in lieu thereof, to send vid Elmira, where 
there was a depot under the agency of John W. Jones. Mr. Jones was a 
true and prompt friend of the fugitive, and wide awake with regard to 
Slavery and slave-holders, and slave hunters, for he had known from sad 
experience in Virginia every trait of character belonging to these classes. 

In the midst of the Doctor's grief, friends of the slave soon raised money 
to purchase his brother, about $1,000; but the unfortunate sons were doomed 
to the auction block and the far South, where, the writer has never exactly 






DAY, NOV. 25, 1855. 

It was the business of the Vigilance Committee, as it was clearly under- 
stood by the friends of the Slave, to assist all needy fugitives, who might in 
any way manage to reach Philadelphia, but, for various reasons, not to 
send agents South to incite slaves to run away, or to assist them in so doing. 
Sometimes, however, this rule could not altogether be conformed to. Cases, 
in some instances, would appeal so loudly and forcibly to humanity, civiliza- 
tion, and Christianity, that it would really seem as if the very stones 
would cry out, unless something was done. As an illustration of this point, 
the story of the young girl, which is now to be related, will afford the most 
striking proof. At the same time it may be seen how much anxiety, care, 
hazard, delay and material aid, were required in order to effect the delive- 
rance of some who were in close places, and difficult of access. It will be 
necessary to present a considerable amount of correspondence in this case, 
to bring to light the hidden mysteries of this narrative. The first letter, in 
explanation, is the following : 


WASHINGTON, D. C., June 27, 1854. 

MR. WM. STILL Dear Sir : I have to thank you for the prompt answer you had the 
kindness to give to my note of 22d inst. Having found a correspondence so quick and 
easy, and withal so very flattering, I address you again more fully. 

The liberal appropriation for transportation has been made chiefly on account of a female 
child of ten or eleven years old, for whose purchase I have been authorized to offer $700 
(refused), and for whose sister I have paid $1,600, and some $1,000 for their mother, &c. 

This child sleeps in the same apartment with its master and mistress, which adds to the 
difficulty of removal. She is some ten or twelve miles from the city, so that really the 
chief hazard will be in bringing her safely to town, and in secreting her until a few days of 
storm shall have abated. All this, I think, is now provided for with entire safety. 

The child has two cousins in the immediate vicinity ; a young man of some twenty-two 
years of age, and his sister, of perhaps seventeen both Slaves, but bright and clear-headed 
as anybody. The young man I have seen often the services of both seem indispensable 
to the main object suggested ; but having once rendered the service, they cannot, and 
ought not return to Slavery. They look for freedom as the reward of what they shall 
now do. 

Out of the $300, cheerfully offered for the whole enterprise, I must pay some reasonable 
sum for transportation to the city and sustenance while here. It cannot be much ; for the 
balance, I shall give a draft, which will be promptly paid on their arrival in New York. 

If I have been understood to offer the whole $300, it shall be paid, though I have meant 
as above stated. Among the various ways that have been suggested, has been that of 


taking all of them into the cars here ; that, I think, will be found impracticable. I find so 
much vigilance at the depot, that I would not deem it safe, though in any kind of carriage 
they might leave in safety at any time. 

All the rest I leave to the experience and sagacity of the gentleman who maps out the 

Now I will thank you to reply to this and let me know that it reaches you in safety, 
and is not put in a careless place, whereby I may be endangered ; and state also, whether 
all my propositions are understood and acceptable, and whether, (pretty quickly after I shall 
inform you that all things are ready), the gentleman will make his appearance ? 

I live alone. My office and bed-room, &c., are at the corner of E. and 7th streets, op- 
posite the east end of the General Post Office, where any one may call upon me. 

It would, of course, be imprudent, that this letter, or any other written particulars, be 
in his pockets for fear of accident. Yours very respectfully, J. BIGELOW. 

While this letter clearly brought to light the situation of things, its 
author, however, had scarcely begun to conceive of the numberless difficul- 
ties which stood in the way of success before the work could be accom- 
plished. The information which Mr. Bigelow's letter contained of the 
painful situation of this young girl was submitted to different parties who 
could be trusted, with a view of finding a person who might possess suffi- 
cient courage to undertake to bring her away. Amongst those consulted 
were two or three captains who had on former occasions done good service 
in the cause. One of these captains was known in Underground Rail-Road 
circles as the " powder boy."* He was willing to undertake the work, 
and immediately concluded to make a visit to Washington, to see how the 
" land lay." Accordingly in company with another Underground Rail 
Road captain, he reported himself one day to Mr. Bigelow with as much 
assurance as if he were on an errand for an office under the government. 
The impression made on Mr. Bigelow's mind may be seen from the follow- 
ing letter ; it may also be seen that he was fully alive to the necessity of 
precautionary measures. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., September 9th, 1855. 

MR. WM. STILL, DEAR SIR : I strongly hope the little matter of business so long 
pending and about which I have written you so many times, will take a move now. I 
have the promise that the merchandize shall be delivered in this city to-night. Like so 
many other promises, this also may prove a failure, though I have reason to believe that 
it will not. I shall, however, know before I mail this note. In case the goods arrive here 
I shall hope to see your long-talked of " Professional gentleman " in Washington, as soon 
as possible. He will find me by the enclosed card, which shall be a satisfactory introduc- 
tion for him. You have never given me his name, nor am I anxious to know it. But 
on a pleasant visit made last fall -to friend Wm. Wright, in Adams Co., I suppose I acci- 
dentally learned it to be a certain Dr. H . Well, let him come. 

I had an interesting call a week ago from two gentlemen, masters of vessels, and 

* He had been engaged at different times in carrying powder in his boat from a powder magazine, 
and from this circumstance, was familiarly called the " Powder Boy." 


brothers, one of whom, I understand, you know as the " powder boy." I had a little 
light freight for them ; but not finding enough other freight to ballast their craft, they 
went down the river looking for wheat, and promising to return soon. I hope to see 
them often. 

I hope this may find you returned from your northern trip,* as your time proposed was 
out two or three days ago. 

I hope if the whole particulars of Jane Johnson's case f are printed, you will send me 
the copy as proposed. 

I forwarded some of her things to Boston a few days ago, and had I known its import- 
ance in court, I could have sent you one or two witnesses who would prove that her 
freedom was intended by her before she left Washington, and that a man was engaged 
here to go on to Philadelphia the same day with her to give notice there of her case, 
though I think he failed to do so. It was beyond all question her purpose, before leaving 
Washington and provable too, that if Wheeler should make her a free woman by taking 
her to a free state " to use it rather." 

Tuesday, llth September. The attempt was made on Sunday to forward the merchan- 
dize, but failed through no fault of any of the parties that I now know of. It will be re- 
peated soon, and you shall know the result. 

" Whorra for Judge Kane." I feel so indignant at the man, that it is not easy to write 
the foregoing sentence, and yet who is helping our cause like Kane and Douglas, not 
forgetting Stringfellow. I hope soon to know that this reaches you in safety. 

It often happens that light freight would be offered to Captain B., but the owners can- 
not by possibility advance the amount of freight. I wish it were possible in some such 
extreme cases, that after advancing all they have, some public fund should be found to pay 
the balance or at least lend it. 

[I wish here to caution you against the supposition that I would do any act, or say a 
word towards helping servants to escape. Although I hate slavery so much, I keep my 
hands clear of any such wicked or illegal act.] Yours, very truly, J. B. 

Will you recollect, hereafter, that in any of my future letters, in which I may use [ ] 
whatever words may be within the brackets are intended to have no signification what- 
ever to you, only to blind the eyes of the uninitiated. You will find an example at 
the close of my letter. 

Up to this time the chances seemed favorable of procuring the ready services 
of either of the above mentioned captains who visited Lawyer Bigelow for 
the removal of the merchandize to Philadelphia, providing the shipping 
master could have it in readiness to suit their convenience. But as these 
captains had a number of engagements at Richmond, Petersburg, &c., it was 
not deemed altogether safe to rely upon either of them, consequently in 
order to be prepared in case of an emergency, the matter was laid before two 
professional gentlemen who were each occupying chairs in one of the medical 
colleges of Philadelphia, They were known to be true friends of the slave, 
and had possessed withal some experience in Underground Rail Road 
matters. Either of these professors was willing to undertake the operation, 
provided arrangements could be completed in time to be carried out during 
the vacation. In this hopeful, although painfully indefinite position the 

* Mr. Bigelow's correspondent had been on a visit to the fugitives to Canada, 
f Jane Johnson of the Passmore Williamson Slave Case. 


matter remained for more than a year ; but the correspondence and anxiety 
increased, and with them disappointments and difficulties multiplied. The 
hope of Freedom, however, buoyed up the heart of the young slave girl 
during the long months of anxious waiting and daily expectation for the 
hour of deliverance to come. Equally true and faithful also did Mr. Bige- 
low prove to the last ; but at times he had some painfully dark seasons to 
encounter, as may be seen from the subjoined letter : 

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 6th, 1855. 

ME. STILL, DEAR SIB : I regret exceedingly to learn by your favor of 4th instant, 
that all things are not ready. Although I cannot speak of any immediate and positive 
danger. [ Yet it is well known that the city is full of incendiaries ] 

Perhaps you are aware that any colored citizen is liable at any hour of day or night 
without any show- of authority to have his house ransacked by constables, and if others do 
it and commit the most outrageous depredations none but white witnesses can convict 
them. Such outrages are always common here, and no kind of property exposed to 
colored protection only, can be considered safe. [I don't say that much liberty should not 
be given to constables on account of numerous runaways, but it don't always work for 
good.] Before advertising they go round and offer rewards to sharp colored men of per- 
haps one or two hundred dollars, to betray runaways, and having discovered their hiding- 
place, seize them and then cheat their informers out of the money. 

[Although a law-abiding man,] I am anxious in this case of innocence to raise no 
conflict or suspicion. [Be sure that the manumission is full and legal.] And as I am 
powerless without your aid, I pray you don't lose a moment in giving me relief. The 
idea of waiting yet for weeks seems dreadful ; do reduce it to days if possible, and give me 
notice of the earliest possible time. 

The property is not yet advertised, but will be, [and if we delay too long, may be sold 
and lost.] 

It was a great misunderstanding, though not your fault, that so much delay would be 
necessary. [I repeat again that I must have the thing done legally, therefore, please get 
a good lawyer to draw up the deed of manumission.] Yours Truly, J. BIGELOW. 

Great was the anxiety felt in "Washington. It is certainly not too much to 
say, that an equal amount of anxiety existed in Philadelphia .respecting the 
safety of the merchandise. At this juncture Mr. Bigelow had come to the 
conclusion that it was no longer safe to write over his own name, but that 
he would do well to henceforth adopt the name of the renowned Quaker, 
Wm. Penn, (he was worthy of it) as in the case of the following letter. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 10th, 1855. 

DEAR SIR : Doctor T. presented my card last night about half past eight which I in- 
stantly recognized. I, however, soon became suspicious, and afterwards confounded, to 
find the doctor using your name and the well known names of Mr. McK. and Mr. W. 
and yet, neither he nor I, could conjecture the object of his visit. 

The doctor is agreeable and sensible, and doubtless a true-hearted man. He seemed to 
see the whole matter as I did, and was embarrassed. He had nothing to propose, no infor- 
mation to give of the " P. Boy," or of any substitute, and seemed to want no particular 
information from me concerning my anxieties and perils, though I stated them to him, 
but found him as powerless as myself to give me relief. I had an agreeable interview 
with the doctor till after ten, when he left, intending to take the cars at six, as I suppose 
he did do, this morning. 


This morning after eight, I got your letter of the 9th, but it gives me but little enlight- 
enment or satisfaction. You simply say that the doctor is a true man, which I cannot 
doubt, that you thought it best we should have an interview, and that you supposed I 
would meet the expenses. You informed me also that the " P. Boy '' left for Richmond, 
on Friday, the 2d, to be gone the length of time named in your last, I must infer that to be 
ten days though in your last you assured me that the " P. Boy " would certainly start for 
this place (not Richmond) in two or three days, though the difficulty about freight might 
cause delay, and the whole enterprise might not be accomplished under ten days, &c., &c. 
That time having elapsed and I having agreed to an extra fifty dollars to ensure prompt- 
ness. I have scarcely left my office since, except for my hasty meals, awaiting his arrival. 
You now inform me he has gone to Richmond, to be gone ten days, which will expire to- 
morrow, but you do not say he will return here or to Phila., or where, at the expiration 
of that time, and Dr. T. could tell me nothing whatever about him. Had he been able to tell 
me that this best plan, which I have so long rested upon, would fail, or was abandoned, I 
could then understand it, but he says no such thing, and you say, as you have twice be- 
fore said, " ten days more." 

Now, my dear sir, after this recapitulation, can you not see that I have reason for great 
embarrassment ? I have given assurances, both here and ia New York, founded on your 
assurances to me, and caused my friends in the latter place great anxiety, so much that I 
have had no way to explain my own letters but by sending your last two- to Mr. Tappan. 

I cannot doubt, I do not, but that you wish to help me, and the cause too, for which 
both of us have made many and large sacrifices with no hope of reward in this world. If 
in this case I have been very urgent since September Dr. T. can give you some of my 
reasons, they have not been selfish. 

The whole matter is in a nutshell. Can I, in your opinion, depend on the " P. Boy," 
and when ? 

If he promises to come here next trip, will he come, or go to Richmond ? This I think 
is the best way. Can I depend on it? 

Dr. T. promised to write me some explanation and give some advice, and at first I 
thought to await his letter, but on second thought concluded to tell you how I feel, as I 
have done. 

Will you answer my questions with some explicitness, and without delay? 

I forgot to inquire of Dr. T. who is the head of your Vigilance Committee, whom I may 
address concerning other and further operations ? Yours very truly, WM. PENN. 

P. S. I ought to say, that I have no doubt but there were good reasons for the P. Boy's 
going to Richmond instead of W. ; but what can they be ? 

Whilst there are a score .of other interesting letters, bearing on this case, 
the above must suffice, to give at least, an idea of the perplexities and 
dangers attending its early history. Having accomplished this end, a more 
encouraging and pleasant phase of the transaction may now be introduced. 
Here the difficulties, at least very many of them, vanish, yet in one respect, 
the danger became most imminent. The following letter shows that the girl 
had been successfully rescued from her master, and that a reward of five 
hundred dollars had been offered for her. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 12, 1855. 









Having thus succeeded in getting possession of, and secreting this fleeing 
child of fifteen, as best they could, in Washington, all concerned were com- 
pelled to "possess their souls in patience," until the storm had passed. 
Meanwhile, the "child of fifteen" was christened "Joe Wright," and 
dressed in male attire to prepare for traveling as a lad. As no oppor- 
tunity had hitherto presented itself, whereby to prepare the "package" for 
shipment, from Washington, neither the "powder boy" nor Dr. T.,f was 
prepared to attend to the removal, at this critical moment. The emergency 
of the case, however, cried loudly for aid. The other professional gentleman 
(Dr. H.), was now appealed to, but his engagements in the college forbade his 
absence before about Thanksgiving day, which was then six weeks off. This 
fact was communicated to Washington, and it being the only resource left, 
the time named was necessarily acquiesced in. In the interim, " Joe " was 
to perfect herself in the art of wearing pantaloons, and all other male rig. 
Soon the days and weeks slid by, although at first the time for waiting 
seemed long, when, according to promise, Dr. H. was in Washington, with 
his horse and buggy prepared for duty. The impressions made by Dr. H., 
on William Penn's mind, at his first interview, will doubtless be interesting 
to all concerned, as may be seen in the following letter : 

WASHINGTON, D. C., November 26, 1855. 

MY DEAR SIR : A recent letter from my friend, probably has led you to expect this 
from me. He was delighted to receive yours of the 23d, stating that the boy was all 
right. He found the "Prof, gentleman" & perfect gentleman; cool, quiet, thoughtful, and 
perfectly competent to execute his undertaking. At the first three minutes of their inter- 
view, he felt assured that all would be right. He, and all concerned, give you and that 
gentleman sincere thanks for what you have done. May the blessings of Him, who cares 
for the poor, be on your heads. 

The especial object of this, is to inform you that there is a half dozen or so of packages 
here, pressing for transportation; twice or thrice that number are also pressing, but less 
so than the others. Their aggregate means will average, say, $10 each ; besides these, 
we know of a few, say three or four, able and smart, but utterly destitute, and kept so 
purposely by their oppressors. For all these, we feel deeply interested; $10 each would 
not be enough for the "powder boy." Is there any fund from which a pittance could be 
spared to help these poor creatures? I don't doubt but that they would honestly repay 

* At the time this letter was written, she was then under Mr. B.'s protection in Washington, and 
bad to be so kept for six weeks. His question, therefore, "is she still running with bleeding feet," 
etc.. was simply a precautionary step to blind any who might perchance investigate the matter. 

f Dr. T. was one of the professional gentlemen alluded to above, who had expressed a willingness 
to act as an agent in the matter. 



a small loan as soon as they could earn it. I know full well, that if you begin with such 
cases, there is no boundary at which you can stop. For years, one half at least, of my 
friend's time here has been gratuitously given to cases of distress among this class. He 
never expects or desires to do less ; he literally has the poor always with him. He knows 
that it is so with you also, therefore, he only states the case, being especially anxious for 
at least those to whom I have referred. 

I think a small lot of hard coal might always be sold here from the vessel at a profit. 
Would not a like lot of Cumberland coal always sell in Philadelphia? 

My friend would be very glad to see the powder boy here again, and if he brings coal, 
there are those here, who would try to help him sell. 

Eeply to your regular correspondent as usual. WM. PENN. 

By the presence of the Dr., confidence having been reassured that all 
would be right, as well as by the " inner light," William Penn experienced 
a great sense of relief. Everything having been duly arranged, the doctor's 
horse and carriage stood waiting before the White House (William Penn 
preferred this place as a starting point, rather than before his own office 
door). It being understood that " Joe " was to act as coachman in passing 
out of Washington, at this moment he was called for, and in the most 
polite and natural manner, with the fleetness of a young deer, he jumped 
into the carriage, took the reins and whip, whilst the doctor and William 
Penn were cordially shaking hands and bidding adieu. This done, the 
order was given to Joe, " drive on." Joe bravely obeyed. The faithful 
horse trotted off willingly, and the doctor sat in his carriage as composed as 
though he had succeeded in procuring an honorable and lucrative office 
from the White House, and was returning home to tell his wife the good 
news. The doctor had some knowledge of the roads, also some acquaintances 
in Maryland, through which State he had to travel ; therefore, after leaving 
the suburbs of Washington, the doctor took the reins in his own hands, as 
he felt that he was more experienced as a driver than his young coachman. 
He was also mindful of the fact, that, before reaching Pennsylvania, his 
faithful beast would need feeding several times, and that they consequently 
would be obliged to pass one or two nights at least in Maryland, either at 
a tavern or farm-house. 

In reflecting upon the matter, it occurred to the doctor, that in earlier 
days, he had been quite intimately acquainted with a farmer and his family 
(who were slave-holders), in Maryland, and that he would about reach their 
house at the end of the first day's journey. He concluded that he could 
do no better than to renew his acquaintance with his old friends on this 
occasion. After a very successful day's travel, night came on, and the 
doctor was safely at the farmer's door with his carriage and waiter boy; 
the doctor was readily recognized by the farmer and his family, who seemed 
glad to see him; indeed, they made quite a "fuss" over him. As a matter 
of strategy, the doctor made quite a "fuss" over them in return; nevertheless, 
he did not fail to assume airs of importance, which were calculated to lead 


them to think that he had grown older and wiser than when they knew him 
in his younger days. In casually referring to the manner of his traveling, 
he alluded to the fact, that he was not very well, and as it had been a 
considerable length of time since he had been through that part of the 
country, he thought that the drive would do him good, and especially the 
sight of old familiar places and people. The farmer and his family felt 
themselves exceedingly honored by the visit from the distinguished doctor, 
and manifested a marked willingness to spare no pains to render his night's 
lodging in every way comfortable. 

The Dr. being an educated and intelligent gentleman, well posted on other 
questions besides medicine, could freely talk about farming in all its 
branches, and " niggers " too, in an emergency, so the evening passed off 
pleasantly with the Dr. in the parlor, and " Joe " in the kitchen. The Dr., 
however, had given " Joe " precept upon precept, " here a little, and there a 
little," as to how he should act in the presence of master white people, or 
slave colored people, and thus he was prepared to act his part with due ex- 
actness. Before the evening grew late, the Dr., fearing some accident, inti- 
mated, that he was feeling a " little languid," and therefore thought that he 
had better " retire." Furthermore he added, that he was " liable to vertigo," 
when not quite well, and for this reason he must have his boy " Joe " sleep 
in the room with him. "Simply give him a bed quilt and he will fare well 
enough in one corner of the room," said the Dr. The proposal was 
readily acceded to, and carried into effect by the accommodating host. The 
Dr. was soon in bed, sleeping soundly, and " Joe," in his new coat and 
pants, wrapped up in the bed quilt, in a corner of the room quite com- 

The next morning the Dr. arose at as early an hour as was prudent for a 
gentleman of his position, and feeling refreshed, partook of a good break- 
fast, and was ready, with his boy, "Joe," to prosecute their journey. Face, 
eyes, hope, and steps, were set as flint, Pennsylvania-ward. What time the 
following day or night they crossed Mason and Dixon's line is not recorded 
on the Underground Rail Road books, but at four o'clock on Thanksgiving 
Day, the Dr. safely landed the " fleeing girl of fifteen " at the residence of 
the writer in Philadelphia. On delivering up his charge, the Dr. simply 
remarked to the writer's wife, " I wish to leave this young lad with you a 
'short while, and I will call and see further about him." Without further 
explanation, he stepped into his carriage and hurried away, evidently 
anxious to report himself to his wife, in order to relieve her mind of a 
great weight of anxiety on his account. The writer, who happened to be 
absent from home when the Dr. called, returned soon afterwards. " The 
Dr. has been here" (he was the family physician), "and left this ' young 
lad,' and said, that he would call again and see about him," said Mrs. S. 
The " young lad" was sitting quite composedly in the dining-room, with his 


cap on. The writer turned to him and inquired, "I suppose you are 
the person that the Dr. went to Washington after, are you not ?" " No," 
said " Joe." " Where are you from then?" was the next question. "From 
York, sir." " From York ? Why then did the Dr. bring you here ?" was 
the next query, " the Dr. went expressly to Washington after a young girl, 
who was to be brought away dressed up as a boy, and I took you to be the 
person." Without replying " the lad " arose and walked out of the house. 
The querist, somewhat mystified, followed him, and then when the two 
were alone, u the lad " said, " I am the one the Dr. went after." After con- 
gratulating her, the writer asked why she had said, that she was not from 
Washington, but from York. She explained, that the Dr. had strictly 
charged her not to own to any person, except the writer, that she was from 
Washington, but from York. As there were persons present (wife, hired 
girl, and a fugitive woman), when the questions were put to her, she felt 
that it would be a violation of her pledge to answer in the affirmative. 
Before this examination, neither of the individuals present for a moment en- 
tertained the slightest doubt but that she was a " lad," so well had she 
acted her part in every particular. She was dressed in a new suit, which 
fitted her quite nicely, and with her unusual amount of common sense, she 
appeared to be in no respect lacking. To send off a prize so rare and re- 
markable, as she was, without affording some of the stockholders and 
managers of the Road the pleasure of seeing her, was not to be thought of. 
In addition to the Vigilance Committee, quite a number of persons were in- 
vited to see her, and were greatly astonished. Indeed it was difficult to 
realize, that she was not a boy, even after becoming acquainted with the 
facts in the case. 

The following is an exact account of this case, as taken from the Under- 
ground Rail Road records : 


Arrived, Ann Maria Weems, alias l Joe Wright/ alias ' Ellen Capron/ 
from Washington, through the aid of Dr. H. She is about fifteen years of 
age, bright mulatto, well grown, smart and good-looking. For the last three 
years, or about that length of time, she has been owned by Charles M. Price, 
a negro trader, of Rockville, Maryland. Mr. P. was given to ' intempe- 
rance/ to a very great extent, and gross ' profanity/ He buys and sells 
many slaves in the course of the year. l His wife is cross and peevish.' 
She used to take great pleasure in ' torturing ' one ' little slave boy.' He 
was the son of his master (and was owned by him) ; this was the chief cause 
of the mistress' spite." 

Ann Maria had always desired her freedom from childhood, and although 
not thirteen, when first advised to escape, she received the suggestion with- 
out hesitation, and ever after that time waited almost daily, for more than 


two -years, the chance to flee. Her friends were, of course, to aid her, and 
make arrangements for her escape. Her owner, fearing that she might es- 
cape, for a long time compelled her to sleep in the chamber with " her master 
and mistress ;" indeed she was so kept until about three weeks before she 
fled. She left her parents living in Washington. Three of her brothers had 
been sold South from their parents. Her mother had been purchased for 
$1,000, and one of her sisters for $1,600 for freedom. Before Ann Maria 
was thirteen years of age $700 was offered for her by a friend, who 
desired to procure her freedom, but the offer was promptly refused, as were 
succeeding ones repeatedly made. The only chance of procuring her free- 
dom, depended upon getting her away on the Underground Rail Road. She 
was neatly attired in male habiliments, and in that manner came all the way 
from Washington. After passing two or three days with her new friends in 
Philadelphia, she was sent on (in male attire) to Lewis Tappan, of New 
York, who had likewise been deeply interested in her case from the be- 
ginning, and who held himself ready, as was understood, to cash a draft for 
three hundred dollars to compensate the man who might risk his own liberty 
in bringing her on from Washington. After having arrived safely in New 
York, she found a home and kind friends in the family of the Rev. A. N. 
Freeman, and received quite an ovation characteristic of an Underground 
Rail Road. 

After having received many tokens of esteem and kindness from the friends 
of the slave in New York and Brooklyn, she was carefully forwarded on to 
Canada, to be educated at the " Buxton Settlement." 

An interesting letter, however, from the mother of Ann Maria, conveying 
the intelligence of her late great struggle and anxiety in laboring to free her 
last child from Slavery is too important to be omitted, and hence is inserted 
in connection with this narrative. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., September 19th, 1857. 

WM. STILL, ESQ., Philadelphia, Pa. SIR : I have just sent for my son Augustus, in 
Alabama. I have sent eleven hundred dollars which pays for his body and some thirty 
dollars to pay his fare to Washington. I borrowed one hundred and eighty dollars to 
make out the eleven hundred dollars. I was not very successful in Syracuse. I collected 
only twelve dollars, and in Eochester only two dollars. I did not know that the season 
was so unpropitious. The wealthy had all gone to the springs. They must have re- 
turned by this time. I hope you will exert yourself and help me get a part of the money 
I owe, at least. I am obliged to pay it by the 12th of next month. I was unwell when 
I returned through Philadelphia, or I should have called. I had been from home five 

My son Augustus is the last of the family in Slavery. I feel rejoiced that he is soon to 
be free and with me, and of course feel the greatest solicitude about raising the one hun- 
dred and eighty dollars I have borrowed of a kind friend, or who has borrowed it for me 
at bank. I hope and pray you will help me as far as possible. Tell Mr. Douglass to re- 
member me, and if he can, to interest, his friends for me. 


You will recollect that five hundred dollars of our money was taken to buy the sister of 
Henry H. Garnett's wife. Had I been able to command this I should not be necessitated 
to ask the favors and indulgences I do. 

I am expecting daily the return of Augustus, and may Heaven grant him a safe deliv- 
erance and smile propitiously upon you and all kind friends who have aided in his return 
to me. 

Be pleased to remember me to friends, and accept yourself the blessing and prayers 
of your dear friend, EARRO WEEMS. 

P. S. Direct your letter to E. L. Stevens, in Duff Green's Row, Capitol Hill, Washing- 
ton, D. 0. E w ^ 

That William Perm who worked so faithfully for two years for the 
deliverance of Ann Maria may not appear to have been devoting all his 
time and sympathy towards this single object it seems expedient that two or 
three additional letters, proposing certain grand Underground Rail Road 
plans, should have a place here. For this purpose, therefore, the following 
letters are subjoined. 


WASHINGTON, D. C., Oct. 3, 1854. 

DEAR SIR : I address you to-day chiefly at the suggestion of the Lady who will hand 
you my letter, and who is a resident of your city. 

After stating to you, that the case about which I have previously written, remains just 
as it was when I wrote last full of difficulty I thought I would call your attention to 
another enterprise ; it is this : to find a man with a large heart for doing good to the op- 
pressed, who will come to Washington to live, and who will walk out to Penn'a., or a 
part of the way th&re, once or twice a week. He will find parties who will pay him for 
doing so. Parties of say, two, three, five or so, who will pay him at least $5 each, for the 
privilege of following him, but will never speak to him ; but will keep just in sight of him 
and obey any sign he may give ; say, he takes off his hat and scratches his head as a 
sign for them to go to some barn or wood to rest, &c. No living being shall be found to 
say he ever spoke to them. A white man would be best, and then even parties led out by 
him could not, if they would, testify to any understanding or anything else against a white 
man. I think he might make a good living at it. Can it not be done ? 

If one or two safe stopping-places could be found on the way such as a barn or shed, 
they could walk quite safely all night and then sleep all day about two, or easily three 
nights would convey them to a place of safety. The traveler might be a peddler or huck- 
ster, with an old horse and cart, and bring us in eggs and butter if he pleases. 

Let him once plan out his route, and he might then take ten or a dozen at a time, and 
they are often able and willing to pay $10 a piece. 

I have a hard case now on hand ; a brother and sister 23 to 25 years old, whose mother 
lives in your city. They are cruelly treated; they want to go, they ought to go ; but they 
are utterly destitute. Can nothing be done for such cases ? If you can think of anything 
let me know it. I suppose you know me ? 

WASHINGTON, D. C., April 3, 1856. 

DEAR SIB, : I sent you the recent law of Virginia, under which all vessels are to be 
searched for fugitives within the waters of that State. 

It was long ago suggested by a sagacious friend, that the " powder boy " might find a 


better port in the Chesapeake bay, or in the Patuxent river to communicate with this vi- 
cinity, than by entering the Potomac river, even were there no such law. 

Suppose he opens a trade with some place south-west of Annapolis, 25 or 30 miles from 
here, or less. He might carry wood, oysters, &c., and all his customers frohi this vicinity 
might travel in that direction without any of the suspicions that might attend their jour- 
neyings towards this city. In this way, doubtless, a good business might be carried on 
without interruption or competition, and provided the plan was conducted without affecting 
the inhabitants along that shore, no suspicion would arise as to the manner or magnitude 
of his business operations. How does this strike you ? What does the " powder boy " 
think of it ? 

I heretofore intimated & pressing necessity on the part of several females they are va- 
riously situated two have children, say a couple each ; some have none of the latter, 
one can raise $50, another, say 30 or 40 dollars another who was gazetted last August 
(a copy sent you), can raise, through her friends, 20 or 30 dollars, &c., &c. None of these 
can walk so far or so fast as scores of men that are constantly leaving. I cannot shake off 
my anxiety for these poor creatures. Can you think of anything for any of these ? Ad- 
dress your other correspondent in answer to this at your leisure. Yours, 


P. S. April 3d. Since writing the above, I have received yours of 31st. I am re- 
joiced to hear that business is so successful and prosperous may it continue till the article 
shall cease to be merchandize. 

I spoke in my last letter of the departure of a " few friends." I have since heard of 
their good health in Penn'a. Probably you may have seen them. 

In reference to the expedition of which you think you can "hold out some little encour- 
agement," I will barely remark, that I shall be glad, if it is undertaken, to have all the 
notice of the time and manner that is possible, so as to make ready. 

A friend of mine says, anthracite coal will always pay here from Philadelphia, and 
thinks a small vessel might run often that she never would be searched in the Potomac, 
unless she went outside. 

You advise caution towards Mr. P. I am precisely of your opinion about him, that he 
is a " queer stick," and while I advised him carefully in reference to his own under- 
takings, I took no counsel of him concerning mine. Yours, 

W. P. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., April 23d, 1856. 

DEAR SIR : I have to thank you for your last two encouraging letters of 31st of March 
and 7th April. I have seen nothing in the papers to interest you, and having bad health 
and a press of other engagements, I have neglected to write you. 

Enclosed is a list of persons referred to in my last letter, all most anxious to travel all 
meritorious. In some of these I feel an especial interest for what they have done to help 
others in distress. 

I suggest for yours and the " powder boy's" consideration the following plan : that he 
shall take in coal'for Washington and come directly here sell his coal and go to George- 
town for freight, and wait for it. If any fancy articles are sent onboard, I understand he 
has a place to put them in, and if he has I suggest that he lies still, still waiting for 
freight till the first anxiety is over. Vessels that have just left are the ones that will be 
inquired after, and perhaps chased. If he lays still a 'day or two all suspicion will be pre- 
vented. If there shall be occasion to refer to any of them hereafter, it may be by their 
numbers in the list. 

The family 5 to 11 will be missed and inquired after BOOH and urgently; 12 and 13 will 
also be soon missed, but none of the others. 


Page 189. 


If all this can be done, some little time or notice must be had to get them all ready. 
They tell me they can pay the sums marked to their names. The aggregate is small, but 
as i told you, they are poor. Let me hear from you when convenient. 

Truly Yours, WM. PENN. 

1. A woman, may be 40 years old, $40.00 

2. " " 40 " with 3 children, say 4, 6, and 8,* 15.00 

3. A sister of the above, younger 10.00 

4. A very genteel mulatto girl about 22 25.00 

5. A woman, say 45, 

6. A daughter, 18, 

7. A son, 16, 

8. A son, 14, 

9. A daughter, 12, 
10. A son, say 22, 

These are all one 
family, either of 
them leaving 
- alone, they think, 
would cause the 
balance to be sold. 


11. A man, the Uncle, 40, 

12. A very genteel mulatto girl, say 23 25.00 

13. ' " " " 24 .. .. 25.00 








Many letters from JOHN HENRY show how incessantly his mind ran out 
towards the oppressed, and the remarkable intelligence and ability he dis- 
played with the pen, considering that he had no chance to acquire book 
knowledge. After having fled for refuge to Canada and having become a 
partaker of impartial freedom under the government of Great Britain, to 
many it seemed that the fugitive should be perfectly satisfied. Many ap- 
peared to think that the fugitive, having secured freedom, had but little 
occasion for anxiety or care, even for his nearest kin. " Change your 
name." " Never tell any one how you escaped." " Never let any one know 
where you came from." " Never think of writing back, not even to your 
wife ; you can do your kin no good, but may do them harm by writing." 
" Take care of yourself." " You are free, well, be satisfied then." " It will 
do you no good to fret about your wife and children ; that will not get 
them out of Slavery." Such was the advice often given to the fugitive. 
Men who had been slaves themselves, and some who had aided in the escape 
of individuals, sometimes urged these sentiments on men and women whose 
hearts were almost breaking over the thought that their dearest and best 
friends were in chains in the prison-house. Perhaps it was thoughtlessness 

* The children might be left behind. 


on the part of some, and a wish to inspire due cautiousness on the part of 
others, that prompted this advice. Doubtless some did soon forget their 
friends. They saw no way by which they could readily communicate with 
them. Perhaps Slavery had dealt with them so cruelly, that little hope or 
aspiration was left in them. 

It was, however, one of the most gratifying facts connected with the fugi- 
tives, the strong love and attachment that they constantly expressed for their 
relatives left in the South ; the undying faith they had in God as evinced 
by their touching appeals on behalf of their fellow-slaves. But few probably 
are aware how deeply these feelings were cherished in the breasts of this people. 
Forty, fifty, or sixty years, in some instances elapsed, but this ardent sympa- 
thy and love continued warm and unwavering as ever. Children left to the 
cruel mercy of slave-holders, could never be forgotten. Brothers and sisters 
could not refrain from weeping over the remembrance of their separation on 
the auction block : of having seen innocent children, feeble and defenceless wo- 
men in the grasp of a merciless tyrant, pleading, groaning, and crying in vain 
for pity. Not to remember those thus bruised and mangled, it would seem 
alike unnatural, and impossible. Therefore it is a source of great satisfac- 
tion to be able, in relating these heroic escapes, to present the evidences of 
the strong affections of this greatly oppressed race. 

JOHN HENEY never forgot those with whom he had been a fellow-sufferer 
in Slavery ; he was always fully awake to their wrongs, and longed to be 
doing something to aid and encourage such as were striving to get their 
Freedom. He wrote many letters in behalf of others, as well as for himself, 
the tone of which, was always marked by the most zealous devotion to the 
slave, a high sense of the value of Freedom, and unshaken confidence that 
God was on the side of the oppressed, and a strong hope, that the day was 
not far distant, when the slave power would be " suddenly broken and that 
without remedy." 

Notwithstanding the literary imperfections of these letters, they are 
deemed well suited to these pages Of course, slaves were not allowed book 
learning. Virginia even imprisoned white women for teaching free colored 
children the alphabet. Who has forgotten the imprisonment of Mrs. 
Douglass for this offense ? In view of these facts, no apology is needed on 
account of Hill's grammar and spelling. 

In these letters, may be seen, how much liberty was valued, how the taste 
of Freedom moved the pen of the slave ; how the thought of fellow-bond- 
men, under the heel of the slave-holder, aroused the spirit of indignation 
and wrath ; how importunately appeals were made for help from man and 
from God ; how much joy was felt at the arrival of a fugitive, and the 
intense sadness experienced over the news of a failure or capture of a slave. 
Not only are the feelings of John Henry Hill represented in these epistles, 
but the feelings of very many others amongst the intelligent fugitives all 


over the country are also represented to the letter. It is more with a view 
of doing justice to a brave, intelligent class, whom the public are ignorant 
of, than merely to give special prominence to John and his relatives as 
individuals, that these letters are given. 


JOHN HENRY at that time, was a little turned of twenty-five years of 
age, full six feet high, and remarkably well proportioned in every respect. 
He was rather of a brown color, with marked intellectual features. John 
was by trade, a carpenter, and was considered a competent workman. The 
year previous to his escape, he hired his time, for which he paid his owner 
$150. This amount John had fully settled up the last day of the year. 
As he was a young man of steady habits, a husband and father, and withal 
an ardent lover of Liberty ; his owner, John Mitchell, evidently observed 
these traits in his character, and concluded that he was a dangerous piece 
of property to keep ; that his worth in money could be more easily managed 
than the man. Consequently, his master unceremoniously, without inti- 
mating in any way to John, that he was to be sold, took him to Richmond, 
on the first day of January (the great annual sale day), and directly to the 
slave-auction. Just as John was being taken into the building, he was in- 
vited to submit to hand-cuffs. As the thought flashed upon his mind that 
he was about to be sold on the auction-block, he grew terribly desperate. 
" Liberty or death " was the watchword of that awful moment. In the 
twinkling eye, he turned on his enemies, with his fist, knife, and feet, 
so tiger-like, that he actually put four or five men to flight, his master 
among the number. His enemies thus suddenly baffled, John wheeled, 
and, as if assisted by an angel, strange as it may appear, was soon out of 
sight of his pursuers, and securely hid away. This was the last hour of 
John Henry's slave life, but not, however, of his struggles and sufferings 
for freedom, for before a final chance to escape presented itself, nine months 
elapsed. The mystery as to where, and how he fared, the following account, 
in his own words, mast explain 

Nine months I was trying to get away. I was secreted for a long time in a kitchen of 
a merchant near the corner of Franklyn and 7th streets, at Richmond, where I was well 
taken care of, by a lady friend of my mother. When I got Tired of staying in that place, 
I wrote myself a pass to pass myself to Petersburg, here I stopped with a very prominent 
Colored person, who was a friend to Freedom stayed here until two white friends told 
other friends if I was in the city to tell me to go at once, and stand not upon the order of 
going, because they had hard a plot. I wrot a pass, started for Richmond, Reached 
Manchester, got off the Cars walked into Richmond, once more got back into the same old 
Den, Stayed here from the 16th of Aug. to 12th Sept. On the llth ot Sept. 8 o'clock 
P. M. a message came to me that there had been a State Room taken on the steamer 
City of Richmond for my benefit, and I assured the party that it would be occupied if 


God be willing. Before 10 o'clock the next morning, on the 12th, a beautiful Sept. day, I 
arose early, wrote my pass for Norfolk left my old Den with a many a good bye, turned 
out the back way to 7th St., thence to Main, down Main behind 4 night waich to old 
Rockett's and after about 20 minutes of delay I succeed in Reaching the State Room. 
My Conductor was very much Excited, but 1 felt as Composed as 1 do at this moment, 
for I had started from my Den that morning for Liberty or for Death providing myself 
with a Brace of Pistels. Yours truly J. H. HILL. 

A private berth was procured for him on the steamship City of Rich- 
mond, for the amount of $125, and thus he was brought on safely to Phila- 
delphia. While in the city, he enjoyed the hospitalities of the Vigilance 
Committee, and the greetings of a number of friends, during the several 
days of his sojourn. The thought of his wife, and two children, left in 
Petersburg, however, naturally caused him much anxiety. Fortunately, 
they were free, therefore, he was not without hope of getting them ; more- 
over, his wife's father (Jack McCraey), was a free man, well known, and 
very well to do in the world, and would not be likely to see his daughter 
and grandchildren suffer. In this particular, Hill's lot was of a favorable 
character, compared with that of most slaves leaving their wives and 



TORONTO, October 4th, 1853. 

DEAR SIR: I take this method of informing you that I am well, and that I got to this 
city all safe and sound, though I did not get here as soon as I expect. I left your city on 
Saterday and I was on the way untel the Friday following. I got to New York the same 
day that I left Philadelphia, but I had to stay there untel Monday evening. I left that 
place at six o'clock. I got to Albany next morning in time to take the half past six 
o'clock train for Rochester, here I stay untel Wensday night. The reason I stay there so 
long Mr. Gibbs given me a letter to Mr Morris at Rochester. I left that place Wensday, 
but I only got five miles from that city that night. I got to Lewiston on Thurday after- 
noon, but too late for the boat to this city. 1 left Lewiston on Friday at one o'clock, got 
to this city at five. Sir I found this to be a very handsome city. I like it better than 
any city I ever saw. It are not as large as the city that you live in, but it is very large 
place much more so than I expect to find it. I seen the gentleman that you given me 
letter to. I think him much of a gentleman. I got into work on Monday. The man 
whom I am working for is name Myers ; but I expect to go to work for another man by 
name of Tinsly, who is a master workman in this city. He says that he will give me 
work next week and everybody advises me to work for Mr. Tinsly as there more surity in 

Mr. Still, I have been looking and looking for my friends for several days, but have not 
seen nor heard of them. I hope and trust in the Lord Almighty that all things are well 
with them. My dear sir I could feel so much better sattisfied if I could hear from my 
wife. Since I reached this city I have talagraphed to friend Brown to send my thing to 
me, but I cannot hear a word from no one at all. I have written to Mr. Brown two or 
three times since I left the city. I trust that he has gotten my wife's letters, that is if she 
has written. Please direct your letters to me, near the corner Sarah and Edward street, 
until I give you further notice. You will tell friend B. how to direct his letters, as I for- 


gotten it when I writt to him, and ask him if he has heard anything from Virginia. Please 
to let me hear from him without delay for my very soul is trubled about my friends whom 
I expected to of seen here before this hour. Whatever you do please to write. 1 shall 
look for you paper shortly. Believe me sir to be your well wisher. 


Expressions of gratitude The Custom House refuses to charge him duty "He is greatly 
concerned for his wife 

TOKONTO, October 30th, 1853. 

MY DEAR FKIEND : I now write to inform you that I have received my things all safe 
and sound, and also have shuck hand with the friend that you send on to this place one 
of them is stopping with me. His name is Chas. Stuert, he seemes to be a tolerable smart 
fellow. I Rec'd my letters. I have taken this friend to see Mr. Smith. However will 
give him a place to board untell he can get to work. I shall do every thing I can for them 
all that I see the gentleman wish you to see his wife and let her know that he arrived safe, 
and present his love to her and to all the friend. Mr. Still, I am under ten thousand ob- 
ligation to you for your kindness when shall I ever repay ? S. speek very highly of you. 
I will state to you what Custom house master said to me. He ask me when he Presented 
my efects are these your efects. I answered yes. He then ask me was I going to settle in 
Canada. I told him I was. He then ask me of my case. I told all about it. He said I am 
happy to see you and all that will come. He ask me how much 1 had to pay for my Paper. 
I told him half dollar. He then told me that I should have my money again. He a Rose 
from his seat and got my money. So my friend you can see the people and tell them all 
this is a land of liberty and believe they will find friends here. My best love to all. 

My friend I must call upon you once more to do more kin-dness for me that is to write 
to my wife as soon as you get this, and tell her when she gets ready to come she will pack 
and consign her things to you. You will give her some instruction, but not to your ex- 
penses but to her own. 

When you write direct your letter to Phillip Ubank, Petersburg, Va. My Box ar- 
rived here the 27th. 

My dear sir I am in a hurry to take this friend to church, so I must close by saying I 
am your humble servant in the cause of liberty and humanity. JOHN H. HILL. 


Canada is highly praised The Vigilance Committee is implored to send all the Fugitives 
there "Farmers and Mechanics wanted" " No living in Canada for Negroes," as 
argued by " Masters," flatly denied, <&c., &c., &c. 

So I ask you to send the fugitives to Canada. I don't know much of this Province but 
I beleaves that there is Rome enough for the colored and whites of the United States. We 
wants farmers mechanic men of all qualification &c, if they are not made we will make 
them, if we cannot make the old, we will make our children. 

Now concerning the city toronto this city is Beautiful and Prosperous Levele city. Great 
many wooden codages more than what should be but I am in hopes there will be more of 
the Brick and Stonn. But I am not done about your Republicanism. Our masters have 
told us that there was no living in Canada for a Negro but if it may Please your gentle- 
manship to publish these facts that we are here able to earn our bread and money 
enough to make us comftable. But I say give me freedom, and the United States may have 
all her money and her Luxtures, yeas give Liberty or Death. I'm in America, but not 
under Such a Government that I cannot express myself, speak, think or write So as I am 
able, and if my master had allowed me to have an education I would make them Ameri- 
can Slave-holders feel me, Yeas I would make them tremble when I spoke, and 7 r hen I 


take my Pen in hand their knees smote together. My Dear Sir suppose I was an educated 
man. I could write you something worth reading, but you know we poor fugitives whom 
has just come over from the South are not able to write much on no subject whatever, but 
I hope by the aid of my God I will try to use my midnight lamp, untel I can have some 
influence upon the American Slavery. If some one would say to me, that they would 
give my wife bread untel I could be Educated I would stoop my trade this day and take 
up my books. 

But a crisis is approaching when assential requisite to the American Slaveholders when 
blood Death or Liberty will be required at their hands. I think our people have depened 
too long and too much on false legislator let us now look for ourselves. It is true that 
England however the Englishman is our best friend but we as men ought not to depened 
upon her Remonstrace with the Americans because she loves her commercial trade as any 
Nations do. But I must say, while we look up and acknowledge the Power greatness and 
honor of old England, and believe that while we sit beneath the Silken folds of her flag of 
Perfect Liberty, we are secure, beyond the reach of the aggressions of the Blood hounds 
and free from the despotism that would wrap around our limbs by the damable Slave- 
holder. Yet we would not like spoiled childeren depend upon her, but upon ourselves 
and as one means of strengthening ourselves, we should agitate the emigration to Canada. 
I here send you a paragraph which I clipted from the weekly Glob. I hope you will pub- 
lish so that Mr. Williamson may know that men are not chattel here but reather they are 
men and if he wants his chattle let him come here after it or his thing. I wants you to 
let the whole United States know we are satisfied here because I have seen more Pleasure 
since I came here then I saw in the U. S. the 24 years that I served my master. Come 
Poor distress men women and come to Canada where colored men are free. Oh how sweet 
the word do sound to me yeas when I contemplate of these things, my very flesh creaps 
my heart thrub when I think of my beloved friends whom I left in that cursid hole. Oh 
my God what can I do for them or shall I do for them. Lord help them. Suffer them to 
be no longer depressed beneath the Bruat Creation but may they be looked upon as men 
made of the Bone and Blood as the Anglo- Americana. May God in his mercy Give Lib- 
erty to all this world. I must close as it am late hour at night. I Remain your friend 
in the cause of Liberty and humanity, 

JOHN H. HILL, a fugitive. 

If you know any one who would give me an education write and let me know for I am 
in want of it very much. Your with Respect. 

J. H. H. 

If the sentiments in the above letter do not indicate an uncommon degree 
of natural intelligence, a clear perception of the wrongs of Slavery, and 
a just appreciation of freedom, where shall we look for the signs of intellect 
and manhood ? 


Longs for his wife In hearing of the return of a Fugitive from Philadelphia is made 
sorrowful His love of Freedom increases, &c. t &c. 

TORONTO, November 12th, 1853. 

MY DEAR STILL : Your letter of the 3th came to hand thursday and also three copes 
all of which I was glad to Received they have taken my attention all together Every 
Time I got them. I also Rec'd. a letter from my friend Brown. Mr. Brown stated to me 
that he had heard from my wife but he did not say what way he heard. I am looking for 
my wife every day. Yes I want her to come then I will be better sat tisfied. My friend I 
am a free man and feeles alright about that matter. I am doing tollable well in my line 


of business, and think 1 will do better after little. I hope you all will never stop any of 
our Brotheran that makes their Escep from the South but send them on to this Place 
where they can be free man and woman. We want them here and not in your State 
where they can be taken away at any hour. Nay but let him ccme here where he can 
Enjoy the Rights of a human being and not to be trodden under the feet of men like them- 
selves. All the People that comes here does well. Thanks be to God that I came to this 
place. 1 would like very well to see you all but never do I expect to see you in the United 
States. I want you all to come to this land of Liberty where the bondman can be free. 
Come one come all come to this place, and I hope my dear friend you will send on here. I 
shall do for them as you all done for me when I came on here however I will do the best 
I can for them if they can they shall do if they will do, but some comes here that can't do 
well because they make no efford. I hope my friend you will teach them such lessons as 
Mrs. Moore Give me before I left your city. I hope she may live a hundred years longer 
and enjoy good health. May God bless her for the good cause which she are working in. 
Mr. Still you ask me to remember you to Nelson. I will do so when I see him, he are on 
the lake so is Stewart. 1 received a letter to-day for Stewart from your city which letter 
I will take to him when he comes to the city. He are not stoping with us at this time. I 
was very sorry a few days ago when I heard that a man was taken from your city. 

Send them over here, then let him corne here and take them away and I will try to have 
a finger in the Pie myself. Yon said that you had written to my wife ten thousand thanks 
for what you have done and what you are willing to do. My friend whenever you hear 
from my wife please write to me. Whenever she come to your city please give instruc- 
tion how to travel. I wants her to come the faster way. I wish she was here now. I 
wish she could get a ticket through to this place. I have mail a paper for you to day. 

We have had snow but not to last long. Let me hear from you. My Respect friend 
Brown. I will write more when I have the opportunity. Yours with Respect, 


P. S. My dear Sir. Last night after I had written the above, and had gone to bed, I 
heard a strange voice in the house, Saying to Mr. Myers to come quickly to one of our 
colod Brotheran out of the street. We went and found a man a Carpenter laying on the 
side walk woltun in his Blood. Done by some unknown Person as yet but if they stay on 
the earth the law will deteck them. It is said that party of colord people done it, which 
party was seen to come out an infame house. 

Mr. Myers have been down to see him and Brought the Sad news that the Poor fellow 
was dead. Mr. Scott for Henry Scott was the name, he was a fugitive from Virginia he 
came here from Pittsburg Pa. Oh, when I went where he laid what a shock, it taken my 
Sleep altogether night. When I got to Sopt his Body was surrounded by the Policeman. 
The law has taken the woman in cusidy. I write and also send you a paper of the case 
when it comes out. J. H. HILL. 


He rejoices over the arrival of his wife but at the same time, his heart is bleeding over 
a dear friend whom he had promised to help before he left Slavery. 

TORONTO, December 29th, 1853. 

MY DEAR FRIEND : It affords me a good deel of Pleasure to say that my wife and 
the Children have arrived safe in this City. But my wife had very bad luck. She lost 
her money and the money that was belonging to the children, the whole amount was 35 
dollars. She had to go to the Niagara falls and Telegraph to me come after her. She got 
to the falls on Sat'dy and I went after her on Monday. We saw each other once again 
after so long an Abstance, you may know what sort of metting it was, joyful times of 


corst. My wife are well Satisfied here, and she was well Pleased during her stay in your 
city. My Trip to the falls cost Ten Eighty Seven and half. The things that friend Brown 
Shiped to me by the Express costed $24J. So you can see fiting out a house Niagara 
falls and the cost for bringing my things to this place, have got me out of money, but for 
all I am a free man. 

The weather are very cold at Present, the snow continue to fall though not as deep here 
as it is in Boston. The people haves their own Amousements, the weather as it is now, 
they don't care for the snow nor ice, but they are going from Ten A. M. until Twelve 
P. M., the hous that we have open don't take well because we don't Sell Spirits, which 
we are trying to avoid if we can. 

Mr. Still, I hold in my hand A letter from a friend of South, who calls me to promise 
that I made to him before I left. My dear Sir, this letter have made ray heart Bleed, 
since I Received it, he also desires of me to remember him to his beloved Brethren and 
then to Pray for him and his dear friends who are in Slavery. I shall Present his letter 
to the churches of this city. I forward to your care for Mrs. Moore, a few weeks ago. 
Mrs. Hill sends her love to your wife and yourself. 

Please to write, I Sincerely hope that our friends from Petersburg have reached your 
city before this letter is dated. I must close by saying, that I Sir, remain humble and 
obedient Servant, J. H. H. 


He is now earnestly appealing in behalf of a friend in Slavery, with a view to procuring 
aid and assistance from certain parlies, by which this particular friend in bondage 
might be rescued. 

TORONTO, March 8th, 1854. 

MY DEAR FRIEND STILL : We will once more truble you opon this great cause of 
freedom, as we know that you are a man, that- are never fatuged in Such a glorious cause. 
Sir, what I wish to Say is this. Mr. Forman has Received a letter from his wife dated the 
29th ult. She States to him that She was Ready at any time, and that Everything was 
Right with her, and she hoped that he would lose no time in sending for her for she was 
Ready and awaiting for him. Well friend Still, we learnt that Mr. Minkens could not bring 
her the account of her child. We are very sorry to hear Such News, however, you will 
please to read this letter with care, as we have learnt that Minkens Cannot do what we 
wishes to be done; we perpose another way. There is a white man that Sale from 
Richmond to Boston, that man are very Safe, he will bring F's wife with her child. So 
you will do us a favour will take it upon yourself to transcribe from this letter what we 
shall write. I. E. this there is a Colored gen. that workes on the basin in R d this 
man's name is Esue Foster, he can tell Mrs. forman all about this Saleor. So you can 
place the letter in the hands of M. to take to for"man's wife, She can read it for herself. She 
will find Foster at ladlum's warehouse on the Basin, and when you write call my name to 
him and he will trust it. this foster are a member of the old Baptist Church. When 
you have done all you can do let us know what you have done, if you hears anything of 
my uncle let me know. 


He laments over his uncle's fate, who was suffering in a dungeon-like place of concealment 
daily waiting for the opportunity to escape. 

TORONTO, March 18th, 1864. 

MY DEAR STILL: Yours of the 15th Reached on the llth, found myself and family 
very well, and not to delay no time in replying to you, as there was an article in your 
letter which article Roused me very much when I read it; that was you praying to me to 


be cautious how I write down South. Be so kind as to tell me in your next letter whether 
you have at any time apprehended any danger in my letters however, in those bond 
southward; if there have been, allow me to beg ten thousand pardon before God and man, 
for I am not design to throw any obstacle in the way of those whom I left in South, but 
to aide them in every possible way. I have done as you Requested, that to warn the 
friends of the dager of writing South. I have told all you said in yours that Mr. Min- 
kins would be in your city very soon, and you would see what you could do for me, do 
you mean or do speak in reference to my dear uncle. I am hopes that you will use every 
ifford to get him from the position in which he now stand. I know how he feels at this 
time, for I have felt the same when I was a runway. I was bereft of all participation 
with my family for nearly nine months, and now that poor fellow are place in same posi- 
tion. Oh God help I pray, what a pitty it is that I cannot do him no good, but I 
sincerely hope that you will not get fatigued at doing good in such cases, nay, I think 
other wises of you, however, I Say no more on this subject at present, but leave it for 
you to judge. 

On the 13th inst. you made Some Remarks concerning friend Forman's wife, I am 
Satisfied that you will do all you can for her Release from Slavery, but as you said 
you feels for them, so do I, and Mr. Foreman comes to me very often to know if I 
have heard anything from you concerning his wife, they all comes to for the same. 

God Save the Queen. All my letters Southward have passed through your hands 
with an exception of one. JOHN H. HILL. 


Death has snatched away one of his children and he has cause to mourn. In his grief 
he recounts his struggles for freedom, and his having to leave his wife and children. He 
acknowledges that he had to " work very hard for comforts," but he declares that he 
would not " exchange with the comforts of ten thousand slaves." 

TORONTO Sept 14th 1854 

MY DEAK FRIEND STILL : this are the first opportunity that I have had to write you 
since I Reed your letter of the 20th July, there have been sickness and Death in my 
family since your letter was Reed, our dear little Child have been taken from us one 
whom we loved so very Dear, but the almighty God knows what are best for us all. 

Louis Henry Hill, was born in Petersburg Va May 7th 1852. and Died Toronto 
August 19th 1854 at five o'clock P. M. 

Dear Still I could say much about the times and insidince that have taken place since 
the coming of that dear little angle jest spoken of. it was 12 months and 3 days from the 
time that I took departure of my wife and child to proceed to Richmond to awaite a con- 
veyance up to the day of his death. 

it was thursday the 13th that I lift Richmond, it was Saturday the 15th that I land to 
my great joy in the city of Phila. then I put out for Canada. I arrived in this city on Fri- 
day the 30th and to my great satisfaction. I found myself upon Briton's free land, not 
only free for the white man bot for all. 

this day 12 months I was not out of the reach the slaveholders, but this 14th day of 
Sept. I am as Free as your President Pearce. only I have not been free so long H.ow- 
ever the 30th of the month I will have been free only 12 months. 

It is true that I have to work very hard for comfort but I would not exchange with ten 
thousand slave that are equel with their masters. I am Happy, Happy. 

Give love to Mrs. Still. My wife laments her child's death too much, wil you be so 
kind as to see Mr. Brown and ask him to write to me, and if he have heard from Peters- 
burg Va. Yours truely J. H. HILL. 



He is anxiously waiting for the arrival of friends from the South. Hints that slave- 
holders would be very unsafe in Canada, should they be foolish enough to visit that 
country for the purpose of enticing slaves back. 

TORONTO, Jan. 19th 1851. 

MY DEAB STILL : Your letter of the 16th came to hand just in time for my per- 
pose I perceivs by your statement that the money have not been to Petersburg at all 
done just what was right and I would of sent the money to you at first, but my dear 
friend I have called upon you for so many times that I have been ashamed of myself to 
call any more So you may perceive by the above written my obligations to you, you said 
that you had written on to Petersburg, you have done Right which I believes is your 
general way of doing your business, the money are all right I only had to pay a 6d on 
the Ten dollars, this money was given to by a friend in the city N. york, the friend was 
from Richmond Virginia (a white man) the amount was fifteen dollars, I forward a letter 
to you yesterday which letter I forgot to date, my friend I wants to hear from Virginia 
the worst of all things, you know that we expect some freneds on and we cannot hear 
any thing from them which makes us uneasy for fear that they have attempt to come 
away and been detected. I have ears open at all times, listen at all hours expecting to 
hear from them Please to see friend Brown and know from him if he has heard anything 
from our friends, if he have not. tell him write and inquiare into the matter why it is that 
they have not come over, then let me hear from you all. 

We are going to have a grand concert &c I mean the Abolisnous Socity. I will attend 
myself and also my wife if the Lord be willing you will perceive in previous letter that 
I mension something concerning Mr Forman's wife if there be any chance whatever please 
to proceed, Mr Foreman sends his love to you Requested you to do all you can to get his 
wife away from Slavery. 

Our best respects to your wife. You promisted me that you would write somthing con- 
cerning our arrival in Canada but I suppose you have not had the time as yet, I would 
be very glad to read your opinion on that matter 

I have notice several articles in the freeman one of the Canada weaklys concerning the 
Christiana prisoners respecting Castnor Hanway and also Mr. Rauffman. if I had one 
hundred dollars to day I would give them five each, however I hope that I may be able 
to subscribe something for their Relefe. in Regards to the letters have been written from 
Canada to the South the letters was not what they thought them to be and if the slave- 
holders know when they are doing well they had better keep their side for if they comes 
over this side of the lake I am under the impression they will not go back with somethin 
that their mother boned them with whether thiar slaves written for them or not. I 
know some one here that have written his master to come after him, but not because he 
expect to go with him home but because he wants to retaleate upon his persecutor, but I 
would be sorry for man that have written for his master expecting to return with him 
because the people here would kill them. Sir I cannot write enough to express myself 
so I must close by saying I Remain yours. JOHN H. HILL. 


Great joy over an arrival Twelve months praying for the deliverance of an Uncle 
groaning in a hiding-place, while the Slave-hunters are daily expected Strong ap- 
peals for aid, &c., &c. 

TORONTO, January 7th, 1855. 

MY DEAR FRIEND : It is with much pleasure that I take this opportunity of addressing 
you with these few lines hoping when they reeches you they may find yourself and family 
enjoying good health as they leaves us at present. 


And it is with much happiness that I can say to you that Mrs. Merc3r arrived in this 
city on yesterday. Mr. Mercer was at my house late in the evening, and I told him that 
when he went home if hear anything from Virginia, that he must let me know as soon as 
possible. He told me that if he went home and found any news there he would come 
right back and inform me thereof. But little did he expect to find his dearest there. You 
may judge what a meeting there was with them, and may God grant that there may be 
some more meetings with our wives and friends. I had been looking for some one from the 
old sod for several days, but I was in good hopes that it would be my poor Uncle. But 
poor fellow *he are yet groaning under the sufferings of a horrid sytam, Expecting every 
day to Receive his Doom. Oh, God, what shall I do, or what can I do for him? I have 
prayed for him more than 12 months, yet he is in that horrid condition. I can never hear 
anything Directly from him or any of my people. 

Once more I appeal to your Humanity. Will you act for him, as if you was in slavery 
yourself, and I sincerely believe that he will come out of that condition? Mrs. M. have 
told me that she given some directions how he could be goten at, but friend Still, if this 
conductor should not be successfull this time, will you mind him of the Poor Slave again. 
I hope you will as Mrs. Mercer have told the friend what to do I cannot do more, there- 
fore I must leve it to the Mercy of God and your Exertion. 

The weather have been very mile Ever since the 23rd of Dec. I have thought consider- 
able about our condition in this country Seeing that the weather was so very faverable to 
us. I was thinking a few days ago, that nature had giving us A country & adopted all 
things Sutable. 

You will do me the kindness of telling me in your next whether or not the ten slaves 
have been Brought out from N. C. 

I have not hard from Brown for Nine month he have done some very Bad letting me 
alone, for what cause I cannot tell Give my Best Respect to Mr. B. when you see him. 
I wish very much to hear from himself and family. You will please to let me hear from 
you. My wife Joines me in love to yourself and family. 

Yours most Respectfully, 


P. S. Every fugitive Regreated to hear of the Death of Mrs. Moore. I myself think 
that there are no other to take her Place. yours J. H. H. 



Rejoices at hearing of the success of the Underground Hail Road Inquires particu- 
larly after the "fellow " who " cut off" the Patrol's head in Maryland." 

HAMILTON, August 15th, 1856. 

DEAR FRIEND : I am very glad to hear that the Underground Rail Road is doing such 
good business, but tell me in your next letter if you have seen the heroic fellow that cut 
off the head of the Patrol in Maryland. We wants that fellow here, as John Bull has a 
great deal of fighting to do, and as there is a colored Captain in this city, I would seek to 
have that fellow Promoted, Provided he became a soldier. 

Great respect, JOHN H. HILL. 

P. S. Please forward the enclosed to Mr. McCray. 




Believes in praying for the Slave but thinks " fire and sword " would be more effective 
with Slave-holders. 

HAMILTON, Jan. 5th, 1857. 

ME. STILL : Our Pappers contains long details of insurrectionary movements among 
the slaves at the South and one paper adds that a great Nomber of Generals, Captains 
with other officers had being arrested. At this day four years ago I left Petersburg for 
Richmond to meet the man whom called himself my master, but he wanted money worser 
that day than I do this day, he took me to sell me, he could not have done a better thing for 
me for I intended to leave any how by the first convaiance. I hard some good Prayers put 
up for the suffers on last Sunday evening in the Baptist Church. Now friend still I beleve 
that Prayers affects great good, but I beleve that the fire and sword would affect more 
good in this case. Perhaps this is not your thoughts, but I must acknowledge this to be 
my Polacy. The world are being turned upside down, and I think we might as well 
take an active part in it as not. We must have something to do as other people, and 
I hope this moment among the Slaves are the beginning. I wants to see something go 

on while I live. 

Yours truly, JOHN H. HILL. 


Sad tidings from Richmond Of the arrest of a Captain with Slaves on board as Under- 
ground Hail Road passengers. 

HAMILTON, June 5th, 1858. 

DEAE FEIEND STILL: I have just heard that our friend Capt. B. have being taken 
Prisoner in Virginia with slaves on board of his vessel. I hard this about an hour ago. 
the Person told me of this said he read it in the newspaper, if this be so it is awfull. You 
will be so kind as to send me some information. Send me one of the Virginia Papers. 
Poor fellow if they have got him, I am sorry, sorry to my heart. I have not heard from 
my Uncle for a long time if have heard or do hear anything from him at any time you will 
oblige me by writing. I wish you to inquire of Mr. Anderson's friends (if you know any 
of them), if they have heard anything from him since he was in your city. I have written 
to him twice since he was here according to his own directions, but never received an an- 
swer. I wants to hear from my mother very much, but cannot hear one word. You will 
present my best regards to the friend. Mrs. Hill is quite sick. 

Yours truly, J. H. HILL. 

P. S I have not received the Anti-Slavery Standard for several weeks. Please for- 
ward any news relative to the Capt. J. H. H. 



Impelled by the love of freedom Hezekiah resolved that he would work 
no longer for nothing ; that he would never be sold on the auction block ; 
that he no longer would obey the bidding of a master, and that he would die 
rather than be a slave. This decision, however, had only been entertained 


by him a short time prior to his escape. For a number of years Hezekiah 
had been laboring under the pleasing thought that he should succeed in 
obtaining freedom through purchase, having had an understanding with his 
owner with this object in view. At different times he had paid on account 
for himself nineteen hundred dollars, six hundred dollars more than he was 
to have paid according to the first agreement. Although so shamefully de- 
frauded in the first instance, he concluded to bear the disappointment as 
patiently as possible and get out of the lion's mouth as best he could. 

He continued to work on and save his money until he had actually come 
within one hundred dollars of paying two thousand. At this point instead 
of getting his free papers, as he firmly believed that he should, to his sur- 
prise one day he saw a notorious trader approaching the shop where he 
was at work. The errand of the trader was soon made known. Hezakiah 
simply requested time to go back to the other end of the shop to get his 
coat, gwhich he seized and ran. He was pursued but not captured. This 
occurrence took place in Petersburg, Va., about the first of December, 1854. 
On the night of the same day of his escape from the trader, Hezekiah 
walked to Richmond and was there secreted under a floor by a friend. He 
was a tall man, of powerful muscular strength, about thirty years of age just 
in the prime of his manhood with enough pluck for two men. 

A heavy reward was offered for him, but the hunters failed to find 
him in this hiding-place under the floor. He strongly hoped to get away 
soon ; on several occasions he made efforts, but only to be disappointed. At 
different times at least two captains had consented to afford him a private 
passage to Philadelphia, but like the impotent man at the pool, some 
one always got ahead of him. Two or three times he even managed to 
reach the boat upon the river, but had to return to his horrible place under 
the floor. Some were under the impression that he was an exceedingly 
unlucky man, and for a time captains feared to bring him. But his courage 
sustained him unwaveringly. 

Finally at the expiration of thirteen months, a private passage was pro- 
cured for him on the steamship Pennsylvania, and with a little slave boy, 
seven years of age, (the son of the man who had secreted him) though 
placed in a very hard berth, he came safely to Philadelphia, greatly to the 
astonishment of the Vigilance Committee, who had waited for him so long 
that they had despaired of his ever coming. 

The joy that filled Hezekiah's bosom may be imagined but never de- 
scribed. None but one who had been in similar straits could enter into 
his feelings. 

He had left his wife Louisa, and two little boys, Henry and Manuel. 
His passage cost one hundred dollars. 

Hezekiah being a noted character, a number of the true friends were in- 
vited to take him by the hand and to rejoice with him over his noble 


struggles and his triumph ; needing rest and recruiting, he was made 
welcome to stay, at the expense of the committee, as long as he might feel 
disposed so to do. He remained several days, and then went on to Canada 
rejoicing. After arriving there he returned his acknowledgment for favors 
received, &c. ; in the following letter : 

TORONTO Jan 24th 1856. 

MB. STILL : this is to inform you that Myself and little boy, arrived safely in this city 
this day the 24th, at ten o'clock after a very long and pleasant trip. I had a great deal 
of attention paid to me while on the way. 

I owes a great deel of thanks to yourself and friends, I will just say hare that when I 
arrived at New York, I found Mr. Gibba sick and could not be attended to there. How- 
ever, I have arrived alright. 

You will please to give my respects to your friend that writes in the office with you, 
and to Mr Smith, also Mr Brown, and the friends, Mrs Still in particular. 

Friend Still you will please to send the enclosed to John Hill Petersburg I want him 
to send some things to me you will be so kind as to send your direction to them, so that 
the things to your care, if you do not see a convenient way to send it by hands, you 
will please direct your letter to Phillip Ubank Petersburg. Yours Respectfully H HILL. 


For three years James suffered in a place of concealment, before he found 
the way opened to escape. When he resolved on having his freedom he was 
much under twenty-one years of age, a brave young man, for three years, 
with unfailing spirit, making resistance in the city of Richmond to the slave 
Power ! 

Such heroes in the days of Slavery, did much to make the infernal system 
insecure, and to keep alive the spirit of freedom in liberty-loving hearts the 
world over, wherever such deeds of noble daring were made known. But of 
his heroism, but little can be reported here, from the fact, that such accounts 
as were in the possession of the Committee, were never transferred from the 
loose slips of paper on which they were first written, to the regular record 
book. But an important letter from the friend with whom he was secreted, 
written a short while before he escaped (on a boat), gives some idea of his 

condition : 

RICHMOND, VA., February 16th, 1861. 

DEAR BROTHER STILL: I received a message from brother Julius anderson, asking me 
to send the bundle on but I has no way to send it, I have been waiting and truly hopeing 
that you would make some arrangement with some person, and send for the parcel. I 
have no way to send it, and I cannot communicate the subject to a stranger there is a 
.Way by the N. y. line, but they are all strangers to me, and of course I could not 
approach them With this subject for I would be indangered myself greatly, this busi- 
ness is left to you and to you alone to attend to in providing the way for me to send on 
the parcel, if you only make an arrangement with some person and let me know the said 


person and the article which they is to be sent on then I can send the parcel, unless you 
do make an arrangement with some person, and assure them that they will receive the 
funs for delivering the parcel this Business cannot be accomplished, it is in your power 
to try to make some provision for the article to be sent but it is not in my power to do 
so, the bundle has been on my hands now going on 3 years, and I have suffered a great 
deal of danger, and is still suffering the same. I have understood Sir that there were no 
difficul about the mone that you had it in your possession Ready for the bundle whenever 
it is delivered. But Sir as I have said I can do nothing now. Sir I ask you please 
through sympathy and feelings on my part & his try to provide a way for the bundle to 
be sent and relieve me of the danger in which I am in. you might succeed in making 
an arrangement with those on the New york Steamers for they dose such things but 
please let me know the man that the arrangement is made with please give me au 
answer by the bearer. yours truly friend C. A. 

At last, the long, dark night passed away, and this young slave safely- 
made his way to freedom, and proceeded to Boston, where he now resides. 
While the Committee was looked to for aid in the deliverance of this poor 
fellow, it was painful to feel that it was not in their power to answer his 
prayers not until after his escape, was it possible so to do. But his 
escape to freedom gave them a satisfaction which no words can well express. 
At present, John Henry Hill is a justice of the peace in Petersburg. Heze- 
kiah resides at West Point, and James in Boston, rejoicing that all men are 
free in the United States, at last. 



This passenger arrived from Norfolk, Va. in 1853. For the last four 
years previous to escaping, he had been under the yoke of Dr. George 
Wilson. Archer declared that he had been ' very badly treated " by the 
Doctor, which he urged as his reason for leaving. True, the doctor had been 
good enough to allow him to hire his time, for which he required Archer to 
pay the moderate sum of $120 per annum. As Archer had been " sickly " 
most of the time, during the last year, he complained that there was " no 
reduction " in his hire on this account. Upon reflection, therefore, Archer 
thought, if he had justice done him, he would be in possession of this "one 
hundred and twenty " himself, and all his other rights, instead of having to 
toil for another without pay ; so he looked seriously into the matter of mas- 
ter and slave, and pretty soon resolved, that if others chose to make no effort 
to get away, for himself he would never be contented, until he was free. When 
a slave reached this decision, he was in a very hopeful state. He was near 
the Underground Rail Road, and was sure to find it, sooner or later. At 
this thoughtful period, Archer was thirty-one years of age, a man of 
medium size, and belonged to the two leading branches of southern 


humanity, i. e., he was half white and half colored a dark mulatto. His 
arrival in Philadelphia, per one of the Richmond steamers, was greeted 
with joy by the Vigilance Committee, who extended to him the usual aid 
and care, and forwarded him on to freedom. For a number of years,, he 
has been a citizen of Boston. 


This "piece of property" fled in .the fall of 1853. As a specimen of this 
article of commerce, he evinced considerable intelligence. He was a man of 
dark color, although not totally free from the admixture of the "superior" 
southern blood in his veins ; in stature, he was only ordinary. For leaving, 
he gave the following reasons : " I found that I was working for my master, 
for his advantage, and when I was sick, I had to pay just as much as if I 
were well $7 a mouth. But my master was cross, and said that he 
intended to sell me to do better by me another year. Times grew worse 
and worse, constantly. I thought, as I had heard, that if I could raise thirty 
dollars I could come away." He at once saw the value of money. To 
his mind it meant liberty from that moment. Thenceforth he decided to 
treasure up every dollar he could get hold of until he could accumulate at 
least enough to get out of "Old Virginia." He was a married man, and 
thought he had a wife and one child, but on reflection, he found out that 
they did not actually belong to him, but to a carpenter, by the name of 
Bailey. The man whom Samuel was compelled to call master was named 

The Committee's interview with Samuel was quite satisfactory, and they 
cheerfully accorded to him brotherly kindness and material aid at the same 



These individuals escaped from the eastern shore of Maryland, in the 
Spring of 1853, but were led to conclude that they could enjoy the freedom 
they had aimed to find, in New Jersey. They procured employment in 
the neighborhood of Haddonfield, some six or eight miles from Camden, 
New Jersey, and were succeeding, as they thought, very well. 

Things went on favorably for about three months, when to their alarm 
" slave-hunters were discovered in the neighborhood," and sufficient evi- 
dence was obtained to make it quite plain that, John, William and 
James were the identical persons, for whom the hunters were in "hot 


pursuit." When brought to the Committee, they were pretty thoroughly 
alarmed and felt very anxious to be safely off to Canada. While the Com- 
mittee always rendered in such cases immediate protection and aid, they nev- 
ertheless, felt, in view of the imminent dangers existing under the fugitive 
slave law, that persons disposed to thus stop by the way, should be very plainly 
given to understand, that if they were captured they would have themselves 
the most to blame. But- the dread of Slavery was strong in the minds of 
these fugitives, and they very fully realized their folly in stopping in New 
Jersey. The Committee procured their tickets, helped them to disguise 
themselves as much as possible, and admonished them not to stop short of 


This mother and daughter -had been the " chattels personal " of Daniel 
Coolby of Harvard, Md. Their lot had been that of ordinary slaves in 
the country, on farms, &c. The motive which prompted them to escape was 
the fact that their master had " threatened to sell " them. He had a right to 
do so ; but Hetty was a little squeamish on this point and took great um- 
brage at her " kind master." In this " disobedient " state of mind, she de- 
termined, if hard struggling would enable her, to defeat the threats of Mr. 
Daniel Coolby, that he should not much longer have the satisfaction of en- 
joying the fruit of the toil of herself and offspring. She at once began to 
prepare for her journey. 

She had three children of her own to bring, besides she was intimately 
acquainted with a young man and a, young woman, both slaves, to whom 
she felt that it would be safe to confide her plans with a view of inviting 
them to accompany her. The young couple were ready converts to the 
eloquent speech delivered to them by Hetty on Freedom, and were quite 
willing to accept her as their leader in the emergency. Up to the hour of 
setting out on their lonely and fatiguing journey, arrangements were being 
carefully completed, so that there should be no delay of any kind. At 
the appointed hour they were all moving northward in good order. 

Arriving at Quakertown, Pa., they found friends of the slave, who wel- 
comed them to their homes and sympathy, gladdening the hearts of all 
concerned. For prudential reasons it was deemed desirable to separate the 
party, to send some one way and some another. Thus safely, through the 
kind offices and aid of the friends at Quakertown, they were duly forwarded 
on to the Committee in Philadelphia. Here similar acts of charity were ex- 
tended to them, and they were directed on to Canada. 




ROBERT was about thirty years of age, dark color, quite tall, and in talk- 
ing with him a little while, it was soon discovered that Slavery had not 
crushed all the brains out of his head by a good deal. Nor was he so much 
attached to his "kind-hearted master," John Edward Jackson, of Anne 
Arundel, Md., or his old fiddle, that he was contented and happy while in 
bondage. Far from it. The fact was, that he hated Slavery so decidedly 
and had such a clear common sense-like view of the evils and misery of the 
system, that he declared he had as a matter of principle refrained from mar- 
rying, in order that he might have no reason to grieve over having added 
to the woes of slaves. Nor did he wish to be encumbered, if the opportunity 
offered to escape. According to law he was entitled to his freedom at the 
age of twenty-five. 

But what right had a negro, which white slave-holders were " bound to 
respect?" Many who had been willed free, were held just as firmly in 
Slavery, as if no will had ever been made. Robert had too much sense 
to suppose that he could gain anything by seeking legal redress. This 
method, therefore, was considered out of the question. But in the mean- 
time he was growing very naturally in favor of the Underground Rail Road. 
From his experience Robert did not hesitate to say that his master was 
"mean," "a very hard man,' 7 who would work his servants early and late, 
without allowing them food and clothing sufficient to shield them from the 
cold and hunger. Robert certainly had unmistakable marks about him, of 
having been used roughly. He thought very well of Nathan Harris, a fel- 
low-servant belonging to the same owner, and he made up his mind, if 
Nathan would join him, neither the length of the journey, the loneliness 
of night travel, the coldness of the weather, the fear of the slave-hunter, 
nor the scantiness of their means should deter him from making his way 
to freedom. Nathan listened to the proposal, and was suddenly converted 
to freedom, and the two united during Christmas week, 1854, and set out on 
the Underground Rail Road. It is needless to say that they had trying 
difficulties to encounter. These they expected, but all were overcome, and 
they reached the Vigilance Committee, in Philadelphia safely, and were 
cordially welcomed. During the interview, a full interchange of thought 
resulted, the fugitives were well cared for, and in due time both were for- 
warded on, free of cost. 



This traveler arrived from Millsboro, Indian River, Delaware, where he 
was owned by Wm. E. Burton. While Hansel did not really own himself, 
he had the reputation of having a wife and six children. In June, some 
six mouths prior to her husband's arrival, Hansel's wife had been allowed 
by her mistress to go out on a begging expedition, to raise money to buy 
herself; but contrary to the expectation of her mistress she never returned. 
Doubtless the mistress looked upon this course as a piece of the most high- 
handed stealing. Hansel did not speak of his owner as being a hard man, 
but on the contrary he thought that he was about as "good" as the best that 
he was acquainted with. While this was true, however, Hansel had quite 
good ground for believing that his master was about to sell him. Dread- 
ing this fate he made up his mind to go in pursuit of his wife to a Free 
state. Exactly where to look or how to find her he could not tell. 

The Committee advised him to "search in Canada." And in order to 
enable him to get on quickly and safely, the Committee aided him with 
money, &c., in 1853. 


She fled from Isaac Tonnell of Georgetown, Delaware, in Christmas 
week, 1853. A young woman with a little boy of seven years of age 
accompanied Rose Anna. Further than the simple fact of their having 
thus safely arrived, except the expense incurred by the Committee, no other 
particulars appear on the records. 


Mary arrived with her two children in the early Spring of 1854. 

The mother was a woman of about thirty-three years of age, quite tall, 
with a countenance and general appearance well fitted to awaken sym- 
pathy at first sight. Her oldest child was a little girl seven years of 
age, named Lydia ; the other was named Louisa Caroline, three years of age, 
both promising in appearance. They were the so called property of John 
Ennis, of Georgetown, Delaware. For their flight they chose the dead of 
Winter. After leaving they made their way to West Chester, and there 
found friends and security for several weeks, up to the time they reached 
Philadelphia. Probably the friends with whom they stopped thought 
the weather too inclement for a woman with children dependent on her 


support to travel. Long before this mother escaped, thoughts of liberty 
filled her heart. She was ever watching for an opportunity, that would en- 
courage her to hope for safety, when once the attempt should be made. Un- 
til, however, she was convinced that her two children were to be sold, she 
could not quite muster courage to set out on the journey. This threat to 
sell proved .in multitudes of instances, " the last straw on the camel's back." 
When nothing else would start them this would. Mary and her children 
were the only slaves owned by this Ennis, consequently her duties were that 
of " Jack of all trades ; " sometimes in the field and sometimes in the barn, 
as well as in the kitchen, by which, it is needless to say, that her life was 
rendered servile to the last degree. 

To bind up the broken heart of such a poor slave mother, and to aid 
such tender plants as were these little girls, from such a wretched state of 
barbarism as existed in poor little Delaware, was doubly gratifying to the 


day night, the 20th September, 1856, from the subscriber, living in the ninth 
district of Carroll county, Maryland, two Negro Men, SAM and ISAAC. Sam 
calls himself Samuel Sims; he is very black ; shows his teeth very much when 
he laughs; no perceptible marks; he is 5 feet 8 inches high, and about thirty 
years of age, but has the appearance of being much older. 
Isaac calls himself Isaac Dotson he is about nineteen years of age, stout made, 
but rather chunky; broad across his shoulders, he is about five feet five or six inches high, 
always appears to be in a good humor; laughs a good deal, and runs on with a good deal 
of foolishness ; he is of very light color, almost yellow, might be called a yellow boy ; has 
no perceptible marks. 

They have such a variety of clothing that it is almost useless to say anything about 
them. No doubt they will change their names. 

I will give the above reward for them, of one thousand dollars, or five hundred dollars 
for either of them, if taken and lodged in any jail in Maryland, so that I get them again. 
Also two of Mr. Dade's, living in the neighborhood, went the same time ; no doubt 
they are all in company together. THOMAS B. WINGS. 


These passengers reached the Philadelphia station, about fhe 24th of Sep- 
tember, 1856, five days after they escaped from Carroll county. They were 
in fine spirits, and had borne the fatigue and privation of travel bravely. 
A free and interesting interview took place, between these passengers and the 
Committee, eliciting much information, especially with regard to the work- 
ings of the system on the farms, from which they had the good luck to flee. 
Each of the party was thoroughly questioned, about how time had passed with 
them at home, or rather in the prison house, what kind of men their masters 
were, how they fed and clothed, if they whipped, bought or sold, whether they 
were members of church, or not, and many more questions needless to enu- 
merate bearing on the domestic relation which had existed between them- 


selves and their masters. These queries they answered in their own way, 
with intelligence. Upon the whole, their lot in Slavery had been rather 
more favorable than the average run of slaves. 

No record was made of any very severe treatment. In fact, the 
notices made of them were very brief, and, but for the elaborate way in 
which they were described in the "Baltimore Sun," by their owners, their 
narratives would hardly be considered of sufficient interest to record. 
The heavy rewards, beautiful descriptions, and elegant illustrations in the 
"Sun," were very attractive reading. The Vigilance Committee took the 
" Sun," for nothing else under the sun but for this special literature, and 
for this purpose they always considered the " Sun " a cheap and reliable pa- 

A slave man or woman, running for life, he with a bundle on his back or 
she with a babe in her arms, was always a very interesting sight, and should 
always be held in remembrance. Likewise the descriptions given by slave- 
holders, as a general rule, showed considerable artistic powers and a most 
thorough knowledge of the physical outlines of this peculiar property. In- 
deed, the art must have been studied attentively for practical purposes. When 
the advertisements were received in advance of arrivals, which was always 
the case, the descriptions generally were found so lifelike, that the Committee 
preferred to take them in preference to putting themselves to the labor of 
writing out new ones, for future reference. This we think, ought not to be 
complained of by any who were so unfortunate as to lose wayward servants, 
as it is but fair to give credit to all concerned. True, sometimes some of 
these beautiful advertisements were open to gentle criticism. The one at 
the head of this report, is clearly of this character. For instance, in de- 
scribing Isaac, Mr. Thomas B. Owings, represents him as being of a " very 
light color," "almost yellow," " might be called a yellow boy." In the 
next breath he has no perceptible marks. Now, if he is " very light," 
that is a well-known southern mark, admitted everywhere. A hint to the 
wise is sufficient. However, judging from what was seen of Isaac in 
Philadelphia, there was more cunning than "foolishness" about him. 
Slaves sometimes, when wanting to get away, would make their owners 
believe .that they were very happy and contented. And, in using this 
kind of foolishness, would keep up appearances until an opportunity 
offered for an escape. So Isaac might have possessed this sagacity, which 
appeared like nonsense to his master. That slave-holders, above all others, 
were in the habit of taking special pains to encourage foolishness, loud 
laughing, banjo playing, low dancing, etc., in the place of education, virtue, 
self-respect and manly carriage, slave-holders themselves are witnesses. 

As Mr. Robert Dade was also a loser, equally with Mr. Thomas B. 
Owings, and as his advertisement was of the same liberality and high tone, 
it seems but fitting that it should come in just here, to give weight and com- 


plcteness to the story. Both Owings and Bade showed a considerable 
degree of southern chivalry in the liberality of their rewards. Doubtless, 
the large sums thus offered awakened a lively feeling in the breasts of old 
slave-hunters. But it is to be supposed that the artful fugitives safely 
reached Philadelphia before the hunters got even the first scent on their 
track. Up to the present hour, with the owners all may be profound 
mystery ; if so, it is to be hoped, that they may feel some interest in the solu- 
tion of these wonders. The articles so accurately described must now be 
permitted to testify in their own words, as taken from the records. 

GREEN MODOOK acknowledges that he was owned by William Dorsey, 
Perry by Robert Dade, Sam and Isaac by Thomas Owings, all farmers, and 
all "tough" and "pretty mean men." Sam and Isaac had other names 
with them, but not such a variety of clothing as their master might have 
supposed. Sam said he left because his master threatened to sell him to 
Georgia, and he believed that he meant so to do, as he had sold all his 
brothers and sisters to Georgia some time before he escaped. 

But this was not all. Sam declared his master had threatened to shoot 
him a short while before he left. This was the last straw. on the camel's 
back. Sam's heart was in Canada ever after that. In traveling he re- 
solved that nothing should stop him. Charles offered the same excuse as 
did Sam. He had been threatened with the auction-block. He left his 
mother free, but four sisters he left in chains. As these men spoke of their 
tough owners and bad treatment in Slavery, they expressed their indignation 
at the idea that Owings, Dade and Dorsey had dared to rob them of 
their God-given rights. They were only ignorant farm hands. As they 
drank in the free air, the thought of their wrongs aroused all their manhood. 
They were all young men, hale and stout, with strong resolutions to make 
Canada their future home. The Committee encouraged them in this, and 
aided them for humanity's sake. Mr. Robert Dade's advertisement speaks 
for itself as follows: 

RAN AWAY On Saturday night, 20th inet., from the subscriber, living near 
Mount Airy P. 0., Carroll county, two Negro men, PERRY and CHARLES. 
Perry is quite dark, full face; is about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high ; has a scar on one 
of his hands, and one on his legs, caused by a rut from a scythe; 25 years old. 
Charles is of a copper color, ahout 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high ; round shouldered, with small 
whiskers; has one crooked finger that he cannot straighten, and a scar on his right leg, 
caused by the cut of a scythe ; 22 years old. I will give two hundred and fifty dollars each, 
if taken in the State and returned to me, or secured in some jail so that I can get them 
again, or a $1,000 for the two, or $500 each, if taken out of the State, and secured in 
some jail in this State BO that I can get them again. ROBERT DADE. 





But for their hope of liberty, their uncomfortable position could hardly 
have been endured by these fugitives. William had been compelled to dig 
and delve, to earn bread and butter, clothing and luxuries, houses and land, 
education and ease for H. B. Dickinson, of Richmond. William smarted 
frequently ; but what could he do ? Complaint from a slave was a crime 
of the deepest dye. So William dug away mutely, but continued to think, 
nevertheless. He was a man of about thirty-six years of age, of dark chest- 
nut color, medium size, and of pleasant manners to say the least. His 
owner was a tobacco manufacturer, who held some thirty slaves in his own 
right, besides hiring a great many others. William was regularly em- 
ployed by day in his master's tobacco factory. He was likewise employed, 
as one of the carriers of the Richmond Dispatch; the time allotted to fill the 
duties of this office, was however, before sunrise in the morning. It is 
but just to state, in favor of his master, that William was himself the receiver 
of a part of the pay for this night work. It was by this means William 
procured clothing and certain other necessaries. 

From William's report of his master, he was by no means among the 
worst of slave-holders in Richmond ; he did not himself flog, but the over- 
seer was allowed to conduct this business, when it was considered necessary. 
For a long time William had cherished a strong desire to be free, and had 
gone so far on several occasions as to make unsuccessful attempts to accom- 
plish this end. At last he was only apprised of his opportunity to carry 
his wishes into practice a few moments before the hour for the starting of 
the Underground Rail Road train. 

Being on the watch, he hailed the privilege, and left without looking back. 

True he left his wife and two children, who were free, and a son also 
who was owned by Warner Toliver, of Gloucester county, Va. We leave 
the reader to decide for himself, whether William did right or wrong, and 
who was responsible for the sorrow of both husband and wife caused by the 
husband's course. The Committee received him as a true and honest friend 
of freedom, and as such aided him. 


Susan was also a passenger on the same ship that brought Wm. B. White. 
She was from Norfolk. Her toil, body and strength were claimed by 
Thomas Eckels, Esq., a man of wealth and likewise a man of intemperance. 


With those who regarded Slavery as a " divine institution," intemperance 
was scarcely a inote, in the eyes of such. For sixteen years, Susan had 
been in the habit of hiring her time, for which she was required to pay five 
dollars per mouth. As she had the reputation of being a good cook and 
chambermaid, she was employed steadily, sometimes on boats. This sum 
may therefore be considered reasonable. 

Owing to the death of her husband, about a year previous to her escape, 
she had suffered greatly, so much so, that on two or three occasions, she had 
fallen into alarming fits, a fact by no means agreeable to her owner, as he 
feared that the traders on learning her failing health would .underrate her on 
this account. But Susan was rather thankful for these signs of weakness, 
as she was thereby enabled to mature her plans and thus to elude detection. 

Her son having gone on ahead to Canada about six months in advance of 
her, she felt that she had strong ties in the goodly land. Every day she re- 
mained in bondage, the cords bound her more tightly, and " weeks seemed 
like months, and months like years," so abhorrent had the peculiar institu- 
tion become to her in every particular. In this state of mind, she saw no 
other way, than by submitting to be secreted, until an opportunity should 
offer, via the Underground Rail Road. 

So for four months, like a true and earnest woman, she endured a 
great " fight of affliction," in this horrible place. But the thought of 
freedom enabled her to keep her courage up, until the glad news was 
conveyed to her that all things were ready, providing that she could get 
safely to the boat, on which she was to be secreted. How she succeeded in 
so doing the record book fails to explain. 

One of the methods, which used to succeed very well, in skillful and 
brave hands, was this: In order to avoid suspicion, the woman intending 
to be secreted, approached the boat with a clean ironed shirt on her arm, 
bare headed and in her usual working dress, looking good-natured of 
course, and as if she were simply conveying the shirt to one of the men on 
the boat. The attention of the officer on the watch would not for a mo- 
ment be attracted by a custom so common as this. Thus safely on the 
boat, the man whose business it was to put this piece of property in the most 
safe Underground Rail Road place, if he saw that every thing looked 
favorable, would quickly arrange matters without being missed from his 
duties. In numerous instances, officers were outwitted in this way. 

As to what Susan had seen in the way of hardships, whether in relation 
to herself or others, her story was most interesting ; but it may here be 
passed in order to make room for others. She left one sister, named 
Mary Ann Tharagood, who was wanting to come away very much. Susan 
was a/ woman of dark color, round built, medium height, and about forty 
years of age when, she escaped in 1854. 



William Henry was also a fellow-passenger on the same boat with 
William B. White and Susan Cooke. These might be set down, as first- 
class Underground Kail Eoad travelers. 

Henry was a very likely-looking article. He was quite smart, about 
six feet high, a dark mulatto, and was owned by a Baptist minister. 

For some cause not stated on the books, not long before leaving, 
Henry had received a notice from his owner, (the Baptist Minister) that he 
might hunt himself a new master as soon as possible. This was a business 
that Henry had no relish for. The owner he already had, he concluded bad 
enough in all conscience, and it did not occur to him that hunting another 
would mend the matter much. So in thinking over the situation, he was 
" taken sick." He felt the need of a little time to reflect upon matters of 
very weighty moment involving his freedom. So when he was called upon 
one day to go to his regular toil, the answer was, " I am sick, I am not able 
to budge hardly." The excuse took and Henry attended faithfully to his 
" sick business," for the time being, while on the other hand, the Baptist 
Minister waited patiently all the while for William to get well enough for 
hunting a new master. What had to be done, needed to be done quickly, 
before his master's patience was exhausted. William soon had matters ar- 
ranged for traveling North. He had a wife, Eliza, for whom he felt the 
greatest aifection; but as he viewed matters at that time, he concluded that he 
could really do more for her in Canada than he could in Norfolk. He saw 
no chance, either under the Baptist minister, or under a new master. His 
wife was owned by Susan Langely. When the hour arrived to start, as 
brave men usually do, Henry, having counted all the cost, was in his place 
on the boat with his face towards Canada. 

How he looked at matters on John Bull's side of the house, letters from 
Henry will abundantly reveal as follows : 

ST. CATHARINES, August 4, 1854. 

MY DEAR SIR : It is with plesure that I now take my pen to inform you that I am 
well at present and I hope that these few lines may find you injoying good health, and 
will you plese to be so kind as to send a leter down home for me if you plese to my wife, 
the reason that I beg the favor of you I have written to you several times and never 
recieve no answer, she don't no whar I am at I would like her to no, if it is posible 
elizeran Actkins, and when you* write will you plese to send me all the news, give my re- 
spect to all the fambley and allso to Mr lundey and his fambley and tell him plese to send 
me those books if you plese the first chance you can git. Mrs. Wood sends her love to 
Mr. Still answer this as soon as on hand, the boys all send their love to all, the reason 
why i sends for a answer write away i expect to live this and go up west nex mounth not 
to stay to git some knd, i have no more at present, i remain your friend. 



ST. CATHAEINES, C. W., October 5th, 1854. 

ME. WILLIAM STILL : Dear Friend: I take the liberty to address to you a few lines 
in behalf of my wife, who is still at Norfolk, Va. I have heard by my friend Richmond 
Bohm, who arrived lately, that she was in the hands of my friend Henry Lovey (the same 
who had me in hand at the time I started). I understood that she was about to make 
her start this month, and that she was only waiting for me to send her some means. I 
would like for you to communicate the substance of this letter to my wife, through my 
friend Henry Lovey, and for her to come on as soon as she can. I would like to have my 
wife write to me a few lines by the first opportunity. She could write to you in Phila- 
delphia, 31 North Fifth street. I wish to send my love to you & your family & would 
like for you to answer this letter with the least possible delay in the care of Hiram 
Wilson. Very respectfully yours, W. H. ATKINS. 

P. S. I would like for my friend Henry Lovey to send my wife right on to Philadel- 
phia; not to stop for want of means, for I will forward means on to my friend Wm Still. 
My love to my father & mother, my friend Lovey & to all my inquiring friends. If you 
cannot find it convenient to write, please forward this by the Boat. H. W. A. 



About the 31st of May, 1856, an exceedingly anxious state of feeling 
existed with the active Committee in Philadelphia. In the course of 
twenty-four hours four arrivals had come to hand from different localities. 
The circumstances connected with the escape of each party, being so unusu- 
al, there was scarcely ground for any other conclusion than that disaster was 
imminent, if not impossible to be averted. 

It was a day long to be remembered. Aside from the danger, however, 
a more encouraging hour had never presented itself in the history of the 
Road. The courage, which had so often been shown in the face of great 
danger, satisfied the Committee that there were heroes and heroines among 
these passengers, fully entitled to the applause of the liberty-loving citizens 
of Brotherly Love. The very idea of having to walk for days and nights 
in succession, over strange roads, through by-ways, and valleys, over moun- 
tains, and marshes, was fitted to appal the bravest hearts, especially where 
women and children were concerned. 

Being familiar with such cases, the Committee was delighted beyond 



measure to observe how wisely and successfully each of these parties had 
managed to overcome these difficulties. 

-& K & - "/ I- K \i Party No. 1 

consisted of 
Charlotte Giles 
and Harriet 
Eglin, owned 
by Capt. Wm. 
and John Dela- 
hay. Neither 
of these girls 
had any great 
complaint to 
make on the 
score of ill- 
treatment en- 

So they contrived each to get a suit of mourning, with heavy black veil?, 
and thus dressed, apparently absorbed with grief, with a friend to pass them 
to the Baltimore depot (hard place to pass, except aided by an individual 
well known to the. R. R. company), they took a direct course for Philadelphia. 
While seated in the car, before leaving Baltimore (where slaves and mas- 
ters both belonged), who should enter but the master of one of the girls ! 
In a very excited manner, he hurriedly approached Charlotte and Harriet, 
who were apparently weeping. Peeping under their veils, " What is your 
name," exclaimed the excited gentleman. " Mary, sir," sobbed Charlotte. 
"What is your name?" (to the other mourner) "Lizzie, sir," was the faint 
reply. On rushed the excited gentleman as if moved by steam through the 
cars, looking for his property ; not finding it, he passed out of the cars, and 
to the delight of Charlotte and Harriet soon disappeared. Fair business 
men would be likely to look at this conduct on the part of the two girls in 
the light of a " sharp practice." In military parlance it might be regarded 
as excellent strategy. Be this as it may, the Underground Rail Road 
passengers arrived safely at the Philadelphia station and were gladly received. 
A brief stay in the city was thought prudent lest the hunters might be on 
the pursuit. They were, therefore, retained in safe quarters. 

In the meantime, Arrival No. 2 reached the Committee. It consisted of 
a colored man, a white woman and a child, ten years old. This case created 
no little surprise. Not that quite a number of passengers, fair enough to 
pass for white, with just a slight tinge of colored blood in their veins, even 
sons and daughters of some of the F. F. V., had not on various occasions 
come over the U. G. R. R. But this party was peculiar. An explanation was 


sought, which resulted in ascertaining that the party was from Leesburg, 
Virginia ; that David, the colored man, was about twenty-seven years of age, 
intelligent, and was owned, or claimed by Joshua Pusey. David had no 
taste for Slavery, indeed, felt that it would be impossible for him to adapt 
himself to a life of servitude for the special benefit of others ; he had, al- 
ready, as he thought, been dealt with very wrongfully by Pusey, who had 
deprived him of many years of the best part of his life, and would continue 
thus to wrong him, if he did not make a resolute effort to get away. So 
after thinking of various plans, he determined not to run off as a slave with 
his " budget on his back," but to " travel as. a coachman," under the " pro- 
tection of a white lady." In planning this pleasant scheme, David was not 
blind to the fact that neither himself nor the " white lady," with whom he 
proposed to travel, possessed either horse or carriage. 

But his master happened to have a vehicle that would answer for the oc- 
casion. David reasoned that as Joshua, his so called master, had deprived 
him of his just dues for so many years, he had a right to borrow, or take 
without borrowing, one of Joshua's horses for the expedition. The plan was 
submitted to the lady, and was approved, and a mutual understanding here 
entered into, that she should hire a carriage, and take also her little girl 
with them. The lady was to assume the proprietorship of the horse, car- 
riage and coachman. In so doing all dangers would be, in their judgment, 
averted. The scheme being all ready for execution, the time for departure 
was fixed, the carriage hired, David having secured his master Joshua's horse, 
and off they started in the direction of Pennsylvania. White people being 
so accustomed to riding, and colored people to driving, the party looked all 


right. No one suspected them, that they were aware of, while passing 
through Virginia. 

On reaching Chambersburg, Pa., in the evening, they drove to a hotel, 
the lady alighted, holding by the hand her well dressed and nice-looking 
little daughter, bearing herself with as independent an air as if she had owned 
twenty such boys as accompanied her as coachman. She did not hesitate to 
enter and request accommodations for the night, for herself, daughter, coach- 
man, and horse. Being politely told that they could be accommodated, all 
that was necessary was, that the lady should show off to the best advantage 
possible. The same duty also rested with weight upon the mind of David. 

The night passed safely and the morning was ushered in with bright hopes 
which were overcast but only for a moment, however. Breakfast having been 
ordered and partaken of, to the lady's surprise, just as she was in the act of 
paying the bill, the proprietor of the hotel intimated that he thought that 
matters " looked a little suspicious," in other words, he said plainly, that he 
" believed that it was an Underground Rail Road movement ; " but being 
an obliging hotel-keeper, he assured her at the same time, that he u would 
not betray them." Just here it was with them as it would have been on any 
other rail road when things threaten to come to a stand ; they could do no- 
thing more than make their way out of the peril as best they could. One 
thing they decided to do immediately, namely, to " leave the horse and car- 
riage," and try other modes of travel. . They concluded to take the regular 
passenger cars. In this way they reached Philadelphia. In Harrisburg, 
they had sought and received instructions how to find the Committee in 

What relations had previously existed between David and this lady iu 
Virginia, the Committee knew not. It looked more like the time spoken 
of in Isaiah, where it is said, " And a little child shall lead them," than 
any thing that had ever been previously witnessed on the Underground 
Rail Road. The Underground Rail Road never practised the proscription 
governing other roads, on account of race, color, or previous condition. 
All were welcome to its immunities, white or colored, when the object to be 
gained favored freedom, or weakened Slavery. As the sole aim apparent 
in this case was freedom for the slave the Committee received these travellers 
as Underground Rail Road passengers. 

Arrival No. 3. Charles H. Ringold, Robert Smith, and John Henry 
Richards, all from Baltimore. Their ages ranged from twenty to twenty-four 
years. They were in appearance of the class most inviting to men who were 
in the business of buying and selling slaves. Charles and John were owned 
by James Hodges, and Robert by Wm. H. Normis, living in Baltimore. 
This is all that the records contain of them. The exciting and hurrying 
times when they were in charge of the Committee probably forbade the 
writing out of a more detailed account of them, as was often the case. 


With the above three arrivals on hand, it may be seen ho\v great was 
the danger to which all concerned were exposed on account of the bold and 
open manner in which these parties had escaped from the land of the peculiar 
institution. Notwithstanding, a feeling of very great gratification existed in 
view of the success attending the new and adventurous modes of travelino-. 

o o 

Indulging in reflections of this sort, the writer on going from his dinner that 
day to the anti-slavery office, to his surprise found an officer awaiting his 
coming. Said officer was of the mayor's police force. Before many moments 
had been allowed to pass, in which to conjecture his errand, the officer, 
evidently burdened with the importance of his mission, began to state his 
business substantially as follows : 

"I have just received a telegraphic despatch from a slave-holder living 
in Maryland, informing me that six slaves had escaped from him, and that 
he had reason to believe that they were on their way to Philadelphia, and 
would come in the regular train direct from Harrisburg ; furthermore I am 
requested to be at the depot on the arrival of the train to arrest the whole 
party, for whom a reward of $1300 is offered. Now I am not the man for 
this business. I would have nothing to do with the contemptible work of 
arresting fugitives. I'd rather help them off. What I am telling you is 
confidential. My object in coming to the office is simply to notify the 
Vigilance Committee so that they may be on the look-out for them at the 
depot this evening and get them out of danger as soon as possible. This is 
the way I feel about them ; but I shall telegraph back that I will be on the 

While the officer was giving this information he was listened to most 
attentively, and every word he uttered was carefully weighed. An air of 
truthfulness, however, was apparent ; nevertheless he was a stranger and 
there was cause for great cautiousness. During the interview an unopened 
telegraphic despatch which had come to hand during the writer's absence, 
lay on the desk. Impressed with the belief that it might shed light on 
the officer's story, the first opportunity that offered, it was seized, opened, 
and it read as follows : (Copied from the original.) 

HARBISBTTKG, May 31st, 1856. 

WM. STILL, N. 5th St. : I have sent via at two o'clock four large and two small hams. 


Here there was no room for further doubt, but much need for vigilance. 
Although the despatch was not read to the officer, not that his story was 
doubted, but purely for prudential reasons, he was nevertheless given to 
understand, that it was about the same party, and that they would be duly 
looked after. It would hardly have been understood by the officer, had he 
been permitted to read it, so guardedly was it worded, it was indeed dead 
language to all save the initiated. In one particular especially, relative to 


the depot where they were expected to arrive, the officer was in the dark, as 
his despatch pointed to the regular train, and of course to the depot at 
Eleventh and Market streets. The Underground Rail Road despatch on 
.the contrary pointed to Broad and Callowhill streets "Via," i. e. Reading. 

As notified, that evening the " four large and two small hams " arrived, 
and turned out to be of the very finest quality, just such as any trader would ; 
have paid the highest market price for. Being mindful of the great danger 
of the hour, there was felt to be more occasion just then for anxiety and 
watchfulness, than for cheering and hurrahing over the brave passengers. To 
provide for them in the usual manner, in view of the threatening aspect of 
aifairs, could not be thought of. In this critical hour it devolved upon a 
member of the Committee, for the safety of all parties, to find new and separate 
places of accommodation, especially for the six known to be pursued. To be 
stored in other than private families would not answer. Three or four such 
were visited at once; after learning of the danger much sympathy was 
expressed, but one after another made excuses and refused. This was pain- 
ful, for the parties had plenty of house room, were identified with the 
oppressed race, and on public meeting occasions made loud professions of 
devotion to the cause of the fugitive, &c. The memory of the hour and 
circumstances is still fresh. 

Accommodations were finally procured for a number of the fugitives 
with a widow woman, (Ann Laws) whose opportunities for succor were 
far less than at the places where refusals had been met with. But Mrs. L. 
was kind-hearted, and nobly manifested a willingness to do all that she 
could for their safety. Of course the Committee felt bound to bear what- 
ever expense might necessarily be incurred. Here some of the passen- 
gers were kept for several days, strictly private, long enough to give the 
slave-hunters full opportunity to tire themselves, and give up the chase 
in despair. Some belonging to the former arrivals had also to be simi- 
larly kept for the same reasons. Through careful management all were 
succored and cared for. Whilst much interesting information was ob- 
tained from these several arrivals: the incidents connected with their 
lives in Slavery, and when escaping were but briefly written out. Of this 
fourth arrival, however, the following intelligence will doubtless be highly 
gratifying to the friends of freedom, wherever the labors of the Underground 
Rail Road may be appreciated. The people round about Hagerstown, Mary- 
land, may like to know how these " articles " got off so successfully, the cir- 
cumstances of their escape having doubtless created some excitement in that 
region of the country. 

Arrival No. 4. Charles Bird, George Dorsey, Angeline Brown, Albert 
Brown, Charles Brown and Jane Scott. 

CHARLES was twenty-four years of age, quite dark, of quick motion, and 
ready speech, and in every way appearing as though he could take care of 



himself. He had occupied the condition of a farm laborer. This call- 
ing he concluded to forsake, not because he disliked farming, but simply 
to get rid of David Clargart, who professed to own him, and compelled 
him to work without pay, "for nothing." While Charles spoke favor- 
ably of Clargart as a man, to the extent, at all events, of testifying that 
he was not what was called a hard man, nevertheless Charles was so 
decidedly opposed to Slavery that he felt compelled to look out for himself. 
Serving another man on the no pay principle, at the same time liable to be 
flogged, and sold at the pleasure of another, Charles felt was worse than 
heathenish viewed in any light whatsoever. He was prepared therefore, to 
leave without delay. He had four sisters in the hands of Clargart, but what 
could he do for them but leave them to Providence. 

The next on the list was GEORGE DORSEY, a comrade of Charles. He was 
a young man, of medium size, mixed blood, intelligent, and a brave fellow 
as will appear presently. 

This party in order to get over the road as expeditiously as possible, avail- 
ed themselves of their master's horses and wagon and moved off civilly and 
respectably. About nine miles from home on the road, a couple of white 
men, finding their carriage broken down approached them, unceremoniously 
seized the horses by the reins and were evidently about to assume authority, 
supposing that the boys would surrender at once. But instead of so doing, 
the boys struck away at them with all their might, with their large clubs, 
not even waiting to hear what these superior individuals wanted. The 


effect of the clubs brought them prostrate in the road, in an attitude resem- 
bling two men dreaming, (it was in the night.) The victorious passengers, 
seeing that the smashed up carriage could be of no further use to them, quick- 
ly conceived the idea of unhitching and attempting further pursuit on horse- 
back. Each horse was required to carry three passengers. So up they mount- 
ed and off they galloped with the horses' heads turned directly towards Pennsyl- 
vania. No further difficulty presented itself until after they had traveled some 
forty miles. Here the poor horses broke down, and had to be abandoned. 
The fugitives were hopeful, but of the difficulties ahead they wot not; surely no 
flowery beds of ease awaited them. For one whole week they were obliged 
to fare as they could, out in the woods, over 1 the mountains, &c. How they 
overcame the trials in this situation we cannot undertake to describe. Suffice 
it to say, at the end of the time above mentioned they managed to reach 
Harrisburg and found assistance as already intimated. 

GEORGE and Angeline, (who was his sister) with her two boys had a con- 
siderable amount of white blood in their veins, and belonged to a wealthy 
man by the name of George Schaeffer, who was in the milling business. 
They were of one mind in representing him as a hard man. " He 
would often threaten to sell, and was very hard to please." George and, 
Angeline left their mother and ten brothers and sisters. 

JAXE was a well-grown girl, smart, and not bad-looking, with a fine 
brown skin, and was also owned by Schaeffer. 

Letters from the enterprising Charlotte and Harriet (arrival No. 1), 
brought the gratifying intelligence, that they had found good homes in 
Western New York, and valued their freedom highly. Three out of quite a 
number of letters received from them from time to time are subjoined. 

SENNETT, June, 1856. 

MR. WILLIAM STILL : Dear Sir : I am happy to tell you that Charlotte Gildes and 
myself have got along thus far safely. We have had no trouble and found friends all the 
way along, for which we feel very thankful to you and to all our friends on the road since 
we left. We reached Mr. Loguen's in Syracuse, on last Tuesday evening & on Wednes- 
day two gentlemen from this community called and we went with them to work in their 
families. What I wish you would do is to be so kind as to send our clothes to this place 
if they should fall into your hands. We hope our uncle in Baltimore will get the letter 
Charlotte wrote to him last Sabbath, while we were at your house, concerning the clothes. 
Perhaps the best would be to send them to Syracuse to the care of Mr. Loguen and he 
will send them to us. This will more certainly ensure our getting them. If you hear 
anything that would be interesting to Charlotte or me from Baltimore, please direct a 
letter to us to this place, to the care of Revd. Chas. Anderson, Sennett, Cayuga Co., 
N. Y. Please give my love and Charlotte's to Mrs. Still and thank her for her kindness 
to us while at your house. Your affectionate friend, 




BENNETT, July 31st, 18o6. 

ME. WM. STILL: My Dear Friend: I have just received your note of 29th insl. and 
allow me dear sir, to assure you that the only letter I have written, is the one vou 
received, an answer to which you sent me. I never wrote to Baltimore, nor did any 
person write for me there, and it is with indescribable grief, that I hear what your letter 
communicates to me, of those who you say have gotten into difficulty on my account. 
My Cousin Charlotte who came with me, got into a good place in this vicinity, but she 
could not content herself to stay here but just one week she then went to Canada and 
she is the one who by writing (if any one), has brought this trouble upon those to whom 
you refer in Baltimore. 

She has written me two letters from Canada, and by neither of them can I ascertain 
where she lives her letters are mailed at Suspension Bridge, but she does not live there 
as her letters show. In the first she does not even sign her name. She has evidently 
employed some person to write, who is nearly as ignorant as herself. If I knew where to 
find her I would find out what she has written. 

f I don't know but she has told where I live, and may yet get me and my friends here, 
in trouble too, as she has some in other places. I don't wish to have you trouble your- 
self about my clothes, I am in a place where I can get all the clothes I want or need. 
Will you please write me when convenient and tell me what you hear about those who I 
fear are suffering as the result of their kindness to me? May God, in some way, grant 
them deliverance. Oh the misery, the sorrow, which this cursed system of Slavery is con- 
stantly bringing upon millions in this land of boasted freedom 1 

Can you tell me where Sarah King is, who was at your house when I was there? She 
was going to Canada to meet her husband. Give my love to Mrs. Still & accept the same 
yourself. Your much indebted & obliged friend, HARRIET EGLIN. 

The "difficulty" about which Harriet expressed so much regret in the 
above letter, had reference to a letter supposed to have been written 
by her friend Charlotte to Baltimore about her clothing It had been 
intercepted, and in this way, a clue was obtained by one of the owners as to 
how they escaped, who aided/ them, etc. On the strength of the informa- 
tion thus obtained, a well-known colored man, named Adams, was straight- 
way arrested and put in prison at the instance of one of the owners, and also 
a suit was at the same time instituted against the Rail Road Company for 
damages by which steps quite a huge excitement was created in Baltimore. 
As to the colored man Adams, the prospect looked simply hopeless. Many 
hearts were sad in view of the doom which they feared would fall upon him 
for obeying a humane impulse (he had put the girls on the cars). But with 
the Rail Road Company it was a different matter ; they had money, 
power, friends, etc., and could defy the courts. In the course of a 
few months, when the suit against Adams and the Rail Road Company 
came up, the Rail Road Company proved in court, in defense, that the pros- 
ecutor entered the cars in search of his runaway, and went and spoke to the 
two young women in "mourning" the day they escaped, looking expressly 
for the identical parties, for which he was seeking damages before the court, 
and that he declared to the conductor, on leaving the cars, that the said "two 


girls in mourning, were not the ones he was looking after," or in other 
words, that " neither " belonged to him. This positive testimony satisfied the 
jury, and the Rail Road Company and poor James Adams escaped by the 
verdict not guilty. The owner of the lost property had the costs to pay of 
course, but whether he was made a wiser or better man by the operation was 
never ascertained. 


SENNETT, October 28th, 1856. 

DEAR ME. STILL: I am happy to tell you that I am well and happy. I still live 
with Rev. Mr. Anderson in this place, I am learning to read and write. I do not like to 
trouble you too much, but I would like to know if you have heard anything more about 
my friends in Baltimore who got into trouble on our account. Do be pleased to write me 
if you can give me any information about them. I feel bad that they should suffer for 
me. I wish all my brethren and sisters in bondage, were as well off as I am. The girl 
that came with me is in Canada, near the Suspension Bridge. I was glad to see Green 
Murdock, a colored young man, who stopped at your house about six weeks ago, he knew 
my folks at the South. He has got into a good place to work in this neighborhood. 
Give my love to Mrs Still, and believe me your obliged friend, HARRIET EGLIN. 

P. S. I would like to know what became of Johnson,* the man whose foot was 
smashed by jumping off the cars, he was at your house when I was there. H. E. 





In order to keep this volume within due limits, in the cases to be noticed 
in this chapter, it will be impossible to state more than a few of the interest- 
ing particulars that make up these narratives. While some of these passen- 
gers might not have been made in the prison house to drink of the bitter 
cup as often as others, and in their flight might not have been called upon 
to pass through as severe perils as fell to the lot of others, nevertheless 

* Johnson was an unfortunate young fugitive, who, while escaping, beheld his master or pursuer in 
the cars, and jumped therefrom, crushing his feet shockingly by the bold act. 


justice seems to require, that, as far as possible, all the passengers passing 
over the Philadelphia Underground Rail Road shall be noticed. 

JAMES BURRELL. James was certainly justifiable in making his escape, 
if for no other reason than on the score of being nearly related to the chi- 
valry of the South. He was a mulatto (the son of a white man evidently), 
about thirty-two years of age, medium size, and of an agreeable appear- 
ance. He was owned by a maiden lady, who lived at Williamsburg, but not 
requiring his services in her own family, she hired him out by the year 
to a Mr. John Walker, a manufacturer of tobacco, for which she received 
$120 annually. This arrangement was not satisfactory to James. He could 
not see why he should be compelled to wear the yoke like an ox. The more 
he thought over his condition, the more unhappy was his lot, until at last 
he concluded, that he could not stand Slavery any longer. He had wit- 
nessed a great deal of the hardships of the system of Slavery, and he had 
quite enough intelligence to portray the horrors thereof in very vivid 
colors. It was the auction-block horror that first prompted him to seek free- 
dom. While thinking how he would manage to get away safely, his wife 
and children were ever present in his mind. He felt as a husband should 
towards his " wife Betsy," and likewise loved his " children, Walter and 
Mary ;" but these belonged to another man, who lived some distance in the 
country, where he had permission to see them only once a week. This had its 
pleasure, it also had its painful influence. The weekly partings were a never- 
failing source of unhappiness. So when James' mind was fully made up to 
escape from Slavery, he decided that it would not be best to break the secret 
to his poor wife and children, but to get off to Canada, and afterwards to try 
and see what he could do for their deliverance. The hour fixed to leave Vir- 
ginia arrived, and he started and succeeded in reaching Philadelphia, and the 
Committee. On arriving he needed medicine, clothing, food, and a carriage 
for his accommodation, all which were furnished freely by the Committee, 
and he was duly forwarded to Canada. From Canada, with his name 
changed, he wrote as follows: 

TORONTO, March 28th, 1854. 

SIR, MR. STILL It does me pleasure to forward you this letter hopeing when this comes 
to hand it may find your family well, as they leaves me at present. 1 will also say that 
the friends are well. Allow me to say to you that I arrived in this place on Friday last 
safe and sound, and feeles well under my safe arrival. Its true that I have not been em- 
ployed as yet but I lives hopes to be at work very shortly. I likes this city very well, 
and I am in hopes that there a living here for me as much so as there for any one else. 
You will be please to write. I am bording at Mr. Phillip's Centre Street. 

I have nothing more at present. Yours most respectfull. W. BOURAL. 

DANIEL WIGGINS, alias DANIEL ROBINSON. Daniel fled from Norfolk, 
Va., where he had been owned by the late Richard Scott. Only a few days 
before Daniel escaped, his so-called owner was summoned to his last account. 


While ill, just before the close of his career, he often promised D. his free- 
dom and also promised, if restored, that he would make amends for the 
past, by changing his ways of living. His son, who was very reckless, he 
would frequently allude to and declared, " that he," the son, " should not 
have his ' property.' " These dying sentiments filled Daniel with great hopes 
that the day of his enslavement was nearly at an end. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, death visited the old master, ere he had made provision for his slaves. 
At all events, no will was found. That he might not fall a prey to the 
reckless son, he felt, that he -must nerve himself for a desperate struggle 
to obtain his freedom in some other way, by traveling on the Underground 
Rail Road. While he had always been debarred from book learning, he 
was, nevertheless, a man of some intelligence, and by trade was a practical 

He was called upon in this trying hour to leave his wife with three chil- 
dren, but they were, fortunately, free. Coming to the Committee in want, 
they cheerfully aided him, and forwarded him on to Canada. Thence, 
immediately on his arrival, he returned the following grateful letter : 

NEW BEDFORD, Mass., March 22d, 1851. 

DEAR SIR : I am happy to inform you that I arrived in this place this morning well 
and cheerful. I am, sir, to you and others under more obligations for your kindly protec- 
tion of me than I can in any way express at present. May the Lord preserve you unto 
eternal life. Remember my respects to Mr. Lundy and family. Should the boat lay up 
please let me know. Yours respectfully, DAVID ROBINSON. 

Please forward to Dr. H. Lundy, after you have gotten through. With respects, &c. 

D. R. 

WM. ROBINSON, alias THOS. HAEEED. William gave satisfactory evi- 
dence, at first sight, that he was opposed to the unrequited labor system 
in toto, and even hated still more the flogging practices of the chivalry. 
Although he had reached his twenty-eighth year, and was a truly fair 
specimen of his race, considering his opportunities, a few days before 
William left, the overseer on the plantation attempted to flog him, but 
did not succeed. William's manhood was aroused, and he flogged the 
overseer soundly, if what he averred was true. The name of William's 
owner was John G. Beale, Esq., of Fauquier county, Va. Beale was 
considered to be a man of wealth, and had invested in Slave stock to 
the number of seventy head. According to William's account of Beale, 
he was a " hard man and thought no more of his black people than he 
did of dogs." When William entered upon the undertaking of freeing 
himself from Beale's barbarism, he had but one dollar and twenty-five 
cents in his possession ; but he had physical strength and a determined 
mind, and being heartily sick of Slavery, he was willing to make the trial, 
even at the cost of life. Thus hopeful, he prosecuted his journey with suc- 


cess through strange regions of country, with but little aid or encouragement 
before reaching Philadelphia. This feat, however, was not performed with- 
out getting lost by the way. On arriving, his shoes were gone, and his feet 
were severely travel-worn. The Committee rendered needed aid, etc., and 
sent William on to Canada to work for himself, and to be recognized as a 
subject of Great Britain. 

man and his wife and wife's sister were a nice-looking trio, but they 
brought quite a sad story with them: the sale of their children, six in 
number. The auction block had made such sad havoc among them, that no 
room was left to hope, that their situation would ever be improved by re- 
maining. Indeed they had been under a very gloomy cloud for some time 
previous to leaving, fearing that the auction block was shortly to be 
their doom. To escape this fate, they were constrained to " secrete them- 
selves for one month," until an opportunity offered them to secure a pas- 
sage on a boat coming to Philadelphia. Edward (the husband), was about 
forty-four years of age, of a dark color, well made, full face, pleasant coun- 
tenance, and talked fluently. Dr. Price claimed him as his personal 
property, and exacted all his hire and labor. For twelve years he had 
been hired out for $100 per annum. Harriet, the wife of Edward, be- 
longed to David Baines, of Norfolk. Her general appearance indicated, 
that nature had favored her physically and mentally, although being 
subjected to the drudgery of Slave life, with no advantages for development, 
she was simply a living testimony to the crushing influence of Slavery 
with a heart never free from the saddened recollection of the auction block, 
on which all of her children had been sacrificed, " one by one." Celia, the 
sister, also belonged to D. Baines, and was kept hired out was last in the 
service of the Mayor of Norfolk. Of her story nothing of any moment 
was recorded. On their arrival in Philadelphia, as usual they were handed 
over to the Committee, and their wants were met. 

WILLIAM DAVIS. All that the records contain of William is as follows : 
He left Emmitsburg, Md., the previous Friday night, where he had been 
held by Dr. James Shoul. William is thirty-two years of age, dark color, 
rather below medium stature. With regard to his slave life, he declared 
that he had been "roughly used." Besides, for some time before escaping, he 
felt that his owner was in the " notion of trading" him off. The fear that 
this apprehended notion would be carried into execution, was what prompted 
him to leave his master. 

ALEXANDER BOGGS, alias JOHNSON HENSON. This subject was under 
the ownership of a certain John Ernie, who lived about three miles from 
Baltimore. Mr. Ernie had only been in possession of the wayward Alex- 
ander three weeks, having purchased him of a trader named Dennit, for 
$550. This was not the first time, however, that he had experienced the 


trouble of changing masters, in consequence of having been sold. Previ- 
ously to his being disposed of by the trader Dennit, he had been owned by 
Senator Merrick, who had the misfortune to fail in business, in consequence 
whereof, his slaves had all to be sold and Alexander with the rest, away 
from his wife, Caroline, and two children, James and Eliezer. 

This was a case that appealed for sympathy and aid, which were cheer- 
fully rendered by the Committee. Alexander was about fifty years of age, 
of dark color. On the Records no account of cruel treatment is found, 
other than being sold, &c. 

JOHN BROWN, alias JACOB WILLIAMS, arrived from Fredericktown, 
Md., where he had been working under the yoke of Joseph Postly. 
John was a young man of twenty-nine years of age. Up to the hour 
of his escape, his lot had been that of an ordinary slave. Indeed, he had 
much less to complain of with reference to usage than most slaves ; the 
only thing in this respect the records contain, is simply a charge, that his 
master threatened to sell him. But this did not seem to have been the 
motive which prompted John to take leave of his master. Although untu- 
tored, he had mind enough to comprehend that Postly had no right to 
oppress him, and wrong him out of his hire. John concluded that he would 
not stand such treatment any longer, and made up his mind to leave for 
Canada. After due examination the Committee, finding his story reasonable, 
gave him the usual assistance, advice and instruction, and sent him on 

SAMUEL SLATER, alias PATTERSON SMITH, came from a place called 
'ower Bridge, Md. He gave a satisfactory account of himself, and was 
commended for having wisely left his master, William Martin, to earn his 
bread by the sweat of his own brow. Martin had held up the vision of 
the auction-block before Sam ; this was enough. Sam saw that it was time 
for him to be getting out of danger's way without delay, so he presumed, 
if others could manage to escape, he could too. And he succeeded. He 
was a stout man, about twenty-nine years of age, of dark complexion. No 
particular mention of ill treatment is found on the Records. 

After arriving in Canada, his heart turned with deep interest and affec- 
tion to those left in the prison-house, as the following letter indicates. 

ST. CATHRINES Oct 29th. 

MY DEAR FRIEND : yours of the 15th came to hand and I was glad to hea from you 
and your dear family were well and the reason that I did not write sooner I expected get 
a letter from my brother in pennsyjvania but I have not received any as yet when I wrote 
last I directed my letter to philip scott minister of the asbury church baltimore and that 
was the reason that I thought it strange I did not get an answer but I did not put my 
brother name to it I made arrangements before I left home with a family of smiths that I 
was to write to and the letter that I enclose in this I want you to direct it to D Philip 
scott in his care for mrs cassey Jackson Duke Jacksons wife and she will give to Priana 
smith or Sarah Jane Smith those are the persons I wish to write to I wish you to write 


on sis quick as you can and let them know that there is a lady coming on by the name of 
mrs Holonsworth and she will call and see you and you will find her a very interesting 
and inteligent person one worthy of respect and esteem and a high reputation I must now 
bring my letter to a close no more at present but remain your humble servant 


In my letters I did not write to my friends how they shall write to me but in the letter 
that you write you will please to tell them how they shall write to me. 

were fortunate enough to escape together from Norfolk, Va. 

HARRISON was just in the prime of life, forty years of age, stout made, 
good features, but in height was rather below medium, was a man of more 
than ordinary shrewdness, by trade he was a chandler. He alleged that he 
had been used hard. 

HARRIET ANN was a well-grown girl of pleasant appearance, four- 
teen years of age. Father and daughter had each different owners, one 
belonged to James Snyder, the other to John G. Hodgson. 

Harrison had been informed that his children were to be sold ; to prevent 
this shocking fate, he was prompted to escape. Several months previous to 
finding a chance to make a safe flight, he secreted himself with his children 
in Norfolk, and so remained up to the day he left, a passage having been 
secured for them on one of the boats coming to Philadelphia. While the 
records contain no definite account of other children, it is evident that 
there were others, but what became of them is not known. 

If at the time of their arrival, it had been imagined that the glorious day 
of universal freedom was only about eight years off, doubtless much fuller 
records would have been made of these struggling Underground Rail Road 
passengers. If Harrison's relatives and friends, who suddenly missed him 
and his daughter Harriet Ann, in the Spring of 1854, are still ignorant of 
his whereabouts, this very brief account of their arrival in Philadelphia, 
may be of some satisfaction to all concerned, not excepting his old master, 
whom he had served so faithfully. 

The Committee finding them in need, had the pleasure of furnishing them 
with food, material aid and a carriage, with cheering words and letters of 
introduction to friends on the road to Canada. 


DANIEL was only about twenty, just at a capital age to make a bold 
strike for freedom. The appearance and air of this young aspirant for 
liberty indicated that he was not of the material to be held in chains. 
He was a man of medium size, well-built, dark color, and intelligent. Hon. 
Charles J. Fortner, M. C. was the reputed owner of this young fugitive, but 
the honorable gentleman having no use for his services, or because he may 


have profited more by hiring him out, Daniel was placed in the employ of 
a farmer, by the name of Adam Quigley. It was at this time he resolved 
that he would not be a slave any longer. He declared that Quigley was a 
"very mean man," one for whom he had no respect whatever. Indeed he 
felt that the system of Slavery was an abomination in any form it might be 
viewed. While he was yet so young, he had pretty clear views with regard 
to Slavery, and remembered with feelings of deep indignation, how his 
father had been sold when he himself was a boy, just as a horse might have 
been sold ; and how his mother was dragging her chains in Slavery, up to the 
hour he fled. Thus in company with his two companions he was prepared 
for any sacrifice. 

ADAM'S tale is soon told ; all that is on the old record in addition to his 
full name, is in the following words : "Adam is dark, rugged and sensible, 
and was owned by Alexander Hill, a drunkard, gambler, &c." 

REUBEN had been hired out to John Sabbard near Hedgeville. Startled 
at hearing that he was to be sold, he was led to consider the propriety 
of seeking flight via the Underground Rail Road. These three young 
men were all fine specimens of farm hands, and possessed more than average 
common sense, considering the oppression they had to labor under. They 
walked the entire distance from Hedgeville, Va., to Greenville, Pa. There 
they took the cars and walked no more. They appeared travel-worn, gar- 
ments dirty, and forlorn; but the Committee had them cleanly washed, 
hair cut and shaved, change of clothing furnished, &c., which at once made 
them look like very different men. Means were appropriated to send them 
on free of cost. 

JAMES STEWART, alias WM. JACKSON. James had been made acquainted 
with the Peculiar Institution in Fauquier county, Va. Being of sound 
judgment and firm resolution, he became an enemy to Slavery at a very 
early age ; so much so, that by the time he was twenty-one he was willing 
to put into practice his views of the system by leaving it and going where all 
men are free. Very different indeed were these notions, from those held by 
his owner, Wm. Rose, who believed in Slavery for the black man. So as 
James could neither enjoy his freedom nor express his opinion in Virginia, 
he determined, that he had better get a passage on the Underground Rail 
Road, and leave the land of Slavery and the obnoxious sentiments of 
his master. He, of course, saw formidable difficulties to be encountered 
all the way along in escaping, but these, he considered, would be 
more easy for him to overcome than it would be for him to learn the 
lesson " Servants, obey your masters." The very idea made James sick. 
This, therefore, was the secret of his escape. 

alias SARAH RICHARDSON. These travelers succeeded in escaping from 
Geo. C. Davis, of Harford county, Md. In order to carry out their plans, 


they took advantage of Whitsuntide, a holiday, and with marked ingenuity and 
perseverance, they managed to escape and reach Quakertown Underground 
Rail Road Station without obstruction, where protection and assistance were 
rendered by the friends of the cause. After abiding there for a short time, 
they were forwarded to the Committee in Philadelphia. Their ages ranged 
from nineteen to twenty-one, and they were apparently "servants" of a very 
superior order. The pleasure it afforded to aid such young women in 
escaping from a condition so loathsome as that of Slavery in Maryland, was 

BENJAMIN DUNCANS, alias GEORGE SCOTT. This individual was in 
bonds under Thomas Jeffries, who was a firm believer in the doctrine: 
" Servants, obey your masters," and, furthermore, while laboring " pretty 
hard" to make Benjamin a convert to this idea, he had made Benjamin's 
lot anything else than smooth. This treatment on the part of the master 
made a wise and resolute man of the Slave. For as he looked earnestly 
into the fact, that he was only regarded by his owner in the light of an 
ox, or an ass, his manhood rebelled straightway, and the true light of 
freedom told him, that he must be willing to labor, and endure suffering for 
the great prize, liberty. So, in company with five others, at an appointed 
time, he set out for freedom, and succeeded. The others, alluded to, passed 
on to Canada direct. Benjamin was induced to stop a few months in Penn- 
sylvania, during which time he occupied himself in farming. He looked as 
if he was well able to do a full day's work at this occupation. He was 
about twenty-five years of age, of unmixed blood, and wore a pleasant 

MOSES WINES. Portsmouth, Va., lost one of her most substantial la- 
borers in the person of Moses, and Madam Abigail Wheeler, a very " likely 
article " of merchandise. " No complaint " as to " ill treatment " was made 
by Moses against " Miss Abigail." The truth was, he admitted, that he had 
been used in a " mild way." With some degree of pride, he stated 
that he " had never been flogged." But, for the " last fifteen years, he 
had been favored with the exalted privilege of 'hiring' his time at the 'rea- 
sonable' sum of $12 per month." As he stood pledged to have this amount 
always ready, " whether sick or well," at the end of the month, his mistress 
"never neglected to be in readiness to receive it " to the last cent. In this way 
Moses was taught to be exceedingly punctual. Who would not commend such 
a mistress for the punctuality, if nothing more ? But as smoothly as matters 
seemed to be going along, the mischievous idea crept into Moses' head, that 
he ought to have some of the money claimed by his " kind " mistress, and at 
the same time, the thought would often forcibly press upon his mind that he 
might any day be sold. In addition to this unpleasant prospect, Virginia 
had just about that time passed a law "prohibiting Slaves from hiring 
their time " also, a number of " new Police rules with reference to Slaves 


and free colored people," all of which, the "humane Slave-holders" of thai 
" liberal State," regarded as highly essential both for the " protection and 
safety of Master and Slave." But the stupid-headed Moses was not pleased 
with these arrangements. In common with many of the Slaves, he smarted 
severely under his heavy oppression, and felt that it was similar to an old 
rule, which had been once tried under Pharaoh namely, when the children 
of Israel were required to " make bricks without straw." But Moses was 
not a fit subject to submit to be ruled so inhumanly. 

Despite the beautiful sermons he had often listened to in favor of 
Slavery, and the many wise laws, above alluded to, he could not reconcile 
himself to his condition. The laws and preaching were alike as 
"sounding brass, and tinkling cymbals" to him. He made up his 
mind, therefore, that he must try a free country ; that his manhood 
required him to make the effort at once, even at the risk of life. Father 
and husband, as he was, and loving his wife, Grace, and son, Alphonso, 
tenderly as he did, he nevertheless felt himself to be in chains, and that he 
could do but little for them by remaining. He conceived that, if he 
could succeed in gaining his freedom, he might possibly aid them away 
also. With this hope in him, he contrived to secure a private passage 
on the steamship City of Richmond, and in this way reached Philadelphia, 
but not without suffering fearfully the entire journey through, owing to the 
narrowness of the space into which he was obliged to be stowed in order to 
get away. 

Moses was a man of medium size, quite dark, and gave promise of being 
capable of taking care of himself in freedom. He had seen much of the 
cruelties of Slavery inflicted upon others in various forms, which he related 
in a way to make one shudder ; but these incidents were not recorded in the 
book at the time. 

SARAH SMITH, alias MILDRETH PAGE, and her daughter, nine years of 
age. Sarah and her child were held to service by the Rev. A. D. Pollock, a 
resident of Wilmington, Del. Until about nine months before she escaped 
from the Reverend gentleman, she was owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Lee of 
Fauquier Co., Va., who had moved with Sarah to Wilmington. Plow 
Mr. Pollock came by Sarah is not stated on the records ; perhaps by mar- 
riage; be that as it may, it was owing to ill treatment from her mistress that 
Sarah "took out" with her child. Sarah was a woman of becoming 
manners, of a dark brown complexion, and looked as though she might do a 
fair share of housework, if treated well. As it required no great effort to 
escape from Wilmington, where the watchful Garrett lived, she reached the 
Committee in Philadelphia without much difficulty, received assistance and 
was sent on her way rejoicing. 

LUCY GARRETT, alias JULIA WOOD. John Williams, who was said to 
be a " very cruel man," residing on the Western Shore of Va., claimed 


Lucy as his chattel personal. Julia, having a lively sense of his meanness 
stood much in fear of being sold ; having seen her father, three sisters, and 
two brothers, disposed of at auction, she was daily on the look-out for her 
turn to come next. The good spirit of freedom made the way plain to her 
by which an escape could be effected. Being about nineteen years of age, 
she felt that she had served in Slavery long enough. She resolved to start 
immediately, and did so, and succeeded in reaching Pennsylvania. Her 
appearance recommended her so well, that she was prevailed upon to remain 
and accept a situation in the family of Joseph A. Dugdale, so well known 
in reformatory circles, as an ardent friend of humanity. While in his family 
she gave great satisfaction, and was much esteemed for uprightness and in- 
dustry. But this place was not Canada, so, when it was deemed best, she 
was sent on. 

ELLEN FORMAN, alias ELIZABETH YOUNG. Ellen had formerly been 
owned by Dr. Thomas, of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but about one year 
before escaping, she was bought by a lady living in Baltimore known by the 
name of Mrs. Johnson. Ellen was about thirty years of age, of 
slender stature, and of a dark brown complexion. The record makes no 
mention of cruel treatment or very hard usage, as a slave. From travel- 
ing, probably, she had contracted a very heavy cold,, which threatened her 
with consumption. The Committee cheerfully rendered her assistance. 

WILLIAM WOODEN, alias WILLIAM NELSON. While Delaware was not 
far from freedom, and while Slavery was considered to exist there compa- 
ratively in a mild form, nevertheless, what with the impenetrable ignorance 
in which it was the wont of pro-slavery whites to keep the slaves, 
and the unwillingness on the part of slave-holders generally to conform to 
the spirit of progress going on in the adjacent State of Pennsylvania, it was 
wonderful how the slaves saw through the thick darkness thus prevailing, 
and how wide-awake they were to escape. 

It was from this State, that William Wooden fled. True, William was 
said to belong to Judge Wooden, of Georgetown, Del., but, according 
to the story of his "chattel," the Judge was not of the class who judged 
righteously. He had not only treated William badly, but he had threat- 
ened to sell him. This was the bitter pill which constrained William to 
" take out." The threat seemed hard at first, but its effect was excellent for 
this young man ; it was the cause of his obtaining his freedom at the age of 
twenty-three. William was a tall, well-built man, of dark complexion and 
promising. No further particulars concerning him are on the records. 

JAMES EDWARD HANDY, alias DANIEL CANON. At Seaford, Delaware, 
James was held in bonds under a Slave-holder called Samuel Lewis, who fol- 
lowed farming. Lewis was not satisfied with working James hard and 
keeping all his earnings, but would insolently talk occasionally of hand- 
ing him "over to the trader." This " stirred James' blood " and aroused 


his courage to the "sticking point." Nothing could induce him to 
remain. He had the name of having a wife and four children, but ac- 
cording to the Laws of Delaware, he only had a nominal right in them. 
They were " legally the property of Capt. Martin." Therefore 
they were all left in the hands of Capt. Martin. The wife's name was 
Harriet Delaney, alias Smart Stanley. James Henry Delaney came as a 
fellow-traveler with James Edward. He had experienced oppression under 
Capt. Martin, and as a witness, was prepared to testify, that Martin " ill- 
treated his Slaves, especially with regard to the diet, which was very poor." 
Nevertheless James was a stout, heavy-built young man of twenty-six years 
of age, and looked as if he might have a great deal of valuable work in 
him. He was a single man. 

JAMES HENRY BLACKSON. James Henry had only reached twenty-five, 
when he came to the " conclusion, that he had served long enough under 
bondage for the benefit of Charles Wright." This was about all of the ex- 
cuse he seemed to have for escaping. He was a fine specimen of a man, so 
far as physical strength and muscular power were concerned. Very little 
was recorded of him. 

GEORGE FREELAND. It was only by the most indomitable resolution 
and perseverance, that Freeland threw off the yoke. Capt. John Pollard of 
Petersburg, Va., held George to service. As a Slave-holder, Pollard be- 
longed to that class, who did not believe in granting favors to Slaves. On 
the contrary, he was practically in favor of wringing every drop of blood 
from their bodies. 

George was a spare-built man, about twenty-five years of age, 
quite dark, but had considerable intelligence. He could read and write 
very well, but how he acquired these arts is not known. In testifying 
against his master, George used very strong language. He declared 
that Pollard "thought no more of his servants than if they had been 
dogs. He was very mean. He gave nothing to his servants. He has given 
me only one pair of shoes the last ten years." After careful inquiry, 
George learned that he could get a private passage on the City of Rich- 
mond, if he could raise the passage money. This he could do cheerfully. 
He raised " sixty dollars " for the individual who was to " secrete him on 
the boat." In leaving the land of Slave auctions, whips and chains, he was 
obliged to leave his mother and father and two brothers in Petersburg. 
Pollard had been offered $1,500 for George. Doubtless he found, when he 
discovered George had gone, that he had "overstood the market." This was 
what produced action prompt and decisive on the part of George. So the 
old adage, in this case, was verified " It's an ill wind that blows nobody 
any good." 

On arriving in Canada, George did not forget to express gratitude to those 
who aided him on his road there, as the following note will show : 


SINCATHANS, Canada west. 

Brother Still : I im brace this opportunity of pening you a few lines to in form you 
that I am well at present & in hopes to find you & family well also I hope that god Will 
Bless you & and your family & if I never should meet you in this world I hope to meet 
you in glory Remember my love to Brother Brown & tell him that I am well & hearty 
tell him to writ Thomas word that I am well at present you must excuse me I will Rite 
when I return from the west. GEORGE W. FBEELAND. 

Send your Letters in the name of John Anderson. 

MILES WHITE. This passenger owed service to Albert Kern, of Eliza- 
beth City, N. C. At least Kern, through the oppreasive laws of that State, 
claimed Miles as his personal property. Miles, however, thought differently, 
but he was not at liberty to argue the case with Kern ; for on the " side of 
the oppressor there was strength." So he resolved, that he would adopt 
the Underground Rail Road plan. As he was only about twenty-one 
years of age, he found it much easier to close his affairs with North 
Carolina, than it would have been had he been encumbered with a 
family. In fact, the only serious difficulty he had to surmount was to 
find a captain with whom he could secure a safe passage North. To 
his gratification it was not long before his efforts in this direction were 
crowned with success. A vessel was being loaded with shingles, the captain 
of which was kind enough to allow Miles to occupy a very secure hiding- 
place thereon. In course of time, having suffered to the extent usual 
when so closely conveyed, he arrived in Philadelphia; and being aided, was 
duly forwarded by the Committee. 

JOHN HALL, alias JOHN SIMPSON. John fled from South Carolina. In 
this hot-bed of Slavery he labored and suffered up to the age of thirty- 
two. For a length of time before he escaped, his burdens were intolerable ; 
but he could see no way to rid himself of them, except by flight. Nor was 
he by any means certain that an effort in this direction would prove suc- 
cessful. In planning the route which he should take to travel North he 
decided, that if success was for him, his best chance would be to wend his 
way through North Carolina and Virginia. Not that he hoped to find 
friends or helpers in these States. He had heard enough of the cruelties 
of Slavery in these regions to convince him, that if he should be caught, 
there would be no sympathy or mercy shown. Nevertheless the irons were 
piercing him so severely, that he felt constrained to try his luck, let the con- 
sequences be what they might, and so he set out for freedom or death. Moun- 
tains of difficulties, and months of suffering and privations by land and 
water, in the woods, and swamps of North Carolina and Virginia, were 
before him, as his experience in traveling proved. But the hope of 
final victory and his daily sufferings before he started, kept him from 
faltering, even when starvation and death seemed to be staring him in the 
face. For several months he was living in dens and caves of the earth. 


Ultimately, however, the morning of nis ardent hopes dawned. How he 
succeeded in finding a captain who was kind enough to afford him a secret 
hiding-place on his boat, was not noted on the records. Indeed the inci- 
dents of his story were but briefly written out. Similar cases of thrilling 
interest seemed almost incredible, and the Committee were constrained 
to doubt the story altogether until other testimony could be obtained 
to verify the statement. In this instance, before the Committee were fully 
satisfied, they felt it necessary to make inquiry of trustworthy Charlesto- 
nians to ascertain if John were really from Charleston, and if he were actually 
owned by the man that he represented as having owned him, Dr. Philip 
Mazyck, by name ; and furthermore, to learn if the master was really of 
the brutal character given him. The testimony of thoroughly reliable 
persons, who were acquainted with master and slave, so far as this man's 
bondage in Charleston was concerned, fully corroborated his statement, and 
the Committee could not but credit his story; indeed they were con- 
vinced, that he had been one of the greatest of sufferers and the chief of 
heroes. Nevertheless his story was not written out, and can only be hinted 
at. Perhaps more time was consumed in its investigation and in listening to 
a recital of his sufferings than could well be spared ; perhaps it was thought^ 
as was often the case, unless full justice could be given him, the story would 
be spoiled ; or perhaps the appalling nature of his sufferings rendered the 
pen powerless, and made the heart too sick for the task. Whether 
it was so or not in this case, it was not unfrequently so in other in- 
stances, as is well remembered. It will be necessary, in the subse- 
quent pages of this work, to omit the narratives of a great many who, 
unfortunately, were but briefly noted on the books at the time of their ar- 
rival. In the eyes of some, this may prove disappointing, especially in in- 
stances where these pages are turned to with the hope of gaining a clue to 
certain lost ones. As all, however, cannot be mentioned, and as the general 
reader will look for incidents and facts which will most fittingly bring out 
the chief characteristics in the career and escape of bondmen, the reasonable- 
ness of this course must be obvious to all. 



In 1854 Charles was owned in the city of Richmond by Benjamin Davis, 
a notorious negro trader. Charles was quite a " likely-looking article," not 
too black or too white, but rather of a nice "ginger-bread color." 
Davis was of opinion that this "article" must bring him a tip-top 


price. For two or three months the trader advertised Charles for sale in 
the papers, but for some reason or other Charles did not command the high 
price demanded. 

While Davis was thus daily trying to sell Charles, Charles was con- 
templating how he might escape. Being uncommonly shrewd he learned 
something about a captain of a schooner from Boston, and determined to 
approach him with regard to securing a passage. The captain mani- 
fested a disposition to accommodate him for the sum of ten dollars, 
provided Charles could manage to get to Old Point Comfort, there to 
embark. The Point was about one hundred and sixty miles distant from 

A man of ordinary nerve would have declined this condition unhesitat- 
ingly. On the other hand it was not Charles' intention to let any offer 
slide ; indeed he felt that he must make an effort, if he failed. He could 
not see how his lot could be made more miserable by attempting to flee. 
In full view of all the consequences he ventured to take the hazardous 
step, and to his great satisfaction he reached Old Point Comfort safely. In 
that locality he was well known, unfortunately too well known, for he had 
been raised partly there, and, at the same time, many of his relatives and 
acquaintances were still living there. These facts were evidently well known 
to the trader, who unquestionably had snares set in order to entrap Charles 
should he seek shelter among his relatives, a reasonable supposition. 
Charles had scarcely reached his old home before he was apprised of 
the fact that the hunters and watch dogs of Slavery were eagerly watching 
for him. Even his nearest relatives, through fear of consequences had to 
hide their faces as it were from him. None dare offer him a night's lodging, 
scarcely a cup of water, lest such an act might be discovered by the hunters, 
whose fiendish hearts would have found pleasure in meting out the most 
dire punishments to those guilty of thus violating the laws of Slavery. 
The prospect, if not utterly hopeless, was decidedly discouraging. The 
way to Boston was entirely closed. A " reward of $200 " was advertised 
for his capture. For the first week after arriving at Old Point he entrusted 
himself to a young friend by the name of E. S. The fear of the pur- 
suers drove him from his hiding-place at the expiration of the week. 
Thence he sought shelter neither with kinfolks, Christians, nor infidels, but 
in this hour of his calamity he made up his mind that he would try living 
under a large hotel for a while. Having watched his opportunity, 
he managed to reach Higee hotel, a very large house without a cellar, erected 
on pillars three or four feet above the ground. One place alone, near the 
cistern, presented some chance for a hiding-place, sufficient to satisfy him 
quite well under the circumstances. This dark and gloomy spot he at 
once willingly occupied rather than return to Slavery/ In this refuge 
he remained four weeks. Of course he could not live without food ; but to 



communicate with man or woman would inevitably subject him to danger. 
Charles' experience in the neighborhood of his old home left no ground for 
him to hope that he would be likely to find friendly aid anywhere under the 
shadow of Slavery. In consequence of these fears he received his food from 
the "slop tub," securing this diet in the darkness of night after all was still 
and quiet around the hotel. To use his own language, the meals thus 
obtained were often " sweet " to his taste. 

One evening, however, he was not a little alarmed by the approach 
of an Irish boy who came under the hotel to hunt chickens. While 
prowling aroun,d in the darkness he appeared to be making his way 
unconsciously to the very spot where Charles was reposing. How to meet 
the danger was to Charles' mind at first very puzzling, there was no time 
now to plan. As quick as thought he feigned the bark of a savage dog 
accompanied with a furious growl and snarl which he was confident would 
frighten the boy half out of his senses, and cause him to depart quickly from 
his private apartment! The trick succeeded admirably, and the emer- 
gency was satisfactorily met, so far as the boy was concerned, but the boy's 
father hearing the attack of the dog, swore that he would kill him. Charles 
was a silent listener to the threat, and he saw that he could no longer 
remain in safety in his present quarter. So that night he took his de- 
parture for Bay Shore ; here 
he decided to pass a day in 
the woods, but the privacy 
of this place was not altoge- 
ther satisfactory to Charles' 
mind; but where to find a 
more secure retreat he could 
not, dared not venture to 
ascertain that day. It oc- 
curred to him, however, that 
he would be much safer up a 
tree than hid in the bushes 
and undergrowth. He there- 
fore climbed up a large acorn 
tree and there passed an en- 
tire day in deep meditation. 
No gleam of hope appeared, 
yet he would not suifer him- 
self to think of returning to 
bondage. In this dilemma 
he remembered a poor wash- 
er-woman named Isabella, a 
slave who had charge of a wash house. With her he resolved to seek succor. 


Leaving the woods he proceeded to the wash-house and was kindly received 
by Isabella, but what to do with him or how to afford him any protection 
she could see no way whatever. The schooling which Charles had been 
receiving a number of weeks in connection with the most fearful looking-for 
of the threatened wrath of the trader made it much easier for him than for her 
to see how he could be provided for. A room and comforts he was not 
accustomed to. Of course he could not expect such comforts now. Like 
many another escaping from the relentless tyrant, Charles could con- 
trive methods which to his venturesome mind would afford hope, however 
desperate they might appear to others. He though.t that he might 
be safe under the floor. To Isabella the idea was new, but her sym- 
pathies were strongly with Charles, and she readily consented to accommodate 
him under the floor of the wash-house. Isabella and a friend of Charles, by 
the name of John Thomas, were the only persons who were cognizant of 
this arrangement. The kindness of these friends, manifested by their 
willingness to do anything in their power to add to the comfort of Charles, 
was proof to him that his efforts and sufferings had not been altogether in 
vain. He remained under the floor two weeks, accessible to kind voices and 
friendly ministrations. At the end of this time his repose was again sorely 
disturbed by reports from without that suspicion had been awakened towards 
the wash-house. How this happened neither Charles nor his friends could 
conjecture. But the arrival of six officers whom he could hear talking very 
plainly in the house, whose errand was actually to search for him, convinced 
him that he had never for a single moment been in greater danger. The 
officers not only searched the house, but they offered his friend John Thomas 
$25 if he would only put them on Charles' track. John professed to know 
nothing; Isabella was equally ignorant. Discouraged with their efforts on 
this occasion, the officers gave up the hunt and left the house. Charles, 
however, had had enough of the floor accommodations. He left that night 
and returned to his old quarters under the hotel. Here he stayed one 
week, at the expiration of which time the need of fresh air was so im- 
perative, that he resolved to go out at night to Allen's cottage and spend a 
day in the woods. He had knowledge of a place where the undergrowth 
and bushes were almost impenetrable. To rest and refresh himself in this 
thicket he felt would be a great comfort to him. Without serious 
difficulty he reached the thicket, and while pondering over the all- 
absorbing matter as to how he should ever manage to make his escape, an 
old man approached. Now while Charles had no reason to think that he 
was sought by the old intruder, his very near approach admonished him 
that it would neither be safe nor agreeable to allow him to come nearer. 
Charles remembering that his trick of playing the dog, when previously in 
danger under the hotel, had served a good end, thought that it would work 
well in the thicket. So he again tried his power at growling and barking 


hideously for a moment or two, which at once caused the man to turn his 
course. Charles could hear him distinctly retreating, and at the same time 
cursing the dog. The owner of the place had the reputation of keeping 
" bad dogs," so the old man poured out a dreadful threat against " Stephens' 
doo-s," and was soon out of the reach of the one in the thicket. 

O ' 

Notwithstanding his success in frightening off the old man, CHARLES 
felt that the thicket was by no means a safe place for him. He con- 
cluded to make another change. This time he sought a marsh; two 
hours' stay there was sufficient to satisfy him, that that too was no place to 
tarry in, even for. a single night. He, therefore, left immediately. A third 
time, he returned to the hotel, where he remained only two days. His 
appeals had at last reached the heart of his mother she could no longer 
bear to see him struggling, and suffering, and not render him aid, whatever 
the consequences might be. If she at first feared to lend him a helping 
hand, she now resolutely worked with a view of saving money to succor 
him. Here the prospect began to brighten. 

A passage was secured for him on a steamer bound for Philadelphia. 
One more day, and night must elapse, ere he could be received on board. 
The joyful anticipations which now filled his breast left no room for 
fear; indeed, he could scarcely contain himself; he was drunk with joy. In 
this state of mind he concluded that nothing would afford him more 
pleasure before leaving, than to spend his last hours at the wash house, 
" under the floor." To this place he went with no fear of hunters before 
his eyes. Charles had scarcely been three hours in this place, however, 
before three officers came in search of him. Two of them talked with 
Isabella, asked her about her "boarders," etc.; in the meanwhile, one of 
them uninvited, made his way up stairs. It so happened, that Charles was 
in this very portion of the house. His case now seemed more hopeless than 
ever. The officer up stairs was separated from him simply by a thin 
curtain. Women's garments hung all around. Instead of fainting or sur- 
rendering, in the twinkling of an eye, Charles' inventive intellect, led him 
to enrobe himself in female attire. Here, to use his own language, a 
" thousand thoughts " rushed into his rnind in a minute. The next instant 
he was going down stairs in the presence of the officers, his old calico dress, 
bonnet and rig, attracting no further attention than simply to elicit the fol- 
lowing simple questions: "Whose gal are you?" "Mr. Cockling's, sir." 
" What is your name ?" " Delie, sir." " Go on then !" said one of the 
officers, and on Charles went to avail himself of the passage on the steamer 
which his mother had procured for him for the sum of thirty dollars. 

In due time, he succeeded in getting on the steamer, but he soon learned, 
that her course was not direct to Philadelphia, but that some stay would be 
made in Norfolk, Va. Although disappointed, yet this being a step in the 
right direction, he made up his mind to be patient. He was delayed 


in Norfolk four weeks. From the time Charles first escaped, his owner 
(Davis the negro trader), had kept a standing reward of $550 adver- 
tised for his recovery. This showed that Davis was willing to risk 
heavy expenses for Charles as well as gave evidence that he believed 
him still secreted either about Richmond, Petersburg, or Old Point Com- 
fort. In this belief he was not far from being correct, for Charles spent 
most of his time in either of these three places, from the day of his escape 
until the day that he finally embarked. At last, the long looked-for hour 
arrived to start for Philadelphia. 

He was to leave his mother, with no hope of ever seeing her again, but 
she had purchased herself and was called free. Her name was Margaret 
Johnson. Three brothers likewise were ever in his thoughts, (in chains), 
" Henry," " Bill," and " Sam," (half brothers). But after all the hope of 
freedom outweighed every other consideration, and he was prepared to give 
up all for liberty. To die rather than remain a slave was his resolve. 

Charles arrived per steamer, from Norfolk, on the llth day of No- 
vember, 1854. The Richmond papers bear witness to the fact, that Benja- 
min Davis advertised Charles Gilbert, for months prior to this date, as has 
been stated in this narrative. As to the correctness of the story, all that the 
writer has to say is, that he took it down from the lips of Charles, hur- 
riedly, directly after his arrival, with no thought of magnifying a single in- 
cident. On the contrary, much that was of interest in the story had to be 
omitted. Instead of being overdrawn, not half of the particulars were re- 
corded. Had the idea then been entertained, that the narrative of this 
young slave-warrior was to be brought to light in the manner and time that 
it now is, a far more thrilling account of his adventures might have been 
written. Other colored men who knew both Davis and Charles, as well as 
one man ordinarily knows another, rejoiced at seeing Charles in Philadel- 
phia, and they listened with perfect faith to his story. So marvellous were 
the incidents of his escape, that his sufferings in Slavery, previous to his 
heroic straggles to throw off the yoke, were among the facts omitted from 
the records. While this may be regretted it is, nevertheless, gratifying on 
the whole to have so good an account of him as was preserved. It is need- 
less to say, that the Committee took especial pleasure in aiding him, and lis- 
tening to so remarkable a story narrated so intelligently by one who had 
been a slave. 



In 1855 a traveler arrived with the above name, who, on examination, 
was found to possess very extraordinary characteristics. As a hero and ad- 


venturer some passages of his history were most remarkable. His schooling 
had been such as could only be gathered on plantations under brutal over- 
seers ; or while fleeing, or in swamps, in prisons, or on the auction- 
block, etc.; in which condtion he was often found. Nevertheless in these cir- 
cumstances his mind got well stored with vigorous thoughts neither books 
nor friendly advisers being at his command. Yet his native intelligence as 
. it regarded human nature, was extraordinary. His resolution and perseve- 
rance never faltered. In all respects he was a remarkable man. He was a 
young man, weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds, of uncommon 
muscular strength. He was born in the State of Georgia, Oglethorpe county, 
and was owned by Dr. Thomas Stephens, of Lexington. On reaching the 
Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia, his story was told many times over to 
one and another. Hour after hour was occupied by friends in listening to 
the simple narrative of his struggles for freedom. A very full account of 
" Jim," was forwarded in a letter to M. A. Shadd, the then Editress of the 
" Provincial Freeman." Said account has been carefully preserved, and is 
here annexed as it appeared in the columns of the above named paper: 

" I must now pass to a third adventurer. The one to whom I allude, is 
a young man of twenty-six years of age, by the name of * Jim,' who fled 
from near Charleston, S. C. Taking all the facts and circumstances into con- 
sideration respecting the courageous career of this successful adventurer for 
freedom, his case is by far more interesting than any I have yet referred to. 
Indeed, for the good of the cause, and the honor of one who gained his lib- 
erty by periling his life so frequently: shot several times, making six 
unsuccessful attempts to escape from the far South, numberless times 
chased by bloodhounds, captured, imprisoned and sold repeatedly, living 
for months in the woods, swamps and caves, subsisting mainly on parched 
corn and berries, &c., &c., his narrative ought, by all means, to be pub- 
lished, though I doubt very much whether many could be found who could 
persuade themselves to believe one-tenth part of this marvellous story. 

Though this poor Fugitive was utterly ignorant of letters, his natural 
good sense and keen perception qualified him to arrest the attention and in- 
terest the heart in a most remarkable degree. 

His master finding him not available, on account of his absconding pro- 
pensities, would gladly have offered him for sale. He was once taken to 
Florida, for that purpose ; but, generally, traders being wide awake, on in- 
specting him, would almost invariably pronounce him a ' d n rascal/ be- 
cause he would never fail to eye them sternly, as they inspected him. The 
obedient and submissive slave is always recognized by hanging his head 
and looking on the ground, when looked at by a slave-holder. This lesson 
Jim had never learned, hence he was not to be trusted. 

His head and chest, and indeed his entire structure, as solid as a rock, in- 
dicated that he was physically no ordinary man ; and not being under the 


influence of the spirit of " non-resistance/' he had occasionally been found 
to be a rather formidable customer. 

His father was a full-bloodsd Indian, brother to the noted Indian Chief, 
Billy Bowlegs; his mother was quite black and of unmixed blood. 

For five or six years, the greater part of Jim's time was occupied in try- 
ing to escape, and in being in prison for sale, to punish him for running 

His mechanical genius was excellent, so were his geographical abilities. 
He could make shoes or do carpenter's work very handily, though he had 
never had the chance to learn. As to traveling by night or day, he was al- 
ways road-ready and having an uncommon memory, could give exceedingly 
good accounts of what he saw, etc. 

When he entered a swamp, and had occasion to take a nap he took care 
first to decide upon the posture he must take, so that if come upon unex- 
pectedly by the hounds and slave-hunters, he might know in an instant 
which way to steer to defeat them. He always carried a liquid, which he had 
prepared, to prevent hounds from scenting him, which he said had never 
failed. As soon as the hounds came to the place where he had rubbed his 
legs and feet with said liquid, they could follow him no further, but howled 
and turned immediately. 

Quite a large number of the friends of the slave saw this noble-hearted 
fugitive, and would sit long and listen with the most undivided attention to 
his narrative none doubting for a moment, I think, the entire truthfulness 
of his story. Strange as his story was, there was so much natural simplicity 
in his manner and countenance, one could not refrain from believing him." 


This was an exceptional case, as this passenger did not reach the Vigilance 
Committee of Philadelphia, yet to exclude him on this account, would be 
doing an injustice to history. 

The facts in his case were incontestably established in the Philadelphia 
Register in April, 1854, from which the folio wing thrilling account is taken: 

The steamship, Keystone State, which arrived at this port on Saturday 
morning, had just entered Delaware Bay, when a man was discovered se- 
creted outside of the vessel and under the guards. When brought from his 
hiding-place, he was found to be a Fugitive Slave, who had secreted himself 
there before the vessel left Savannah on Wednesday, and had remained in 
that place from the time of starting ! 

His position was such, that the water swept over and around him almost 
constantly. He had some bread in his pocket, which he had intended for 


subsistence until he could reach a land of liberty. It was saturated with 
sea-water and dissolved to a pulp. 

When our readers remember the high winds of Friday, and the sudden 
change to cold during that night, and the fact that the fugitive had 
remained in that situation for three days and nights, we think it will be 
concedejd that he fully earned his liberty, and that the "institution," which 
was so intolerable that he was willing to run the risk of almost certain 
death to escape from it had no very great attractions for him. But the 
poor man was doomed to disappointment. The captain ordered the vessel 
to put into Newcastle, where, the fugitive, hardly able to stand, was taken 
on shore and incarcerated, and where he now awaits the order of his 
owner in Savannah. The following additional particulars are from the same 
paper of the 21st. 

The Keystone State case. Our article yesterday morning brought us 
several letters of inquiry and offers of contributions to aid in the purchase 
from his master of the unfortunate inmate of Newcastle jail. In answer 
to the former, we would say, that the steamer Keystone State, left 
Savannah, at 9 A. M., last Wednesday. It was about the same hour next 
morning that the men engaged in heaving lead, heard a voice from under 
the guards imploring help. A rope was procured, and the man relieved 
from his dangerous and suffering situation. He was well cared for immedi- 
ately ; a suit of dry clothes was furnished him, and he was given his share 
of the contents of the boat pantry. On arriving at Newcastle, the captain 
had him placed in jail, for the purpose, as we are informed, of taking him 
back to Savannah. 

To those who have offered contributions so liberally, we answer, that the 
prospect is, that only a small amount will be needed enough to fee a 
lawyer to sue out a writ of habeas corpus. The salt water fugitive claims 
to be a free man, and a native of Philadelphia. He gives his name as 
Edward Davis, and says that he formerly lived at No. 5 Steel's court, that 
he was a pupil in Bird's school, on Sixth St. above Lombard, and that he 
has a sister living at Mr. Diamond's, a distiller, on South St. We are not 
informed why he was in Georgia, from which he took such an extraordinary 
means to effect his escape. If the above assertion be true, we apprehend 
little trouble in restoring the man to his former home. The claim of the 
captain to take him back to Savannah, will not be listened to for a moment 
by any court. The only claim the owners of the "Keystone State" or 
the captain can have on salt water Davis, is for half passenger fare ; he 
came half the way as a fish. A gentleman who came from Wilmington 
yesterday, assures us that the case is in good hands at Newcastle. 



The case of the colored man Davis, who made such a bold stroke to 
regain his liberty, by periling his life on board the steamer Keystone State 
has excited very general attention. He has given a detailed account of his 
abduction and sale as a slave in the State of Maryland and Georgia, and 
some of his adventures up to the time of reaching Delaware. His own 
story is substantially as follows : 

He left Philadelphia on the 15th of September, 1851, and went to 
Harrisburg, intending to go to Hollidaysburg ; took a canal boat for 
Havre de Grace, where he arrived next day. There he hired on board the 
schooner Thomas and Edward (oyster boat), of Baltimore. Went from 
Havre de Grace to St. Michael's, for oysters, thence to Baltimore, and thence 
to Havre de Grace again. 

He then hired to a Mr. Sullivan, who kept a grocery store, to do jobs. 
While there, a constable, named Smith, took him before a magistrate named 
Graham, who fined him fifteen or twenty dollars for violating the law in 
relation to free negroes coming into the State. This fine he was not able to 
pay, and Smith took him to Bell Air prison. Sheriff Gaw wrote to Mr. 
Maitland in Philadelphia, to whom he referred, and received an answer 
that Mr. Maitland was dead and none of the family knew him. He 
remained in that prison nearly two months. He then had a trial in court 
before a Judge Grier (most unfortunate name), who sentenced him to be 
sold to pay his fine and expenses, amounting to fifty dollars. 

After a few days and without being offered at public sale, he was taken out 
of jail at two o'clock in the morning and carried to Campbell's slave pen, in 
Baltimore, where he remained several months. While there, he was 
employed to cook for some fifty or sixty slaves, being told that he was work- 
ing out his fine and jail fees. After being there about six months, he 
was taken out of prison, handcuffed by one Winters, who took him and two 
or three others to Washington and thence to Charleston, S. C. Here Win- 
ters left them, and they were taken by steamboat to Savannah. While 
on board the boat, he learned that himself and the other two had been sold 
to Mr. William Dean, of Macon, where he stayed two days, and was taken 
from that place to the East Valley Railroad. 

Subsequently he was sent to work on the Possum Tail Railroad. Here 
he was worked so hard, that in one month he lost his health. The other 
two men taken on with him, failed before he did. He was then sent to 
Macon, and thence to the cotton plantation again. 

During the time he -worked on the railroad he had allowed him for food, 
one peck of corn meal, four pounds of bacon, and one quart of molasses per 
week. He cooked it himself at night, for the next day's use. He worked 


at packing cotton for four or five months, and in the middle of November, 

1852, was sent back to the railroad, where he was again set to wheeling. 

He worked at " task work " two months, being obliged to wheel sixteen 
square yards per day. At the end of two months he broke down again, and 
was sick. They tried one month to cure him, but did not succeed. In July, 

1853, he was taken to an infirmary in Macon. Dr. Nottinghan and Dr. 
Harris, of that institution, both stated that his was the worst case of the 
kind they ever had. He remained' at the infirmary two months and par- 
tially recovered. He told the story of his wrongs to these physicians, who 
tried to buy him. One of his legs was drawn up so that he could not walk 
well, and they offered four hundred dollars for him, which his master re- 
fused. The doctors wanted him to attend their patients, (mostly slaves). 
While in Georgia he was frequently asked where he came from, being found 
more intelligent than the common run of slaves. 

On the 12th of March he ran away from Macon and went to Savannah. 
There he hid in a stable until Tuesday afternoon at six o'clock, when he 
secreted himself on board the Keystone State. At 9 o'clock the next morning 
the Keystone State left with Davis secreted, as we have before stated. With 
his imprisonment in Newcastle, after being pronounced free, our readers are 
already familiar. We subjoin the documents on which he was discharged 
from his imprisonment in Newcastle, and his subsequent re-committal on 
the oath of Capt. Hardie. 


New Castle county, ss., State of Delaware. To Wm. R. Lynam, Sheriff 

of said county. Davis (Negro) is delivered to your custody for 

further examination and hearing for traveling without a pass, and supposed 
to be held a Slave to some person in the State of Georgia. 

[Seal]. Witness the hand and seal of John Bradford, one of the Justices 
of the Peace for the county of Newcastle, the 17th day of March, 1854. 



To Wm. R. Lynam, Sheriff of Newcastle county : You will discharge 
-Davis from your custody, satisfactory proof having been made 

before me that he is a free man. JOHN BRADFORD, J. P. 

Witnesses Joanna Diamond, John H. Brady, Martha C. Maguire. 


New Castle county, ss., the State of Delaware to Wm. R. Lynam, and to 

the Sheriff or keeper of the Common Jail of said county, Whereas 

Davis hath this day been brought before me, the subscriber, one of the Jus- 
tices of the Peace, in and for the said county, charged upon the oath of Ro- 


bert Hardie with being a runaway slave, and also as a suspicious person, 
traveling without a pass, these are therefore to command you, the said \Vm. 
R. Lynam, forthwith to convey and deliver into the custody of the said 
Sheriff, or keeper of the said jail, the body of the said Davis, and you the 
said Sheriff or receiver of the body of the said Davis into your custody in 
the said jail, and him there safely keep until he be thence delivered by due 
course of the law. 

Given under my hand and seal at New Castle this 21st day of March, A. 
D., 1854. JOHN BRADFORD, J. P. 

On the fourth of April, the Marshal of Macon called at the jail in New- 
castle, and demanded him as a fugitive slave, but the Sheriff refused to give 
him up until a fair hearing could be had according to the laws of the State 
of Delaware. The Marshal has returned to Georgia, and will probably 
bring the claimant on the next trip of the Keystone State. The authorities 
of Delaware manifest no disposition to deliver up a man whose freedom has 
been so clearly proved ; but every effort will be made to reduce him again 
to slavery by the man who claims him, in which, it seems, he has the hearty 
co-operation of Capt. Hardie. A trial will be had before U. S. Commis- 
sioner Guthrie, and we have every reason to suppose it will be a fair one. 
The friends of right and justice should remember that such a trial will be 
attended with considerable expense, and that the imprisoned man has been 
too long deprived of his liberty to have money to pay for his own defence. 



The passenger answering to the above name, left Indian Creek, Chester 
Co., Md., where he had been held to service or labor, by Dr. James Muse. 
One week had elapsed from the time he set out until his arrival in Philadel- 
phia. Although he had never enjoyed school privileges of any kind, yet he 
was not devoid of intelligence. He had profited by his daily experience as 
a slave, and withal, had managed to learn to read and write a little, despite 
law and usage to the contrary. Sara was about twenty-five years of age 
and by trade, a blacksmith. Before running away, his general character 
for sobriety, industry, and religion, had evidently been considered good, 
but in coveting his freedom and running away to obtain it, he had sunk 
far below the utmost limit of forgiveness or mercy in the estimation of 
the slave-holders of Indian Creek. 

During his intercourse with the Vigilance Committee, while rejoicing 
over his triumphant flight, he gave, with no appearance of excitement, 


but calmly, and in a common-sense like manner, a brief description of his 
master, which was entered on the record book substantially as follows : 
"Dr. James Muse is thought by the servants to be the worst man in Mary- 
land, inflicting whipping and all manner of cruelties upon the servants." 

While Sam gave reasons for this sweeping charge, which left no room 
for doubt, on the part of the Committee, of his sincerity and good judgment, 
it was not deemed necessary to make a note of more of the doctor's charac- 
ter than seemed actually needed, in order to show why " Sam " had taken 
passage on the Underground Rail Road. For several years, "Sam" was 
hired out by the doctor at blacksmithing ; in this situation, daily wearing 
the yoke of unrequited labor, through the kindness of Harriet Tubman 
(sometimes called " Moses "), the light of the Underground Rail Road and 
Canada suddenly illuminated his mind. It was new to him, but he was 
quite too intelligent and liberty-loving, not to heed the valuable informa- 
tion which this sister of humanity imparted. Thenceforth he was in love 
with Canada, and likewise a decided admirer of the U. R. Road. Harriet 
was herself, a shrewd and fearless agent, and well understood the entire 
route from that part of the country to Canada. The spring previous, she 
had paid a visit to the very neighborhood in which " Sam " lived, ex- 
pressly to lead her own brothers out of "Egypt." She succeeded. To 
" Sam " this was cheering and glorious news, and he made up his mind, 
that before a great while, Indian Creek should have one less slave and 
that Canada should have one more citizen. Faithfully did he watch an 
opportunity to carry out his resolution. In due time a good Providence 
opened the way, and to " Sam's " satisfaction he reached Philadelphia, 
having encountered no peculiar difficulties. The Committee, perceiving that 
he was smart, active, and promising, encouraged his undertaking, and having 
given him friendly advice, aided him in the usual manner. Letters of 
introduction were given him, and he was duly forwarded on his way. He 
had left his father, mother, and one sister behind. Samuel and Catharine 
were the names of his parents. Thus far, his escape would seem not to 
affect his parents, nor was it apparent that there was any other cause why 
the owner should revenge himself upon them. 

The father was an old local preacher in the Methodist Church much 
esteemed as an inoffensive, industrious man; earning his bread by the sweat 
of his brow, and contriving to move along in the narrow road allotted 
colored people bond or free, without exciting a spirit of ill will in the pro- 
slavery power of his community. But the rancor awakened in the breast 
of slave-holders in consequence of the high-handed step the son had taken, 
brought the father under suspicion and hate. Under the circumstances, the 
eye of Slavery could do nothing more than watch for an occasion to pounce 
upon him. It was not long before the desired opportunity presented itself. 
Moved by parental affection, the old man concluded to pay a visit to his 


boy, to see how he was faring in a distant land, and among strangers. This 
resolution he quietly carried into effect. He found his son in Canada, doing 
well; industrious; a man of sobriety, and following his father's footsteps 
religiously. That the old man's heart was delighted with what his eyes saw 
and his ears heard in Canada, none can doubt. But in the simplicity of 
his imagination, he never dreamed that this visit was to be made the means 
of his destruction. During the best portion of his days he had faithfully 
worn the badge of Slavery, had afterwards purchased his freedom, and thus 
become a free man. He innocently conceived the idea that he was doing 
no harm in availing himself not only of his God-given rights, but of the 
rights that he had also purchased by the hard toil of his own hands. But 
the enemy was lurking in ambush for him thirsting for his blood. To his 
utter consternation, not long after his return from his visit to his son " a 
party of gentlemen from the New Market district, went at night to Green's 
house and made search, whereupon was found a copy of Uncle Tom's 
Cabin, etc." This was enough the hour had come, wherein to wreak ven- 
geance upon poor Green. The course pursued and the result, may be seen 
in the following statement taken from the Cambridge (Md.), " Democrat," 
of April 29th, 1857, and communicated by the writer to the " Provincial 


The case of the State against Sam Green (free negro) indicted for having 
in his possession, papers, pamphlets and pictorial representations, having a 
tendency to create discontent, etc., among the people of color in the State, 
was tried before the court on Friday last. 

This case was of the utmost importance, and has created in the public 
mind a great deal of interest it being the first case of the kind ever 
having occurred in our country. 

It appeared, in evidence, that this Green has a son in Canada, to whom 
Green made a visit last summer. Since his return to this county, suspicion 
has fastened upon him, as giving aid and assisting slaves who have since 
absconded and reached Canada, and several weeks ago, a party of gentlemen 
from New Market district, went at night, to Green's house and made search, 
whereupon was found a volume of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," a map of Canada, 
several schedules of routes to the North, and a letter from his son in 
Canada, detailing the pleasant trip he had, the number of friends he met 
with on the way, with plenty to eat, drink, etc., and concludes with a 
request to his father, that he shall tell certain other slaves, naming them, to 
come on, which slaves, it is well known, did leave shortly afterwards, and 
have reached Canada. The case was argued with great ability, the counsel 
on both sides displaying a great deal of ingenuity, learning and eloquence. 
The first indictment was for the having in possession the letter, map and 
route schedules. 


Notwithstanding the mass of evidence given, to show the prisoner's guilt, 
in unlawfully having in his possession these documents, and the nine-tenths 
of the community in which he lived, believed that he had a hand in the 
running away of slaves, it was the opinion of the court, that -the law under 
which he was indicted, was not applicable to the case, and that he must, 
accordingly, render a verdict of not guilty. 

He was immediately arraigned upon another indictment, for having in 
possession " Uncle Tom's Cabin," and tried ; in this case the court has not 
yet rendered a verdict, but holds it under curia till after the Somerset 
county court. It is to be hoped, the court will find the evidence in this 
case sufficient to bring it within the scope of the law under which the 
prisoner is indicted (that of 1842, chap. 272), and that the prisoner may 
meet his due reward be that what it may. 

That there is something required to be done by our Legislators, for the 
protection of slave property, is evident from the variety of constructions 
put upon the statute in this case, and we trust, that at the next meeting of 
the Legislature there will be such amendments, as to make the law on this 
subject, perfectly clear and comprehensible to the understanding of every 

In the language of the assistant counsel for the State, " Slavery must be 
protected or it must be abolished." 

From the same sheet, of May 20th, the terrible doom of Samuel Green, 
is announced in the following words: 

In the case of the State against Sam Green, (free negro) who was tried at 
the April term of the Circuit Court of this county, for having in his posses- 
sion abolition pamphlets, among which was " Uncle Tom's Cabin," has been 
found guilty by the court, and sentenced to the penitentiary for the term of 
ten years until the 14th of May, 1867. 

The son, a refugee in Canada, hearing the distressing news of his father's 
sad fate in the hands of the relentless " gentlemen," often wrote to know if 
there was any prospect of his deliverance. The subjoined letter is a fair 
sample of his correspondence : : t - 

SALFOBD, 22, 1857. 

Dear Sir I take my pen in hand to Request a faver of you if you can by any means 
without duin In Festus to your self or your Bisness to grant it as I Bleve you to be a man 
that would Sympathize in such a ones Condition as my self I Reseved a letter that Stats 
to me that my Fater has ben Betraed in the act of helping sum frend to Canada and the 
law has Convicted and Sentanced him to the Stats prison for 10 yeares his White Frands 
ofered 2 thousen Dollcrs to Redem him but they would not short three thousen. I am in 
Canada and it is a Dificult thing to get a letter to any of my Frands in Maryland so as to 
get prop per infermation abot it if you can by any means get any in telligence from Bal- 
timore City a bot this Event Plese do so and Rit word and all so all the inform mation that 
you think prop per as Regards the Evant and the best mathod to Redeme him and so 
Plese Rite soon as you can You will oblige your sir Frand and Drect your letter to Sal- 
ford P. office C. W. SAMUEL GKEEN, 


In this dark hour the friends of the Slave could do but little more than 
sympathize with this heart-stricken son and grey-headed father. The aged 
follower of the Rejected and Crucified had like Him to bear the " re- 
proach of many," and make his bed with the wicked in the Penitentiary. 
Doubtless there were a few friends in his neighborhood who sympathized 
with him, but they were powerless to aid the old man. But thanks to a kind 
Providence, the great deliverance brought about during the Rebellion by 
which so many captives were freed, also unlocked Samuel Green's prison- 
door's and he was allowed to go free. 

After his liberation from the Penitentiary, we had from his own lips nar- 
rations of his years of suffering of the bitter cup, that he was compelled to 
drink, and of his being sustained by the Almighty Arm but no notes were 
taken at the time, consequently we have nothing more to add concerning 
him, save quite a faithful likeness. 



Having dwelt on the sad narratives of Samuel Green and his son in the 
preceding chapter, it is quite a relief to be able to introduce a traveler 
whose story contains incidents less painful to contemplate. From the record 
book the following brief account is taken : 

"April 27, 1855. John Hall arrived safely from Richmond, Va., per 
schooner, (Captain B). One hundred dollars were paid for his passage. 
In Richmond he was owned by James Dunlap, a merchant. John had 


been sold several times, in consequence of which, he had possessed very 
good opportunities of experiencing the effect of change of owners. Then, 
too, the personal examination made before sale, and the gratification afforded 
his master when he (John), brought a good price left no very pleasing im- 
pressions on his mind. 

By one of his owners, named Burke, John alleged that he had been 
" cruelly used." When quite young, both he and his sister, together with 
their mother, were sold by Burke. From that time he had seen neither 
mother nor sister they were sold separately. For three or four years 'the 
dcsiro to seek liberty had been fondly cherished, and nothing but the want 
of a favorable opportunity had deterred him from carrying out his designs. 
He considered himself much " imposed upon " by his master, particularly 
as he was allowed " no choice about living " as he " desired." This was 
indeed ill-treatment as John viewed the matter. John may have wanted 
too much. He was about thirty-five years of age, light complexion tall 
rather handsome-looking, intelligent, and of good manners. But notwith- 
standing these prepossessing features, John's . owner valued him at only 
$1,000. If he had been a few shades darker and only about half as in- 
telligent as he was, he would have been worth at least $500 more. The 
idea of having had a white father, in many instances, depreciated the pe- 
cuniary value of male slaves, if not of the other sex. John emphatically 
was one of this injured class; he evidently had blood in his veins which 
decidedly warred against submitting to the yoke. In addition to the in- 
fluence which such rebellious blood exerted over him, together with a con- 
siderable amount of intelligence, he was also under the influence and advice 
of a daughter of old Ireland. She was heart and soul with John in all his 
plans which looked Canada-ward. This it was that "sent him away." 

It is very certain, that this Irish girl was not annoyed by the kinks in 
John's hair. Nor was she overly fastidious about the small percentage of 
colored blood visible in John's complexion. It was, however, a strange oc- 
currence and very hard to understand. Not a stone was left unturned until 
John was safely on the Underground Rail Road. Doubtless she helped to 
earn the money which was paid for his passage. And when he was safe off, 
it is not too much to say, that John was not a whit more delighted than was 
his intended Irish lassie, Mary Weaver. John had no sooner reached Canada 
than Mary's heart was there too. Circumstances, however, required that she 
should remain in Richmond a number of months for the purpose of winding 
up some of her affairs. As soon as the way opened for her, she followed 
him. It was quite manifest, that she had not let a single opportunity slide, 
but seized the first chance and arrived partly by means of the Underground 
Rail Road and partly by the regular train. Many difficulties were sur- 
mounted before and after leaving Richmond, by which they earned their 
merited success. From Canada, where they anticipated entering upon the ma- 


trimonial career with mutual satisfaction, it seemed to afford them great 
pleasure to write back frequently, expressing their heartfelt gratitude for 
assistance, and their happiness in the prospect of being united under the 
favorable auspices of freedom. At least two or three of these letters, bear- 
ing on particular phases of their escape, etc., are too valuable not to be 
published in this connection: 


HAMILTON, March 25th, 1856. 

' MB. STILL : Sir and Friend I take the liberty of addressing you. with these few lines 
hoping that you will attend to what I shall request of you. 

I have written to Virginia and have not received an answer yet. I want to know if 
you can get any one of your city to go to Richmond for me. If you can, I will pay the 
expense of the whole. The person that I want the messenger to see is a white girl. I ex- 
pect you know who I allude to, it is the girl that sent me away. If you can get any one to 
go, you will please write right away and tell me the cost, &c. I will forward the money 
and a letter. Please use your endeavors. Yours Respectfully, JOHN HALL. 

Direct yours to Mr. HilL 


HAMILTON, Sept. 15th, 1856. 

To MB. STILL, DEAB SIB : I take this opportunity of addressing these few lines to you 
hoping to find you in good health I am happy to inform you that Miss Weaver arrived 
here on Tuesday last, and I can assure you it was indeed a happy day. As for your part 
that you done I will not attempt to tell you how thankful I am, but I hope that you can 
imagine what my feelings are to you. I cannot find words sufficient to express my grati- 
tude to you, I think the wedding will take place on Tuesday next, I have seen some of 
the bread from your house, and she says it is the best bread she has had since she has 
been in America. Sometimes she has impudence enough to tell me she would rather be 
where you are in Philadelphia than to be here with me. I hope this will be no admira- 
tion to you for no honest hearted person ever saw you that would not desire to be 
where you are, No flattery, but candidly speaking, you are worthy all the praise of any 
person who has ever been with you, I am now like a deserted Christian, but yet I have 
asked so much, and all has been done yet I must ask again, My love to Mrs. Still. Dear 
Mr. Still I now ask you please to exercise all your influence to get this young man Willis 
Johnson from Richmond for me It is the young man that Miss Weaver told you about, 
he is in Richmond I think he is at the corner of Fushien Street, & Grace in a house of one 
Mr. Rutherford, there is several Rutherford in the neighborhood, there is a church call'd 
the third Baptist Church, on the R. H. side going up Grace street, directly opposite the 
Baptist church at the corner, is Mrs. Meads Old School at one corner, and Mr. Ruther- 
fords is at the other corner. He can be found out by seeing Fountain Tombs who belongs 
to Mr. Rutherford and if you should not see him, there is James Turner who lives at the 
Governors, Please to see Captain Bayliss and tell him to take these directions and go to 
John Hillj in Petersburgh, and he may find him. Tell Captain Bayliss that if he ever did 
me a friendly thing in his life which he did do one friendly act, if he will take this on 
himself, and if money should be lacking I will forward any money that he may require, I 
hope you will sympathize with the poor young fellow, and tell the captain to do all in his 
power to get him and the costs shall be paid. He lies now between death or victory, 
for I know the man he belongs to would just as soon kill him as not, if he catches him, 
I here enclose to you a letter for Mr. Wm. C. Mayo, and please to send it as directed. 
In this letter I have asked him to send a box to you for me, which you will please pay 


the fare of the express upon it, when you get it please to let me know, and I will send you 
the money to pay the expenses of the carriage clear through. Please to let Mr. Mayo 
know how to direct a box to you, and the best way to send it from Richmond to Phila- 
delphia. You will greatly oblige me by so doing. In this letter I have enclosed a trifle 
for postage which you will please to keep on account of my letters I hope you wont think 
bard of me but I simply send it because I know you have done enough, and are now 
doing more, without imposing in the matter I have done it a great many more of our peo- 
ple who you have done so much fore. No more from your humble and oldest servant. 

JOHN HALL, Norton's Hotel, Hamilton. 


MONDAY, Sept. 29, 56. 

SIE : I take this opportunity of informing you that we are in excellent health, and 
hope you are the same, I wrote a letter to you about 2 weeks ago and have not yet had 
an answer to it I wish to inform you that the wedding took place on Tuesday last, and 
Mrs. Hall now sends her best love to you, I enclose a letter which I wish you to forward 
to Mr. Mayo, you will see in his letter what I have said to him and I wish you would 
furnish him with such directions as it requires for him to send them things to you. I 
have told him not to pay for them but to send them to you so when you get them write 
me word what the cost of them are, and I will send you the money for them. Mary 
desires you to give her love to Mrs. Still. If any letters come for me please to send to 
me at Nortons Hotel, Please to let me know if you had a letter from me about 12 days 
ago. You will please Direct the enclosed to Mr. W. C. Mayo, Richmond, Va. Let me 
know if you have heard anything of Willis Johnson Mr. & Mrs. Hill send their kind love 
to you, they are all well, no more at present from your affect., 

JOHN HALL Nortons Hotel. 


HAMILTON, December 23d, 1856. 

DEAR SIR: I am happy to inform you that we are both enjoying good health and hope 
you are the same. I have been expecting a letter from you for some time but I suppose 
your business has prevented you from writing. I suppose you have not heard from any 
of my friends at Richmond. I have been longing to hear some news from that part, you 
may think " Out of sight and out of mind," but I can assure you, no matter how far I 
may be, or in what distant land, I shall never forget you, if I can never reach you by 
letters you may be sure I shall always think of you. I have found a great many friends 
in my life, but I must say you are the best one I ever met with, except one, you must 
know who that is, 'tis one who if I did not consider a friend, I could not consider any 
other person a friend, and that is Mrs. Hall. Please to let me know if the navigation 
between New York & Richmond is closed. Please to let me know whether it would be 
convenient to you to go to New York if it is please let me know what is the expense. 
Tell Mrs Still that my wife would be very happy to receive a letter from her at some 
moment when she is at leisure, for I know from what little I have seen of domestic affairs 
it keeps her pretty well employed, And I know she has not much time to write but if 
it were but two lines, she would be happy to receive it from her, my reason for wanting 
you to go to New York, there is a young man named Richard Myers and I should like 
for you to see him. He goes on board the Orono to Richmond and is a particular friend of 
mine and by seeing him I could get my clothes from Richmond, I expect to be out of em- 
ploy in a few days, as the hotel is about to close on the 1st January and I hope you will 
write to me soon I want you to send me word how you and all the family are and all the 


news you can, you must excuse my short letter, as it is now near one o'clock and I must 
attend to business, but I have not written half what 1 intended to, as time is short, hoping 
to hear from you soon I remain yours sincerely, JOHN HALL. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hill desire their best respects to you and Mrs. Still. 

It cannot be denied that this is a most extraordinary occurrence. In 
some respects it is without a parallel. It was, however, no uncommon 
thing for white men (slave-holders) in the South to have colored wives and 
children whom they did not hesitate to live with and acknowledge by their 
actions, with their means, and in their wills as the rightful heirs of their 
substance. Probably there is not a state in the Union where such relations 
have not existed. Seeing such usages, Mary might have reasoned that she 
had as good a right to marry the one she loved most as anybody else, par- 
ticularly as she was in a " free country." 



But few could be found among the Underground Rail Road passengers 
who had a stronger repugnance to the unrequited labor system, or the recog- 
nized terms of " master and slave," than Dr. Thomas Bayne. Nor were 
many to be found who were more fearless and independent in uttering their 
sentiments. His place of bondage was in the city of Norfolk, Ya., where 
he was held to service by Dr. C. F. Martin, a dentist of some celebrity. 
While with Dr. Martin, " Sam " learned dentistry in all its branches, and 
was often required by his master, the doctor, to fulfil professional engage- 
ments, both at home and at a distance, when it did not suit his pleasure or 
convenience to appear in person. In the mechanical department, especially, 
"Sam" was called upon to execute the most difficult tasks. This was not 
the testimony of "Sam" alone; various individuals who were with him in 
Norfolk, but had moved to Philadelphia, and were living there at the time 
of his arrival, being invited to see this distinguished professional piece of 
property, gave evidence which fully corroborated his. The master's profess- 
ional practice, according to "Sam's" calculation, was worth $3,000 per 
annum. Full $1,000 of this amount in the opinion of "Sam" was the re- 
sult of his own fettered hands. Not only was " Sam " serviceable to the 
doctor in the mechanical and practical branches of his profession, but as 
a sort of ready reckoner and an apt penman, he was obviously considered by 
the doctor, a valuable " article." He would frequently have " Sam " at his 
books instead of a book-keeper. Of course, " Sam " had never received, 


from Dr. M ., an hour's schooling in his life, but having perceptive faculties 
naturally very large, combined with much self-esteem, he could hardly help 
learning readily. Had his master's design to keep him in ignorance been 
ever so great, he would have found it a labor beyond his power. But there 
is no reason to suppose that Dr. Martin was opposed to Sam's learning to 
read and write. We are pleased to note that no charges of ill-treatment 
are found recorded against Dr. M. in the narrative of " Sam." 

True, it appears that he had been sold several times in his younger days, 
and had consequently been made to feel keenly, the smarts of Slavery, but 
nothing of this kind was charged against Dr. M., so that lie may be set 
down as a pretty fair man. for aught that is known to the contrary, with the 
exception of depriving "Sam" of the just reward of his labor, which, ac- 
cording to St. James, is pronounced a " fraud." The doctor did not keep 
" Sam " so closely confined to dentistry and book-keeping that he had no 
time to attend occasionally to outside duties. It appears that he was quite 
active and successful as an Underground Rail Road agent, and rendered 
important aid in various directions. Indeed, Sam had good reason to sus- 
pect that the slave-holders were watching him, and that if he remained, he 
would most likely find himself in " hot water up to his eyes." Wisdom 
dictated that he should "pull up stakes" and depart while the way was 
open. He knew the captains who were then in the habit of taking similar 
passengers, but he had some fears that they might not be able to pursue the 
business much longer. In contemplating the change which he was about 
to make, " Sam " felt it necessary to keep his movements strictly private. 
Not even was he at liberty to break his mind to his wife and child, fearing 
that it would do them no good, and might prove his utter failure. His 
wife's name was Edna and his daughter was called Elizabeth ; both were 
slaves and owned by E. P. Tabb, Esq., a hardware merchant of Norfolk. 

No mention is made on the books, of ill-treatment, in connection with 
his wife's servitude; it may therefore be inferred, that her situation was not 
remarkably hard. It must not be supposed that " Sam " was not truly at- 
tached to his wife. He gave abundant proof of true matrimonial devotion, 
notwithstanding the secrecy of his arrangements for flight. Being naturally 
hopeful, he concluded that he could better succeed in securing his wife after 
obtaining freedom himself, than in undertaking the task beforehand. 

The captain had two or three other Underground Rail Road male passen- 
gers to bring with him, besides " Sam," for whom, arrangements had been 
previously made no more could be brought that trip. At the appointed 
time, the passengers were at the disposal of the captain of the schooner 
which was to bring them out of Slavery into freedom. Fully aw r are of the 
dangerous consequences should he be detected, the captain, faithful to his 
promise, secreted them in the usual manner, and set sail northward. Instead 
of landing his passengers in Philadelphia, as was his intention, for some 


reason or other (the schooner may have been disabled), he landed them on 
the New Jersey coast, not a great distance from Cape Island. He directed 
them how to reach Philadelphia. Sam knew of friends in the city, and 
straightway used his ready pen to make known the distress of himself and 
partners in tribulation. In making their way in the direction of their des- 
tined haven, they reached Salem, New Jersey, where they were discovered 
to be strangers and fugitives, and were directed to Abigail Goodwin, a Qua- 
ker lady, an abolitionist, long noted for her devotion to the cause of free- 
dom, and one of the most liberal and faithful friends of the Vigilance Com- 
mittee of Philadelphia. 

This friend's opportunities of witnessing fresh arrivals had been rare, and 
perhaps she had never before come in contact with a " chattel " so smart as 
" Sam." Consequently she was much embarrassed when she heard his story, 
especially when he talked of his experience as a " Dentist." She was in- 
clined to suspect that he was a "shrewd impostor" that needed " watching" 
instead of aiding. But her humanity forbade a hasty decision on this point. 
She was soon persuaded to render him some assistance, notwithstanding her 
apprehensions. While tarrying a day or two in Salem, " Sam's " letter was 
received in Philadelphia. Friend Goodwin was written to in the meantime, 
by a member of the Committee, directly with a view of making inquires 
concerning the stray fugitives, and at the same time to inform her as to 
how they happened to be coming in the direction found by her. While the 
mind of the friend was much relieved by the letter she received, she was 
still in some doubt, as will be seen by the appended extract from a letter 
on the subject: 


SALEM, 3 mo., 25, '55. 

DEAR FRIEND : Thine of the 22d came to hand yesterday noon. 


I do not believe that any of them are the ones thee wrote about, who wanted Dr. Lundy 
to come for them, and promised they would pay his expenses. They had no money, the 
minister said, but were pretty well off for clothes. I gave him all I had and more, but it 
seemed very little for four travelers only a dollar for each but they will meet with 
friends and helpers on the way. He said they expected to go away to-morrow. I am 
afraid, it's so cold, and one of them had a sore foot, they will not get away it's dangerous 
staying here. There has been a slave-hunter here lately, I was told yesterday, in search 
of a woman ; he tracked her to our Alms-house she had lately been confined and was 
not able to go he will come back for her and his infant and will not wait long I expect. 
I want much to get her away first and if one had a 0. C. Torney here no doubt it would 
be done ; but she will be well guarded. How much I wish the poor thing could be se- 
creted in some safe place till she is able to travel Northward ; but where that could 
be it's not easy to see. I presume the Carolina freed people have arrived ere now. I hope 
they will meet many friends, and be well provided for. Mary Davis will be then paid 
her cousins have sent her twenty-four dollars, as it was not wanted for the purchase money 
it was to be kept for them when they arrive. I am glad thee did keep the ten for the 


Samuel Nixon is now here, just come a smart young man they will be after him soon. 
I advise him to hurry on to Canada ; he will leave here to-morrow, but don't say that he 
will go straight to the city. I would send this by him if he did. I am afraid he will 
loiter about and be taken do make them go on fast he has left. I could not hear much 
he said some who did don't like him at all think him an impostor a great brag said 
he was a dentist ten years. He was asked where he came from, but would not tell till he 
looked at the letter that lay on the table and that he had just brought back. I don't feel 
much confidence in him don't believe he is the one thee alluded to. He was asked his 
name he looked at the letter to find it out. Says nobody can make a better set of teeth 
than he can. He said they will go on to-morrow in the stage he took down the .number 
and street of the Anti-slavery office you will be on your guard against imposition he 
kept the letter thee sent from Norfolk. I had then no doubt of him, and had no objec- 
tion to it. I now rather regret it. I would send it to thee if I had it, but perhaps it is 
of no importance. 

He wanted the names taken down of nine more who expected to get off soon and might 
come here. He told us to send them to him, but did not seem to know where he was 
going to. He was well dressed in fine broad-cloth coat and overcoat, and has a very active 
tongue in his head. 

But I have said enough don't want to prejudice thee against him, but only be on thy 
guard, and do not let him deceive thee, as I fear he has some of us here. 

With kind regards, A. GOODWIN. 

In due time Samuel and his companions reached Philadelphia, where a 
cordial welcome awaited them. The confusion and difficulties into which 
they had fallen, by having to travel an indirect route, were fully explained, 
and to the hearty merriment of the Committee and strangers, the dilemma of 
their good Quaker friend Goodwin at Salem was alluded to. After a sojourn 
of a day or two in Philadelphia, Samuel and his companions left for New 
Bedford. Canada was named to them as the safest place for all Refugees ; 
but it was in vain to attempt to convince " Sam " that Canada or any other 
place on this Continent, was quite equal to New Bedford. His heart was 
there, and there he was resolved to go and there he did go too, bearing 
with him his resolute mind, determined, if possible, to work his way up to 
an honorable position at his old trade, Dentistry, and that too for his own 

Aided by the Committee, the journey was made safely to the desired haven, 
where many old friends from Norfolk were found. Here our hero was 
known by the name of Dr. Thomas Bayne he was no longer " Sam." In 
a short time the Dr. commenced his profession in an humble way, while, at 
the same time, he deeply interested himself in his own improvement, as well 
as the improvement of others, especially those who had escaped from Sla- 
very as he himself had. Then, too, as colored men were voters and, there- 
fore, eligible to office in New Bedford, the Doctor's naturally ambitions 
and intelligent turn of mind led him to take an interest in politics, and be- 
fore he was a citizen of New Bedford four years, he was duly elected a 
member of the City Council. He was also an outspoken advocate of the 


cause of temperance, and was likewise a ready speaker at Anti-slavery 
meetings held by his race. Some idea of his abilities, and the interest he 
took in the Underground Rail Road, education, etc., may be gathered from 
the appended letters: 

NEW BEDFOBD, June 23d, 1855. 

W. STILL : Sir I write you this to inform you that I has received my things and that 
you need not say any thing to Bagnul about them I see by the Paper that the under 
ground Rail Road is in operation. Since 2 weeks a go when Saless Party was betrayed 
by that Capt whom we in mass, are so anxious to Learn his name There was others 
started last Saturday night They are all my old friends and we are waiting their arrival, 
we hope you will look out for them they may come by way of Salem, N. J. if they be not 
overtaken. They are from Norfolk Times are very hard in Canada 2 of our old friends 
has left Canada and come to Bedford for a living. Every thing are so high and wages so 
low They cannot make a living (owing to the War) others are Expected shortly let me 
hear from Sales and his Party. Get the Name of the Capt. that betrayed him let me 
know if Mrs. Goodwin of Salem are at the same place yet John Austin are with us. C. 
Lightfoot is well and remembers you and family. My business increases more since I has 
got an office. Send me a Norfolk Paper or any other to read when convenient. 

Let. me hear from those People as soon as possible. They consist of woman and child 
2 or 3 men belonging to Marsh Bottimore, L. Slosser and Herman & Co and Turner all 
of Norfolk, Va. Truly yours, THOS. BAYNE. 

Direct to Box No. 516, New Bedford, Mass. Don't direct my letters to my office. Di- 
reot them to my Box 516. My office is 66J William St. The same street the Post office 
is near the city market. 

The Doctor, feeling his educational deficiency in the enlightened city of 
New Bedford, did just what every uncultivated man should, devoted himself 
assiduously to study, and even applied himself to abstruse and hard sub- 
jects, medicine, etc., as the folio wing letters will show: 

NEW BEDFOBD, Jan., 1860. 1 
No. 22, Cheapside, opposite City Hall, j 

MY DEAB FBIEND : Yours of the 3d inst. reached me safely in the midst of my mis- 
fortune. I suppose you have learned that my office and other buildings burned down 
during the recent fire. My loss is $550, insured $350. 

I would have written you before, but I have been to R. I. for some time and soon after 
I returned before I examined the books, the fire took place, and this accounts for my de- 
lay. In regard to the books I am under many obligations to you and all others for so 
great a piece of kindness, and shall ever feel indebted to you for the same. I shall esteem 
them very highly for two reasons, first, The way in which they come, that is through and 
by your Vigilance as a colored man helping a colored man to get such knowledge as will 
give the lie to our enemies. Secondly their contents being just the thing I needed at 
this time. My indebtedness to you and all concerned for me in this direction is inexpres- 
sible. There are some books the Doctor says I must have, such as the Medical Dictionary, 
Physician's Dictionary, and a work on Anatomy. These I will have to get, but any work 
that may be of use to a student of anatomy or medicine will be thankfully received. You 
shall hear from' me again soon. Truly Yours, THOS. BAYNE. 


NEW BEDFORD, March 18th, 1861. 

MR. WM. STILL : Dear Sir Dr. Powell called to see me and informed me that you had 
a medical lexicon (Dictionary) for me. If you have such a book for me, it will be very 
thankfully received, and any other book that pertains to the medical or dental profession. 
I am quite limited in means as yet and in want of books to prosecute my studies. The 
books I need most at present is such as treat on midwifery, anatomy, &c. But any book 
or books in either of the above mentioned cases will be of use to me. You can send them 
by Express, or by any friend that may chance to come this way, but by Express will be 
the safest way to send them. Times are quite dull. This leaves me well and hope it may 
find you and family the same. My regards to your wife and all others. 

Yours, &c., THOMAS BAYNE, 

22 Cheapside, opposite City Hall. 

Thus the doctor continued to labor and improve his mind until the war 
removed the hideous institution of Slavery from the nation ; but as 
soon as the way opened for his return to his old home, New Bedford no 
longer had sufficient attractions to retain him. With all her faults he con- 
ceived that "Old Virginia" offered decided inducements for his return. 
Accordingly he went directly to Norfolk, whence he escaped. Of course 
every thing was in the utmost confusion and disorder when he returned, 
save where the military held sway. So as soon as the time drew near for 
reorganizing, elections, &c., the doctor was found to be an aspirant for a seat 
in Congress, and in "running" for it, was found to be a very difficult candi- 
date to beat. Indeed in the first reports of the election his name was 
amongst the elected ; but subsequent counts proved him to be among the 
defeated by only a very slight majority. 

At the time of the doctor's escape, in 1855, he was thirty-one years of age, 
a man of medium size, and about as purely colored, as could readily be 
found, with a full share of self-esteem and pluck. 




Arrival 1st. David Bennett and family. 

Arrival 2d. Henry Washington, alias Anthony Hanly, and Henry Stewart, 

Arrival 3d. William Nelson and wife, William Thomas, Louisa Bell, and 

Elias Jasper. 

Arrival 4th. Maria Joiner. 

Arrival 5th. Richard Green and his brother George. 
Arrival 6th. Henry Cromwell. 
Arrival 7th. Henry Bohm. 


Arrival 8th. Ralph Whiting, James H. Forman, Anthony Atkinson, Arthur 
Jones, Isaiah Nixon, Joseph Harris, John Morris, Henry 

Arrival 9th. Robert Jones and wife. 

The first arrival to be here noticed consisted of David Bennett, and his 
wife Martha, with their two children, a little boy named George, and a 
nameless babe one month old. This family journeyed from Loudon county, 
Va. David, the husband, had been in bonds under Captain James Taylor. 
Martha, the wife, and her two children were owned by George Carter. 
Martha's master was represented as a very barbarous and cruel man to the 
slaves. He made a common practice of flogging females when stripped 
naked. This was the emphatic testimony of Martha. Martha declared that 
she had been so stripped, and flogged by him after her marriage. The story 
of this interesting young mother, who was about twenty-seven years of age, 
was painful to the ear, particularly as the earnestness and intelligence of this 
poor, bruised, and mangled soul bore such strong evidence to the truthful- 
ness of her statements. During the painful interview the mind would in- 
voluntarily picture this demon, only as the representative of thousands in 
the South using the same relentless sway over men and women ; and this 
fleeing victim and her little ones, before escaping, only as sharers of a com- 
mon lot with many other mothers and children, whose backs were daily 
subjected to the lash. If on such an occasion it was hard to find fitting 
words of sympathy, or adequate expressions of indignation, the pleasure of 
being permitted to give aid and comfort to such was in part a compensation 
and a relief. David, the husband of this woman, was about thirty-two 
years of age. No further notice was made of him. 

ARRIVAL No. 2 consisted of Henry Washington, alias Anthony Hanly, 
and Henry Stewart. Henry left Norfolk and a "very mild master," known 
by the name of " Seth March," out of sheer disgust for the patriarchal in- 
stitution. Directly after speaking of his master in such flattering terms he 
qualified the " mild," &c. by adding that he was excessively close in money 
matters. In proof of this assertion, Henry declared, that out of his hire 
he was only allowed $1.50 per week to pay his board, clothe himself, and 
defray all other expenses ; leaving no room whatever for him to provide for 
his wife. It was, therefore, a never-failing source of unhappiness to be thus 
debarred, and it was wholly on this account that he " took out," as he did, 
and at the time that he did. His wife's name was " Sally." She too was 
a slave, but " had not been treated roughly." 

For fifty long years Henry had been in the grasp of this merciless 
system constrained to toil for the happiness of others, to make them com- 
fortable, rich, indolent, and tyrannical. To say that he was like a bird out 
of a cage, conveys in no sense whatever the slightest idea of his delight in 


escaping from the prison house. And yet, his pleasure was sadly marred by 
the reflection that his bosom companion was still in bondage in the gloomy 
prison-house. Henry was a man of dark color, well made, and of a re- 
flective turn of mind. On arriving in Canada, he manifested his gratitude 
through Rev. H. "Wilson, as follows 

ST. CATHAEINES, Aug. 20th, 1855. 

DEAE BE. STILL : I am requested by Henry Washington to inform you that he got 
through safe, and is here in good business. He returns to you his sincere thanks for your 
attention to him on his way. I had the pleasure of receiving seven fugitives last week. 
Send them on, and may God speed them in the flight. I would like to have a miracle- 
working power, that I could give wings to them all so that they could come faster than 
by Railroads either underground or above. Yours truly, HIEAM WILSON. 

While he was thus hopefully succeeding in Canada, separated from his 
companion by many hundreds of miles, death came and liberated her from 
the yoke, as the subjoined letter indicates 

ST. CATHAEINES, C. W. Nov. 12, 1855. 

ME. WILLIAM STILL: Dear Sir: I have received a letter from Joseph G. Selden a 
friend in Norfolk, Va., informing me of the death of my wife, who deceased since I saw 
you here; he also informs me that my clothing will be forwarded to you by Jupiter White, 
who now has it in his charge. You will therefore do me a great favor, if you will be so 
good as to forward them to me at this place St. Catharines, C. W. 

The accompanying letter is the one received from Mr. Selden which I send you, that 
you may see that it is all right. You will please give my respects to Mrs. Still and 
family. Most respectfully yours, HENEY WASHINGTON. 

HENRY STEWART, who accompanied the above mentioned traveler to 
Canada, had fled a short while before from Plymouth, North Carolina. 
James Monroe Woodhouse, a farmer, claimed Stewart as his property, and 
" hired him out " for $180 per annum. As a master, Woodhouse was con- 
sidered to be of the "moderate" type, according to Stewart's judgment. 
But respecting money matters (when his slaves wanted a trifle), "he was 
very hard. He did not flog, but would not give a slave a cent of money 
upon any consideration." 

It was by procuring a pass to Norfolk, that Henry managed to escape. 
Although a father and a husband, having a wife (Martha) and two children 
(Mary Ann and Susan Jane), he felt that his lot as a slave utterly debarred 
him from discharging his duty to them ; that he could exercise no rights 
or privileges whatever, save as he might obtain permission from his master. 
In the matter of separation, even although the ties of husband and wife, 
parents and children were most closely knit, his reason dictated that he 
would be justified in freeing himself if possible; indeed, he could not en- 
dure the pressure of Slavery any longer. Although only twenty-three years 
of age, the burdens that he had been called upon to bear, made his natu- 


rally intelligent mind chafe to an unusual degree, especially when reflecting 
upon a continued life of Slavery. When the time decided upon for his flight 
arrived, he said nothing to his wife on the subject, but secured his pass and 
took his departure for Norfolk. On arriving there, he sought out an Un- 
derground Rail Road captain, and arranged with him to bring him to Phi- 
ladelphia. Whether the sorrow-stricken wife ever afterwards heard of her 
husband, or the father of his two little children, the writer is unable to 
say. It is possible that this narrative may reveal to the mother and her 
offspring (if they are still living), the first ray of light concerning the 
missing one. Indeed it is not unreasonable to suppose, that thousands of 
anxious wives, husbands and children, who have been scattered in every 
direction by Slavery, will never be able to learn as much of their lost ones 
as is contained in this brief account of Henry Stewart. 

ARRIVAL No. 3, brought William Nelson, his wife, Susan, and son, 
William Thomas, together with Louisa Bell, and Elias Jasper. These tra- 
velers availed themselves of the schooner of Captain B. who allowed them 
to embark at Norfolk, despite the search laws of Virginia. It hardly need 
be said, however, that it was no trifling matter in those days, to evade the 
law. Captains and captives, in order to succeed, found that it required 
more than ordinary intelligence and courage, shrewdness and determina- 
tion, and at the same time, a very ardent appreciation of liberty, without 
which, there could be no success. The simple announcement then, that a 
party of this number had arrived from Norfolk, or Richmond, or Peters- 
burg, gave the Committee unusual satisfaction. It made them quite sure 
that there was pluck and brain somewhere. 

These individuals, in a particularly marked degree, possessed the quali- 
ties that greatly encouraged the efforts of the Committee. William Nelson, 
was a man of a dark chestnut color, medium size, with more than an 
ordinary degree of what might be termed " mother wit." Apparently, 
William possessed well settled convictions, touching the questions of morals 
and religion, despite the overflowing tide of corruption and spurious reli- 
gious teachings consequent on the existing pro-slavery usages all around 
him. He was a member of the Methodist Church, under the charge of the 
Rev. Mr. Jones. For twenty years, William had served in the capacity 
of a " packer " under Messrs. Turner and White, who held a deed for 
William as their legal property. While he declared that he had been very 
" tightly worked " he nevertheless admitted that he had been dealt with in 
a mild manner in some respects. 

For his board and clothing, William had been allowed $1.50 per week. 
Truly a small sum for a hard-working man with a family yet this was far 
more than many slaves received from their masters. In view of receiving 
this small pittance, he had toiled hard doing over-work in order to make 
" buckle and strap meet." Once he had been sold on the auction-block. A 


sister of his had also shared the same fate. "While seriously contemplating 
his life as a slave, he was soon led to the conclusion that it was his duty to 
bend his entire energies towards freeing himself and his family if possible. 
The idea of not being able to properly provide for his family rendered him 
quite unhappy; he therefore resolved to seek a passage North, via the 
Underground Rail Road. To any captain who would aid him in the 
matter, he resolved to offer a large reward, and determined that the amount 
should only be limited by his inability to increase it. Finally, after much 
anxious preparation, agreement was entered into with Captain B., on behalf 
of himself, wife, child, and Louisa Bell, which was mutually satisfactory to 
all concerned, and afforded great hope to William. In due time the agree- 
ment was carried into effect, and all arrived safely and were delivered into 
the hands of the Committee in Philadelphia. The fare of the four cost 
$240, and William was only too grateful to think, that a Captain could 
be found who would risk his own liberty in thus aiding a slave to freedom. 
The Committee gladly gave them aid and succor,- and agreed with Wil- 
liam that the Captain deserved all that he received for their deliverance. 
The arrival of William, wife, and child in Canada was duly announced 
by the agent at St. Catharines, Rev. H. Wilson, as follows : 

ST. CATHARINES, C. W., June 28th, 1855. 

MR. WM. STILL: My Dear Friend: I am happy to announce the safe arrival of 
Thomas Russell with his wife and child. They have just arrived. I am much pleased with 
their appearance. I shall do what I can for their comfort and encouragement. They stopt 
at Elmira from Monday night till this morning, hoping that Lucy Bell would come up and 
join them at that place. They are very anxious to hear from her, as they have failed of 
meeting with her on the way or finding her here in advance of them. They wish to hear 
from you as soon as you can write, and would like to know if you have forwarded Lucy 
on, and if so, what route you sent her. They send their kind respects to you and your 
family and many thanks for your kindness to them. 

They wish you to inquire after Lucy if any harm has befallen her after her leaving 
Philadelphia. Please write promptly in my care. 

Yours truly in the love of freedom, HIRAM WILSON. 

The man who came to us as Wm. Nelson, is now known only as " Thomas 
Russell." It may here be remarked, that, owing to the general custom of 
changing names, as here instanced, it is found difficult to tell to whom the 
letters severally refer. Where the old and new names were both carefully 
entered on the book there is no difficulty, of course, but it was not always 

Susan Bell, the wife of William, was about thirty years of age, of a dark 
color, rather above medium size, well-made, good-looking, and intelligent 
quite equal to her husband, and appeared to have his affections undividedly. 
She was owned by Thomas Baltimore, with whom she had lived for the 
last seven years. She stated that during a part of her life she had been 


treated in a "mild manner." She had no complaint to make until after 
the marriage of her master. Under the new wife and mistress, Susan 
found a very marked change for the worse. She fared badly enough then. 
The mistress, on every trifling occasion for complaint, was disposed to hold 
the auction-block up to Susan, and would likewise influence her husband to 
do the same. From the fact, that four of Susan's sisters had been sold away 
to " parts unknown," she was not prepared to relish these almost daily 
threats from her irritable mistress, so she became as anxious for a trip on 
the Underground Rail Road as was her husband. 

About one hundred miles away in the country, her father, mother, three 
brothers, and one sister were living ; but she felt that she could not remain 
a slave on their account. Susan's owner had already fixed a price on her 
and her child, twenty-two months old, which was one thousand dollars. 
From this fate she was saved only by her firm resolution to seek her 

LOUISA BELL was also of Wm. Nelson's party, and a fair specimen of a 
nice-looking, wide awake woman ; of a chestnut color, twenty-eight years of 
age. She was the wife of a free man, but the slave of L. Stasson, a con- 
fectioner. The almost constant ringing in her ears of the auction -block, 
made her most miserable, especially as she had once suffered terribly by 
being sold, and had likewise seen her mother, and five sisters placed in the 
same unhappy situation, the thought of which never ceased to be most pain- 
ful. In reflecting upon the course which she was about to pursue in order 
to free herself from the prison-house, she felt more keenly than ever for 
her little children, and readily imagined how sadly she would mourn while 
thinking of them hundreds of miles distant, growing up only to be slaves. 
And particularly would her thoughts dwell upon her boy, six years of age; 
full old enough to feel deeply the loss of his mother, but without hope of 
ever seeing her again. 

Heart-breaking as were these reflections, she resolved to leave Robert and 
Mary in the hands of God, and escape, if possible from her terrible thral- 
dom. Her plan was submitted to her husband ; he acquiesced fully and 
promised to follow her as soon as an opportunity might present itself. 
Although the ordeal that she was called upon to pass through was of the 
most trying nature she bravely endured the journey through to Canada. 
On her arrival there the Rev. H. Wilson wrote on behalf of herself, and 
the cause as follows: 

ST. CATHERINES, C. W. July 6th, 1855. 

DEAR BR. STILL : I have just received your letters touching U. G. R. R. operations. 
All is right. Jasper and Mrs. Bell got here on Saturday last, and I think I dropt you a line 
announcing the fact. I write again thus soon because two more by name of Smith, John 
and Wra., have arrived the present week and were anxious to have me inform you that 
they are safely landed and free in this refuge land. They wish me to communicate their kind 


regards to you and others who have aided them. They have found employment and are 
likely to do well. The 5 of last week have gone over to Toronto. I gave them letters to a 
friend there after furnishing them as well as I could with such clothing as they required. 
I am afraid that I am burdening you too much with postage, but can't help doing so un- 
less I fail to write at all, as my means are not half equal to the expenses to which 1 am 
subject. Faithfully and truly yours, HIRAM WILSON. 

ELIAS JASPER, who was also a fellow-passenger with "Wm. Kelson and 
Co., was noticed thus on the Underground Rail Road : Age thirty-two 
years, color dark, features good, and gifted both with his tongue and hands. 
He had worked more or less at the following trades : Rope-making, carpen- 
tering, engineering, and photographing. It was in this latter calling that 
he was engaged when the Underground Rail Road movement first arrested 
his attention, and so continued until his departure. 

For several years he had been accustomed to hire his'time, for which he 
had been required to pay $10 per month. In acquiring the above trades he 
had been at no expense to his master, as he had learned them solely by 
his own perseverance, endowed as he was with a considerable share of 
genius. Occasionally he paid for lessons, the money being earned by his 
over-work. His master, Bayham, was a "retired gentleman." 

Elias had been sold once, and had suffered in various other ways, particu- 
larly from being flogged. He left his wife, Mary, but no child. Of his in- 
tention to leave Elias saw not how to impart to his wife, lest she should in 
some way let the " cat out of the bag." She was owned by a Miss Portlock, 
and had been treated " tolerably well," having had the privilege of hiring 
her time. She had $55 to pay for this favor, which amount she raised by 
washing, etc. Elias was a member of the Methodist Church, as were all of 
his comrades, and well did they remember the oft-repeated lesson, " Servants 
obey your masters," etc. They soon understood this kind of preaching after 
breathing free air. The market value of Elias was placed at $1200. 

ARRIVAL No. 4. Maria Joiner. Captain F. arrived, from Norfolk, with 
the above named 1 passenger, the way not being open to risk any other on that 
occasion. This seemed rather slow business with this voyager, for he was 
usually accustomed to bringing more than one. However, as this arrival 
was only one day later than the preceding one noticed, and came from the 
same place, the Committee concluded, that they had much reason for re- 
joicing nevertheless. As in the case of a great number among the oppressed 
of the South, when simply looking at Maria, no visible marks of ill usage 
in any way were discernible. Indeed, as she then appeared at the age of 
thirty-three, a fine, fresh, and healthy-looking mulatto woman, nine out of 
every ten would have been impressed with the idea, that she had never been 
subjected to hard treatment ; in other words, that she had derived her full 
share of advantages from the " Patriarchal Institution." The appearance of 
just such persons in Southern cities had often led Northerners, when trav- 


eling in those parts, to regard the lot of slaves as quite comfortable. But 
the story of Maria, told in an earnest and intelligent manner, was at once 
calculated to dissipate the idea of a "comfortable" existence in a state of 
bondage. She frankly admitted, however, that prior to the death of her old 
master, she was favorably treated, compared with many others; but, unfortu- 
nately, after his death, she had fallen into the hands of one of the old man's 
daughters, from whom, she declared, that she had received continued abuse, 
especially when said daughter was under the influence of liquor. At such 
times she was very violent. Being spirited, Maria could not consent to suffer 
on as a slave in this manner. Consequently she began to cogitate how she 
might escape from her mistress (Catharine Gordon), and reach a free State. 
None other than the usual trying and hazardous ways could be devised 
which was either to be stowed away in the hold of a schooner, or concealed 
amongst the rubbish of a steamer, where, for the time being, the extreme 
suffering was sure to tax every nerve even of the most valiant-hearted men. 
The daily darkening prospects constrained her to decide, that she was willing 
to suffer, not only in adopting this mode of travel, but on the other hand, 
that she had better be dead than remain under so cruel a woman as her mis- 
tress. Maria's husband and sister (no other relatives are noticed), were na- 
turally formidable barriers in the way of her escape. Notwithstanding her 
attachment to them, she fully made up her mind to be free. Immediately 
she took the first prerequisite step, which was to repair to a place of conceal- 
ment with a friend in the city, and there, like the man at the pool, wait until 
her turn came to be conveyed thence to a free State. In this place she was 
obliged to wait eight long months, enduring daily suffering in various ways, 
especially during the winter season. But, with martyr-like faith, she en- 
dured to the end, and was eventually saved from the hell of Slavery. Maria 
was appraised at $800. 

ARRIVAL No. 5. Richard Green, alias Wm. Smith, and his brother George. 
These young brothers fled from George Chambers of Baltimore. The elder 
brother was twenty-five, the younger twenty-three. Both were tall and 
well made and of a chestnut color, and possessed a good degree of natural 
ability. When desiring to visit their parents, their request was positively 
refused by their owner. Taking offence at this step, both mutually resolved 
to run away at the earliest opportunity. Thus in accordance with well pre- 
meditated plans, they set out and unobstructedly arrived in Philadelphia. 
At first it was simply very pleasant to take them by the hand and welcome 
them ; then to listen for a few moments to their intelligent narration of how 
they escaped, the motives that prompted them, etc. But further inquiries 
soon brought out incidents of the most thrilling and touching nature not 
with regard to hardships which they had personally experienced, but in re- 
lation to outrages which had been perpetrated upon their mother. Such 
simple facts as were then written are substantially as follows : Nearly 


thirty years prior to the escape of Richard and his brother their mother 
was in very bad health, so much so that physicians regarded her incurable. 
Her owner was evidently fully impressed with the belief that instead of being 
profitable to him, she might be an expense, which he could not possibly ob- 
viate, while he retained her as a slave. Now there was a way to get out of 
this dilemma. He could emancipate her and throw the responsibility of her 
support upon herself. Accordingly he drew up papers, called for his wife's 
mother to witness them, then formally put them into the hands of the invalid 
slave woman (Dinah), assuring her at the same time, that she was free 
being fully released as set forth in her papers. "Take notice I have no 
more claim on you nor you on me from this time." Marvellous liberality ! 
After working the life out of a woman, in order that he should not have 
her to bury, he becomes hastily in favor of freedom. He is, however, justi- 
fied by the laws of Maryland. Complaint, therefore, would simply amount 
to nothing. In the nature of the case Dinah was now free, but she was not 
wholly alone in the world. She had a husband, named Jacob Green, who 
was owned by Nathan Childs for a, term of years only, at the expiration of 
which time he was to be free. All lived then in Talbot county, Md. At 
the appointed time Jacob's bondage ended, and he concluded that he might 
succeed better by moving to Baltimore. Indeed the health of his wife was 
so miserable that nothing in his old home seemed to offer any inducement in 
the way of a livelihood. So off they moved to Baltimore. After a time, 
under careful and kind treatment, the faithful Jacob was greatly encouraged 
by perceiving that the health of his companion was gradually improving 
signs indicated, that she might yet become a well woman. The hopes of 
husband and wife, in this particular, were, in the lapse of time, fully real- 
ized. Dinah was as well as ever, and became the mother of another child 
a little boy. Everything seemed to be going on happily, and they had no 
apparent reason to suspect any troubles other than such as might naturally 
have to be encountered in a state of poverty and toil. 

The unfettered boy was healthy, and made rapid advance in a few years. 
That any one should ever claim him was never for a moment feared. 

The old master, however, becoming tired of country life, had also moved 
to Baltimore. How, they knew not, but he had heard of the existence of 
this boy. 

That he might satisfy himself on this point, he one day very slyly ap- 
proached the house with George. No sooner was the old man within the en- 
closures than he asked Dinah, " Whose child is that ?" pointing to the boy. 
" Ask Jacob," was the reply of the mother. The question was then put to 
Jacob, the father of the boy. " I did not think that you would ask such a 
question, or that you would request anything like that," Jacob remarked, 
naturally somewhat nervous, but he added, " I have the privilege of having 
any one I please in my house." " Where is he from ?" again demanded 


the master. The father repeated, " I have a right to have," etc., " I am my 
own man," etc. " I have found out whose he is/' the hunter said. " I am 
going presently to take him home with me." At this juncture he seized the 
little fellow, at the same time calling out, " Dinah, put his clothes on." By 
this time the father too had seized hold of the child. Mustering courage, 
the father said, "Take notice that you are not in the country, pulling and 
hauling people about." "I will have him or I will leave my heart's 
blood in the house," was the savage declaration of the master. In his rage 
he threatened to shoot the father. In the midst of the excitement George 
called in two officers to settle the trouble. " What are you doing here ?" 
said the officers to the slave-holder. " I am after my property this boy," 
he exclaimed. " Have you ever seen it before ?" they inquired. " No," 
said the slave-holder. "Then how do you know that he belongs to you?" 
inquired the officers. " I believe he is mine," replied the slave-holder. 

All the parties concerned were then taken by the officers before an Alder- 
man. The father owned the child but the mother denied it. The Alder- 
man then decided that the child should J>e given to the father. 

The slave-holder having thus failed, was unwilling, nevertheless, to re- 
linquish his grasp. Whereupon he at once claimed the mother. Of course 
he was under the necessity of resorting to the Courts in order to establish 
his claim. Fortunately the mother had securely preserved the paper given 
her by her master so many years before, releasing her. Notwithstanding 
this the suit was pending nearly a year before the case was decided. Every- 
thing was so clear the mother finally gained the suit. This decision was 
rendered only about two months prior to the escape of Richard and George. 

ARRIVAL No. 6. Henry Cromwell. This passenger fled from Baltimore 
county, Md. The man that he escaped from was a farmer by the name of 
William Roberts, who also owned seven other young slaves. Of his treat- 
ment of his slaves nothing was recorded. 

Henry was about six feet high, quite black, visage thin, age twenty-five. 
He left neither wife, parents, brothers nor sisters to grieve after him. In 
making his way North he walked of nights from his home to Harrisburg, 
Pa., and there availed himself of a passage on a freight car coming to Phil- 

ARRIVAL No. 7. Henry Bohm. Henry came from near Norfolk, Ya. 
He was about twenty-five years of age, and a fair specimen of a stout man, 
possessed of more than ordinary physical strength. As to whom he fled 
from, how he had been treated, or how he reached Philadelphia, the record 
book is silent. Why this is the case cannot now be accounted for, unless 
the hurry of getting him off forbade sufficient delay to note down more of 
the particulars. 

ARRIVAL No. 8. Ralph Whiting, James H. Forman, Anthony Atkinson, 
Arthur Jones, Isaiah Nixon, Joseph Harris, John Morris, and Henry 


Hodges. A numerous party like this had the appearance of business. 
They were all young and hopeful, and belonged to the more intelligent and 
promising of their race. They were capable of giving the best of reasons 
for the endeavors they were making to escape to a free country. 

They imparted to the Committee much information respecting their seve- 
ral situations, together with the characters of their masters in relation to 
domestic matters, and the customs and usages under which they had been 
severally held to service all of which was listened to with deep interest. 
But it was not an easy matter, after having been thus entertained, to write 
out the narratives of eight such persons. Hundreds of pages would hardly 
have contained a brief account of the most interesting portion of their his- 
tories. It was deemed sufficient to enter their names and their forsaken 
homes, etc., as follows : 

" Ralph was twenty-six years of age, five feet ten inches high, dark, well 
made, intelligent, and a member of the Methodist Church. He was claimed 
by Geo. W. Kemp, Esq., cashier of the Exchange Bank of Norfolk, Va. 
Ralph gave Mr. Kemp the credit of being a ' moderate man ' to his slaves. 
Ralph was compelled to leave his wife, Lydia, and two children, Anna 
Eliza, and Cornelius." 

"James was twenty-three years of age, dark mulatto, nearly six feet 
high, and of prepossessing appearance. He fled from James Saunders, Esq. 
Nothing, save the desire to be free, prompted James to leave his old sit- 
uation and master. His parents and two sisters he was obliged to leave in 

Two brief letters from James, one concerning his "sweet-heart/' whom he 
left in Norfolk, the other giving an account of her arrival in Canada and 
marriage thereafter will, doubtless, be read with interest. They are here 
given as follows : 

NIAGARA FALLS, June 5th, 1856. 

ME. STILL : Sir I take my pen in hand to write you theas few lines to let you know 
that I am well at present and hope theas few lines may find you the same. Sir my object 
in writing to you is that I expect a young Lady by the name of Miss Mariah Moore, 
from Norfolk, Virginia. She will leave Norfolk on the 13th of this month in the Steam- 
ship Virginia for Philadelphia you will oblige me very much by seeing her safely on the 
train of cars that leaves Philadelphia for the Suspension Bridge Niagara Falls pleas to 
tell the Lady to telegraph to me what time she will leave Philadelphia so i may know what 
time to meet her at the Suspension Bridge my Brother Isaac Forman send his love also 
his family to you and your family they are all well at present pleas to give my respects to 
Mr. Harry Londay, also Miss Margaret Cunigan, no more at present. 

I remain your friend, JAMES H. FORMAN. 

When you telegraph to me direct to the International Hotel, Niagara Falls, N. Y. 

NIAGARA FALLS, July 24th, 1856. 

DEAR SIR : I take this opportunity of writing these few lines to you hoping that they 
may find you enjoying good health as these few lines leave me at present. I thank you 


for your kindness. Miss Moore arrived here on the 30th of June and I was down to the 
cars to receive her. I thought I would have written to you before, but I thought I would 
wait till I got married. I got married on the 22d of July in the English Church Canada 
about 11 o'clock my wife sends all her love to you and your wife and all enquiring friends 
please to kiss your two children for her and she says she is done crying and I am glad to 
hear she enjoyed herself so well in Philadelphia give my respects to Miss Margaret Cun- 
ingham and I am glad to hear her sister arrived my father sends his respects to you no 
more at present but remain your friend, JAMES H. FORMAN. 

Direct your letter to the International Hotel, Niagara Falls. 

ANTHONY was thirty-six years of age, and by blood, was quite as nearly 
related to the Anglo-Saxon as the Anglo-African. He was nevertheless, 
physically a fine specimen of a man. He was about six feet high, and bore 
evidence of having picked up a considerable amount of intelligence consid- 
ering his opportunities. He had been sold three times. Anthony was 
decidedly opposed to having to pass through this ordeal a fourth time, there- 
fore, the more he meditated over his condition, the more determined he 
became to seek out an Underground Rail Road agent, and make his way to 

Concluding that Josiah Wells, who claimed him, had received a thou- 
sand times too much of his labor already, Anthony was in a fit state of 
mind to make a resolute effort to gain his freedom. He had a wife, but 
no children. His father, one sister, and two brothers were all dear to 
him, but all being slaves "one could not help the other," Anthony 
reasoned, and wisely too. So, at the command of the captain, he was 
ready to bear his part of the suffering consequent upon being concealed in 
the hold of a vessel, where but little air could penetrate. 

ARTHUR was forty-one years of age, six feet high chestnut color, well 
made, and possessed good native faculties needing cultivation. He escaped 
from a farmer, by the name of John Jones, who was classed, as to natural 
temperament, amongst "moderate slave-holders." 

" I wanted my liberty," said Arthur promptly and emphatically, and he 
declared that was the cause of his escape. He left his mother, two sisters, 
and three brothers in Slavery. 

ISAIAH was about twenty-two, small of stature, but smart, and of a 
substantially black complexion. He had been subjected to very hard treat- 
ment under Samuel Simmons who claimed him, and on this account he was 
first prompted to leave. His mother and three brothers he left in bondage. 

JOSEPH was twenty-three years of age, and was, in every way, " likely- 
looking." According to the laws of Slavery, he was the property of David 
Morris, who was entitled to be ranked amongst the more compassionate 
slave-holders of the South. Yet, Joseph was not satisfied, deprived of his 
freedom. He had not known hardships as many had, but it was not in him 
notwithstanding, to be contented as a slave. In leaving, he had to " tear 
himself away " from his parents, three brothers, and two sisters. 


HENRY escaped from S. Simmons of Plymouth, North Carol ma, and was 
a fellow-servant with Isaiah. Simmons was particularly distinguished for 
his tyrannical rule and treatment of his slaves so Henry and Isaiah had 
the good sense to withdraw from under his yoke, very young in life; Henry 
being twenty-three. 

JOHN was about twenty-one years of age, five feet eight inches high, dark 
color, and well-grown for hi% years. Before embarking, he had endured 
seven mouths of hard suffering from being secreted, waiting for an oppor- 
tunity to escape. It was to keep his master from selling him, that he was 
thus induced to secrete himself. After he had remained away some months, 
he resolved to suffer on until his friends could manage to procure him a 
passage on the Underground Rail Road. With this determined spirit he 
did not wait in vain. 

ARRIVAL No. 9. Robert Jones and wife : In the majority of cases, in 
order to effect the escape of either, sad separations between husbands and 
wives were unavoidable. Fortunately, it was not so in this case. In jour- 
neying from the house of bondage, Robert and his wife were united both in 
sympathies and in struggles. Robert had experienced "hard times" just in 
what way, however, was not recorded ; his wife had been differently treated, 
not being under the same taskmaster as her husband. At the time of their 
arrival all that was recorded of their bondage is as follows 

August 2d, 1855, Robert Jones and wife, arrived from Petersburg, Va. 
Robert is about thirty-five, chestnut color, medium size, of good manners, 
intelligent, had been owned by Thomas N. Lee, "a very hard man." 
Robert left because he " wanted his liberty always had from a boy." 
Eliza, his wife, is about forty years of age, chestnut color, nice-looking, 
and well-dressed. She belonged to Eliza II. Richie, who was called a 
" moderate woman " towards her slaves. Notwithstanding the limited space 
occupied in noting them on the record book, the Committee regarded them 
as being among the most worthy and brave travelers passing over the 
Underground Rail Road, and felt well satisfied that such specimens of 
humanity would do credit in Canada, not only to themselves, but to their 

Robert had succeeded in learning to read and write tolerably well, and 
had thought much over the condition and wrongs of the race, and seemed 
to be eager to be where he could do something to lift his fellow-sufferers up 
to a higher plane of liberty and manhood. After an interview with Robert 
and his wife, in every way so agreeable, they were forwarded on in the 
usual manner, to Canada. While enjoying the sweets of freedom in Canada, 
he was not the man to keep his light under a bushel. He seemed to 
have a high appreciation of the potency of the pen, and a decidedly 
clear idea that colored men needed to lay hold of many enterprises with 
resolution, in order to prove themselves qualified to rise equally with other 


branches of the human family. Some of his letters, embracing his views, 
plans and suggestions, were so encouraging and sensible, that the Committee 
was in the habit of showing them to friendly persons, and indeed, ex- 
tracts of some of his letters were deemed of sufficient importance to publish. 
One alone, taken from many letters received from him, must here suffice 
to illustrate his intelligence and efforts as a fugitive and citizen in Canada. 

HAMILTON, C. W., August 9th, 1856. 

MB. WM. STILL . Dear Friend: I take this opportunity of writing you these few 
lines to inform you of my health, which is good at present, &c. * * * * 

I was talking to you about going to Liberia, when I saw you last, and did intend to 
start this fall, but I since looked at the condition of the colored people in Canada. I 
thought I would try to do something for their elevation as a nation, to place them in the 
proper position to stand where they ought to stand. In order to do this, I have under- 
taken to get up a military company amongst them. They laughed at me to undertake 
such a thing ; but I did not relax my energies. I went and had an interview with Major 
J. T. Gilepon, told him what my object was, he encouraged me to go on, saying that he 
would do all he could for the accomplishment of my object. He referred to Sir Allan 
McNab, &c. * * * * I took with me Mr. J. H. Hill to see him he told me that it 
should be done, and required us to write a petition to the Governor General, which has 
been done. * * * * The company is already organized. Mr. Howard was elected 
Captain ; J. H. Hill, 1st Lieutenant; Hezekiah Hill, Ensign ; Robert Jones, 1st Sergeant. 
The company's name is, Queen Victoria's Rifle Guards. You may, by this, see what I 
have been doing since I have been in Canada. When we receive our appointments by 
the Government. I will send by express, my daguerreotype in uniform. 

My respects, &c. &c., " ROBERT JONES. 



from the subscriber, on Saturday night November 15th, 1856, Josiah and 
William Bailey, and Peter Pennington. Joe is about 5 feet 10 inches in height, 
of a chestnut color, bald head, with a remarkable scar on one ot his cheeks, 
not positive on which it is, but think it is on the left, under the eye, has intel- 
ligent countenance, active, and well-made. He is about 28 years old. Bill is 
of a darker color, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, stammers a little when con- 
fused, well-made, and older than Joe, well dressed, but may have pulled kearsey on over 
their other clothes. Peter is smaller than either the others, about 25 years of age, dark 
chestnut color, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high. 

A reward of fifteen hundred dollars will be given to any person who will apprehend the 
said Joe Bailey, and lodge him safely in the jail at Easton, Talbot Co., Md., and $300 for 
Bill and $800 for Peter. W. R. HUGHLETT, 


When this arrival made its appearance, it was at first sight quite evident 
that one of the company was a man of more than ordinary parts, both 
physically and mentally. Likewise, taking them individually, their appear- 
ance and bearing tended largely to strengthen the idea that the spirit of 
freedom was rapidly gaining ground in the minds of the slaves, despite the 


efforts of the slave-holders to keep them in darkness. In company with 
the three men, for whom the above large reward was offered, came a woman: 
by the name of Eliza Nokey. 

As soon as the opportunity presented itself, the Active Committee feeling 
an unusual desire to hear their story, began the investigation by inquiring 
as to the cause of their escape, etc., which brought simple and homely but 
earnest answers from each. These answers afforded the best possible means 
of seeing Slavery in its natural, practical workings of obtaining such 
testimony and representations of the vile system, as the most eloquent orator 
or able pen might labor in vain to make clear and convincing, although this 
arrival had obviously been owned by men of high standing. The fugitives 
themselves innocently stated that one of the masters, who was in the habit 
of flogging adult females, was a " moderate man." Josiah Bailey was the 
leader of this party, and he appeared well-qualified for this position. He 
was about twenty-nine years of age, and in no particular physically, did he 
seem to be deficient. He was likewise civil and polite in his manners, and 
a man of good common sense. He was held and oppressed by William H. 
Hughlett, a farmer and dealer in ship timber, who had besides invested in 
slaves to the number of forty head. In his habits he was generally taken for 
a " moderate " and " fair " man, " though he was in the habit of flogging 
the slaves females as well as males," after they had arrived at the age of 
maturity. This was not considered strange or cruel in Maryland. Josiah 
was the " foreman " on the place, and was entrusted with the management of 
hauling the ship-timber, and through harvesting and busy seasons was re- 
quired to lead in the fields. He was regarded as one of the most valuable 
hands in that part of the country, being valued at $2,000. Three weeks be- 
fore he escaped, Joe was " stripped naked," and " flogged " very cruelly by 
his master, simply because he had a dispute with one of the fellow-servants^ 
who had stolen, as Joe alleged, seven dollars of his hard earnings. This 
flogging, produced in Joe's mind, an unswerving determination to leave 
Slavery or die : to try his luck on the Underground Rail Road at all hazards. 
The very name of Slavery, made the fire fairly burn in his bones. Although 
a married man, having a wife and three children (owned by Hughlett), he was 
not prepared to let his affection for them keep him in chains so Anna 
Maria, his wife, and his children Ellen, Anna Maria, and Isabella, were 
shortly widowed and orphaned by the slave lash. 

WILLIAM BAILEY was owned by John C. Henry, a large slave-holder, 
and a very " hard " one, if what William alleged of him was true. His 
story certainly had every appearance of truthfulness. A recent brutal flogging 
had " stiffened his back-bone/' and furnished him with his excuse for not 
being willing to continue in Maryland, working his strength away to enrich 
his master, or the man who claimed to be such. The memorable flogging, 
however, which caused him to seek flight on the Underground Rail Road, 


was not administered by his master or on his master's plantation. He was 
hired out, and it was in this situation that he was so barbarously treated. 
Yet he considered his master more in fault than the man to whom he 
was hired, but redress there was none, save to escape. 

The hour for forwarding the party by the Committee, came too soon to 
allow time for the writing of any account of Peter Pennington and Eliza 
Nokey. Suffice it to say, that in struggling through their journey, their 
spirits never flagged ; they had determined not to stop short of Canada. 
They truly had a very high appreciation of freedom, but a very poor opinion 
of Maryland. 



In October, 1854, the Committee received per steamer, directly from 
Norfolk, Va., Robert McCoy and Elizabeth Saunders. Robert had con- 
stantly been in the clutches of the negro-trader Hall, for the last sixteen 
years, previous to his leaving, being owned by him. He had, therefore, 
possessed very favorable opportunities for varied observation and experience 
relative to the trader's conduct in his nefa'rious business, as well as for 
witnessing the effects of the auction-block upon all ages rending asunder 
the dearest ties, despite the piteous wails of childhood or womanhood, 
parental or conjugal relations. But no attempt will be made to chronicle 
the deeds of this dealer in human flesh. Those stories fresh from the lips 
of one who had just escaped, were painful in the extreme, but in the very 
nature of things some of the statements are too revolting to be published. 
In lieu of this fact, except the above allusions to the trader's business, this 
sketch will only refer to Robert's condition as a slave, and finally as a 
traveler on the Underground Rail Road. 

Robert was a man of medium size, dark mulatto, of more than ordinary 
intelligence. His duties had been confined to the house, and not to the slave 
pen. As a general thing, he had managed, doubtless through much shrewd- 
ness, to avoid very severe outrages from the trader. On the whole, he had 
fared " about as well " as the generality of slaves. 

Yet, in order to free himself from his " miserable" life, he was willing, as 
he declared, to suffer almost any sacrifice. Indeed, his conduct proved 
the sincerity of this declaration, as he had actually been concealed five 
months in a place in the city, where he could not possibly avoid daily 
suffering of the most trying kind. Plis resolve to be free was all this while 
maturing. The trader had threatened to sell Robert, and to prevent it 
Robert (thus) " took out." Successfully did he elude the keen scent and 


grasp of the hunters, who made diligent efforts to recapture him. Although 
a young man only about twenty-eight years of age, his health was by no 
means good. His system had evidently been considerably shattered by 
Slavery, and symptoms of consumption, together with chronic rheumatism, 
were making rapid headway against the physical man. Under his various 
ills, he declared, as did many others from the land of bondage, that his faith 
in God afforded him comfort and hope. He was obliged to leave his wife, 
Eliza, in bonds, not knowing whether they should ever meet again on earth, 
but he was somewhat hopeful that the way would open for her escape also. 

After reaching Philadelphia, where his arrival had long been anticipated 
by the Vigilance Committee, his immediate wants were met, and in due 
order he was forwarded to New Bedford, where, he was led to feel, he would 
be happy in freedom. 

Scarcely had he been in New Bedford one month, before his prayers and 
hopes were realized with regard to the deliverance of his wife. On hearing 
of the good news of her coming he wrote as follows 

NEW BEDFORD, Nov. 3, 1859. 

DEAR SIR : i embrace this opertunity to inform you that i received your letter with 
pleasure, i am enjoying good health and hope that these few lines will find you enjoying 
the same blessing, i rejoise to hear from you i feel very much indetted to you for not 
writing before but i have been so bissy that is the cause, i rejoise to heare of the arrival 
of my wife, and hope she is not sick from the roling of the sea and if she is not, pleas to 
send her on here Monday with a six baral warlian and a rifall to gard her up to my resi- 
dance i thank you kindly for the good that you have don for me. Give my respects to 
Mrs. Still, tell her i want to see her very bad and you also i would come but i am afraid 
yet to venture, i received your letter the second, but about the first of spring i hope to 
pay you a visit or next summer, i am getting something to do every day. i will write on 
her arrivall and tell you more. Mr. K. White sends his love to you and your famerly and 
says that he is very much indetted to you for his not writing and all so he desires to know 
wheather his cloths has arived yet or not, and if they are please to express them on to 
him or if at preasant by Mrs. Donar. Not any more at preasent. i remain your affec- 
tionate brother, WILLIAM DONAR. 

By the same arrival, and similarly secreted, Elizabeth Frances, alias Ellen 
Saunders, had the good luck to reach Philadelphia. She was a single young 
woman, about twenty-two, with as pleasant a countenance as one would wish 
to see. Her manners were equally agreeable. Perhaps her joy over 
her achieved victory added somewhat to her personal appearance. She had, 
however, belonged to the more favored class of slaves. She had neither 
been over-worked nor badly abused. Elizabeth was the property of a lady 
a few shades lighter than herself, (Elizabeth was a mulatto) by the name of 
Sarah Shephard, of Norfolk. In order the more effectually to profit by Eliza- 
beth's labor, the mistress resorted to the plan of hiring her out for a given 
sum per month. Against this usage Elizabeth urged no complaint. Indeed 
the only very serious charge she brought was to the effect, that her mistress 


sold her mother away from her far South, when she was a child only ten 
years old. She had also sold a brother and sister to a foreign southern 
market. The reflections consequent upon the course that her mistress had 
thus pursued, awakened Elizabeth to much study relative to freedom, and 
by the time that she had reached womanhood she had very decided convic- 
tions touching her duty with regard to escaping. Thus growing to hate 
slavery in every way and manner, she was prepared to make a desperate 
effort to be free. Having saved thirty-five dollars by rigid economy, she 
was willing to give every cent of it (although it was all she possessed), to be 
aided from Norfolk to Philadelphia. After reaching the city, having suffered 
severely while coming, she was invited to remain until somewhat recruited. 
In the healthy air of freedom she was soon fully restored, and ready to 
take her departure for New Bedford, which place she reached without diffi- 
culty and was cordially welcomed. The following letter, expressive of her 
obligations for aid received, was forwarded soon after her arrival in New 
Bedford : 

NEW BEDFOBD, Mass., October 16th, 1854. 

ME. STILL : Dear Sir I now take my pen in my hand to inform you of my health 
which is good at present all except a cold I have got but I hope when these few lines reach 
you you may be enjoying good health. I arrived in New Bedford Thursday morning 
safely and what little I have seen of the city I like it very much my friends were very glad 
to see me. I found my sister very well. Give my love to Mrs. Still and also your dear little 
children. I am now out at service. I do not think of going to Canada now. I think I 
shall remain in this city this winter. Please tell Mrs. Still I have not met any person who 
has treated me any kinder than she did since I left. I consider you both to have been true 
friends to me. I hope you will think me the same to you. I feel very thankful to you 
indeed. It might been supposed, out of sight out of mind, but it is not so. I never forget 
my friends. Give my love to Florence. If you come to this city I would be very happy 
to see you. Kiss your dear little children for me. Please to answer this as soon as possible, so 
that I may know you received this. No more at present. I still remain your friend, 


ELIZA McCoy the wife of Robert McCoy, whose narrative has just 
been given and who was left to wait in hope when her husband escaped 
soon followed him to freedom. It is a source of great satisfaction to be able 
to present her narrative in so close proximity to her husband's. He arrived 
about the first of October she about the first of November, following. From 
her lips testimony of much weight and interest was listened to by several 
friends relative to her sufferings as a slave on the auction-block, and in a 
place of concealment seven months, waiting and. praying for an opportunity 
to escape. But it was thought sufficient to record merely a very brief out- 
line of her active slave life, which consisted of the following noticeable 

Eliza had been owned by Andrew Sigany, of Norfolk age about thirty- 
eight mulatto, and a woman whose appearance would readily commaud 


attention and respect anywhere outside of the barbarism of Slavery. She 
stated that her experience as a sufferer in cruel hands had been very trying, 
and that in fretting under hardships, she had " always wanted to be free." 
Her language was unmistakable on this point. Neither mistress nor ser- 
vant was satisfied with each other ; the mistress was so " queer " and " hard 
to please," that Eliza became heartily sick of trying to please her an angel 
would have failed with such a woman. So, while matters were getting no 
better, but, on the contrary, were growing worse and worse, Eliza thought 
she would seek a more pleasant atmosphere in the North. In fact she felt 
that it would afford her no little relief to allow her place to be occupied 
by another. When she went into close quarters of concealment, she fully 
understood what was meant and all the liabilities thereto. She had pluck 
enough to endure unto the end without murmuring. The martyrs in olden 
times who dwelt in " dens and caves of the earth/' could hardly have fared 
worse than some of these way-worn travelers. 

After the rest, needed by one who had suffered so severely until her arri- 
val in Philadelphia, she was forwarded to her anxiously waiting husband in 
New Bedford, where she was gladly received. 

From the frequent arrivals from Virginia, especially in steamers, it may 
be thought that no very stringent laws or regulations existed by which of- 
fenders, who might aid the Underground Rail Road, could be severely pun- 
ished that the slave-holders were lenient, indifferent and unguarded as to 
how this property took wings and escaped. In order to enlighten the reader 
with regard to this subject, it seems necessary, in this connection, to publish 
at least one of the many statutes from the slave laws of the South bearing 
directly on the aid and escape of slaves by vessels. The following enact- 
ment is given as passed by the Legislature of Virginia in 1856 : 



(1.) Be it enacted, by the General Assembly, that it shall not be lawful 
for any vessel, of any size or description, whatever, owned in whole, or in 
part, by any citizen or resident of another State, and about to sail or steam 
for any port or place in this State, for any port or place north of and 
beyond the capes of Virginia, to depart from the waters of this common- 
wealth, until said vessel has undergone the inspection hereinafter provided 
for in this act, and received a certificate to that effect. If any such vessel 
shall depart from the State without such certificate of inspection, the captain 
or owner thereof, shall forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred dollars, to 
be recovered by any person who will sue for the same, in any court of 
record in this State, in the name of the Governor of the Commonwealth. 


Pending said suit, the vessel of said captain or owner shall not leave the 
State until bond be given by the captain or owner, or other person for him, 
payable to the Governor, with two or three sureties satisfactory to the court, 
in the penalty of one thousand dollars, for the payment of the forfeit or 
fine, together with the cost and expenses incurred in enforcing the same ; 
and in default of such bond, the vessel shall be held liable. Provided that 
nothing contained in this section, shall apply to vessels belonging to the 
United States Government, or vessels, American or foreign, bound direct to 
any foreign country other than the British American Provinces. 

(2.) The pilots licensed under the laws of Virginia, and while attached to 
a vessel regularly employed as a pilot boat, are hereby constituted inspectors 
to execute this act, so far as the same may be applicable to the Chesapeake 
Bay, and the waters tributary thereto, within the jurisdiction of this State, 
together with such other inspectors as may be appointed by virtue of this act. 

(3.) The branch or license issued to a pilot according to the provisions of 
the 92d chapter of Code, shall be sufficient evidence that he is authorized 
and empowered to act as inspector as aforesaid. 

(4.) It shall be the duty of the inspector, or other person authorized to act 
under this law, to examine and search all vessels hereinbefore described, to 
see that no slave or person held to service or labor in this State, or person 
charged with the commission of any crime within the State, shall be con- 
cealed on board said vessel. Such inspection shall be made within twelve 
hours of the time of departure of such vessel from the waters of Virginia, 
and may be made in any bay, river, creek, or other water-course of the 
State, provided, however, that steamers plying as regular packets, between 
ports in Virginia and those north of, and outside of the capes of Virginia, 
shall be inspected at the port of departure nearest Old Point Comfort. 

(5.) A vessel so inspected and getting under way, with intent to leave the 
waters of the State, if she returns to an anchorage above Back River Point, 
or within Old Point Comfort, shall be again inspected and charged as if an 
original case. If such vessel be driven back by stress of weather to seek a 
harbor, she shall be exempt from payment of a second fee, unless she holds 
intercourse with the shore. 

(6.) If, after searching the vessel, the inspector see no just cause to detain 
her, he shall give to the captain a certificate to that effect. If, however, 
upon such inspection, or in any other manner, any slave or person held to 
service or labor, or any person charged with any crime, be found on board 
of any vessel whatever, for the purpose aforesaid, or said vessel be detected 
in the act of leaving this commonwealth with any such slave or person on 
board, or otherwise violating the provisions of this act, he shall attach said 
vessel, and arrest all persons on board, to be delivered up to the sergeant or 
sheriff 1 of the nearest port in this commonwealth, to be dealt with according 
to law. 


(7.) If any inspector or other officer be opposed, or shall have reason to 
suspect that he will be opposed or obstructed in the discharge of any duty 
required of him under this act, he shall have power to summon and com- 
mand the force of any county or corporation to aid him in the discharge of 
such duty, and every person who shall resist, obstruct, or refuse to aid any 
inspector or other officer in the discharge of such duty, shall be deemed 
guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined and 
imprisoned as in other cases of misdemeanor. 

(8.) For every inspection of a vessel under this law, the inspector, or other 
officer shall be entitled to demand and receive the sum of five dollars ; for 
the payment of which such vessel shall be liable, and the inspector or other 
officer may seize and hold her until the same is paid, together with all 
charges incurred in taking care of the vessel, as well as in enforcing the 
payment of the same. Provided, that steam packets trading regularly 
between the waters of Virginia and ports north of and beyond the capes of 
Virginia, shall pay not more than five dollars for each inspection under the 
provisions of this act ; provided, however, that for every inspection of a 
vessel engaged in the coal trade, the inspector shall not receive a greater sum 
than two dollars. 

(9.) Any inspector or other person apprehending a slave in the act of 
escaping from the state, on board a vessel trading to or belonging to a non- 
slave-holding state, or who shall give information that will lead to the 
recovery of any slave, as aforesaid, shall be entitled to a reward of One 
Hundred Dollars, to be paid by the owner of such slave, or by the fiduciary 
having charge of the estate to which such slave belongs ; and if the vessel 
be forfeited under the provisions of this act, he shall be entitled to one-half 
of the proceeds arising from the sale of the vessel ; and if the same amounts 
to one hundred dollars, he shall not receive from the owner the above 
reward of one hundred dollars. 

(10.) An inspector permitting a slave to escape for the want of proper 
exertion, or by neglect in the discharge of his duty, shall be fined One Hun- 
dred Dollars; or if for* like causes he permit a vessel, which the law requires 
him to inspect, to leave the state without inspection, he shall be fined not 
less than twenty, nor more than fifty dollars, to be recovered by warrant by 
any person who will proceed against him. 

(11.) No pilot acting under the authority of the laws of the state, shall 
pilot out of the jurisdiction of this state any such vessel as is described in 
this act, which has not obtained and exhibited to him the certificate of 
inspection hereby required; and if any pilot shall so offend, he shall forfeit 
and pay not less than twenty, or more than fifty dollars, to be recovered in 
the mode prescribed in the next preceding section of this act. 

(12.) The courts of the several counties or corporations situated on the 
Chesapeake Bay, or its tributaries, by an order entered on record, may 


appoint one or more inspectors, at such place or places within their respective 
districts as they may deem necessary, to prevent the escape or for the re- 
capture of slaves attempting to escape beyond the limits of the state, arid to 
search or otherwise examine all vessels trading to such counties or corpora- 
tions. The expenses in such cases to be provided for by a levy on negroes 
now taxed by law ; but no inspection by county or corporation officers thus 
appointed, shall supersede the inspection of such vessels by pilots and other 
inspectors, as specially provided for in this act. 

(13.) It shall be lawful for the county court of any county, upon the ap- 
plication of five or more slave-holders, residents of the counties where the 
application is made, by an order of record, to designate one or more police 
stations in their respective counties, and a captain and three or more other 
persons as a police patrol on each station, for the recapture of fugitive slaves ; 
which patrol shall be in service at such times, and such stations as the court 
shall direct by their order aforesaid ; and the said court shall allow a reason- 
able compensation, to be paid to the members of such patrol ; and for that 
purpose, the said court may from time to time direct a levy on negroes now 
taxed by law, at such rate per capita as the court may think sufficient, to be 
collected and accounted for by the sheriif as other county levies, and to be 
called, "The fugitive slave tax." The owner of each fugitive slave in the 
act of escaping beyond the limits of the commonwealth, to a non-slave-hold- 
ing state, and captured by the patrol aforesaid, shall pay for each slave over 
fifteen, and under forty-five years old, a reward of One Hundred dollars; 
for each slave over five, and under fifteen years old, the sum of sixty dollars ; 
and for all others, the sum of forty dollars. Which reward shall be divided 
equally among the members of the patrol retaking the slave and actually on 
duty at the time ; and to secure the payment of said reward, the said patrol 
may retain possession and use of the slave until the reward is paid or 
secured to them. 

(14.) The executive of this State may appoint one or more inspectors for 
the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, if he shall deem it expedient, for 
the due execution of this act. The inspectors so appointed to perform the 
same duties, and to be invested with the same powers in their respective 
districts, and receive the same fees, as pilots acting as inspectors in other 
parts of the State. A vessel subject to inspection under this law, departing 
from any of the above-named counties or rivers on her voyage to sea, shall 
be exempted from the payment of a fee for a second inspection by another 
officer, if provided with a certificate from the proper inspecting officer of 
that district ; but if, after proceeding on her voyage, she returns to the port 
or place of departure, or enters any other port, river, or roadstead in the 
State, the said vessel shall be again inspected, and pay a fee of five dollars, 
as if she had undergone no previous examination and received no previous 


If driven by stress of weather to seek a harbor, and she has no intercourse 
with the shore, then, and in that case, no second fee shall be paid by said 

(15.) For the better execution of the provisions of this act, in regard to 
the inspection of vessels, the executive is hereby authorized and directed to 
appoint a chief inspector, to reside at Norfolk, whose duty it shall be, to 
direct and superintend the police, agents, or inspectors above referred to. 
He shall keep a record of all vessels engaged in the piloting business, 
together with a list of such persons as may be employed as pilots and 
inspectors under this law. The owner or owners of each boat shall make a 
monthly report to him, of all vessels inspected by persons attached to said 
pilot boats, the names of such vessels, the owner or owners thereof, and the 
places where owned or licensed, and where trading to or from, and the 
business in which they are engaged, together with a list of their crews. 
Any inspector failing to make his report to the chief inspector, shall pay a 
fine of twenty dollars for each such failure, which fine shall be recovered by 
warrant, before a justice of the county or corporation. The chief inspector 
may direct the time and station for the cruise of each pilot boat, and perform 
such other duty as the Governor may designate, not inconsistent with the 
other provisions of this act. He shall make a quarterly return to the exec- 
utive of all the transactions of his department, reporting to him any failure 
or refusal on the part of inspectors to discharge the duty assigned to them, 
and the Governor, for sufficient cause, may suspend or remove from office 
any delinquent inspector. The chief inspector shall receive as his compen- 
sation, ten per cent, on all the fees and fines received by the inspectors 
acting under his authority, and may be removed at the pleasure of the 

(16.) All fees and forfeitures imposed by this act, and not otherwise 
specially provided for, shall go one half to the informer, and the other be 
paid into the treasury of the State, to constitute a fund, to be called the 
" fugitive slave fund," and to be used for the payment of rewards awarded 
by the Governor, for the apprehension of runaway slaves, and to pay other 
expenses incident to the execution of this law, together with such other pur- 
poses as may hereafter be determined on by the General Assembly. 

(17.) This act shall be in force from its passage. 


$150 REWARD. Ran away from the subscriber, on Sunday night, 27th inst., 
my NEGRO GIRL, Lear Green, about 18 years of age, black complexion, round- 
featured, good-looking and ordinary size; she had on and with her when she left, a 
tan-colored silk bonnet, a dark plaid silk dress, a light mouslin delaine, also one wa- 
tered silk cape and oue tan colored cape. I have reason to be confident that she was per- 


suaded off by a negro man named Wm. Adams, black, quick spoken, 5 feet 10 inches high, 
a large scar on one side of his face, running down in a ridge by the corner of his mouth, 
about 4 inches long, barber by trade, but works mostly about taverns, opening oysters, &c. 
He has been missing about a week ; he had been heard to say he was going to marry the 
above girl and ship to New York, where it is said his. mother resides. The above reward will 
be paid if said girl is taken out of the State of Maryland and delivered to me ; or fifcy dol- 
lars if taken in the State of Maryland. JAMES NOBLE, 
rn26-3t. No. 153 Broadway, Baltimore. 

LEAR GKEEN, so particularly advertised in the " Baltimore Sun " by 
" James Noble/' won for herself a strong claim to a high place among 
the heroic women of the nineteenth century. In regard to description 
and age the advertisement is tolerably accurate, although her master might 
have added, that her countenance was one of peculiar modesty and grace. 
Instead of being " black," she was of a " dark-brown color." Of her 
bondage she made the following statement : She was owned by " James 
Noble, a Butter Dealer " of Baltimore. He fell heir to Lear by the will of 
his wife's mother, Mrs. Rachel Howard, by whom she had previously been 
owned. Lear was but a mere child when she came into the hands of Noble's 
family. She, therefore, remembered but little of her old mistress. Her 
young mistress, however, had made a lasting impression upon her mind ; 
for she was very exacting and oppressive in regard to the tasks she was 
daily in the habit of laying upon Lear's shoulders, with no disposition 
whatever to allow her any liberties. At least Lear was never indulged in 
this respect. In this situation a young man by the name of William Adams 
proposed marriage to her. This offer she was inclined to accept, but dis- 
liked the idea of being encumbered with the chains of slavery and the 
duties of a family at the same time. 

After a full consultation with her mother and also her intended upon 
the matter, she decided that she must be free in order to fill the station 
of a wife and mother. For a time dangers and difficulties in the way of 
escape seemed utterly to set at defiance all hope of success. Whilst every 
pulse was beating strong for liberty, only one chance seemed to be left, the 
trial of which required as much courage as it would to endure the cutting 
off the right arm or plucking out the right eye. An old chest of substan- 
tial make, such as sailors commonly use, was procured. A quilt, a pillow, 
and a few articles of raiment, with a small quantity of food and a bottle 
of water were put in it, and Lear placed therein ; strong ropes were fast- 
ened around the chest and she was safely stowed amongst the ordinary 
freight on one of the Erricson line of steamers. Her intended's mother, 
who was a free woman, agreed to come as a passenger on the same boat. 
How could she refuse? The prescribed rules of the Company assigned 
colored passengers to the deck. In this instance it was exactly where this 
guardian and mother desired to be as near the chest as possible. Once 
or twice, during the silent watches of the night, she was drawn irresisti- 



bly to the chest, and could not refrain from venturing to untie the rope 
and raise the lid a little, to see if the poor child still lived, and at the 
same time to give her a breath of fresh air. Without uttering a whisper, 
that frightful moment, this office was successfully performed. That the 
silent prayers of this oppressed young woman, together with her faithful 
protector's, were momentarily ascending to the ear of the good God above, 
there can be no question. Nor is it to be doubted for a moment but that 
some ministering angel aided the mother to unfasten the rope, and at the 
same time nerved the heart of poor Lear to endure the trying ordeal of 
her perilous situation. She declared that she had no fear. 

After she had passed eighteen hours in the chest, the steamer arrived 
at the wharf in Philadelphia, and in due time the living freight was brought 
off the boat, and at first was delivered at a house in Barley street, occupied 
by particular friends of the mother. Subsequently chest and freight were 
removed to the residence of the writer, in whose family she remained several 
days under the protection and care of the Vigilance Committee. 

Such hungering and thirsting for liberty, as was evinced by Lear Green, 
made the efforts of the most ardent friends, who were in the habit of aiding 
fugitives, seem feeble in the extreme. Of all the heroes in Canada, or out 
of it, who have purchased their liberty by downright bravery, through perils 
the most hazardous, none deserve more praise than Lear Green. 

She remained for a time in this family, and was then forwarded to El- 
niira. In this place she was married to William Adams, who has been. 


previously alluded to. They never went to Canada, but took up their per- 
manent abode in Elmira. The brief space of about three years only was 
allotted her in which to enjoy freedom, as death came and terminated her 
career. About the time of this sad occurrence, her mother-in-law died in 
this city. The impressions made by both mother and daughter can never be 
effaced. The chest in which Lear escaped has been preserved by the writer 
as a rare trophy, and her photograph taken, while in the chest, is an ex- 
cellent likeness of her and, at the same time, a fitting memorial. 



Rarely were three travelers from the house of bondage received at the 
Philadelphia station whose narratives were more interesting than those of 
the above-named individuals. Before escaping they had encountered diffi- 
culties of the most trying nature. No better material for dramatic effect 
could be found than might have been gathered from the incidents of their 
lives and travels. But all that we can venture to introduce here is the brief 
account recorded at the time of their sojourn at the Philadelphia station 
when on their way to Canada in 1854. The three journeyed together. They 
had been slaves together in the same neighborhood. Two of them had 
shared the same den and cave in the woods, and had been shot, captured, and 
confined in the same prison ; had broken out of prison and again escaped ; 
consequently their hearts were thoroughly cemented in the hope of reaching 
freedom together. 

ISAAC was a stout-made young man, about twenty-six years of age, 
possessing a good degree of physical and mental ability. Indeed his 
intelligence forbade his submission to the requirements of Slavery, rendered 
him unhappy and led him to seek his freedom. He owed services to D. 
Fitchhugh up to within a short time before he escaped. Against Fitchhugh 
he made grave charges, said that he was a " hard, bad man." It is but fair 
to add that Isaac was similarly regarded by his master, so both were dissat- 
isfied with each other. But the master had the advantage of Isaac, he could 
sell him. Isaac, however, could turn the table on his master, by running 
off. But the master moved quickly and sold Isaac to Dr. James, a negro 
trader. The trader designed making a good speculation out of his invest- 
ment: Isaac determined that he should be disappointed; indeed that he 
should lose every dollar that he paid for him. So while the doctor was 
planning where and how he could get the best price for him, Isaac was 
planning how and where he might safely get beyond his reach. The time 
for planning and acting with Isaac was, however, exceedingly short. He 


was daily expecting to be called upon to take his departure for the South. 
In this situation he made known his condition to a friend of his who was 
in a precisely similar situation; had lately been sold just as Isaac had to 
the same trader James. So no argument was needed to convince his friend 
and fellow-servant that if they meant to be free they would have to set off 

That night Henry Banks and Isaac Williams started for the woods 
together, preferring to live among reptiles and wild animals, rather than be 
any longer at the disposal of Dr. James. For two weeks they successfully 
escaped their pursuers. The woods, however, were being hunted in every 
direction, and one day the pursuers came upon them, shot them both, and 
carried them to King George's Co. jail. The jail being an old building 
had weak places in it ; but the prisoners concluded to make no attempt to 
break out while suffering badly from their wounds. So they remained one 
mouth in confinement. All the while their brave spirits under suffering 
grew more and more daring. Again they decided to strike for freedom, 
but where to go, save to the woods, they had not the slightest idea. Of 
course they had heard, as most slaves had, of cave life, and pretty well 
understood all the measures which had to be resorted to for security when 
entering upon so hazardous an undertaking. They concluded, however, 
that they could not make their condition any worse, let circumstances be 
what they might in this respect. Having discovered how they could break 
jail, they were not long in accomplishing their purpose, and were out and 
off to the woods again. This time they went far into the forest, and there 
they dug a cave, and with great pains had every thing so completely ar- 
ranged as to conceal the spot entirely. In this den they stayed three 
months. Now and then they would manage to secure a pig. A friend 
also would occasionally serve them with a meal. Their sufferings at best 
were fearful ; but great as they were, the thought of returning to Slavery 
never occurred to them, and the longer they stayed in the woods, the 
greater was their determination to be free. In the belief that their owner 
had about given them up they resolved to take the North Star for a pilot, 
and try in this way to reach free land. 

KIT, an old friend in time of need, having proved true to them in their 
cave, was consulted. He fully appreciated their heroism, and determined 
that he would join them in the undertaking, as he was badly treated by his 
master, who was called General Washington, a common farmer, hard drinker, 
and brutal fighter, which Kit's poor back fully evinced by the marks it 
bore. Of course Isaac and Henry were only too willing to have him ac- 
company them. 

In leaving their respective homes they broke kindred ties of the tendcrest 
nature. Isaac had a wife, Eliza, and three children, Isaac, Estella, and 
Ellen, all owned by Fitchhugh. Henry was only nineteen, single, but left 


parents, brothers, and sisters, all owned by different slave-holders. Kit had 
a wife, Matilda, and three children, Sarah Ann, Jane Frances, and Ellen, 

SEPTEMBER 28, 1856. 



SON; all in "good order" and full of hope. 

The following letter from the fearless friend of the slave, Thomas Garrett, 
is a specimen of his manner of dispatching Underground Rail Road busi- 
ness. He used Uncle Sam's mail, and his own name, with as much freedom 
as though he had been President of the Pennsylvania Central Rail Road, 
instead of only a conductor and stock-holder on the Underground Rail 


9 mo. 26th, 1856. 

RESPECTED FRIEND : WILLIAM STILL, I send on to thy care this evening by Rail 
Road, 5 able-bodied men, on their way North ; receive them as the Good Samaritan of old 
and oblige thy friend, THOMAS GARRETT. 

The " able-bodied men " duly arrived, and were thus recorded on the 
Underground Rail Road books as trophies of the success of the friends of 

CYRUS is twenty-six years of age, stout, and unmistakably dark, and was 
owned by James K. Lewis, a store-keeper, and a "hard master." He kept 
slaves for the express purpose of hiring them out, and it seemed to afford 
him as much pleasure to receive the hard-earned dollars of his bondmen as 
if he had labored for them with his own hands. " It mattered not, how 
mean a man might be," if he would pay the largest price, he was the man 
whom the store-keeper preferred to hire to. This always caused Cyrus to 
dislike him. Latterly he had been talking of moving into the State of 
Virginia. Cyrus disliked this talk exceedingly, but he "said nothing to the 
white people " touching the matter. However, he was not Jong in deciding 
that such a move would be of no advantage to him ; indeed, he had an idea 
if all was true that he had heard about that place, he would be still more 
miserable there, than he had ever been under his present owner. At once, 
he decided that he would move towards Canada, and that he would be fixed 
in his new home before his master got off to Virginia, unless he moved 
sooner than Cyrus expected him to do. Those nearest of kin, to whom he 


felt most tenderly allied, arid from whom he felt that it would be hard to 
part, were his father and mother. He, however, decided that he should 
have to leave them. Freedom, he felt, was even worth the giving up of 

Believing that company was desirable, he took occasion to submit his 
plan to certain friends, who were at once pleased with the idea of a trip on 
the Underground Rail Road, to Canada, etc; and all agreed to join him. 
At first, they traveled on foot; of their subsequent travel, mention has 
already been made in friend Garrett's epistle. 

JOSHUA is about twenty-seven years of age, quite stout, brown color, and 
would pass for an intelligent farm hand. He was satisfied never to wear 
the yoke again that some one else might reap the benefit of his toil. His 
master, Isaac Harris, he denounced as a "drunkard." His chief excuse for 
escaping, was because Harris had "sold" his "only brother." He was 
obliged to leave his father and mother in the hands of his master. 

CHARLES is twenty-two years of age, also stout, and well-made, and 
apparently possessed all the qualifications for doing a good day's work on a 
farm. He was held to service by Mrs. Mary Hurley. Charles gave no 
glowing account of happiness and comfort under the rule of the female sex, 
indeed, he was positive in saying that he had " been used rough." During 
the present year, he was sold for $1200. 

EPHRAIM is twenty-two years of age, stout and athletic, one who 
appears in every way fitted for manual labor or anything else that he might 
be privileged to learn. John Campbell Henry, was the name of the man 
whom he had been taught to address as master, and for whose benefit he had 
been compelled to labor up to the day he " took out." In considering what 
he had been in Maryland and how he had been treated all his life, he 
alleged that John Campbell Henry was a "bad man." Not only had 
Ephraim been treated badly by his master but he had been hired out to a 
man no better than his master, if as good. Ephraim left his mother and 
six brothers and sisters. 

FRANCIS is twenty-one, an able-bodied " article," of dark color, and was 
owned by James A. Waddell. All that he could say of his owner, was, 
that he was a " hard master," from whom he was very glad to escape. 


Arrival 1st. Frances Hilliard. 

Arrival 2d. Louisa Harding, alias Rebecca Hall. 

Arrival 3d. John Mackintosh. 

Arrival 4th. Maria Jane Houston. 


Arrival 5th. Miles Hoopes. 

Arrival 6th. Samuel Miles, alias Robert King. 

Arrival 7th. James Henson, alias David CaldweLU 

Arrival 8th. Laura Lewis. 

Arrival 9th. Elizabeth Banks. 

Arrival 10th. Simon Hill. 

Arrival llth. Anthony and Albert Brown. 

Arrival 12th. George Williams and Charles Holladay. 

Arrival 13th. William Go van. 

While none in this catalogue belonged to the class whose daring adven- 
tures rendered their narratives marvellous, nevertheless they represented a 
very large number of those who were continually on the alert to get rid of 
their captivity. And in all their efforts in this direction they manifested a 
marked willingness to encounter perils either by land or water, by day or 
by night, to obtain their God-given rights. Doubtless, even among these 
names, will be found those who have been supposed to be lost, and mys- 
teries will be -disclosed which have puzzled scores of relatives longing and 
looking many years in vain to ascertain the whereabouts of this or that 
companion, brother, sister, or friend. So, if impelled by no other conside- 
ration than the hope of consoling this class of anxious inquirers, this is a 
sufficient justification for not omitting them entirely, notwithstanding the 
risk of seeming to render these pages monotonous. 

ARRIVAL No. 1. First on this record was a young mulatto woman, 
twenty-nine years of age orange color, who could read and write very well, 
and was unusually intelligent and withal quite handsome. She was known 
by the name of Frances Hilliard, and escaped from Richmond, Ya., where 
she was owned by Beverly Blair. The owner hired her out to a man by 
the name of Green, from whom he received seventy dollars per annum. Green 
allowed her to hire herself for the same amount, with the understanding 
that Frances should find all her own clothes, board herself and find her own 
house to live in. Her husband, who was also a slave, had fled nearly one 
year previous, leaving her widowed, of course. Notwithstanding the above 
mentioned conditions, under which she had the privilege of living, Frances 
said that she " had been used well." She had been sold four times in her 
life. In the first instance the failure of her master was given as the reason 
of her sale. Subsequently she was purchased and sold by different traders, 
who designed to speculate upon her as a " fancy article." They would dress 
her very elegantly, in order to show her off to the best advantage possible, 
but it appears that she had too much regard for her husband and her honor, 
to consent to fill the positions which had been basely assigned her by her 

Frances assisted her husband to escape from his owner Taits and was 


never contented until she succeeded in following him to Canada. In 
escaping, she left her mother, Sarah Corbin, and her sister, Maria. On reach- 
ing the Vigilance Committee she learned all about her husband. She was 
conveyed from Richmond secreted on a steamer under the care of one of the 
colored hands on the boat. From here she was forwarded to Canada at the 
expense of the Committee. Arriving in Toronto, and not finding her hopes 
fully realized, with regard to meeting her husband, she wrote back the fol- 
lowing letter: 

TORONTO, CANADA, U. C., October 15th, 1855. 

MY DEAR MR. STILL : Sir I take the opportunity of writing you a few lines to inform 
you of my health. I am very well at present, and hope that when these few lines reach 
you they may find you enjoying the same blessing. Give my love to Mrs. Still and all 
the children, and also to Mr. Swan, and tell him that he must give you the money that he 
has, and you will please send it to me, as I have received a letter from my husband saying 
that I must come on to him as soon as I get the money from him. I cannot go to him 
until I get the money that Mr. Swan has in hand. Please tell Mr. Caustle that the clothes 
he spoke of my mqther did not know anything about them. I left them with Hinson 
Brown and he promised to give them to Mr. Smith. Tell him to ask Mr. Smith to get them 
from Mr. Brown for me, and when I get settled I will send him word and he can send them 
to me. The letters that were sent to me I received them all. I wish you would send me 
word if Mr. Smith is on the boat yet if he is please write me word in your next letter. 
Please send me the money as soon as you possibly can, for I am very anxious to see my 
.husband. I send to you for I think you will do what you can for me. No more at present, 
but remain Yours truly, FRANCES HILLIARD. 

Send me word if Mr. Caustle had given Mr. Smith the money that he promised to give 

For one who had to steal the art of reading and writing, her letter bears 

ARRIVAL No. 2. Louisa Harding, alias Rebecca Hall. Louisa was a 
mulatto girl, seventeen years of age. She reported herself from Baltimore, 
where she had been owned by lawyer Magill. It might be said that she 
also possessed great personal attractions as an "article" of much value in 
the eye of a trader. All the near kin whom she named as having left be- 
hind, consisted of a mother and a brother. 

ARRIVAL No. 3. John Mackintosh. John's history is short. He repre- 
sented himself as having arrived from Darien, Georgia, where he had seen 
" hard times." Age, forty-four. This is all that was recorded of John, 
except the expenses met by the Committee. 

ARRIVAL No. 4. Maria Jane Houston. The little State of Delaware lost 
in the person of Maria, one of her nicest-looking bond-maids. She had just 
arrived at the age of tw r enty-one, and felt that she had already been suffi- 
ciently wronged. She was a tall, dark, young woman, from the neighbor- 
hood of Cantw r ell's Bridge. Although she had no horrible tales of suffering 
to relate, the Committee regarded her as well worthy of aid. 


ARRIVAL No. 5. Miles Hooper. This subject came from North Caro- 
lina; he was owned by George Montigue, who lived at Federal Mills, was a 
decided opponent to the no-pay system, to flogging, and selling likewise. 
In fact nothing that was auxiliary to Slavery was relished by him. Conse- 
quently he concluded to leave the place altogether. At the time that Miles 
took this stand he was twenty-three years of age, a dark-complexioned man, 
rather under the medium height, physically, but a full-grown man mentally. 
" My owner was a hard man," said Miles, in speaking of his characteristics. 
His parents, brothers, and sisters were living, at least he had reason to 
believe so, although they were widely scattered. 

ARRIVAL No. 6. Samuel Miles, alias Robert King. Samuel was a 
representative of Revel's Neck, Somerset Co., Md. His master he regarded 
as a " very fractious man, hard to please." The cause of the trouble or un- 
pleasantness, which resulted in Samuel's Underground adventure, was 
traceable to his master's refusal to allow him to visit his wife. Not only 
was Samuel denied this privilege, but he was equally denied all privileges. 
His master probably thought that Sam had no mind, nor any need of a wife. 
"Whether this was really so or not, Sam was shrewd enough to " leave his 
old master with the bag to hold," which was sensible. Thirty-one years of 
Samuel's life were passed in Slavery, ere he escaped. The remainder of his 
days he felt bound to have the benefit of himself. In leaving home he had 
to part with his wife and one child, Sarah and little Henry, who were for- 
tunately free. 

On arriving in Canada Samuel wrote back for his wife, &c., as follows : 

ST. CATHARINES, C. W., Aug. 20th, 1855. 

To MR. WM. STILL, DEAR FRIEND : It gives me pleasure to inform you that I have 
had the good fortune to reach this northern Canaan. I got here yesterday and am in good 
health and happy in the enjoyment of Freedom, but am very anxious to have my wife 
and child here with me. 

I wish you to write to her immediately on receiving this and let her know where I am 
you will recollect her name Sarah Miles at Baltimore on the corner of Hamburg and 
Eutaw streets. Please encourage her in making a start and give her the necessary direc- 
tions how to come. She will please to make the time as short as possible in getting 
through to Canada. Say to my wife that I wish her to write immediately to the friends 
that I told her to address as soon as she hears from me. Inform her that I now stop in 
St. Catharines near the Niagara Falls that I am not yet in business but expect to get into 
business very soon That I am in the enjoyment of good health and hoping that this com- 
munication may find my affectionate wife the same. That I have been highly favored 
with friends throughout my journey I wish my wife to write to me as soon as she can and 
let me know how soon I may expect to see her on this side of the Niagara River. My 
wife had better call on Dr. Perkins and perhaps he will let her have the money he had in 
charge for me but that I failed of receiving when I left Baltimore. Please direct the 
letter for my wife to Mr. George Lister, in Hill street between Howard and Sharp. My 
compliments to all enquiring friends. Very respectfully yours, SAMUEL MILES. 

P. S. Please send the thread along as a token and my wife will understand that all is 
right. S. M. 


ARRIVAL No. 7. James Henson, alias David Caldwcll. James fled 
from Cecil Co., Md. He claimed that he was entitled to his freedom ac- 
cording to law at the age of twenty-eight, but had been unjustly deprived 
of it. Having waited in vain for his free papers for four years, he sus- 
pected that he was to be dealt with in a manner similar to many others, 
who had been willed free or who had bought their time, and had been 
shamefully cheated out of their freedom. So in his judgment he felt that 
his only hope lay in making his escape on the Underground Kail Road. 
He had no faith whatever in the man who held him in bondage, Jacob 
Johnson, but no other charges of ill treatment, <fcc., have been found against 
said Johnson on the books, save those alluded to above. 

James was thirty- two years of age, stout and well proportioned, with more 
than average intelligence and resolution. He left a wife and child, both free. 

ARRIVAL No. 8. Laura Lewis. Laura arrived from Louisville, Ken- 
tucky. She had been owned by a widow woman named Lewis, but as 
lately as the previous March her mistress died, leaving her slaves and other 
property to be divided among her heirs. As this would necessitate a sale 
of the slaves, Laura determined not to be on hand when the selling day 
came, so she took time by the forelock and left. Her appearance indi- 
cated that she had been among the more favored class of slaves. She 
was about twenty-five years of age, quite stout, of mixed blood, and intelli- 
gent, having traveled considerably with her mistress. She had been North 
in this capacity. She left her mother, one brother, and one sister in Louis- 

ARRIVAL No. 9. Elizabeth Banks, from near Easton, Maryland. Her 
lot had been that of an ordinary slave. Of her slave-life nothing of interest 
was recorded. She had escaped from her owner two and a half years prior 
to coming into the hands of the Committee, and had been living in Pennsyl- 
vania pretty securely as she had supposed, but she had been awakened to a 
sense of her danger by well grounded reports that she was pursued by her 
claimant, and would be likely to be captured if she tarried short of Canada. 
With such facts staring her in the face she was sent to the Committee for 
counsel and protection, and by them she \vas forwarded on in the usual 
way. She was about twenty-five years of age, of a dark, and spare structure. 

ARRIVAL No. 10. Simon Hill. This fugitive had escaped from Virginia. 
The usual examination was made, and needed help given him by the Com- 
mittee, who felt satisfied that he was a poor brother who had been shame- 
fully wronged, and that he richly deserved sympathy. He was aided and 
directed Canada-ward. He was a very humble-looking specimen of the 
peculiar institution, about twenty-five years of age, medium size, and of a 
dark hue. 

ARRIVAL No. 11. Anthony and Albert Brown (brothers), Jones Ander- 
son and Isaiah. 


This party escaped from Tanner's Creek. Norfolk, Virginia, where they 
had been owned by John awl Henry Holland, oystermen. As slaves they 
alleged that they had been subjected to very brutal treatment from their 
profane and ill-natured owners. Not relishing this treatment, Albert and 
Anthony came to the conclusion that they understood boating well enough 
to escape by water. They accordingly selected one of their master's small 
oyster-boats, which was pretty-well rigged with sails, and off they started 
for a Northern Shore. They proceeded on a part of their voyage merely by 
guess work, but landed safely, however, about twenty-five miles north of 
Baltimore, though, by no means, on free soil. They had no knowledge 
of the danger that they were then in. but they were persevering, and still 
determined to make their way North, and thus, at last, success attended 
their efforts. Their struggles and exertions having been attended with 
more of the romantic and tragical elements than had characterized the 
undertakings of any of the other late passengers, the Committee felt in- 
clined to make a fuller notice of them on the book, yet failed to do them 
justice in this respect. 

The elder brother was twenty-nine, the younger twenty-seven. Both 
were mentally above the average run of slaves. They left wives in Norfolk, 
named Alexenia and Ellen. While Anthony and Albert, in seeking their 
freedom, were forced to sever their connections with their companions, 
they did not forget them in Canada. 

How great was their delight in freedom, and tender their regard for their 
wives, and the deep interest they felt for their brethren and friends gene- 
rally, may be, seen from a perusal of the following letters from them : 

HAMELTON, March 7th 1856. 

MR. WM. STILL : Sir: I now take the opportunity of writting you a few lins hoping 
to find yourself and famly well as thes lines leves me at present, myself and brother, 
Anthony & Albert brown's respects. We have spent quite agreeable winter, we ware 
emploied in the new hotel, name Anglo american, wheare we wintered and don very well, 
we also met with our too trends ho came from home with us, Jonas anderson and Izeas, 
now we are all safe in hamilton, I wish to cale you to youre prommos, if convenient to 
write to Norfolk, Va., for me, and let my wife mary Elen Brown, no where I am, and my 
brothers wife Elickzener Brown, as we have never heard a word from them since we left, 
tel them that we found our homes and situation in canady much better than we expected, 
tel them not to think hard of us, we was boun to flee from the rath to come, tel them we 
live in the hopes of meting them once more this side of the grave, tel them if we never 
more see them, we hope to meet them in the kingdom of heaven in pece, tel them to 
remember my love to my cherch and brethren, tel them I find there is the same prayer- 
hearing God heare as there is in old Va ; tel them to remember our love to all the enquir- 
ing frends, I have written sevrel times but have never reseived no answer, I find a gret 
meny of my old accuaintens from Va., heare we are no ways lonesom, Mr. Still, "I have 
written to you once before, but reseve no answer. Pleas let us hear from you by any 
means. Nothing more at present, but remane youre frends, 



HAMILTON June 26th, 1856. 

MR. WM. STILL: kine Sir: I am happy to say to you that I have jus reseved my 
letter dated 5 of the present month, but previeously had bin in form las night by Mr. J. 
H. Hall, he had jus reseved a letter from you stating that my wife was with you, oh my 
I was so glad it case me to shed tears. 

Mr. Still, I cannot return you the thanks for the care of my wife, for I am so Glad that 
I dont now what to say, you will pleas start her for canaday. I am yet in hamilton, C. 
W, at the city hotel, my brother and Joseph anderson is at the angle american hotel, they 
send there respects to you and family my self also, and a greater part to my wife. I 
came by the way of syracruse remember me to Mrs. logins, tel her to writ back to my 
brothers wife if she is living and tel her to com on tel her to send Joseph Andersons love 
to his mother. 

i now send her 10 Dollers and would send more but being out of employment some of 
winter it pulls me back, you will be so kine as to forward her on to me, and if life las I 
will satisfie you at some time, before long. Give my respects and brothers to Mr. John 
Dennes, tel him Mr. Hills famly is wel and send there love to them, I now bring my letter 
to a close, And am youre most humble Servant, ANTHONY BROWN. 

P. S. I had given out the notion of ever seeing my wife again, so I have not been 
attending the office, but am truly sorry I did not, you mention in yours of Mr. Henry 
lewey, he has left this city for Boston about 2 weeks ago, we have not herd from him yet. 


AERIVAL No. 12. George Williams and Charles Holladay. These two 
travelers were about the same age. They were not, however, from the 
same neighborhood they happened to meet each other as they were trav- 
eling the road. George fled from St. Louis, Charles from Baltimore. George 
"owed service" to Isaac Hill, a planter; he found no special fault with his 
master's treatment of him ; but with Mrs. Hill, touching this point, he was 
thoroughly dissatisfied. She had treated him "cruelly," and it was for this 
reason that he was moved to seek his freedom. 

Charles, being a Baltimorean, had not far to travel, but had pretty sharp 
hunters to elude. 

His claimant, F. Smith, however, had only a term of years claim upon 
him, which was within about two years of being out. This contract for the 
term of years, Charles felt was made without consulting him, therefore he 
resolved to break it without consulting his master. He also declined to 
have anything to do with the Baltimore and Wilmington R. R. Co., consi- 
dering it a proscriptive institution, not worthy of his confidence. He started 
on a fast walk, keeping his eyes wide open, looking out for slave-hunters 
on his right and left. In this way, like many others, he reached the Com- 
mittee safely and was freely aided, thenceforth traveling in a first class Un- 
derground Rail Road car, till he reached his journey's end. 

ARRIVAL No. 13. William Govan. Availing himself of a passage on 
the schooner of Captain B., William left Petersburg, where he had been 
owned by " Mark Davis, Esq., a retired gentleman," rather, a retired negro 


William was about thirty-three years of age, and was of a bright orange 
color. Nothing but an ardent love of liberty prompted him to escape. He 
was quite smart, and a clever-looking man, worth at least $1^000. 



Of all the passengers who had hitherto arrived with bruised and mangled 
bodies received at the hands of slave-holders, none brought a back so shame- 
fully lacerated by the lash as Thomas Madden. Not a single spot had been 
exempted from the excoriating cow-hide. A most bloody picture did the 
broad back and shoulders of Thomas present to the eye as he bared his 
wounds for inspection. While it was sad to think, that millions of men, 
women, and children throughout the South were liable to just such brutal 
outrages as Thomas had received, it was a satisfaction to think, that this 
outrage had made a freeman of him. 

He was only twenty-two years of age, but that punishment convinced him 
that he was fully old enough to leave such a master as E. Ray, who had 
almost murdered him. But for this treatment, Thomas might have remained 
in some degree contented in Slavery. He was expected to look after the 
fires in the house on Sunday mornings. In a single instance desiring to 
be absent, perhaps for his own pleasure, two boys offered to be his substi- 
tute. The services of the boys were accepted, and this gave offence to the 
master. This Thomas declared was the head and front of his offending. 
His simple narration of the circumstances of his slave life was listened to 
by the Committee with deep interest and a painful sense of the situation of 
slaves under the despotism of suoh men as Ray. 

After being cared for by the Committee he was sent on to Canada. When 
there he wrote back to let the Committee know how he was faring, the 
narrow escape he had on the way, and likewise to convey the fact, that one 
named " Rachel," left behind, shared a large place in his affections. The 
subjoined letter is the only correspondence of his preserved : 

STANFORD, June 1st, 1855, Niagara districk. 

DEAR SIR : I set down to inform you that I take the liberty to rite for a frend to 
inform you that he is injoyinggood health and hopes that this will finde you the same he 
got to this cuntry very well except that in Albany he was vary neig taking back to his oald 
home but escaped and when he came to the suspention bridg he was so glad that he run 
for freadums shore and when he arived it was the last of October and must look for sum 
wourk for the winter he choped wood until Feruary times are good but money is scarce he 
thinks a great deal of the girl he left behind him he thinks that there is non like her 
herenon so hansom as his Rachel right and let him hear from you as soon as convaniant 
no more at presant but remain yours, ALBERT METTER. 




Up to the age of thirty-five " Pete " had worn the yoke steadily, if not 
patiently under William S. Matthews, of Oak Hall, near Temperanceville, 
in the State of Virginia. Pete said that his "master was not a hard man," 
but the man to whom he " was hired, George Matthews, was a very cruel 
man." " I might as well be in the penitentiary as in his hands," was his 

One day, a short while before Pete " took out," an ox broke into the 
truck patch, and helped himself to choice delicacies, to the full extent of 
his capacious stomach, making sad havoc with the vegetables generally. 
Peter's attention being directed to the ox, he turned him out, and gave 
him what he considered proper chastisement, according to the mischief he 
had done. At this liberty taken by Pete, the master became furious. 
" He got his gun and threatened to shoot him." " Open your mouth if you 
dare, and I will put the whole load into you," said the enraged master. 
" He took out a large dirk-knife, and attempted to stab me, but I kept out 
of his way," said Pete. Nevertheless the violence of the master did not 
abate until he had beaten Pete over the head and body till he was weary, 
inflicting severe injuries. A great change was at once wrought in Pete's 
mind. He was now ready to adopt any plan that might hold out the least 
encouragement to escape. Having capital to the amount of four dollars 
only, he felt that he could not do much towards employing a conductor, 
but he had a good pair of legs, and a heart stout enough to whip two 
or three slave-catchers, with the help of a pistol. Happening to know a 
man who had a pistol for sale, he went to him and told him that he 
wished to purchase it. For one dollar the pistol became Pete's property. 
He had but three dollars left, but he was determined to make that amount 
answer his purposes under the circumstances. The last cruel beating mad- 
dened him almost to desperation, especially when he remembered how he 
had been compelled to work hard night and day, under Matthews. Then, 
too, Peter had a wife, whom his master prevented him from visiting; this 
was not among the least offences with which Pete charged his master. 
Fully bent on leaving, the following Sunday was fixed by him on which to 
commence his journey. 

The time arrived and Pete bade farewell to Slavery, resolved to follow 
the North Star, with his pistol in hand ready for action. After traveling 
about two hundred miles from home he unexpectedly had an opportunity of 
using his pistol. To his astonishment he suddenly came face to face with a 
former master, whom he had not seen for a long time. Pete desired no 
friendly intercourse with him whatever ; but he perceived that his old 


master recognized him and was bent upon stopping him. Pete held on to 
his pistol, but moved as fast as his wearied limbs would allow him, in 
an opposite direction. As he was running, Pete cautiously, cast his eye 
over his shoulder, to see what had become of his old master, when to his 
amazement, he found that a regular chase was being made after him. 
Need of redoubling his pace was quite obvious. In this hour of peril, Pete's 
legs saved him. 

After this signal leg-victory, Pete had more confidence in his " under- 
standings," than he had in his old pistol, although he held on to it until he 
reached Philadelphia, where he left it in the possession of the Secretary of 
the Committee. Considering it worth saving simply as a relic of the Under- 
ground Rail Road, it was carefully laid aside. Pete was now christened 
Samuel Sparrows. Mr. Sparrows had the rust of Slavery washed off as 
clean as possible and the Committee furnishing him with clean clothes, a 
ticket, and letters of introduction, started him on Canada-ward, looking 
quite respectable. And doubtless he felt even more so than he looked; 
free air had a powerful effect "on such passengers as Samuel Sparrows. 

The unpleasantness which grew out of the mischief done by the ox on 
George Matthews' farm took place the first of October, 1855. Pete may 
be described as a man of unmixed blood, well-made, and intelligent. 




The coming of these passengers was heralded by Thomas Garrett as 



WILMINGTON, 12 mo. 29th, 1854. 

ESTEEMED FRIEND, J. MILLER McKiM : We made arrangements last night, and sent 
away Harriet Tubman, with six men and one woman to Allen Agnew's, to be forwarded 
across the country to the city. Harriet, and one of the men had worn their shoes off 
their feet, and I gave them two dollars to help fit them out, and directed a carriage to be 
hired at my expense, to take them out, but do not yet know the expense. I now have two 
more from the lowest county in Maryland, on the Peninsula, upwards of one hundred 
miles. I will try to get one of our trusty colored men to take them to-morrow morning to 
the Anti-slavery office. You can then pass them on. THOMAS GARRETT. 

HARRIET TUBMAN had been their " Moses," but not in the sense that 
Andrew Johnson was the " Moses of the colored people." She had faith- 


fully gone down into Egypt, and had delivered these six boudnieu by her 
own heroism. Harriet was a woman of no pretensions, indeed, a more 
ordinary specimen of humanity could hardly be found among the most 
unfortunate-looking farm hands of the South. Yet, in point of courage, 
shrewdness and disinterested exertions to rescue her fellow-men, by making 
personal visits to Maryland among the slaves, she was without her equal. 

Her success was wonderful. Time and again she made successful visits to 
Maryland on the Underground Rail Road, and would be absent for weeks, 
at a time, running daily risks while making preparations for herself and 
passengers. Great fears were entertained for her safety, but she seemed 
wholly devoid of personal fear. The idea of being captured by slave- 
hunters or slave-holders, seemed never to enter her mind. She was appa- 
rently proof against all adversaries. While she thus manifested such 
utter personal indifference, she was much more watchful with regard to 
those she was piloting. Half of her time, she had the appearance of 
one asleep, and would actually sit down by the road-side and go fast asleep 
when on her errands of mercy through the South, yet, she would not suffer 
one of her party to whimper once, about "giving out and going back," how- 
ever wearied they might be from hard travel day and night. She had a 
very short and pointed rule or law of her own, which implied death to any 
who talked of giving out and going back. Thus, in an emergency she 
would give all to understand that " times were very critical and therefore no 
foolishness would be indulged in on the road." That several who were 
rather weak-kneed and faint-hearted were greatly invigorated by Harriet's 
blunt and positive manner and threat of extreme measures, there could be no 

After having once enlisted, "they had to go through or die." Of 
course Harriet was supreme, and her followers generally had full faith in 
her, and would back up any word she might utter. So when she said 
to them that " a live runaway could do great harm by going back, but 
that a dead one could tell no secrets," she was sure to have obedience. 
Therefore, none had to die as traitors on the " middle passage." It is obvi- 
ous enough, however, that her success in going into Maryland as she did, 
was attributable to her adventurous spirit and utter disregard of conse- 
quences. Her like it is probable was never known before or since. On 
examining the six passengers who came by this arrival they were thus 
recorded : 

December 29th, 1854 John is twenty years of age, chestnut color, of 
spare build and smart. He fled from a farmer, by the name of John 
Campbell Henry, who resided at Cambridge, Dorchester Co., Maryland. 
On being interrogated relative to the character of his master, John gave no 
very amiable account of him. He testified that he was a " hard man " and 
that he "owned about one hundred and forty slaves and sometimes he would 


sell," etc. John was one of the slaves who were " hired out." He " de- 
sired to have the privilege of hunting his own master." His desire was 
not granted. Instead of meekly submitting, John felt wronged, and made 
this his reason for running away. This looked pretty spirited on the part 
of one so young as John. The Committee's respect for him was not a 
little increased, when they heard him express himself. 

BENJAMIN was twenty-eight years of age, chestnut color, medium size, 
and shrewd. He was the so-called property of Eliza Ann Brodins, who 
lived near Buckstown, in Maryland. Ben did not hesitate to say, in unqual- 
ified terms, that his mistress was "very devilish." He considered his 
charges, proved by the fact that three slaves (himself one of them) were 
required to work hard and fare meagerly, to support his mistress' family in 
idleness and luxury. The Committee paid due attention to his ex parte 
statement, and was obliged to conclude that his argument, clothed in common 
and homely language, was forcible, if not eloquent, and that he was well 
worthy of aid. Benjamin left his parents besides one sister, Mary Ann 
Williamson, who wanted to come away on the Underground Rail Road. 

HENRY left his wife, Harriet Ann, to be known in future by the name of 
" Sophia Brown." He was a fellow-servant of Ben's, and one of the sup- 
ports of Eliza A. Brodins. 

HENRY was only twenty-two, 'but had quite an insight into matters and 
things going on among slaves and slave-holders generally, in country life. 
He was the father of two small children, whom he had to leave behind. 

PETER was owned by George Wenthrop, a farmer, living near Cambridge, 
Md. In answer to the question, how he had been used, he said " hard." 
Not a pleasant thought did he entertain respecting his master, save that he 
was no longer to demand the sweat of Peter's brow. Peter left parents, 
who were free ; he was born before they were emancipated, consequently, he 
was retained in bondage. 

JANE, aged twenty-two, instead of regretting that she had unadvisedly 
left a kind mistress and indulgent master, who had afforded her necessary 
comforts, affirmed that her master, " Rash Jones, was the worst man in 
the country." The Committee were at first disposed to doubt her sweeping 
statement, but when they heard particularly how she had been treated, 
they thought Catharine had good ground for all that she said. Personal 
abuse and hard usage, were the common lot of poor slave girls. 

ROBERT was thirty-five years of age, of a chestnut color, and well made. 
His report was similar to that of many others. He had been provided with 
plenty of hard drudgery hewing of wood and drawing of water, and had 
hardly been treated as well as a gentleman would treat a dumb brute. His 
feelings, therefore, on leaving his old master and home, were those of an 
individual who had been unjustly in prison for a dozen years and had at 
last regained his liberty. 


The civilization, religion, and customs under which Robert and his com- 
panions had been raised, were, he thought, " very wicked." Although these 
travelers were all of the field-hand order, they were, nevertheless, very 
promising, and they anticipated better days in Canada. Good advice was 
proffered them on the subject of temperance, industry, education, etc. 
Clothing, food and money were also given them to meet their wants, and 
they were sent on their way rejoicing. 



John was a prisoner of hope under James Ray, of Portsmouth, Va., 
whom he declared to be "a worthless sot." This character was fully set 
forth, but the description is too disgusting for record. John was a dark 
mulatto, thirty-one years of age, well-formed and intelligent. For some 
years before escaping he had been in the habit of hiring his time for $120 
per annum. Daily toiling to support his drunken and brutal master, was 
a hardship that John felt keenly, but was compelled to submit to up to 
the day of his escape. 

A part of John's life he had suffered many abuses from his oppressor, and 
only a short while before freeing himself, the auction-block was held up 
before his troubled mind. This caused him to take the first daring step 
towards Canada, to leave his wife, Mary, without bidding her good-bye, 
or saying a word to her as to his intention of fleeing. 

John came as a private passenger on one of the Richmond steamers, and 
was indebted to the steward of the boat for his accommodations. Having 
been received by the Committee, he was cared for and sent 011 his journey 
Canada-ward. There he was happy, found employment and wanted for 
nothing but his wife and clothing left in Virginia. On these two points he 
wrote several times with considerable feeling. 

Some slaves who hired their time in addition to the payment of their 
monthly hire, purchased nice clothes for themselves, which they usually 
valued highly, so much so, that after escaping they would not be contented 
until they had tried every possible scheme to secure them. They would 
write back continually, either to their friends in the North or South, hoping 
thus to procure them. 

Not unfrequently the persons who rendered them assistance in the South, 
would be entrusted with all their effects, with the understanding, that such 
valuables would be forwarded to a friend or to the Committee at the earliest 
opportunity. The Committee strongly protested against fugitives writing 
back to the South (through the mails) on account of the liability of getting 


parties into danger, as all such letters were liable to be intercepted in 
order to the discovery of the names of such as aided the Underground 
Rail Road. To render needless this writing to the South the Committee 
often submitted to be taxed with demands to rescue clothing as well as 
wives, etc., belonging to such as had been already aided. 

The following letters are fair samples of a large number which came to 
the Committee touching the matter of clothing, etc. : 

k _^_ ST. CATHARINES, Sept. 4th. 

DEAR SIB : I now embrace this favorable opportunity of writing you a few lines to 
inform you that I am quite well and arrived here safe, and I hope that these few lines 
may find you and your family the same. I hope you will intercede for my clothes and as 
soon as they come please to send them to me, and if you have not time, get Dr. Lundy to 
look out for them, and when they come be very careful in sending them. I wish you 
would copy off this letter and give it to the Steward, and tell him to give it to Henry 
Lewy and tell him to give it to my wife. Brother sends his love to you and all the family 
and he is overjoyed at seeing me arrive safe, he can hardly contain himself; also he wants 
to see his wife very much, and says when she comes he hopes you will send her on as soon 
as possible. Jerry Williams' love, together with all of us. I had a message for Mr. 
Lundy, but I forgot it when I was there. No more at present, but remain your ever 
grateful and sincere friend, JOHN ATKINSON. 

ST. CATHARINES, C. W., Oct. 5th, 1854. 

MR. WM. STILL : Dear Sir I have learned of my friend, Richmond Bohm, that my 
clothes were in Philadelphia. Will you have the kindness to see Dr. Lundy and if he has 
my clothes in charge, or knows about them, for him to send them on to me immediately, 
as I am in great need of them. I would like to have them put in a small box, and the 
overcoat I left at your house to be put in the box with them, to be sent to the care of my 
friend, Hiram Wilson. On receipt of this letter, I desire you to write a few lines to my 
wife, Mary Atkins, in the care of my friend, Henry Lowey, stating that I am well and 
hearty and hoping that she is the same. Please tell her to remember m'y love to her 
mother and her cousin, Emelin, and her husband, and Thomas Hunter; also to my father 
and mother. Please request her to write to me immediately, for her to be of good courage, 
that I love her better than ever. I would like her to come on as soon as she can, but for 
her to write and let me know when she is going to start. Affectionately Yours, 

W. H. ATKINSON, Fugitive, Oct., 1854. 



This passenger reported himself from Massey's Cross-Roads, near George- 
town, Maryland. William gave as his reason for being found destitute, 
and under the necessity of asking aid, that a man by the name of William 
Boyer, who followed farming, had deprived him of his hard earnings, and 
also claimed him as his property ; and withal that he had abused him for 


years, and recently had " threatened to sell " him. This threat made his 
yoke too intolerable to be borne. 

He here began to think and plan for the future as he had never done 
before. Fortunately he was possessed with more than an average amount 
of mother wit, and he soon comprehended the requirements of the Under- 
ground Rail Road. He saw exactly that he must have resolution and self- 
dependence, very decided, in order to gain the victory over Boyer. In his 
hour of trial his wife, Phillis, and child, John Wesley, who were free, 
caused him much anxiety; but his reason taught him that it was his duty 
to throw off the yoke at all hazards, and he acted accordingly. Of course 
he left behind his wife and child. The interview which the Committee 
held with William was quite satisfactory, and he was duly aided and regu- 
larly despatched by the name of William T. Mitchell. He was about 
twenty-eight years of age, of medium size, and of quite a dark hue. 


JOHN WESLEY GIBSON represented himself to be not only the slave, but 
also the son of William Y. Day, of Taylor's Mount, Maryland. The 
faintest shade of colored blood was hardly discernible in this passenger. 
He relied wholly on his father's white blood to secure him freedom. Hav- 
ing resolved to serve no longer as a slave, he concluded to " hold up his 
head and put on airs." He reached Baltimore safely without being di&7 
covered or suspected of being on the Underground Rail Road, as far as 
he was aware of. Here he tried for the first time to pass for white ; the 
attempt proved a success beyond his expectation. Indeed he could but 
wonder how it was that he had never before hit upon such an expedi- 
ent to rid himself of his unhappy lot. Although a man of only twenty- 
eight years of age, he was foreman of his master's farm, But he was not 
particularly favored in any way on this account. His master and father 
endeavored to hold the reins very tightly upon him. Not even allowing 
him the privilege of visiting around on neighboring plantations. Perhaps 
the master thought the family likeness was rather too discernible. John 
believed that on this account all privileges were denied him, and he resolved 
to escape. His mother, Harriet, "and sister, Frances, were named as near 
kin whom he had left behind. John was quite smart, and looked none the 
worse for having so much of his master's blood in his veins. The master 
was alone to blame for John's escape, as he passed on his (the master's) color. 





One morning about the first of November, in 1855, the sleepy, slave- 
holding neighborhood of Chestertown, Maryland,was doubtless deeply excited 
on learning that eleven head of slaves, four head of horses, and two carriages 
were missing. It is but reasonable to suppose that the first report must 
have produced a shock, scarcely less stunning than an earthquake. Aboli- 
tionists, emissaries, and incendiaries were farther below par than ever. It 
may be supposed that cursings and threatenings were breathed out by a 
deeply agitated community for days in succession. 

Harriet Shephard, the mother of five children, for whom she felt of 
course a mother's love, could not bear the thought of having her off- 
spring compelled to wear the miserable yoke of Slavery, as she had been 
compelled to do. By her own personal experience, Harriet could very well 
judge what their fate would be when reaching man and womanhood. She 
declared that she had never received " kind treatment." It was not on 
this account, however, that she was prompted to escape. She was actuated 
by a more disinterested motive than this. She was chiefly induced to make 
the bold effort to save her children from having to drag the chains of 
Slavery as she herself had done. 

Anna Maria, Edwin, Eliza Jane, Mary Ann, and John Henry were 
the names of the children for whom she was willing to make any sacrifice. 
They were young, and unable to walk, and she was penniless, and unable to 


hire a conveyance, even if she had known any one who would have been 
willing to risk the law in taking them a night's journey. So there was no 
hope in these directions. Her rude intellect being considered, she was 
entitled to a great deal of credit for seizing the horses and carriages 
belonging to her master, as she did it for the liberation of her children. 

Knowing others at the same time, who were wanting to visit Canada, 
she consulted with five of this class, males and females, and they mutually 
decided to travel together. 

It is not likely that they knew much about the roads, nevertheless they 
reached Wilmington, Delaware, pretty direct, and ventured up into the heart 
of the town in carriages, looking as innocent as if they were going to 
meeting to hear an old fashioned Southern sermon " Servants, obey your 
masters." Of course, the distinguished travelers were immediately reported to 
the noted Thomas Garrett, who was accustomed to transact the affairs of the 
Underground Rail Road in a cool masterly way. But, on this occasion, 
there was but little time for deliberation, but much need of haste to meet 
the emergency. He at once decided, that they must immediately be sepa- 
rated from the horses and carriages, and got out of Wilmington as quickly 
as possible. With the courage and skill, so characteristic of Garrett, 
the fugitives, under escort, were soon on their way to Kennett Square 
(a hot-bed of abolitionists and stock-holders of the Underground Rail Road), 
which place they reached safely. It so happened, that they reached Long 
Wood meeting-house in the evening, at which place a fair circle had con- 
vened. Being invited, they stayed awhile in the meeting, then, after re- 
maining all night with one of the Kennett friends, they were brought to 
Downingtown early in the morning and thence, by daylight, within a short 
distance of Kimberton, and found succor with friend Lewis, at the old head- 
quarters of the fugitives. 

[A letter may be found from Miss G. A. Lewis, on page thirty-nine, 
throwing much light on this arrival]. After receiving friendly aid and ad- 
vice while there, they were forwarded to the Committee in Philadelphia. 
Here further aid was afforded them, and as danger was quite obvious, they 
were completely divided and disguised, so that the Committee felt that they 
might safely be sent on to Canada in one of the regular trains considered 
most private. 

Considering the condition of the slave mother and her children and 
friends, all concerned rejoiced, that they had had the courage to use their 
master's horses and vehicles as tbey did. 




But few could tell of having been eye-witnesses to outrages more revolt- 
ing and disgraceful than "Washington Somlor. He arrived per steamer 
Pennsylvania (secreted), directly from Norfolk, Virginia, in 1855. He was 
thirty-two years of age a man of medium size and quite intelligent. A 
merchant by the name of Smith owned Washington. 

Eight and a half months before escaping, Washington had been secreted 
in order to shun both master and auction-block. Smith believed in sell- 
ing, flogging, cobbing, paddling, and all other kinds of torture, by which 
he could inflict punishment in order to make the slaves feel his power. 
He thus tyrannized over about twenty-five head. 

Being naturally passionate, when in a brutal mood, he made his slaves 
suffer unmercifully. Said Washington, "On one occasion, about two months 
before I was secreted, he had five of the slaves (some of them women) tied 
across a barrel, lashed with the cow-hide and then cobbed this was a 
common practice." 

Such treatment was so inhuman and so incredible, that the Committee 
hesitated at first to give credence to the statement, and only yielded when 
facts and evidences were given which seemed incontestible. 

The first effort to come away was made on the steamship City of Rich- 
mond. Within sixty miles of Philadelphia, in consequence of the ice ob- 
struction in the river, the steamer had to go back. How sad Washington 
felt at thus having his hopes broken to pieces may be imagined but can- 
not be described. Great as was his danger, when the steamer returned to 
Norfolk, he was safely gotten off the boat and under the eye of officers 
walked away. Again he was secreted in his old doleful quarters, where he 
waited patiently for the Spring. It came. Again the opportunity for 
another trial was presented, and it was seized unhesitatingly. This time, 
his tried faith was rewarded with success. He came through safely to the 
Committee's satisfaction as well as his own. The recital of his sufferings 
and experience had a very inspiring effect on those who had the pleasure of 
seeing Wash, in Philadelphia. 

Although closely secreted in Norfolk, he had, through friends, some little 
communication with the outside world. Among other items of information 
which came to his ears, was a report that his master was being pressed by 
his creditors, and had all his slaves advertised for sale. An item still more 
sad also reached his ear, to the effect that his wife had been sold away to 
North Carolina, and thus separated from her child, two years old. The 
child was given as a present to a niece of the master. While this is only a 
meagre portion of his interesting story, it was considered at the time suffi- 


cient to identify him should the occasion ever require it. We content our- 
selves, therefore, simply with giving what was recorded on the book. Wash, 
spent a short while in Philadelphia in order to recruit, after which, he went 
on North, where colored men were free. 


ARTHUR came from Spring Hill, Maryland. Edward Fowler held 
Arthur in fetters and usurped authority over him as his lord and master. 
Arthur saw certain signs connected with his master's family which presaged 
to him that the day was not far distant, when somebody would have to be 
sold to raise money to pamper the appetites of some of the superior mem- 
bers of the patriarchal institution. Among these provocations were indul- 
gence in a great deal of extravagance, and the growing up of a number of 
young masters and mistresses. Arthur would often look at the heirs, and 
the very thought of their coming into possession, would make him tremble. 
Nothing so affected Arthur's mind so much in moving him to make a bold 
stroke for freedom as these heirs. 

Under his old master, the usage had been bad enough, but he feared that 
it would be a great deal worse under the sons and daughters. He therefore 
wisely concluded to avoid the impending danger by availing himself of the 
Underground Rail Road. After completing such arrangements as he 
deemed necessary, he started, making his way along pretty successfully, with 
the exception of a severe encounter with Jack Frost, by which his feet were 
badly bitten. He was not discouraged, however, but was joyful over his 
victory and hopeful in view of his prospects in Canada. Arthur was ahout 
thirty years of age, medium size, and of a dark color. The Committee 
afforded him needed assistance, and sent him off. 


About the 1st of June, 1855, the following arrivals were noted in the 

record book: 

EMORY ROBERTS, alias WILLIAM KEMP, Talbot Co., Maryland ; DANIEL 
PAYNE, Richmond, Virginia; HARRIET MAYO, JOHN JUDAH, and 
RICHARD BRADLEY, Petersburg and Richmond; JAMES CRUMMILL, 
Co., Maryland ; LEWIS CHILDS, Richmond, DANIEL BENNETT, alias 
HENRY WASHINGTON, and wife (MARTHA,) and two children (GEORGE 
and a nameless babe). 


The road at this time, was doing a fair business, in a quiet way. Passen- 
gers were managing to come, without having to suffer in any very violent 
manner, as many had been called upon to do in making similar efforts. The 
success attending some of these passengers was partly attributable to the 
intelligence of individuals, who, for years, had been planning and making 
preparations to effect the end in view. Besides, the favorableness of the 
weather tended also to make travel more pleasant than in colder seasons 
of the year. 

While matters were thus favorable, the long stories of individual suffering 
and of practices and customs among young and old masters and mistresses, 
were listened to attentively, although the short summer nights hardly 
afforded sufficient opportunity for writing out details. 

EMORY arrived safely from Talbot county. As a slave, he had served 
Edward Lloyd. He gave his master the character of treating his slaves 
Avith great severity. The " lash " was freely used " on women as well as 
men, old and young." In this kind of property Lloyd had invested to the 
extent of " about five hundred head," so Emory thought. Food and cloth- 
ing for this large number were dealt out very stintedly, and daily suffering 
was the common lot of slaves under Lloyd. 

EMORY was induced to leave, to avoid a terrible flogging, which had been 
promised him for the coming Monday. He was a married man, but exer- 
cised no greater control over his wife than over himself. She was hired on 
a neighboring plantation; the way did not seem open for her to accompany 
him, so he had to leave her behind. His mother, brothers, and sisters had 
to be left also. The ties of kindred usually strong in the breasts of slaves, 
were hard for Emory to break, but, by a firm resolution, that he would not 
stay on Lloyd's plantation to endure the impending flogging, he was nerved to 
surmount every obstacle in the way of carrying his intention into execution. 
He came to the Committee hungry and in want of clothing, and was aided 
in the usual way. 

DANIEL PAYNE. This traveler was a man who might be said to be full 
of years, infirm, and well-nigh used up under a Virginia task-master. But 
within the old man's breast a spark was burning for freedom, and he was 
desirous of reaching free land, on which to lay his body when life's toil 
ended. So the Committee sympathized with him, aided him and sent him 
on to Canada. He was owned by a man named M. W. Morris, of Rich- 
mond, whence he fled. 

HARRIET MAYO, John Judah, and Richard Bradley were the next who 
brought joy and victory with them. 

HARRIET was a tall, well-made, intelligent young woman, twenty-two 
years of age. She spoke with feelings of much bitterness against her 
master, James Cuthbert, saying that he was a " very hard man," at the same 
time, adding that his " wife was still worse." Harriet " had been sold once." 


She admitted however, having beeu treated kindly a part of her life. In 
escaping, she had to leave her " poor old mother " with no hope of ever see- 
ing her again; likewise she regretted having to leave three brothers, who 
kindly aided her to escape. But having her heart bent on freedom, she 
resolved that nothing should deter her from putting forth efforts to get out 
of Slavery. 

JOHN was a mulatto, of genteel address, well clothed, and looked as if he 
had been "well fed." Miss Eliza Lambert had the honor of owning John, 
and was gracious enough to allow him to hire his time for one hundred and 
ten dollars per annum. After this sum was punctually paid, John could do 
what he pleased with any surplus earnings. Now, as he was fond of nice 
clothing, he was careful to earn a balance sufficient to gratify this love. 
By similar means, many slaves were seen in southern cities elegantly dressed, 
and, strangers and travelers from the North gave all the credit to "indul- 
gent masters," not knowing the facts in the case. 

John accused his mistress of being hard in money matters, not caring how 
the servants fared, so she got " plenty of money out of them." For himself, 
however, he admitted that he had never experienced as great abuses as many 
had. He was fortunate in being wedded to a free wife, who was privy to 
all his plans and schemes looking forth to freedom, and fully acquiesced in 
the arrangement of matters, promising to come on after he should reach 
Canada. This promise was carried out in due time, and they were joyfully 
re-united under the protection of the British Lion. 

RICHARD was about twenty-seven. For years the hope of freedom had 
occupied his thoughts, and many had been the longing desires to see the 
way open by which he could safely get rid of oppression. He was suffi- 
ciently intelligent to look at Slavery in all its bearings, and to smart 
keenly under even ordinarily mild treatment. Therefore, he was very 
happy in the realization of his hopes. In the recital of matters touching 
his slave life, he alluded to his master, Samuel Ball, as a "very hard man,", 
utterly unwilling to allow his servants any chance whatever. For reasons 
which he considered judicious, he kept the matter of his contemplated escape 
wholly private, not even revealing it to his wife. Probably he felt that she 
would not be willing to give him up, not even for freedom, as long as she 
could not go too. Her name was Emily, and she belonged to William 
Bolden. How she felt when she learned of her husband's escape is for the 
imagination to picture. These three interesting passengers were brought 
away snugly secreted in Captain B's. schooner. 

This party united to throw off the yoke in Haverford county, Md. 

JAMES, SAMUEL and TOLBERT had been owned by William Hutchins. 
They agreed in giving Hutchins the character of being a notorious "frolicker," 


and a " very hard master." Under him, matters were growing " worse and 
worse." Before the old master's death times were much better. 

HENRY did not live under the same authority that his three companions 
were subjected to, but belonged to Philip Garrison. The continual threat 
to sell harassed Henry so much, that he saw no chance of peace or hap- 
piness in the future. So one day the master laid the "last straw on the 
camel's back," and not another day would Henry stay. Many times it 
required a pretty heavy pressure to start off a number of young men, 
but in this instance they seemed unwilling to wait to be worn out under the 
yoke and violent treatment, or to become encumbered with wives and child- 
ren before leaving. All were single, with the exception of James, whose wife 
was free, and named Charlotte ; she understood about his going to Canada, 
and, of course, was true to him. 

These young men had of course been reared under circumstances alto- 
gether unfavorable to mental development. Nevertheless they had fervent 
aspirations to strike for freedom. 

LEWIS GILES belonged, in the prison-house of bondage, in the city of 
Richmond, and owed service to a Mr. Lewis Hill, who made it a business to 
keep slaves expressly to hire out, just as a man keeps a livery stable. 
Lewis was not satisfied with this arrangement ; he could see no fair play in it. 
In fact, he was utterly at variance with the entire system of Slavery, and, 
a long time before he left, had plans laid with a view of escaping. Through 
one of the Underground Rail Road Agents the glad tidings were borne to 
him that a passage might be procured on a schooner for twenty-five dollars. 
Lewis at once availed himself of this offer, and made his arrangements 
accordingly. He, however, made no mention of this contemplated move- 
ment to his wife, Louisa; and, to her astonishment, he was soon among 
the missing. Lewis was a fine-looking " article," six feet high, well propor- 
tioned, and of a dark chestnut color, worth probably $1200, in the Rich- 
mond market. Touching his slave life, he said that he had been treated 
" pretty well," except that he " had been sold several times." Intellectually 
he was above the average run of slaves. He left on the twenty-third of 
April, and arrived about the second of June, having, in the meantime, 
encountered difficulties and discouragements of various kinds. His safe 
arrival, therefore, was attended with unusual rejoicing. 

DANIEL. BENNETT and his wife and children were the next in order. A 
woman poorly clad with a babe just one month old in her arms, and a little 
boy at her side, who could scarcely toddle, together with a husband who had 
never dared under penalty of the laws to protect her or her little ones, pre- 
sented a most painfully touching picture. It was easy enough to see, that 
they had been crushed. The husband had been owned by Captain James 
Taylor the wife and children by George Carter. 


The young mother gave Carter a very bad character, affirming, that it was 
a "common practice with him to flog the slaves, stripped entirely naked" 
that she had herself been so flogged, since she had been a married woman. 
How the husband was treated, the record book is silent. He was about 
thirty-two the wife about twenty-seven. Especial pains were taken to 
provide aid and sympathy to this family in their destitution, fleeing under 
such peculiarly trying circumstances and from such loathsome brutality. They 
were from Aldie P. O., Loudon County, Virginia, and passed through the 
hands of the Committee about the llth of June. What has been their fate 
since is not known. 



The steamship Pennsylvania, on one of her regular trips from Richmond, 
brought one passenger, of whom the Captain had no knowledge ; no permis- 
sion had been asked of any officer of the boat. Nevertheless, Verenea 
Mercer managed, by the most extraordinary strategy, to secrete herself on the 
steamer, and thus succeeded in reaching Philadelphia. She was following 
her husband, who escaped about nine months before her. 

Verenea was about forty-one years of age, of a dark chestnut color, pre- 
possessing in manners, intelligent and refined. She belonged to the slave 
population of Richmond, and was owned by Thomas W. Quales. According 
to her testimony, she had not received severe treatment during the eight 
and a half years that she had been in his hands. Previous to his becoming 
the owner of Verenea, it might have been otherwise, although nothing 
is recorded in proof of this inference, except that she had the misfortune to 
lose her first husband by a sale. Of course she was left a widow, in which 
state she remained nine years, at the expiration of which period, she married 
a man by the name of James Mercer, whose narrative may be found on p. 54. 

How James got off, and where he went, Verenea knew quite well ; conse- 
quently, in planning to reach him, she resorted to the same means by which 
he achieved success. The Committee rendered her the usual aid, and sent 
her on direct to her husband in Canada. Without difficulty of any kind she 
reached there safely, and found James with arms wide open to embrace her. 
Frequent tidings reached the Committee, that they were getting along quite 
well in Toronto. 

On the same day (January 1st), PETER DERRICKSON and CPIARLES 
PURNELL arrived from Berlin, Worcester county, Maryland. Both were 
able-bodied young men, twenty-four and twenty-six years of age, just the 
kind that a trader, or an experienced slave-holder in the farming business, 


would be most likely to select for doing full days' work in the field, or for 
bringing high prices in the market. 

Peter toiled and toiled, with twenty others, on John Derrickson's farm. 
And although Derrickson was said to be a " mild master," Peter decidedly 
objected to working for him for nothing. He thought over his situation a 
great deal, and finally came to the conclusion, that he must get from under 
the yoke, if possible, before entering another New Year. His friend Charles 
he felt could be confided in, therefore he made up his mind, that he would 
broach the question of Canada and the Underground Rail Road to him. 
Charles was equally ready and willing to enter into any practical arrange- 
ments by which he could get rid of his no-pay task-master, and be landed 
safely in Canada. After taking into account the dangers likely to attend 
such a struggle, they concluded that they would risk all and try their luck, 
as many had done before them. 

" What made you leave, Charles ?" said a member of the Committee. 

" I left because I wanted my time and money for myself." 

No one could gainsay such a plain common-sense answer as that. The 
fact, that he had to leave his parents, three brothers, and five sisters, all 
in slavery, brought sad reflections. 

alias John Wesley. 

No weather was too cold for travel, nor way too rough, when the slave 
was made to feel by his heartless master, that he was going to sell him or 
starve him to death. 

Lloyd had toiled on until he had reached fifty-five, before he came to 
the conclusion, that he could endure the treatment of his master, John 
Griffin, no longer, simply because " he was not good to feed and clothe," and 
was a " great fighter." Moreover, he would " never suffer his slaves to stop 
work on account of bad weather." Not only was his master cruel in these 
particulars, but he was equally cruel with regard to selling. Georgia was 
continually held up to the slaves with a view of producing a wholesome fear, 
but in this instance, as in many similar ones, it only awakened desires to 
seek flight via the Underground Rail Road. 

Lloyd, convinced by experience, that matters with him would be no 
better, but worse and worse, resolved that he would start with the opening 
of the New Year to see if he could not find a better country than the one 
that he was then in. 

He consulted William, who, although a young man of only twenty-four 
years of age, had the hate of slavery exceedingly strong in his heart, and 
was at once willing to accompany Lloyd ready to face cold weather 
and start on a long walk if freedom could be thus purchased, and his master, 
John Hall, thus defeated. So Lloyd took a heroic leave of his wife, Mary 
Ann, and their little boy, one brother, one sister, and two nieces, and at once 


set out with William, like pilgrims and strangers seeking a better country 
where they would not have to go "hungry" and be "worked hard in 
all weather," threatened with the auction-block, and brutally flogged if 
they merely seemed unwilling to endure a yoke too grievous to be borne. 
Both these travelers were mulattoes, and but for the crushing influences that 
they had lived under would have made smart men as it was they showed 
plainly, that they were men of shrewd sense. 

Inadvertently at the time of their arrival, the names of the State and 
place whence they fled were not entered on the book. 

In traveling they suffered severely from hunger and the long distance they 
had to walk, but having succeeded victoriously they were prepared to rejoice 
all the more. 

DAVID EDWARDS. John J. Slater, coachmaker of Petersburg, Virginia, 
if he is still living, and should see these items, may solve what may have 
been for years a great mystery to him namely, that David, his man- 
servant, was enjoying himself in Philadelphia about the first week in Jan- 
uary, 1855, receiving free accommodations and obtaining letters of intro- 
duction to friends in Canada. Furthermore, that David alleged that he was 
induced to escape because he (the coachmaker) was a very hard man, who 
took every dollar of his earnings, from which he would dole out to him 
only one dollar a week for board, etc., a sum less than David could manage 
to get along with. 

David was thirty years of age, black, weighed one hundred and forty-five 
pounds, and was worth one thousand dollars. He left his wife behind. 

BEVERLY GOOD and GEORGE WALKER, alias Austin Valentine. These 
passengers came from Petersburg, per steamship Pennsylvania. Richard 
Perry was lording it over Beverly, who was a young man of twenty-four 
years of age, dark, medium size, and possessed of a quick intellect just the 
man that an Underground Rail Road agent in the South could approach with 
assurance with questions such as these " What do you think of Slavery ?" 
" Did you ever hear of the Underground Rail Road ?" " How would you 
like to be free ?'' " Would you be willing to go to Canada if you could get 
off safely," etc., etc. 

Such questions at once kindled into a flame the sparks of freedom lying 
dormant in the heart. Although uttered in a whisper, they had a won- 
drous ring about them, and a wide-awake bondman instantly grasped their 
meaning. Beverly was of this class ; he needed no arguments to prove that 
he was daily robbed of his rights that Slavery was merciless and freedom 
the God-given right of all mankind. Of him, therefore, there was no fear 
that he would betray his trust or flinch too soon when cramped up in his 
hiding-place on the steamer. 

His comrade, George, was likewise of the same mettle, and was aided in 
the same way. George, however, had more age on his side, being about 


forty-three. He was about six feet high, with marked physical and mental 
abilities, but Slavery had had its heel upon his neck. And who could 
then have risen ? 

Eliza Jones held the deed for George, and by her he was hired as foreman 
in a tobacco factory, in which position his duties were onerous especially to 
one with a heavy, bleeding heart, throbbing daily for freedom, while, at 
the same time, mournfully brooding over past wrongs. Of. these wrongs 
one incident must suffice. He had been married twice, and had been the 
father of six children by his first wife ; at the command of his owner the 
wedded relations were abruptly broken, and he was obliged to seek another 
wife. In entering this story on the book at the time of the arrival, the con- 
cluding words were written thus : " This story is thrilling, but time will not 
allow its being penned." 

Although safely under the protection of the British Lion, George's heart 
was in Virginia, where his wife was retained. As he could not return for 
her deliverance, he was wise enough to resort to the pen, hoping in this way 
to effect his grand object, as the following letter will show: 

TORONTO, January 25th, 1855. 

DEAR FRIEND STILL : George Walker, of Petersburg, Va., is now in my office, and 
requests me to write a letter to you, and request you to write to his wife, after or accord- 
ing to the instructions he gave to his friend, John Brown, in your city, with whom he says 
you are acquainted. You will understand, of course, his reason for wanting the letter 
wrote and posted at Philadelphia. You will please attend to it and address a letter to 
him (Walker) in my care. He and Beverly Good, bis comrade, tender much love to you. 
Send them on ; we are prepared for them. Yours in great haste, J. B. SMITH. 

P. S. Be sure and follow the directions given to Brown. 

ADAM BROOKS, alias William Smith. Hardtown, Montgomery county, 
Maryland, lost a rather promising " article of merchandise," in the person of 
Adam. The particulars of his going are on this wise: John Phillips, his 
so-called master, believed in selling, and practiced accordingly, to the extent 
at least of selling Adam's mother, brother, and sister only two years before 
his escape. 

If Adam had known nothing else against Phillips, this was enough in all 
conscience to have awakened his deadly hate; but, added to this, Phillips 
was imprudent in his habit of threatening to "sell," etc. This kept the 
old wound in Adam's heart continually bleeding and forced him to the 
conclusion, that his master was not only a hard man, as a driver on the farm, 
but that at heart he was actually a bad man. Furthermore, that it was his 
duty to break his fetters and seek his freedom in Canada. 

In thus looking at his situation, his mind was worked up to fever heat, 
and he resolved that, let the consequences be what they might, go he must. 
In this promising state of mind he started, at an appointed time, for Penn- 
sylvania, and, sure enough, he succeeded. Having the appearance of a 


desirable working-hand, a Pennsylvania farmer prevailed on him to stop 
for a time. It was not long before the folly of this halt was plainly dis- 
cernible, as his master had evidently got wind of his whereabouts, and was 
pretty hot in pursuit. Word reached Adam, however, barely in time for 
him to make his escape through the aid of friends. 

In coming into the hands of the Committee he needed no persuading to 
go to Canada; he was occupied with two interesting problems, to go back 
or to go forward. But he set his face hopefully towards Canada, and had no 
thought of stopping short thereof. In stature, he was small; color, black; 
countenance, pleasant, and intellect, medium. As to his fitness for making 
a good citizen in Canada the Committee had no doubt. 

SARAH A. DUNAGAN. Having no one to care for her, and, having been 
threatened with the auction-block, Sarah mustered pluck and started out in 
search of a new home among strangers beyond the borders of slave territory. 
According to her story, she "was born free" in the State of Delaware, but 
had been "bound out" to a man by the name of George Churchman, 
living in Wilmington. Here she averred, that she " had been flogged re- 
peatedly," and had been otherwise ill-treated, while no one interfered to 
take her part. Consequently she concluded, that although she was born free, 
she would not be likely to be benefited thereby unless she made her escape 
on the Underground Rail Road. This idea of freedom continued to agitate 
Sarah's mind until she decided to leave forthwith. She was a young mulatto 
woman, single, and told her story of hardships and of the dread of being 
sold, in a manner to elicit much sympathy. She had a mother living in 
New Castle, named Ann Eliza Kingslow. It was no uncommon thing for 
free-born persons in slave States to lose their birth-right in a manner simi- 
lar to that by which Sarah feared that she had lost hers. 

"Arrived JOSEPH HALL,, JR., son of Joseph Hall, of Norfolk, Virginia." 
This is all that is recorded of this passenger, yet it is possible that this item 
of news may lead to the recognition of Joseph, should he still happen to be 
of the large multitude of fugitives scattered over the land amongst the 

ISAAC D. DAVIS. In fleeing from bondage, in Maryland, Davis was 
induced to stop, as many others were, in Pennsylvania. Not comprehending 
the Fugitive Slave Law he fancied that he would be safe so long as he kept 
matters private concerning his origin. But in this particular he labored 
under a complete delusion when he least dreamed of danger the slave- 
catchers were scenting him close. Of their approach, however, he was for- 
tunate enough to be notified in time to place himself in the hands of the 
Committee, who soon held out Canada to him, as the only sure refuge for 
him, and all others similarly situated. His fears of being carried back 
opened his eyes, and understanding, so that he could readily see the force of 
this argument, and accepting the proffered aid of the Committee was sent on 


his way rejoicing. He had been away from his master eighteen months, and 
in the meanwhile had married a wife in Pennsylvania. What became of 
them after this flight the book contains no record. 

JACOB MATTHIAS BOYER left at about the age of twenty. He had no 
idea of working in the condition of a slave, but if he had not been threat- 
ened with the auction-block, he might have remained much longer than he 
did. He had been owned by Richard Carman, cashier of one of the Anna- 
polis banks, and who had recently died. Jacob fled from Annapolis. Very 
little record was made of either master or slave. Probably no incidents 
were related of sufficient importance, still the Committee felt pleased to 
receive one so young. Indeed, it always afforded the Committee especial 
satisfaction to see children, young people, and females escaping from the 
prison-house. Jacob was of a dark hue, a little below medium stature. 

ZECHARIAH MEAD, alias John Williams. This traveler had been in the 
house of bondage in Maryland, doing service for Charles C. Owens, to 
whom he belonged. According to Zechariah's statement, his mistress had 
been very unfortunate with her slave property, having lost fifteen head out 
of twenty in a similar manner to that by which she lost Zechariah. Thus 
she had been considerably reduced in circumstances. But Zechariah had no 
compassion on her whatever, but insisted that she was a hard mistress. 
Doubtless Zechariah was prompted to flee by the " bad " example of others 
who had succeeded in making good their escape, before he had made up his 
mind to leave. He was not yet quite twenty-one, but was wide-awake, and 
it appeared from his conversation, that he had done some close thinking 
before he started for freedom. He left his father, mother, and three 
brothers, all slaves except his father. 




JAMES was a tiller of the soil under the yoke of Joshua Hitch, who lived 
on a farm about seventeen miles from Baltimore. James spoke rather favor- 
ably of him ; indeed, it was through a direct act of kindness on the part of 
his master that he procured the opportunity to make good his escape. It 
appeared from his story, that his master's affairs had become particularly 
embarrassed, and the Sheriff was making frequent visits to his house. This 
sign was interpreted to mean that James, if not others, would have to be 
sold before long. The master was much puzzled to decide which way to 
turn. He owned but three other adult slaves besides James, and they were 


females. One of them was his chief housekeeper, and with them all his 
social relations were of such a nature as to lead James and others to think 
and say that they l< were all his wives." Or to use James's own language, 
" he had three slave women; two were sisters, and he lived with them all as his 
wives; two of them he was very fond of," and desired to keep them from 
being sold if possible. The third, he concluded he could not save, she would 
have to be sold. In this dilemma, he was good enough to allow James a 
few days' holiday, for the purpose of finding him a good master. Express- 
ing his satisfaction and gratification, James, armed with full authority from 
his master to select a choice specimen, started for Baltimore. 

On reaching Baltimore, however, James carefully steered clear of all 
slave-holders, and shrewdly turned his attention to the matter of getting an 
Underground Rail Road ticket for Canada. After making as much inquiry 
as he felt was safe, he came to the conclusion to walk of nights for a long 
distance. He examined his feet and legs, found that they were in good 
order, and his faith and hope strong enough to remove a mountain. Besides 
several days still remained in which he was permitted to look for a new 
master, and these he decided could be profitably spent in making his way 
towards Canada. So off he started, at no doubt a very diligent pace, for at 
the end of the first night's journey, he had made much headway, but at the 
expense of his feet. 

His faith was stronger than ever. So he rested next day in the woods, 
concealed, of course, and the next evening started with fresh courage and 
renewed perseverance. Finally, he reached Columbia, Pennsylvania, and 
there he had the happiness to learn, that the mountain which at first had 
tried his faith so severely, was removed, and friendly hands were reached out 
and a more speedy and comfortable mode of travel advised. He was directed 
to the Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia, from whom he received friendly 
aid, and all necessary information respecting Canada and how to get there. 

James was thirty-one years of age, rather a fine-looking man, of a chest- 
nut color, and quite intelligent. He had been a married man, but for two 
years before his escape, he had been a widower that is, his wife had been 
sold away from him to North Carolina, and in that space of time he had 
received only three letters from her ; he had given up all hope of ever seeing 
her again. He had two little boys living in Baltimore, whom he was obliged 
to leave. Their names were Edward and William. What became of them 
afterwards was never known at the Philadelphia station. 

James's master was a man of about fifty years of age who had never 
been lawfully married, yet had a number of children on his place who were 
of great concern to him in the midst of other pressing embarrassments. Of 
course, the Committee never learned how matters were settled after James 
left, but, in all probability, his wives, Nancy and Mary (sisters), and Lizzie, 
with all the children, had to be sold. 




PETER HEINES, Eatontown, North Carolina; MATTHEW BOPAMS, Ply- 
mouth, North Carolina; JAMES MORRIS, South End, North Carolina; 
THOMAS COOPER, Portsmouth, Virginia ; GEORGE ANDERSON, Elktou, 

Their arrival was announced by Thomas Garrett as follows : 

WILMINGTON, 7th mo., 19th, 1856. 

RESPECTED FRIEND, WILLIAM STILL : I now have the pleasure of consigning to thy 
care four able-bodied human beings from North Carolina, and five from Virginia, one of 
which is a girl twelve or thirteen years of age, the rest all men. After thee has seen and 
conversed with them, thee can determine what is best to be done with them. I am as- 
sured they are such as can take good care of themselves. Elijah Pennypacker, some time 
since, informed me he could find employment in his neighborhood for two or three good 
hands. I should think that those from Carolina would be about as safe in that neighbor- 
hood as any place this side of Canada. Wishing our friends a sale trip, I remain thy sin- 
cere friend, THOS. GARRETT. 

After conferring with Harry Craige, we have concluded to send five or six of them to- 
night in the cars, and the balance, if those go safe, to-morrow night, or in the steam-boat 
on Second day morning, directed to the Anti-Slavery office. 

There was much rejoicing over these select passengers, and very much 
interesting information was elicited from them. 

PETER was only twenty-one years of age, composed of equal parts of An- 
glo-Saxon and Anglo- African blood rather a model-looking "article," 
with a fair share of intelligence. As a slave, he had fared pretty well 
he had neither been abused nor stinted of food or clothing, as many others 
had been. His duties had been to attend upon his master (and reputed 
father), Elias Heines, Esq., a lawyer by profession in North Carolina. 

No charges whatever appear to have been made against Mr. Heines, 
according to the record book; but Peter seemed filled with great delight at 
the prospects ahead, as well as with the success that had attended his efforts 
thus far in striking for freedom. 

JAMES was twenty-seven years of age. His experience had been quite 
different from that of Peter's. The heel of a woman, by the name of Mrs. 
Ann McCourt, had been on James's neck, and she had caused him to suffer 
severely. As James recounted his grievances, while under the rule, he by 
no means gave her a very flattering character, but, on the contrary, he 
plainly stated, that she was a " desperate woman " that he had " never 
known any good of her," and that he was moved to escape to get rid of her. 
In other words she had threatened *to sell him ; this well nigh produced a 
frenzy in James's mind, for too well did he remember, that he had already 


been sold three times, and in different stages of his bondage had been treated 
quite cruelly. In the change of masters he was positive in saying, that he 
had not found a good one, and, besides, he entertained the belief that such 
personages were very rare. 

Those of the Committee who listened to James were not a little amazed 
at his fluency, intelligence and earnestness, and acknowledged that he dealt 
unusually telling blows against the Patriarchal Institution. 

MATTHEW was twenty-three years of age, very stout no fool a man of 
decided resolution, and of the very best black complexion produced in the 
South. Matthew had a very serious bill of complaints against Samuel Sim- 
mons, who professed to own him (Matthew), both body and mind, while in 
this world at least. Among these complaints was the charge of ill- 
treatment. Nevertheless Matthew's joy and pleasure were matchless over 
his Underground Rail Road triumph, and the prospect of being so soon out 
of the land and reach of Slavery, and in a land where he could enjoy 
his freedom as others enjoyed theirs. Indeed the entire band evinced similar 
feelings. Matthew left a brother in Martin county. 

Further sketches of this interesting company were not entered on the book 
at the time, perhaps on account of the great press of Underground Rail 
Road business which engaged the attention of the acting Committee. How- 
ever, they were all duly cared for, and counselled to go to Canada, where 
their rights would be protected by a strong and powerful government, and 
they could enjoy all the rights of citizenship in common with " all the world 
and the rest of mankind." And especially were they advised to get education; 
to act as men, and remember those still in bonds as bound with them, and 
that they must not forget to write back, after their arrival in Canada, to in- 
form their friends in Philadelphia of their prospects, and what they thought 
of the "goodly land." Thus, with the usual Underground Rail Road pass- 
ports, they were again started Canada-ward. Without difficulty of any kind 
they duly reached Canada, and a portion of them wrote back as follows: 

"TORONTO, C. W., Aug. 17th, ]S56. 
MB. STILL: Dear Sir These few lines may find you as they leave us, we are well at 

present and arrived safe in Toronto. Give our respects to Mrs. S. and daughter. 

Toronto is a very extensive place. We have plenty of pork, beef and mutton. There are 
five market houses and many churches. Female wages -is 62 cents per day, men's wages 
is $1 and york shilling. We are now boarding at Mr. George Blunt's, on Centre street, 
two doors from Elm, back of Lawyer's Hall, and when you write to us, direct your letter 
to the care of Mr. George Blunt, &c. (Signed), James Monroe, Peter Heines, Henry 
James Morris, and Matthew Bodams." 

This intelligence was very gratifying, and most assuredly added to the 
pleasurable contemplation of having the privilege of holding out a helping 
hand to the fleeing bondman. From James Morris, one of this company, 
however, letters of a painful nature were received, touching his wife in 


bonds, setting forth her "awful " situation and appealing to the Committee 
to use their best endeavors to rescue her, with her child, from Slavery. One 
of these letters, so full of touching seutimeuts of affection and appeal on 
behalf of his wife, is as follows : 

TORONTO, Canada West, upper, 18th day of the 9th mo., 1856. 

ME. WILLIAM STILL: Dear Sir I hope these lines may find you and your family as 
they leave me give my respects to little Caroline and her mother. 

Dear Sir, I have received two letters from my wife since I saw you, and the second was 
awful. I am sorry to say she says she has been treated awful since I left, and she told the 
lady she thought she was left free and she told her she was as much slave as ever she was 
that the state was not to be settled until her death and it would be a meracle if she and 
her child got it then and that her master left a great many relations and she diden no what 
they would do. Mr. Still dear sir I am very sorry to hear my wife and child are slaves 
if you please dear sir inform me what to do for my dear wife and child. She said she has 
been threatened to be put in jail three times since I left also she tells me that she is wash- 
ing for the captain of a vesel that use to run to Petersburg but now he runs to Baltimore 
and he has promas to take her to Delaware or New York for 50 dollars and she had not 
the money, she sent to me and I sent her all I had which was 5 dollars dear sir can you 
inform me what to do with a case of this kind the captains name is Thomas. 

My wife is name lucy an morris my child is name lot, if you please dear sir answer me 
as soon as you can posable. HENRY JAMES MORRIS, Toronto C. W. 

Henry James Morris in care of Wm. George Blunt, Centre et., 2 doors from Elam. 

This sad letter made a mournful impression, as it was not easy to see how 
her deliverance was to be effected. One feature, however, about this epistle 
afforded much satisfaction, namely, to know, that James did not forget his 
poor wife and child, who were in the prison-house. Many months after this 
first letter came to hand, Mrs. Dr. Willis, one of the first ladies in Toronto, 
wrote on his behalf as follows: 

TORONTO, 15th June, Monday morning, 1857. 

To MR. STILL, DEAR SIR : I write you this letter for a respectable young man (his 
name is James Morris), he passed through your hands July of last year (1856), and has 
just had a letter from his wife, whom he left behind in Virginia, that she and her child are 
likely to be sold. He is very anxious about this and wishful that she could get away by 
some vessel or otherwise. His wife's name is Lucy Morris ; the child's name is Lot Mor- 
ris ; the lady's name she lives with is a Mrs. Hine (I hope I spell her name right, Hine), at 
the corner of Duke street and Washington street, in Norfolk city, Virginia. She is hired 
out to this rich old widow lady. James Morris wishes me to write you he has saved 
forty dollars, and will send it to you whenever it is required, to bring her on to Toronto, 
Canada West. It is in the bank ready upon call. Will you please, sir, direct your letter 
in reply to this, to a Mrs. Ringgold, Centre street, two doors from Elam street, Toronto, 
Canada West, as I will be out of town. I write this instead of Mr. Thomas Henning, 
who is just about leaving for England. Hoping you will reply soon, I remain, sir, 
Respectfully yours, AGNES WILLIS. 

Whether James ever succeeded in recovering his wife and child, is not 
known to the writer. Many similarly situated were wont to appeal again 
and again, until growing entirely hopeless, they would conclude to marry. 


Here it may be remarked, with reference to marrying, that of the great 
number of fugitives in Canada, the male sex was largely in preponderance 
over the female, and many of them were single young men. This class found 
themselves very acceptable to Irish girls, and frequently legal alliances were 
the result. And it is more than likely, that there are white women in Can- 
ada to-day, who are married to some poor slave woman's fugitive husband. 

Verily, the romantic and tragic phases of the Underground Rail Road 
are without number, if not past finding out. 

Scarcely had the above-mentioned nine left the Philadelphia depot, ere the 
following way-worn travelers came to hand: 

PERRY SHEPHARD, and ISAAC REED, Eastern Shore, Maryland ; GEORGE 
near Petersburg; DANIEL GREEN, alias GEORGE TAYLOR, Leesburg, Vir- 
Prince George's county, Maryland; HENRY COOPER, and WILLIAM ISRAEL 
SMITH, Middletown, Delaware ; ANNA DORSEY, Maryland. 

Although starting from widely separated localities without the slightest 
communication with each other in the South, each separate passenger earn- 
estly bent on freedom, had endured suffering, hunger, and perils, by land 
and water, sustained by the hope of ultimate freedom. 

PERRY SHEPHARD and ISAAC REED reported themselves as having fled 
from the Eastern Shore of Maryland ; that they had there been held to 
service or Slavery by Sarah Ann Burgess, and Benjamin Franklin Houston, 
from whom they fled. No incidents of slave life or travel were recorded, 
save that Perry left his wife Milky Ann, and two children, Nancy and 
Rebecca (free). Also Isaac left his wife, Hester Ann Louisa, and the 
following named children : Philip Henry, Harriet Ann and Jane Elizabeth. 

GEORGE SPERRYMAN'S lot was cast amongst the oppressed in the city of 
Richmond, Va. Of the common ills of slave life, George could *speak 
from experience ; but little of his story, however, was recorded at the time. 
He had reached the Committee through the regular channel was adjudged 
Avorthy of aid and encouragement, and they gave it to him freely. Nickless 
Templeman was the loser in this instance; how he bore the misfortune the 
Committee was not apprised. Without question, the property was delighted 
with getting rid of the owner. 

VALENTINE SPIRES came a fellow-passenger with George, having " took 
out" the previous Christmas, from a place called Dun woody, near Peters- 
burg. He was held to service in that place by Dr. Jesse Squires. Under 
his oppressive rules and demands, Valentine had been convinced that there 
could be no peace, consequently he turned his attention to one idea freedom 
and the Underground Rail Road, and with this faith, worked his way 
through to the Committee, and was received, and aided of course. 


DAVID GREEN, fled from Warrington, near Leesburg. Elliott Curlett 
so alarmed David by threatening to sell him, that the idea of liberty imme- 
diately took possession in David's mind. David had suifered many hard- 
ships at the hands of his master, but when the auction-block was held up to 
him, that was the worst cut of all. He became a thinker right a\vay. 
Although he had a wife and one child in Slavery, he decided to flee for his 
freedom at all hazards, and accordingly he carried out his firm resolution. 

JAMES JOHNSON. This "article" was doing unrequited labor as the slave 
of Thomas Wallace, in Prince George county, Maryland. He was a stout 
and rugged-looking man, of thirty-five years of age. On escaping, he was 
fortunate enough to bring his wife, Harriet with him. She was ten years 
younger than himself, and had been owned by William T. Wood, by whom 
she said that she had "been well treated." But of late, this Wood had 
taken to liquor, and she felt in danger of being sold. She knew that rum 
ruined the best of slave-holders, so she was admonished to get out of danger 
as soon as possible. 

gers were representatives of the peculiar Institution of Middletown, Dela- 
ware. Charles was owned by Catharine Mendine, and William by John P. 
Gather. According to their confession, Charles and William it seemed had 
been thinking a good deal over the idea of " working for nothing," of being 
daily driven to support others, while they were rendered miserable thereby. 
So they made up their minds to try the Underground Rail Road, " hit or 
miss." This resolution was made and carried into effect (on the part of 
Charles at least), at the cost of leaving a mother, three brothers, and three 
sisters in Slavery, without hope of ever seeing them again. The ages 
of Charles and William were respectively twenty-two and twenty-one. Both 
stout and well-made young men, with intellects well qualified to make the 
wilderness of Canada bud and blossom as the rose, and thitherward they 
were dispatched. 

ANNA DORSEY became tired of Slavery in Maryland, where she reported 
that she had been held to service by a slave-holder, known by the name of 
Eli Molesworth. The record is silent as to how she was treated. As a 
slave, she had been brought up a seamstress, and was quite intelligent. Age 
twenty-two, mulatto. 



About the latter part of March, 1856, Owen Taylor and his wife, Mary 
Ann, and their little son, Edward, together with a brother and his wife and 
two children, and a third brother, Benjamin, arrived from near Clear 


Springs, nine miles from Hagerstown, Maryland. They all left their home, 
or rather escaped from the prison-house, on Easter Sunday, and came via 
Harrisburg, where they were assisted and directed to the Vigilance Commit- 
tee in Philadelphia. A more interesting party had not reached the Com- 
mittee for a long time. 

The three brothers were intelligent, and heroic, and, in the resolve to 
obtain freedom, not only for themselves, but for their wives and children 
desperately in earnest. They had counted welf the cost of this struggle 
for liberty, and had fully made up their minds that if interfered with by 
slave-catchers, somebody would have to bite the dust. That they had 
pledged themselves never to surrender alive, was obvious. Their travel- 
worn appearance, their attachment for each other, the joy that the tokens 
of friendship afforded them, the description they gave of incidents on the 
road, made an impression not soon to be effaced. 

In the presence of a group like this Sumner's great and eloquent speech 
on the Barbarism of Slavery, seemed almost cold and dead, the mute 
appeals of these little ones in their mother's arms the unlettered language 
of these young mothers, striving to save their offspring from the doom of 
Slavery the resolute and manly bearing of these brothers expressed in 
words full of love of liberty, and of the determination to resist Slavery 
to the death, in defence of their wives and children this was Sunmer's 
speech enacted before our eyes. 

OWEN was about thirty-one years of age, but had experienced a deal of 
trouble. He had been married twice, and both wives were believed to be 
living. The first one, with their little child, had been sold in the Baltimore 
market, about three years before, the mother was sent to Louisiana, 
the child to South Carolina. Father, mother, and child, parted with 
no hope of ever seeing each other again in this world. After Owen's 
wife was sent South, he sent her his likeness and a dress ; the latter was 
received, and she was greatly delighted with it, but he never heard of 
her having received his likeness. He* likewise wrote to her, but he was not 
sure that she received his letters. Finally, he came to the conclusion that as 
she was forever dead to him, he would do well to marry again. Accord- 
ingly he took to himself another partner, the one who now accompanied 
him on the Underground Rail Road. 

Omitting other interesting incidents, a reference to- his handiwork will 
suffice to show the ability of Owen. Owen was a born mechanic, and his 
master practically tested his skill in various ways ; sometimes in the black- 
smith shop at other times as a wheelwright again at making brushes and 
brooms, and at leisure times he would try his hand in all these crafts. 
This Jack-of-all-trades was, of course, very valuable to his master. Indeed 
his place was hard to fill. 

Henry Fiery, a farmer, "about sixty-four years of age, a stout, crusty old 


fellow," was 'the owner of Owen and his two brothers. Besides slaves, the 
old man was in possession of a wife, whose name was Martha, and seven 
children, who were pretty well grown up. One of the sons owned Owen's 
wife and two children. Owen declared, that they had been worked hard, 
while few privileges had been allowed them. Clothing of the poorest tex- 
ture was only sparingly furnished. Nothing like Sunday raiment was ever 
given them ; for these comforts they were compelled to do over- work of 
nights. For a long time the idea of escape had been uppermost in the 
minds of this party. The first of January, past, was the time "solemnly " 
fixed upon to " took out," but for some reason or other (not found on the 
record book), their strategical minds did not see the way altogether clear, and 
they deferred starting until Easter Sunday. 

On that memorable evening, the men boldly harnessed two of Mr. Fiery's 
steeds and placing their wives and children in the carriage, started off via 
Hagerstown, in a direct line for Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, at a rate that 
allowed no grass to grow under the horses' feet. In this manner they made 
good time, reached Chambersburg safely, and ventured up to a hotel where 
they put up their horses. Here they bade their faithful beasts good-bye and 
"took out" for Harrisburg by another mode of travel, the cars. On their 
arrival they naturally fell into the hands of the Committee, who hnrried 
them off to Philadelphia, apprising the Committee there of their approach 
by a dispatch sent ahead. Probably they had scarcely reached Philadelphia 
ere the Fierys were in hot haste after them, as far as Harrisburg, if not 

It hardly need be hinted, that the community in which the Fierys lived 
was deeply agitated for days after, as indeed it was along the entire route to 
Chambersburg, in consequence of this bold and successful movement. The 
horses were easily captured at the hotel, where they were left, but, of course, 
they were mute as to what had become of their drivers. The furious 
Fierys probably got wind of the fact, that they had made their way to 
Harrisburg. At any rate they made" very diligent search at this point. 
"While here prosecuting his hunting operations, Fiery managed to open 
communication with at least one member of the Harrisburg Committee, to 
whom his grievances were made known, but derived little satisfaction. 

After the experience of a few weeks, the pursuers came to the conclusion, 
that there was no likelihood of recovering them through these agencies, or 
through the Fugitive Slave Law. In their despair, therefore, they resorted 
to another " dodge." All at once they became "sort-o'-friendly " indeed 
more than half disposed to emancipate. The member of the Committee 
in Harrisburg had, it is probable, frequently left room for their great 
delusion, if he did not even go so far as to feed their hopes with plausible 
suggestions, thnt some assistance might be afforded by which an amicable 
settlement miarht be made between masters and slaves. 


The following extract, from the Committee's letter, relative to this matter, 
is open to this inference, and may serve to throw some light on the subject: 

HARRISBURG, April 28, '56. 

FRIEND STILL : Your last came to hand in due season, and I am happy to hear of the 
safe arrival of those gents. 

I have before me the Power of Attorney of Mr. John S. Fiery, son of Mr. Henry Fiery, 
of Washington county, Md., the owner of those three men, two women and three children, 
who arrived in your town on the 24th or 25th of March. He graciously condescends to 
liberate the oldest in a year, and the remainder in proportional time, if they will come 
back ; or to sell, them their time for $1300. He is sick of the job, and is ready to make 
any conditions. Now, if you personally can get word to them and get them to send him 
a letter, in my charge, informing him of their whereabouts and prospects, I think it will 
be the best answer I can make him. He will return here in a week or two, to know 
what can be done. He offers $500 to see them. 

Or if you can send me word where they are, I will endeavor to write to them for his 
special satisfaction ; or if you cannot do either, send me your latest information, for I 
intend to make him spend a few more dollars, and if possible get a little sicker of this bad 
job. Do try and send him a few bitter pills for his weak nerves and disturbed mind. 
Yours in great haste, Jos. C. BUSTILL. 

A subsequent letter from Mr. Bustill contains, besides other interesting 
Underground Rail Road matter, an item relative to the feeling of disap- 
pointment experienced by Mr. Fiery on learning that his property was in 


HARRisBURa, May 26, '56. 

FRIEND STILL : I embrace the opportunity presented by the visit of our friend, John 
F. Williams, to drop you a few lines in relation to our future operations. 

The Lightning Train was put on the Road on last Monday, and as the traveling season 
has commenced and this is the Southern route for Niagara Falls, 1 have concluded not to 
send by way of Auburn, except in cases of great danger ; but hereafter we will use the 
Lightning Train, which leaves here at 1 and arrives in your city at 5 o'clock in the 
morning, and I will telegraph about 5J o'clock in the afternoon, so it may reach you be- 
fore you close. These four are the only ones that have come since my last. The woman 
has been here some time waiting for her child and her beau, which she expects here about 
the first of June. If possible, please keep a knowledge of her whereabouts, to enable me 
to inform him if he comes. ****** 

/ have nothing more to send you, except that John Fiery has visited us again and much 
to his chagrin received the information of their being in Canada. 

Yours as ever, Jos. C. BUSTILL. 

Whilst the Fierys were working like beavers to re- enslave these brave 
fugitives, the latter were daily drinking in more and more of the spirit of 
freedom and were busy with schemes for the deliverance of other near kin 
left behind under the galling yoke. 

Several very interesting letters were received from Otho Taylor, relative 
to a raid he designed making expressly to effect the escape of his family. 
The two subjoined must suffice, (others, much longer, cannot now be pro- 
duced, they have probably been loaned and not returned.) 


APRIL 15th, 1857. 

SIR We arrived here safely. Mr. Syrus and his lady is well situated. They have a 
place for the year round IS dollars per month. We are all well and hope that you are all 
the same. Now I wish to know whether you would please to send me some money to go 
after those people. Send it here if you please. Yours truly, OTHO TAYLOR. 


ST. CATHARINES, Jan. 26, 1857. 

MR. WM. STILL : Dear Sir I write at this time in behalf of Otho Taylor. He is very 
anxious to go and get his family at Clear Spring, Washington county, Md. He would 
like to know if the Society there would furnish him the means to go after them from Phil- 
adelphia, that you will be running no risk in doing this. If the Society can do this, he 
would not be absent from P. more than three days. 

He is so anxious to get his family from slavery that he is willing to do almost anything 
to get them to Canada. You may possibly recollect him he was at your place last Au- 
gust. I think he can be trusted. If you can do something for him, he has the means to 
take him to your place. 

Please let me know immediately if you can do this. Respectfully yours, 


Such appeals came very frequently from Canada, causing 'much sadness, 
as but little encouragement could be held out to such projects. In the first 
place, the danger attendant upon such expeditions was so fearful, and in 
the second place, our funds were so inadequate for this kind of work, that, 
in most cases, such appeals had to be refused. Of course, there were those 
whose continual coming, like the poor widow in the Gospel, could not be 


THEEE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD. Ran away from the subscri- 
ber, residing near Bladensburg, Prince George's county, Maryland, on Saturday 
night, the 22d of March, 1856, my negro man, Tom Matthews, aged about 25 
years, about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches high, dark copper color, full suit of bushy hair, 
broad face, with high cheek bones, broad and square shoulders, stands and walks 
very erect, though quite a sluggard in action, except in a dance, at which he is 
hard to beat. He wore away a black coat and brown pantaloons. I will give 
the above reward if taken and brought home, or secured in jail, so that I get him. 

E. A. JONES, near JBladensburg, Md. 

As Mr. Jones may be unaware which way his man Tom traveled, 
this item may inform him that his name was entered on the Underground 
Rail Road book April 4th, 1856, at which date he appeared to be in good 
health and full of hope for a safe sojourn in Canada. He was destitute, 
of course, just as anybody else would have been, if robbers had stripped 
him of every dollar of his earnings ; but he felt pretty sure, that he could 
take care of himself in her Majesty's dominion. 


The Committee, encouraged by his efforts, reached him a helping 
hand and sent him on to swell the goodly number in the promised land 

On the same day that Tom arrived, the Committee had the pleasure of 
taking JAMES JONES by the hand. He was owned by Dr. William 
Stewart, of King George's Court House, Maryland. He was not, however, 
in the service of his master at the time of his escape but was hired out 
in Alexandria. For some reason, not noticed in the book, James became 
dissatisfied, changed his name to Henry Rider, got an Underground Rail 
Road pass and left the Dr. and his other associations in Maryland. He was 
one of the well-cared for " articles," and was of very near kin to the white 
people, at least a half-brother (mulatto, of course). He was thirty-two 
years of age, medium size, hard-featured and raw-boned, but " no marks 
about him." 

James looked as if he had had pretty good health, still the Committee 
thought that he would have much better in Canada. After hearing a 
full description of that country and of the great number of fugitives there 
from Maryland' and other parts of the South, " Jim" felt that that was just 
the place he wanted to find, and was soon off with a free ticket, a letter of 
introduction, etc. 


Thomas Garrett announced this in the following letter: 

WILMINGTON, 3d mo., 23d, 1856. 

DEAE FEIEND, WILLIAM STILL : Captain Fountain has arrived all safe, with the hu- 
man cargo thee was inquiring for, a few days since. I had men waiting till 12 o'clock 
till the Captain arrived at his berth, ready to receive them ; last night they then learned, 
that he had landed them at the Rocks, near the old Swedes church, in the care of our effi- 
cient Pilot, who ia in the employ of my friend, John Hillis, and he has them now in 
charge. As soon as my breakfast is over, I will see Hillis and determine what is best to 
be done in their case. My own opinion is, we had better send them to Hook and there 
put them in the cars to-night and send a pilot to take them to thy house. As Marcus 
Hook is in Pennsylvania, the agent of the cars runs no risk of the fine of five hundred 
dollars our State imposes for assisting one of God's poor out of the State by steamboat or 
cars - As ever thy friend, THOS. GARRETT. 


Rebecca Jones, and her three daughters, Sarah Frances, Mary, and Re- 
becca; Isaiah Robinson, Arthur Spence, Caroline Taylor, and her two 
daughters, Nancy, and Mary; Daniel Robinson; Thomas Page; Benjamin 
Dickinson ; David Cole and wife. 


From the tenor of Thomas Garrett's letter, the Committee was prepared 
for a joyful reception, knowing that Captain F. was not in the habit of doing 
things by the halves that he was not in the habit of bringing numb- 
skulls ; indeed he brought none but the bravest and most intelligent. Yet 
notwithstanding our knowledge of his practice in this respect, when he 
arrived we were surprised beyond measure. The women outnumbered the 
men. The two young mothers, with their interesting, hearty and fine- 
looking children representing in blood the two races about equally pre- 
sented a very impressive spectacle. 

The men had the appearance of being active, smart, and well disposed, 
much above the generality of slaves; but, compared with those of the oppo- 
site sex, their claims for sympathy were very faint indeed. No one could 
possibly avoid the conclusion, that these mothers, with their handsome 
daughters, were valued on the Ledger of their owners at enormously high 
prices; that lustful traders and sensualists had already gloated over the 
thought of buying them in a few short years. Probably not one of those 
beautiful girls would have brought less than fifteen hundred or two thousand 
dollars at the age of fifteen. It was therefore a great satisfaction to think, 
that their mothers, who knew full well to what a fate such slave girls were 
destined, had labored so heroically to snatch them out of this danger ere 
the critical hour arrived. 

REBECCA JONES was about twenty-eight years of age ; mulatto, good- 
looking, considerably above medium size, very intelligent, and a true-born 

The following reward, offered by the notorious negro-trader, Hall, proved 
that Rebecca and her children were not to be allowed to go free, if slave- 
hunters could be induced by a heavy pecuniary consideration to recapture 

REWARD is offered for the apprehension of negro woman, REBECCA 
JONES and her three children, and man ISAIAH, belonging to W. W. Davidson, 
JiSSL wno have disappeared since the 20th inst. The above reward will be paid for the 
apprehension and delivery of the said Negroes to my Jail, by the attorney in fact of the 
owner, or the sum of $250 for the man alone, or $150 for the woman and three children 
alone. WM. W. HALL, for the Attorney, 

feb. 1. 

Years before her escape, her mistress died in England; and as Rebecca 
had always understood, long before this event, that all the slaves were to 
be freed at the death of her mistress, she was not prepared to believe any 
other report. It turned out, however, as in thousands of other instances, 
that no will could be found, and, of course, the administrators retained 
the slave property, regardless of any verbal expressions respecting freeing, 
etc. Rebecca closely watched the course of the administrators, and in the 
meanwhile firmly resolved, that neither she nor her children should eve>* 
serve another master. Rather than submit, she declared that she would 


take the lives of her children and then her own. Notwithstanding her 
bold and decided stand, the report went out that she was to be sold, 
and that all the slaves were still to be held in bondage. Rebecca's 
sympathizers and friends advised her, as they thought for the best, to 
get a friend or gentleman to purchase her for herself. To this she replied : 
" Xot three cents would I give, nor do I want any of my friends to buy me, 
not if they could get me for three cents. It would be of no use," she con- 
tended, " as she was fully bent on dying, rather than remain a slave." The 
slave-holders evidently understood her, and were in no hurry about bringing 
her case to an issue they rather gave her time to become calm. But Re- 
becca was inflexible. 

Six years before her arrival, her husband had escaped, in company with 
the noted fugitive, "Shadrach." For a time after he fled, she frequently 
received letters from him, but for a long while he had ceased to write, and 
of late she had heard nothing from him. 

In escaping stowed away in the boat, she suffered terribly, but faithfully 
endured to the end, and was only too happy when the agony was over. After 
resting and getting thoroughly refreshed in Philadelphia, she, with others, 
was forwarded to Boston, for her heart was there. Several letters were 
received from her, respecting her prospects, etc., from which it appears that 
she had gained some knowledge of her husband, although not of a satisfac- 
tory nature. At any rate she decided that she could not receive him 
back"again. The following letter has reference to her prospects, going to 
California, her husband, etc. : 

PARKER HOUSE, School street, Boston, Oct. 18th, '56. 

MY DEAR SIR : I can hardly express the pleasure I feel at the receipt of your kind 
letter ; but allow me to thank you for the same. 

And now I will tell you my reasons for going to California. Mrs. Tarrol, a cousin of 
my husband, has sent for me. She says I can do much better there than in Boston. And 
as I have my children's welfare to look to, I have concluded to go. Of course I shall be 
just as likely to hear from home there as here. Please tell Mr. Bagnale I shall expect one 
letter from him before I leave here. 

I should like to hear from my brothers and sisters once more, and let me hear every 
particular. You never can know how anxious I am to hear from them ; do please impress 
this upon their minds. 

I have written two letters to Dr. Lundy and never received an answer. I heard Mrs. 
Lnndy was dead, and thought that might possibly be the reason he had not replied to me. 
Please tell the Doctor I should take it as a great favor if he would write me a few lines. 

I suppose you think I am going to live with my husband again. Let me assure you 
'tis no such thing. My mind is as firm as ever. And believe me, in going away from 
Boston, I am going away from him, for I have heard he is living somewhere near. He 
has been making inquiries about me, but that can make no difference in my feelings to 
him. I hope that yourself, wife and family are all quite well. Please remember me to 
them all. Do me the favor to give my love to all inquiring friends. I should be most 
happy to have any letters of introduction yon may think me worthy o f , and I trust I shall 
ever remain Yours faithfully, KEBECCA JONES. 


P. S. I do not know if I shall go this Fall, or in the Spring. It will depend upon the 
letter I receive from California, but whichever it may be, I shall be happy to hear from 
you very soon. 

ISAIAH, who was a fellow-servant with Rebecca, and was included in the 
reward offered by Hall for Rebecca, etc., was a young man about twenty- 
three years of age, a mulatto, intelligent and of prepossessing manners. A 
purely ardent thirst for liberty prompted him to flee ; although he declared 
that he had been treated very badly, and had even suffered severely from 
being shamefully "beaten." ,He had, however, been permitted to hire 
his time by the year, for which one hundred and twenty dollars were 
regularly demanded by his owner. Young as he was, he was a married 
man, with a wife and two children, to whom he was devoted. He had 
besides two brothers and two sisters for whom he felt a warm degree of 
brotherly affection ; yet when the hour arrived for him to accept a chance 
for freedom at the apparent sacrifice of these dearest ties of kindred, he was 
found heroic enough for this painful ordeal, and to give up all for freedom. 

CAROLINE TAYLOR, and her two little children, were also from Norfolk, 
and came by boat. Upon the whole, they were not less interesting than Re- 
becca Jones and her three little girls. Although Caroline was not in her 
person half so stately, nor gave such promise of heroism as Rebecca for 
(Caroline was rather small of stature yet she was more refined, and quite 
as intelligent as Rebecca, and represented considerably more of the Anglo- 
Saxon blood. She was a mulatto, and her children were almost fair erl'ough 
to pass for white probably they were quadroons, hardly any one would 
have suspected that they had only one quarter of colored blood in their veins. 
For ten years Caroline had been in the habit of hiring her time at the 
rate of seventy-five dollars per year, with the exception of the last year, 
when her hire was raised to eighty-four dollars. So anxious was she to 
have her older girl (eleven years old) at home with her, that she also hired 
her time by the year, for which she was compelled to pay twenty-four 
dollars. As her younger child was not sufficiently grown to hire out for 
pay, she was permitted to have it at home with her on the conditions that 
she would feed, clothe and take good care of it, permitting no expense what- 
ever to fall upon the master. 

Judging from the appearance and manners of the children, their mother 
had, doubtless, been most faithful to them, for more handsome, well-behaved, 
intelligent and pleasing children could not easily be selected from either 
race or any station of life. The younger, Mary by name, nine years of age, 
attracted very great attention, by the deep interest she manifested in a poor 
fugitive (whom she had never seen before), at the Philadelphia station, 
confined to the bed and suffering excruciating pain from wounds he had 
received whilst escaping. Hours and hours together, during the two or 
three days of their sojourn, she spent of her own accord, by his bed-side, 


manifesting almost womanly sympathy in the most devoted and tender 
manner. She thus, doubtless, unconsciously imparted to the sufferer a 
great deal of comfort. Very many affecting incidents had come under the 
observation of the acting Committee, under various circumstances, but never 
before had they witnessed a sight more interesting, a scene more touching. 

Caroline and her children were owned by Peter March, Esq., late of 
Norfolk, but at that time, he was living in New York, and was carrying 
on the iron business. He came into possession of them through his wife, 
who was the daughter of Caroline's former master, and almost the only heir 
left, in consequence of the terrible fever of the previous summer. Caroline 
was living under the daily fear of being sold ; this, together with the task 
of supporting herself and two children, made her burden very grievous. 
Not a great while before her escape, her New York master had been on to 
Norfolk, expressly with a view of selling her, and asked two thousand 
dollars for her. This, however, he failed to get, and was still awaiting an 

These ill omens aroused Caroline to think more seriously over the con- 
dition of herself and children than she had ever done before, and in this 
state of mind she came to the conclusion, that she would strive to save her- 
self and children by flight on the Underground Rail Road. She knew full 
well, that it was no faint-hearted struggle that was required of her, so she 
had nerved herself with the old martyr spirit to risk her all on her faith 
in God and Freedom, and was ready to take the consequences if she fell back 
into the hands of the enemy. This noble decision was the crowning act 
in the undertakings of thousands similarly situated. Through this faith 
she gained the liberty of herself and her children. Quite a number of the 
friends of the slave saw these interesting fugitives, and wept, and rejoiced 
with them. 

Col. A. Cummings, in those days Publisher of the " Evening Bulletin," 
for the first time, witnessed an Underground Rail Road arrival. Some time 
previous, in conversation with Mr. J. M. McKim, the Colonel had ex- 
pressed views not altogether favorable to the Underground Rail Road; 
indeed he was rather inclined to apologize for slavery, if not to defend the 
Fugitive Slave Law. While endeavoring somewhat tenaciously to maintain 
his ground, Mr. McKim opposed to him not only the now well established 
Anti-Slavery doctrines, but also offered as testimony Underground Rail 
Road facts the results of personal knowledge from daily proofs of the 
heroic struggles, marvellous faith, and intense earnestness of the fugitives. 

In all probability the Colonel did not feel prepared to deny wholly Mr. 
McKim's statement, yet, he desired to see " some " for himself. "Well," 
said Mr. McK., " you shall see some." So when this arrival came to hand, 
true to his promise, Mr. McK. called on the Colonel and invited him to 
accompany him to the Underground Rail Road station. He assured the 


Colonel that he did not want any money from him, but simply wanted to 
convince him of his error in the recent argument that they had held on the 
subject. Accordingly the Colonel accompanied him, and found that twenty- 
two passengers had been on hand within the past twenty-four hours, and 
at least sixteen or seventeen were then in his presence. It is needless to 
say, that such a sight admitted of no contradiction no argument no 
doubt. The facts were too self-evident. The Colonel could say but little, 
so complete was his amazement; but he voluntarily attested the thoroughness 
of his conversion by pulling out of his pocket and handing to Mr. McK. a 
twenty dollar gold piece to aid the passengers on to freedom. 

In these hours of rest and joyful anticipation the necessities of both large 
and small were administered to according to their needs, before forwarding 
them still further. The time and attention required for so many left but 
little opportunity, however, for the Secretary to write their narratives. 
He had only evening leisure for the work. Ten or twelve of that 
party had to be sent off without having their stories recorded. Daniel 
Robertson was one of this number ; his name is simply entered on the 
roll, and, but for letters received from him, after he passed on North, 
no further knowledge would have been obtained. In Petersburg, whence 
he escaped, he left his wife, for whose deliverance he felt bound to do 
everything that lay in his power, as the subjoined letters will attest : 

HAVANA, August 11, 1856, Schuylkill Co., N. Y. 

ME. WM. STILL Dear Sir: I came from Virginia in March, and was at your office 
the last of March. My object in writing you, is to inquire what I can do, or what can be 
done to help my wife to escape from the same bondage that I was in. You will know 
by your books that I was from Petersburg, Va., and that is where my wife now is. I 
have received two or three letters from a lady in that place, and the says, that my 
wife's mistress is dead, and that she expects to be sold. I am very anxious to do what I 
can for her before it is too late, and beg of you to devise some means to get her away. 
Capt. the man that brought me away, knows the colored agent at Petersburg, and 
knows he will do all he can to forward my wife. The Capt. promised, that when I could 
raise one hundred dollars for him that he would deliver her in Philadelphia. Tell him that 
I can now raise the money, and will forward it to you at any day that he thinks that he 
can bring her. Please see the Captain and find when he will undertake it, and then let me 
know when to forward the money to you. I am at work for the Hon. Charles Cook, and 
can send the money any day. My wife's name is Harriet Kobertson, and the agent at 
Petersburg knows her. 

Please direct your answer, with all necessary directions, to N. Coryell, of this village, 
and he will see that all is right. Very respectfully, DANIEL KOBEE.TSON. 

HAVANA, Aug. 18, 1856. 

ME. WM. STILL Dear Sir: Yours of the 18th, for D. Robertson, was duly received. 
In behalf of Daniel, I thank you kindly for the interest you manifest in him. The letters 
that have gone from him to his friends in Virginia, have been written by me, and sent in 
such a manner as we thought would best ensure safety. Yet I am well aware of the risk 
of writing, and have restrained him as far as possible, and the last one I wrote was to be 


the last, till an effort was made to reclaim his wife. Daniel is a faithful, likely man, and 
is well liked by all who know him. He is industrious and prudent, and is bending his 
whole energies toward the reclaiming his wife. He can forward to you the one hundred 
dollars at any day that it may be wanted, and if you can do anything to forward his inter- 
ests it will be very gratefully received as an additional favor on your part. He asks for 
no money, but your kindly efforts, which he regards more highly than money. 

Very respectfully, N. COEYEL-L. 

The letters that have been written for him were dated " Niagara Falls, Canada West," 
and his friends think he is there none of them know to the contrary it is important 
that they never do know. N. C. 

HAVANA, Sept. 29, 1856. 

MR. WM. STILL Dear Sir : I enclose herewith a draft on New York, payable to your 
order, for $100, to be paid on the delivery at Philadelphia of Daniel Robertson's wife. 

You can readily see that it has been necessary for Daniel to work almost night and day 
to have laid up so large an amount of money, since the first of April, as this one hundred 
dollars. Daniel is industrious and prudent, and saves all of his earnings, above his most 
absolute wants. If the Captain is not successful in getting Daniel's wife, you, of course, 
will return the draft, without charge, as you said. I hope success will attend him, for 
Daniel deserves to be rewarded, if ever man did. Yours, &c. N. CORYELL. 

HAVANA, Jan. 2, 1857. 

DEAR SIR : Your favor containing draft on N. York, for Daniel Robertson, came to 
hand on the 31st ult. Daniel begs to tender his acknowledgments for your kind interest 
manifested in his behalf, and says he hopes you will leave no measure untried which has 
any appearance of success, and that the money shall be forthcoming at a moment's notice. 
Daniel thinks that since Christmas, the chances for his wife's deliverance are fewer than 
before, for at that time he fears she was disposed of and possibly went South. 

The paper sent me, with your well- written article, was received, and on reading it to 
Daniel, he knew some of the parties mentioned in it he was much pleased to hear it 
read. Daniel spent New Year's in Elmira, about 18 miles from this place, and there he 
met two whom he was well acquainted with. Yours, &c., N. CORYELL. 

WM. STILL, Esq., Phila. 

Such devotion to freedom, such untiring labor, such appeals as these letters 
contained awakened deep interest in the breasts of Daniel's new friends, 
which spoke volumes in favor of the Slave and against slave-holders. But, 
alas, nothing could be done to relieve the sorrowing mind of poor Daniel for 
the deliverance of his wife in chains. The Committee sympathized deeply 
with him, but could do no more. What other events followed, in Daniel's 
life as a fugitive, were never made known to the Committee. 

ARTHUR SPENCE also deserves a notice. He was from North Carolina, 
about twenty-four years of age, and of pleasing appearance, and was heart 
and soul in sympathy with the cause of the Underground Rail Road. 
In North Carolina he declared that he had been heavily oppressed by being 
compelled to pay $175 per annum for his hire. In order to get rid of this 
heavy load, by shrewd management he gained access to the kind-hearted 
Captain and procured an Underground Rail Road ticket. In leaving 


bondage, he was obliged to leave his mother, two brothers and one sister. 
He appeared to be composed of just the kind of material for making a good 
British subject. 

BEN DICKINSON. Ben was also a slave in North Carolina located at 
Eatontown, being the property of " Miss Ann Blunt, who was very hard." 
In slave property Miss Blunt was interested to the number of about "ninety 
head." She was much in the habit of hiring out servants, and in thus dis- 
posing of her slaves Ben thought she was a great deal more concerned in 
getting good prices for herself than good places for them. Indeed he de- 
clared that "she did not care how mean the place was, if she could only get 
her price." For three years Ben had Canada and the Underground Rail Road 
in view, having been " badly treated." At last the long-looked for time 
arrived, and he conferred neither with master nor mistress, but " picked 
himself up " and " took out." Age twenty-eight, medium size, quite dark, 
a good carpenter, and generally intelligent. Left two sisters, etc. 

Of this heroic and promising party we can only mention, in conclusion, 
one more passenger, namely: 

TOM PAGE. At the time of his arrival, his name only was enrolled on 
the book. Yet he was not a passenger soon to be forgotten he was but a 
mere boy, probably eighteen years of age ; but a more apt, ready-witted, 
active, intelligent and self-reliant fellow is not often seen. 

Judging from his smartness, under slavery, with no chances, it was easy 
to imagine how creditably he might with a white boy's chances have 
climbed the hill of art and science. Obviously he had intellect enough, 
if properly cultivated, to fill any station within the ordinary reach of 
intelligent American citizens. He could read and write remarkably well for 
a slave, and well did he understand his advantages in this particular ; indeed 
if slave-holders had only been aware of the growing tendency of Tom's 
mind, they would have rejoiced at hearing of his departure for Canada ; he 
was a most dangerous piece of property to be growing up amongst slaves. 

After leaving the Committee and going North his uncaged mind felt the 
need of more education, and at the same time he was eager to make money, 
and do something in life. As he had no one to depend on, parents and 
relatives being left behind in Norfolk, he felt that he must rely upon 
himself, young as he was. He first took up his abode in Boston, or 
New Bedford, where most of the party with whom he escaped went, and 
where he had an aunt, and perhaps some other distant kin. There he 
worked and was a live young man indeed among the foremost in ideas and 
notions about freedom, etc., as many letters from him bore evidence. After 
spending a year or more in Massachusetts, he had a desire to see how the 
fugitives were doing in Upper and Lower Canada, and if any better chances 
existed in these parts for men of his stamp. 

Some of his letters, from different places, gave proof of real thought 


and close observation, but they were not generally saved, probably were 
loaned to be read by friendly eyes. Nevertheless the two subjoined will, in 
a measure, suffice to give some idea of his intelligence, etc. 

BOSTON, Mass., Feb. 25th, 1857. 

WILLIAM STILL, Esq. : Dear Sir I have not heard from you for some time. I take 
this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you and all know that I am well at 
present and thank God for it. Dear Sir, I hear that the under ground railroad was in 
operation. I am glad to hear that. Give my best respects to your family and also to 
Dr. L., Mr. Warrick, Mr. Camp and familys, to Mr. Fisher, Mr. Taylor to all Friends 
names too numerous to mention. Please to let me know when the road arrived with 
another cargo. I want to come to see you all before long, if nothing happens and life 
lasts. Mrs. Gault requested me to learn of you if you ask Mr. Bagnal if he will see 
father and what he says about the children. Please to answer as soon as possible. No 
more at present from a friend, THOMAS F. PAGE. 

NIAGABA FALLS, N. Y., Oct. 6th, '58. 

DEAR SIR : I received your kind letter and I was very glad to hear from you and your 
family. This leaves me well, and I hope when this comes to hand it may find you the 
same. I have seen a large number of your U. G. R. E,. friends in my travels through the 
Eastern as well as the Western States. Well there are a good many from my own city 
who I know some I talk to on private matters and some I wont. Well around here 
there are so many Tom, Dick and Harry that you do not know who your friend is. 
So it don't hurt any one to be careful. Well, somehow or another, I do not like Canada, 
or the Provinces. I have been to St. John, N. B., Lower Province, or Lower Canada, 
also St. Catharines, C. W., and all around the Canada side, and I do not like it at all. The 
people seem to be so queer though I suppose if I had of went to Canada when I first 
came North to live, I might like it by this time. I was home when Aunt had her Ambro- 
type taken for you. She often speaks of your kindness to her. There are a number of 
your friends wishes you well. My little brother is going to school in Boston. The lady, 
Mrs. Hillard, that my Aunt lives with, thinks a good deal of him. He is very smart and 
I think, if he lives, he may be of some account. Do you ever see my old friend, Capt. 
Fountain ? Please to give my love to him, and tell him to come to Boston, as there are 
a number of his friends that would like to see him. My best respects to all friends. I must 
now bring my short epistle to a close, by saying I remain your friend truly, 


While a portion of the party, on hand with him, came as passengers with 
Capt. F., another portion was brought by Capt. B., both parties arriving 
within twelve hours of each other ; and both had likewise been frozen up 
on the route for weeks with their respective live freight on board. 

The sufferings for food, which they were called upon to endure, were be- 
yond description. They happened to have plenty of salt fat pork, and per- 
haps beans, Indian meal and some potatoes for standing dishes ; the more 
delicate necessaries did not probably last longer than the first or second week 
of their ice-bondage. 

Without a doubt, one of these Captains left Norfolk about the twentieth 
of January, but did not reach Philadelphia till about the twentieth of 


March, having been frozen up, of course, during the greater part of that 
time. Men, women and children were alike sharers in the common struggle 
for freedom were alike an hungered, in prison, naked, and sick, but it was 
a fearful thing in those days for even women and children to whisper their 
sad lamentations in the city of Philadelphia, except to those friendly to the 
Underground Rail Road. 

Doubtless, if these mothers, with their children and partners in tribula- 
tion, could have been seen as they arrived direct from the boats, many hearts 
would have melted, and many tears would have found their way down many 
cheeks. But at that time cotton was acknowledged to be King the Fugi- 
tive Slave Law was supreme, and the notorious decision of Judge Taney, 
that "black men had no rights which white men were bound to respect," 
echoed the prejudices of the masses too clearly to have made it safe to reveal 
the fact of their arrival, or even the heart-rending condition of these Fugi- 

Nevertheless, they were not turned away empty, though at a peril they 
were fed, aided, and comforted, and sent away well clothed. Indeed, so 
bountifully were the women and children supplied, that as they were being 
conveyed to the Camden and Amboy station, they looked more like a plea- 
suring party than like fugitives. Some of the good friends of the slave 
sent clothing, and likewise cheered them with their presence. 

[Before the close of this volume, such friends and sympathizers will be 
more particularly noticed in an appropriate place.] 


JOHNSON, Harford Co., Md.; ALEXANDER MUNSON, Chestertown, Md. ; 
SAMUEL and ANN SCOTT, Cecil Cross-Roads, Md.; WM. HENRY LAM- 
GRAVES, Md.; HENRY and ELIZA WASHINGTON, Alexandria, Va.; 

JOSEPH CORNISH was about forty years of age when he escaped. The 
heavy bonds of Slavery made him miserable. He was a man of 
much natural ability, quite dark, well-made, and said that he had been 
" worked very hard." According to his statement, he had been an " accep- 
table preacher in the African Methodist Church," and was also " respected 


by the respectable white and colored people in his neighborhood." He would 
not have escaped but for fear of being sold, as he had a wife and five chil- 
dren to whom he was very much attached, but had to leave them behind. 
Fortunately they were free. 

Of his ministry and connection with the Church, he spoke with feelings 
of apparent solemnity, evidently under the impression that the little flock 
he left would be without a shepherd. Of his master, Captain Samuel Le 
Count, of the U. S. Navy, he had not one good word to speak ; at least 
nothing of the kind is found on the Record Book ; but, on the contrary, 
he declared that "he was very hard on his servants, allowing them no 
chance whatever to make a little ready money for themselves." So in turn- 
ing his face towards the Underground Rail Road, and his back against 
slavery, he felt that he was doing God service. 

The Committee regarded him as a remarkable man, and was much im- 
pressed with his story, and felt it to be a privilege and a pleasure to aid him. 

LEWIS FRANCIS was a man of medium size, twenty-seven years of age, 
good-looking and intelligent. He stated that he belonged to Mrs. Delinas, 
of Abingdon, Harford Co., Md., but that he had been hired out from a boy 
to a barber in Baltimore. For his hire his mistress received eight dollars 
per month. 

To encourage Lewis, his kind-hearted mistress allowed him out of his 
own wages the sum of two dollars and fifty cents per annum ! His cloth- 
ing he got as best he could, but nothing did she allow him for that purpose. 
Even with this arrangement she had been dissatisfied of late years, and 
thought she was not getting enough out of Lewis; she, therefore, talked 
strongly of selling him. This threat was very annoying to Lewis, 
so much so, that he made up his mind that he would one day let her see, 
that so far as he was concerned, it was easier to talk of selling than it would 
be to carry out her threat. 

With this growing desire for freedom he gained what little light he could 
on the subject of traveling, Canada, etc., and at a given time off he started 
on his journey and found his way to the Committee, who imparted substan- 
tial aid as usual. 

ALEXANDER Muxsox, alias Samuel Garrett. This candidate for Canada 
was only eighteen years of age ; a well-grown lad, however, and had the 
one idea that " all men were born free " pretty deeply rooted in his mind. 
He was quite smart, and of a chestnut color. By the will of his original 
owner, the slaves were all entitled to their freedom, but it appeared, from 
Alexander's story, that the executor of the estate did not regard this freedom 
clause in the will. He had already sold some of the slaves, and others 
he among them were expecting to be sold before coming into possession of 
their freedom. Two of them had been sold to Alabama, therefore, with 
these evil warnings, young Alexander resolved to strike out at once for 


Canada, despite Maryland slave-holders. With this bold and manly spirit 
he succeeded, of course. 

ANXA SCOTT and husband, Samuel Scott. This couple escaped from Cecil 
Cross-Roads, Md. The wife, in this instance, evidently took the lead, and 
acted the more manly part in striking for freedom ; therefore, our notice of 
this arrival will chiefly relate to her. 

Anna was owned by a widow, named Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Lushy, who 
resided on a farm of her own. Fifteen slaves, with other stock, were 
kept on the place. She was accustomed to rule with severity, being governed 
by a "high temper," and in nowise disposed to allow her slaves to enjoy 
even ordinary privileges, and besides, would occasionally sell to the Southern 
market. She was calculated to render slave life very unhappy. Anna por- 
trayed her mistress's treatment of the slaves with much earnestness, espe- 
cially when referring to the sale of her own brother and sister. Upon the 
whole, the mistress was so hateful to Anna, that she -resolved not to live in 
the house with her. During several years prior to her escape, Anna had 
been hired out, where she had been treated a little more decently than her 
mistress was wont to do; on this account she was less willing to put up with 
any subsequent abuse from her mistress. 

To escape was the only remedy, so she made up her mind, that she would 
leave at all hazards. She gave her husband to understand, that she 
had resolved to seek a home in Canada. Fortunately, he was free, but 
slavery had many ways of putting the yoke on the colored man, even though 
he might be free; it was bound to keep him in ignorance, and at the same 
time miserably abject, so that he would scarcely dare to look up in the 
presence of white people. 

SAM, apparently, was one of the number who had been greatly wronged 
in this particular. He had less spirit than his wife, who had been 
directly goaded to desperation. He agreed, however, to stand by her 
in her struggles while fleeing, and did so, for which he deserves 
credit. It must be admitted, that it required some considerable nerve 
for a free man even to join his wife in an effort of this character. 
In setting out, Anna had to leave her father (Jacob Trusty), seven sis- 
ters and two brothers. The names of the sisters were as follows: Erne- 
line, Susan Ann, Delilah, Mary Eliza, Rosetta, Effie Ellender and Eliza- 
beth; the brothers Emson and Perry. For the commencement of their 
journey they availed themselves of the Christmas holidays, but had to suffer 
from the cold weather they encountered. Yet they got along tolerably well, 
and were much cheered by the attention and aid they received from the 

WILLIAM HENRY LAMINSON came from near Newcastle, Delaware. He 
was smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity to escape at the age 
of twenty-one. As he had given the matter his fullest attention for a long 


time, he was prepared to make rapid progress when he did start, and as he 
had no great distance to travel it is not unlikely, that while his master was 
one night sleeping soundly, this young piece of property (worth at least 
$1,000 in the market), was crossing Mason and Dixon's Line, and steering 
directly for Canada. Francis Harkins was the name of the master. William 
did not give him a very bad character. 

GEORGE WASHINGTON GOOSEBERRY, alias Isaac Stout, also took advan- 
tage of the holidays to separate from his old master, Anthony Rybold, a 
farmer living near Newcastle, Delaware. Nothing but the desire to be free 
moved George to escape. He was a young man about twenty -three years of 
age, of a pure black color, in stature, medium size, and well-made. Nothing 
remarkable is noted in the book in any way connected with his life or escape. 

CAROLINE GRAVES. Caroline was of the bond class belonging to the 
State of Maryland. Having reached the age of forty without being 
content, and seeing no bright prospect in the future, she made up her 
mind to break away from the bonds of Slavery and seek a more congenial 
atmosphere among strangers in Canada. She had had the privilege of trying 
two masters in her life-time; the first she admitted was "kind" to her, but 
the latter was " cruel." After arriving in Canada, she wrote back as fol- 

g TORONTO, Jan. 22, 1856. 

DEAR SIR : WILLIAM STILL 1 have found my company they arrived here on monday 
eving I found them on tusday evening. Please to be so kind as to send them boxes we 
are here without close to ware we have some white frendes is goin to pay for them at thia 
end of the road. The reason that we send this note we are afraid the outher one woudent 
go strait because it wasent derected wright. Please to send them by the express then 
thay wont be lost. Please to derect these boxes for Carline Graives in the car of mrs. 
Brittion. Please to send the bil of the boxes on with them. Mrs. Brittion, Lousig street 
near young street. 

GEORGE GRAHAM and wife, Jane, alias Henry Washington and Eliza. 
The cold weather of January was preferred, in this instance, for traveling. 
Indeed matters were so disagreeable with them that they could not tarry in 
their then quarters any longer. George was twenty-four years of age, quite 
smart, pleasant countenance, and of dark complexion. 

He had experienced "rough usage" all the way along through life, not un- 
frequently from severe floggings. Twice, within the last year, he had been 
sold. In order to prevent a renewal of these inflictions he resorted to the 
Underground Rail Road with his wife, to whom he had only been married 
six months. 

In one sense, they appeared to be in a sad condition, it being the dead of 

winter, but their condition in Alexandria, under a brutal master and 

mistress which both had the misfortune to have, was much sadder. To 

give all their due, however, George's wife acknowledged, that she had 



been "well treated under her old mistress," but through a change, she had 
fallen into the hands of a "new one," by whom her life had been rendered 
most " miserable ;" so much so, that she was willing to do almost anything 
to get rid of her, and was, therefore, driven to join her husband in running 

HENRY CHAMBERS, John Chambers, Samuel Fall, and Jonathan Fisher. 
This party represented the more promising-looking field-hand slave popula- 
tion of Maryland. Henry and John were brothers, twenty-four and twenty- 
six years of age, stout made, chestnut color, good-looking, but in height 
not quite medium. Henry " owed service or labor," to a fellow-man by the 
name of William Rybold, a farmer living near Sassafras Neck, Md. Henry 
evidently felt, that he did master Rybold no injustice in testifying that he 
knew no good of him, although he had labored under him like a beast of 
burden all his days. He had been " clothed meanly," and " poorly fed." 
He also alleged, that his mistress was worse than his master, as she would 
"think nothing of knocking and beating the slave women for nothing." 
John was owned by Thomas Murphy. From that day to this, Thomas may 
have been troubling his brain to know why his man John treated him so 
shabbily as to leave him in the manner that he did. Jack had a good reason 
for his course, nevertheless. In his corn field-phrase he declared, that his 
master Murphy would not give you half clothes, and besides he was a " hard 
man," who kept Jack working out on hire. Thereiore, feeling his wrongs 
keenly, Jack decided, with his other friends, to run off and be free. 

SAM, another comrade, was also owned by William Rybold. Sam had 
just arrived at his maturity (twenty-one), when he was invited to join 
in the plot to escape. At first, it might be thought strange, why one so 
young should seek to escape. A few brief words from Sam soon explained 
the mystery. It was this : his master, as he said, had been in the habit of 
tying him up by the hands and flogging him unmercifully; besides, in 
the allowance of food and clothing, he always " stinted the slaves yet worked 
them very hard." Sam's chances for education had been very unfavorable, 
but he had mind enough to know that liberty was worth struggling for. 
He was willing to make the trial with the other boys. He was of a dark 
chestnut color, and of medium size. 

JONATHAN belonged to A. Rybold, and was only nineteen years of age. 
All that need be said in relation to his testimony, is, that it agreed with his 
colleague's and fellow-servant's, Samuel. Before starting on their journey, 
they felt the need of new names, and in putting their wits together, they 
soon fixed this matter by deciding to pass in future by the following names: 
James and David Green, John Henry, and Jonathan Fisher. 

In the brief sketches given in this chapter, some lost ones, seeking inform- 
ation of relatives, may find comfort, even if the general reader should fail to 
be interested. 



THOMAS, and wife, HENRIETTA and child; Two men from near 

coming of this party was announced in the subjoined letter: 

SCHUYLKILL, llth Mo., 29th, 1855. 

WILLIAM STILL : DEAR FRIEND : Those boys will be along by the last Norristown 
train to-morrow evening. I think the train leaves Norristown at 6 o'clock, but of this 
inform thyself. The boys will be sent to a friend at Norristown, with instructions (o 
assist them in getting seats in the last train that leaves Norristown to-morrow evening. 
They are two of the eleven who left some time since, and took with them some of their 
master's horses ; I have told them to remain in the cars at Green street until somebody 
meets them. E. F. PENNYP ACKER. 

Having arrived safely, by the way and manner indicated in E. F. Penny- 
packer's note, as they were found to be only sixteen and seventeen years of 
age, considerable interest was felt by the Acting Committee to hear their 
story. They were closely questioned in the usual manner. They proved to 
be quite intelligent, considering how young they were, and how the harrow 
of Slavery had been upon them from infancy. 

They escaped from Chestertown, Md., in company with nine others (they 
being a portion of the eleven who arrived in Wilmington, with two car- 
riages, etc., noticed on page 302), but, for prudential reasons they were 
separated while traveling. Some were sent on, but the boys had to be 
retained with friends in the country. Many such separations were inevit- 
able. In this respect a great deal of care and trouble had to be endured 
for the sake of the cause. 

THOMAS JERVIS, the elder boy, was quite dark, and stammered somewhat, 
yet he was active and smart. He stated that Sarah Maria Perkins was 
his mistress in Maryland. He was disposed to speak rather favorably of 
her, at least he said that she was "tolerably kind" to her servants. She, 
however, was in the habit of hiring out, to reap a greater revenue for 
them, and did not always get them places where they were treated as well 
as she hers