FROM VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, DELAWARE,
NORTH CAROLINA, WASHINGTON, D. C., AND SOUTH CAROLINA
JAMES BURRELL, DANIEL WIGGINS, WM. ROBINSON, EDWARD
PEADEN, AND WIFE, ALEX. BOGGS, SAMUEL STATER, HARRISON
BELL AND DAUGHTER, HARRIET ANN, DANIEL DAVIS, alias
DAVID SMITH, JAMES STEWART, alias WILLIAM JACKSON,
HARRIET HALEY, alias ANN RICHARDSON, BENJ. DUNCANS,
alias GEORGE SCOTT, MOSES WINES, SARAH SMITH, alias
MILDRETH PAGE, LUCY GARRET, alias JULIA WOOD, ELLEN
FORMAN, alias ELIZABETH YOUNG, EM. WOODEN, alias WM.
NELSON, JAMES EDWARD HANDY, alias DENNIS CANNON, JAMES
HENRY DELANY alias SMART STANLEY, JAMES HENRY BLACKSON,
GEORGE FREELAND, MILES WHITE, LOUISA CLAYTON, LEWIS
SNOWDEN alias LEWIS WILLIAMS, WM. JOHNSON, JOHN HALL
alias JOHN SIMPSON.
|on as 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
In my letters I did not write to my friends how they
shall write to me but i the letter that you
write you will please to tell them how they
shall write to me.
BELL and daughter, HARRIET
ANN. Father and daughter were
fortunate enough to escape together from
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, fourteen years of age. Father
and daughter had each different owners, one
belong to James Snyder, the other to
John G. Hodgson.
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
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.
SMITH, ADAM NICHOLSON,
ALIAS JOHN WYNCOOP, REUBEN
CUNNIGAN, ARRIVED FROM HEDGEVILLE, VA.
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
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, garments 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.
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 ANN RICHARDSON,
SARAH RICHARDSON. These travelers
succeeded in escaping from Geo. C. Davis
of Harford county, Md. In order to carry
out their plans, 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
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 Pennsylvania, 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
Portsmouth, Va., lost one of her most
substantial laborers 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 'reasonable' sum of $12 per
month." As he stood pledged to have this
amount always ready, "whether sick or well," at
the end of the mouth, 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 that
"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,
about 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.
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. How Mr. Pollock came
by Sarah is not stated on the records;
perhaps by marriage; 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.
alias JULIA WOOD.
John Williams, who was said to be a "very
cruel man," residing on the Western Shore of
|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 lookout 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 acept 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 industry. But
this place was not Canada, so, when it was
deemed best, she was sent on.
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 traveling, probably, she had contracted a
very heavy cold, which threatened her with
consumption. the Committee cheerfully
rendered her assistance.
WILLIAM NELSON. While Delaware was
not far from freedom, and while Slavery was
considered to exist there comparatively 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, Williamwas 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
threatened 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.
HANDY, alias DANIEL
CANON. At Seaford, Delaware
James was held in bonds under a Slave-holder
called Samuel Lewis who followed farming.
Lewis was not satisfied with working
James hard and keeping all his earnings, but
would insolently talk occasionally of handing
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 according 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 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
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
excuse 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.
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 belonged 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
Richmond, if he could raise the passage money.
This he could do cheerfully. He raised
"sixty dollars" for the individual who has 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. FREELAND.
Send your Letters in the name of John
WHITE. This passenger owed service
to Albert Kern, of Elizabeth City, N. C.
At least Kern, through the oppressive
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 singles, 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 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
successful. 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
consequences be what they might, and so he set
out for freedom or death. Mountains 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 his 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 incidents 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 instant, before the
Committee were fully satisfied, they felt it
necessary to make inquiry of trustworthy
Charlestonians 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 convinced, 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
instances, as is well remembered. It will
be necessary, in the subsequent 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 arrival. In
the eyes of some, this may prove disappointing,
especially in instances 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 bondsmen, the
reasonableness of this course must be obvious to
FLEEING FROM DAVIS A NEGRO TRADER, SECRETED UNDER A
HOTEL, UP A TREE, UNDER A FLOOR, IN A THICKET, ON A
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 "artidcle" must bring him a
|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
While Davis was thus daily trying to sell Charles,
Charles was contemplating 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
manifested 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 Richmond.
A man of ordinary nerve would have declined this
condition unhesitatingly. 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 fir of
consequences had to hid their faces as it was
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
neting out the most dire punishments to those
guilty of thus violating the laws of Slavery.
The prospect if not utterly hopeless, was
decided ly 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 pursuers
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
correspondence 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 and around of hotel. To use his own
language, the means 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
around 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 emergency
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
treat, and he saw that he could no longer remain
in safety in his present quarter. So that
night he took his departure for Bay Shore; here
he decided to pass a day in the woods, but the
privacy of this place was not altogether
satisfactory to Charles' mind; but where
to find a more secure retreat he could not, -
dared not venture to ascertain that day.
It occurred to him, however, that he would be
much safer up a tree than hid in the bushes and
undergrowth. He therefore climbed up a
large acorn tree and there passed an entire day
in deep medication. No gleam of hope
appeared, yet he would not suffer himself to
think of returning to bondage. In this
dilemma he remembered a poor washer-woman named
Isabella, a slave who had charge of a wash
house. With her he resolved to
LIBERTY OR DEATH.
JIM BOW-LEGS, alias BILL PAUL.
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 overseers;
- or while fleeing, - or in swamps, - in
prisons, - or on the auction-block, etc.; in
which condition he was often found.
Nevertheless in these circumstances 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 perseverance 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 consideration
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
liberty 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 published, though I doubt very much whether
many could be found who could persuade
themselves to believe one-tenth part of this
Through this poor Fugitive was utterly ignorant of
letters, his natural good sense and keen
perception qualified him to arrest the attention
and interest the heart in a most remarkable
His master finding him not available, on account of his
absconding propensities, would gladly have
offered him for sale. He was once taken to
Florida, for that purposes; but, generally,
traders being wide awake, on inspecting him,
would almost invariably pronounce him a 'd--n
rascal,' because 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, indicated that he was
physically no ordinary man; and not being under
|influence of the spirit of
"non-resistance," he had occasionally been found
to be a rather formidable customer.
His father was a full-blooded 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 Jims
time was occupied in trying to escape, and in
being in prison for sale, to punish him for
His mechanical generous 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 always
road-ready and having an uncommon memory, could
give exceedingly good accounts of what he saw,
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 unexpectedly 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
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
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 following 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 secreted
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 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 conceded 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
immediately; 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 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 form
Wilmington yesterday, assures us that the case
is in good hands at Newcastle.
FULL PARTICULARS OF THE ABDUCTION, ENSLAVING AND ESCAPE
OF DAVIS, ATTEMPT TO REDUCE HIM TO SLAVERY AGAIN.
COPY OF FIRST ORDER OF COMMITTMENT.
COPY OF DISCHARGE
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.
COPY OF ORDER OF RE-COMMITMENT.
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, the subscriber, one of the Justices of the
Peace, in and for the said county, charged upon the oath
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 Wm. 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.
SAMUEL GREEN alias WESLEY KINNARD, August 28th, 1854.
TEN YEARS IN THE PENITENTIARY FOR HAVING A COPY OF UNCLE