[Pg. 314 -
MARYLAND WITH THREE COLORED WIVES.
JAMES GRIFFIN ALIAS THOMAS BROWN
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
favorably 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
much puzzled to decide which way to turn. He owned
but three other adult slaves besides James, and
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 "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. Expressing his satisfaction and
gratification, James, armed with full authority
from his master to select a choice specimen, started for
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 chestnut 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 in 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
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.
F. ARRIVES WITH NINE PASSENGERS.
NAMES OF PASSENGERS.
Eatontown, North Carolina; MATTHEW
BODAMS, Plymouth, North
South End, North Carolina; CHARLES
BOWSER, AND THOMAS
COOPER, Portsmouth, Virginia;
was announced by Thomas Garrett as follows:
WILMINGTON, 7th mo., 19th, 1856
- I now have the pleasure of consigning to they 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 ahs seen and conversed with them, thee can
determine what is best to be done with them. I am
assured 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 neighborhood as any place this side of Canada.
Wishing our friends a safe trip, I remain they sincere
After conferring with Harry Craige, we have
concluded to send five or six of them tonight 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 Anglo-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
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 Simmons,
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.
However, 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 inform their friends in Philadelphia of their
prospects, and what they thought of the "goodly land."
Thus, with the usual Underground Rail Road passports,
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, 1856.
MR. 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 62½
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 sentiments of affection and
appeal on behalf of his wife, in as follows:
TORONTO, Canada West, upper, 18th day of the 9th mo.,
MR. 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
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 washing for the captain of
a vesel that use to run to Petersburg but now he runs to
Baltimore and he ahs 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 st., 2 doors fro 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
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 Morris; 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,
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 Canada 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
Scarcely had the above-mentioned nine left the
Philadelphia depot, ere the following way-worn travelers
came to hand:
SHEPHARD, and ISAAC REED, Eastern Shore,
Maryland; GEORGE SPERRYMAN, alias
JOHNSONS, Richland; VALENTINE SPIRES,
near Petersburg; DANIEL GREEN, alias
GEORGE TAYLOR, Leesburg, Virginia; JAMES JOHNSON,
alias WILLIAM GILBERT and wife HARRIET,
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 earnestly being on
freedom, had endured suffering, hunger, and perils, by
land and water, sustained by the hope of ultimate
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.
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 worthy 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.
came a fellow-passenger with George, having "took
out" the previous Christmas, from a place called
Dunwoody, near Petersburg. 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 the Committee, and was
received, and aided of course.
fled from Warrington, near Leesburg. Elliott
Curlett so alarmed David by threatening to
sell him, that the idea of liberty immediately took
possession, in David's mind. David
had suffered many hardships 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
away. 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
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.
HENRY COOPER and WILLIAM ISRAEL SMITH.
These passengers were representatives of the peculiar
Institution of Middletown, Delaware. Charles
was owned by Catharine Mendine and William
by John P. Cather. 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
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.
OWEN AND OTHO TAYLOR'S FLIGHT WITH
THREE BROTHERS, TWO OF THEM WITH WIVES AND CHILDREN.
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
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 Committee in Philadelphia. A more
interesting party had not reached the Committee for a
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 well 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 Sumner's speech enacted
before our eyes.
OWEN was about thirty-one year 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.
Accordingly 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 blacksmith 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 texture was only sparingly
furnished. Nothing like Sunday raiment was ever given
them; for these comforts they are 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 of 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 hurried 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 farther.
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 a to feed their hopes with plausible
suggestions, that some assistance might be afforded by
which an amicable settlement might be made between
masters and slaves.
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
bet answer I can make him. He will return here in
a week or two, to know what can be done. He offer
$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
subsequent from Mr. Bastill contains, besides
other interesting Underground Rail Road matter, an item
relative to the feeling of disappointment experienced by
Mr. Fiery on learning that his property was in
HARRISBURG, May 26, '56
- 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, I 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 1½ and
arrives in your city at 5 o'clock in the morning, and I
will telegraph about 5½ o'clock in the afternoon, so it
may reach you before 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.
* * *
* * *
I 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 produced, they have probably loaned and not
APRIL 15th, 1857.
SIR - We
arrived here safely. Mr. Syrus and his lady
is well situated. They have a place for the year
round 15 dollars per month. We are all well and
hope that you are all the same. Now I wish to know
whether you would please send me some money to go after
those people. Send it here if you please.
Yours truly, OTHO TAYLOR.
ST. CATHERINES, 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 Philadelphia, 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 August. I think he can be trusted. If
you can do something for him, he has the means for take
him to your place.
Please let me know immediately if you can do this.
M. H. A. WILSON.
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 denied.
REWARD, - Ran away from the
subscriber, 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 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
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 - Canada.
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 haring 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.
ARRIVES WITH FOURTEEN "PRIME ARTICLES" ON BOARD.
Garrett announced this in the following letter:
WILMINGTON, 3d mo., 23d, 1856.
- Captain Fountain has arrived all safe, with the
human 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 or efficient
Pilot, who is 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 Slate by
steamboat or ears.
As ever thy friend, THOS.
NAMES OF THE "ARTICLES."
Jones, and her three daughters, Sarah Frances,
Mary, and Rebecca; Isaiah Robison, 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 numbskulls; 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 fin-looking children
representing in blood the two races about equally -
presented 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 opposite 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 his danger ere the critical hour arrived.
JONES was about twenty-eight
years of age; mulatto, good-looking, considerably above
medium size, very intelligent, and a true-born heroine.
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 them:
is offered for the apprehension of negro woman, REBECCA
JONES and her three children,
and man ISAIAH,
belonging to W. W. Davidson, who have disappeared
since the 20th inst. The above reward will be paid
for he 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.
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 ever 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: "Not 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 contended, "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 Rebecca 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 satisfactory nature.
At any rate she decided that she could not receive him
back again. The following letter has referenced to
her prospects, going to California, her husband, etc.:
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. Lundy
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
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 a favor to
give my love to all inquiring friends. I should be
most happy to have any letters of introduction you may
think me worthy of, and I trust I shall ever remain.
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 year from you very soon.
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 form 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 war 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
his painful ordeal, and to give up all for freedom.
TAYLOR and her two children,
were also from Norfolk, and came by boat. Upon the
whole, they were not less interesting than Rebecca
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 an intelligent as Rebecca,
and represented considerably more of the Anglo-Saxon
blood. She was a mulatto, and her children were
almost fair enough 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 lat 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
whatever to fall upon her 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
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
consequent 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 condition 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 herself 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 arrivals. Some time
previous, in conversation with Mr. J. M. McKim,
the Colonel had expressed 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. Wile 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 result of personal
knowledge from daily proofs of the heroic struggles,
marvellous faith, and intense earnestness of the
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
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 letter will attest:
HAVANA, August 11, 1856, Schuylkill Co., N. Y.
MR. WM. STILL - Dear Sir: - I came from Virginia
in March, and was at your office the last day 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 last one
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
Robertson, 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 ROBERTSON.
HAVANA, Aug. 18, 1856.
MR. 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 bet
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 forward 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 interests 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.
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.
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
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 same 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.
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.
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 Daniels life as a fugitive, were
never made known to the Committee.
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
DICKINSON. Ben was also
a native of North Carolina - located at Eatontown, being
the property of "Miss Ann Blunt, who was very
hard." In slave property Miss Blunt was
interested in the number of about "ninety head."
She was much in the habit of hiring out servants, and in
thus disposing 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
declared 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:
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, it
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
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 ideals 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.
Feb. 25th, 1857.
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
NIAGARA 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. R. 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
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
THOMAS F. PAGE.
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
The sufferings for food, which they were called upon to
endure, were beyond description. They happened to
have plenty of salt fat pork, and perhaps 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 tribulation, 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 Fugitive 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
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 pleasuring 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
SUNDRY ARRIVALS - LATTER PART OF DECEMBER, 1855, AND
BEGINNING OF JANUARY, 1856.
CORNISH, Dorchester Co., Md.;
alias LEWIS JOHNSON,
Harford Co., Md.; ALEXANDER
MUNSON, Chestertown, Md.; SAMUEL,
and ANN SCOTT,
Cecil Cross-Roads, Md.; WM. HENRY
LAMINSON, Del.; ISAAC
STOUT, alias GEORGE
GRAVES, Md.; HENRY
and ELIZA WASHINGTON,
Alexandria, Va.; HENRY CHAMBERS,
and THOMAS ANDERSON,
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 "acceptable 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 children
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 turning 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 impressed with his story, and felt it to be a
privilege and a pleasure to aid him.
was a man of medium size, twenty-seven years of age,
good-looking and intelligent. He stated that he
had been hired out from a boy to a barber in Baltimore.
For his hire his mistress received eight dollars per
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 clothing 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 substantial
aid as usual.
MUNSON, 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,
therefrom, 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.
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 portrayed her
mistress's treatment of the slaves with much
earnestness, especially 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 has 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.
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
Taylor), seven sisters and two brothers. The
names of the sisters were as follows: Emeline,
Susan, Ann, Delilah, Mary Eliza, Rosetta, Effie Ellender
and Elizabeth; 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 of aid they received from the
came from near Newcastle, Delaware. He was smarter
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 take 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.
- alias ISAAC STOUT,
also took advantage 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 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 the privilege
of trying two masters in her life-tie; the first she
admitted was "kind" to her, but the latter was "cruel."
After arriving in Canada, she wrote back as follows:
TORONTO, Jan. 22, 1856.
DEAR SIR: - WILLIAM
STILL - I 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 this 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 than they wont be lost. Please to send the
bil of the boses on with them. Mrs. Brittion,
Lousig street near young street.
and wife, Jane,
alias Henry Washington and Eliza.
The cold weather of January was preferred, in this
instant, 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 unfrequently 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
CHAMBERS, John Chambers,
Samuel Fall, and Jonathan Fisher. This
party represented the more promising-looking field-hand
slave population 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.
Therefore, feeling his wrongs keenly, Jack
decided, with his other friends, to run off and be free.
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. 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.
belongs 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 information of relatives, may find
comfort, even if the general reader should fail to be
OF THE ARRIVALS IN DECEMBER, 1855.
THOMAS JERVIS GOOSEBERRY and
THOMAS FREEMAN, alias EZEKIEL CHAMBERS;
HENRY HOOPER; JACOB HALL, alias
HENRY THOMAS, and wife, HENRIETTA and child; Two men from near Chestertown, Md.;
FENTON JONES; MARY CURTIS;
WILLIAM BROWN; CHARLES HENRY
BROWN; OLIVER PURNELL and ISAAC
GOOSEBERRY and WILLIAM THOMAS FREEMAN. The coming
of this party was announced in the subjoined letter:
SCHUYLKILL, 11th Mo., 29th, 1855.
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 to 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. PENNYPACKER.
arrived safely, by the way and manner indicated in E.
F. Pennypacker'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 prayed to be quite intelligent,
considering how young they were, and how the harrow of
Slavery had been upon them from infancy.
They escaped form Chestertown, Md., in company with
nine others (they being a portion of the eleven who
arrived in Wilmington, with two carriages, 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 inevitable. In this
respect a great deal of care and trouble had to be
endured for the sake of the cause.
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 herself treated
them. Tom left his father, Thomas
Gooseberry, and three sisters, Julia Ann, Mary
Ellen, and Katie Bright, all slaves.
the younger boy, was of a chestnut color,
clever-looking, smart, and well-grown, just such an one
as a father enjoying the blessings of education and
citizenship, might have felt a considerable degree of
pride in. He was owned by a man called John Dwa,
who followed "farming and drinking," and when under the
influence of liquor, was disposed to ill-treat the
slaves. Ezekiel had not seen his mother for
many years, although she was living in Baltimore, and
was known by the name of "Dorcas Denby." He
left no brothers nor sisters.
The idea of boys, so young and inexperienced as they
were, being thrown on the world, gave occasion for
serious reflection. Still the Committee were
rejoiced that they were thus early in life, getting away
from the "Sum of all villanies." In talking with
them, the Committee endeavored to impress them with
right ideas as to how they should walk in life, aided
them, of course, and sent them off with a double share
of advice. What has been their destiny since, is
a young man of nineteen years of age, came from
Maryland, in December, in a subsequent Underground Rail
Road arrival. That he came in good order and was
aided and sent off was fully enough stated on the book,
but nothing else; space, however was left for the
writing out of his narrative, but it was never filled
up. Probably the loose sheet on which the items
were jotted down, was lost.
alias Henry Thomas, wife Henrietta, and
child, were also among the December passengers. On
the subject of freedom they were thoroughly converted.
Although Jacob was only about twenty years of
age, he had seen enough of Slavery under his master, "Major
William Hutchins," whom he described as a "farmer,
commissioner, drunkard, and hard master," to known that
no hope could be expected from him, but if he remained,
he would daily have to be under the "harrow." The
desire to work for himself was so strong, that he could
not reconcile his mind to the demands of Slavery.
While meditating upon freedom, he concluded to make an
effort with his wife and child to go to Canada.
His wife, Henrietta, who was then owned by a
woman named Sarah Ann McGough, was as unhappily
situated as himself. Indeed Henrietta had
come to the conclusion, that it was out of the question
for a servant to please her mistress, it mattered not
how hard she might try; she also said, that her mistress
drank, and that made her "wus."
Besides, she had sold Henrietta's brother and
sister, and was then taking steps to sell her, - had
just had her appraised with this view. It was
quite easy, therefore, looking at their condition in the
light of these plain facts, for both husband and wife to
agree, that they could not make their condition any
worse, even if they should be captured in attempting to
escape. Henrietta also remembered, that
years before her mother had escaped, and got off to
Canada, which was an additional encouragement.
Thus, as her
own faith was strengthened, she could strengthen that of
Their little child they resolved to cling to through
thick and thin; so, in order that they might not have so
far to carry him, father and mother each bridled a horse
and "took out" in the direction of the first Underground
Rail Road station. Their faithful animals proved
of incalculable service, but they were obliged to turn
them loose on the road without even having the
opportunity or pleasure of rewarding them with a
bountiful feed of oats.
Although they had strange roads, woods and night scenes
to pass through, yet they faltered not. They found
friends and advisers on the road, however, and reached
the Committee in safety, who was made to rejoice that
such promising-looking "property" could come out of
Ladies' Manor, Maryland. The Committee felt that
they had acted wisely in taking the horses to assist
them the first night.
arrival is recorded thus: "Dec. 10, 1855. Arrived,
two men from near Chestertown, Md. They came to
Wilmington in a one horse wagon, and through aid of
T. G. they were sent on." (Further account at
the time, written on a loose piece of paper, is among
escaped from Frederick, Md. After arriving in the
purpose of earning means to carry him still farther.
But he was soon led to apprehend danger, and was advised
and directed to apply to the Vigilance Committee of
Philadelphia for the needed aid, which he did, and was
dispatched forthwith to Canada.
About the same
time a young woman arrived, calling herself Mary
Curtis. She was from Baltimore, and was
prompted to escape to keep from being sold. She
was nineteen years of age, small size, dark complexion.
No special incidents in her life were noted.
BROWN came next. If others had managed to make
their way out of the prison-house without great
difficulties, it was far from William to meet
with such good luck, as he had suffered excessively for
five weeks while traveling. It was an easy matter
from a traveler to get lost, not knowing the roads, nor
was it safe to apply to a stranger for information or
direction, therefore, in many instances, the journey
would either have to be given up, or be prosecuted,
suffering almost to the death.
In the trying circumstances in which William
found himself, dark as everything looked, he could not
consent to return to his master, as he felt persuaded,
that if he did, thee would be no rest on earth for him.
He will remembered, that, because he had resisted being
flogged (being high spirited), his master had declined
to sell him for the express purpose of making an example
of him - as a warning to the other slaves on the place.
William was as much opposed to being thus made
use of as he was to being
flogged. His reflections and his stout heart
enabled him to endure five weeks of severe suffering
while fleeing from oppression. Of course, when he
did succeed, the triumph was unspeakably joyous.
Doubtless, he had thought a great deal during this time,
and being an intelligence fugitive, he interested the
The man that he escaped from was called William
Elliott, a farmer, living in Prince George's county,
Md. William Elliott claimed the right to
flog and used it too. William, however,
gave him the character of being among the moderate
slave-holders of that part of the country. This
was certainly a charitable view. William
was of a chestnut color, well made, and would have
commanded, under the "hammer," a high price, if his
apparent intelligence had not damaged him. He left
his father, grand-mother, four sisters and two brothers,
all living where he fled from.
HENRY BROWN. This "chattel" was owned by
Dr. Richard Dorsey, of Cambridge, Maryland. Up
to twenty-seven years of age, he had experienced and
observed how slaves were treated in his neighborhood,
and he made up his mind that he was not in favor of the
Institution in any form whatever. Indeed he felt,
that for a man to put his hand in his neighbor's pocket
and rob him, was nothing compared to the taking of a
man's hard earnings from year to year. Really
Charles reasoned the case so well, in his uncultured
country phrases, that the Committee was rather
surprised, and admired his spirit in escaping. He
was a man of not quite medium size, with marked features
of mind and character.
PURNELL and ISAAC FIDGET arrived from Berlin,
Md. Each had different owners. Oliver
stated that Mose Purnell had owned him, and that he
was a tolerably moderate kind of a slave-holder,
although he was occasionally subject to fractious turns.
Oliver simply gave as his reason for leaving in
the manner that he did, that he wanted his "own
earnings." He felt that he had as good a right to
the fruit of his labor as anybody else. Despite all
the pro-slavery teachings he had listened to all his
life, he was far from siding with the pro-slavery
doctrines. He was about twenty-six years of age,
chestnut color, wide awake and a man of promise; yet it
was sadly obvious that he had been blighted and cursed
by slavery even in its mildest forms. He left his
parents, two brothers and three sisters all slaves in
the hands of Purnell, the master whom he
his companion, was about thirty years of age, dark, and
in intellect about equal to the average passengers on
the Underground Rail Road. He had a very lively
hope of finding his wife in freedom, she having escaped
the previous Spring; but of her whereabouts he was
ignorant, as he had had no tidings of her since her
departure. A lady by the name of Mrs.
Fidget held the deed for Isaac. He
spoke kindly of her, as he thought she treated her
slaves quite as well at least as the best of
slave-holders in his neighbor-
hood. His view was a superficial one, it meant
only that they had not been beaten and starved half to
As the heroic adventures and sufferings of Slaves
struggling for freedom, shall be read by coming
generations, were it not for unquestioned statutes
upholding Slavery in its dreadful heinousness, people
will hardly be able to believe that such atrocities were
enacted in the nineteenth century, under a highly
enlightened, Christianized, and civilized government.
Having already copied a statute enacted by the State of
Virginia, as a sample of Southern State laws, it seems
fitting that the Fugitive Slave Bill, enacted by the
Congress of the United States, shall be also copied, in
order to commemorate that most infamous deed, by which,
it may be seen, how great were the bulwarks of
oppression to be surmounted by all who sought to obtain
freedom by flight.
FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL OF 1850.
"AN ACT RESPECTING FUGITIVES FROM
JUSTICE, AND PERSONS ESCAPING FROM THE SERVICE OF THEIR
Be it enacted
by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled:
persons who have been, or may hereafter be appointed
commissioners, in virtue of any Act of Congress, by the
circuit courts of the United States, and who, in
consequence of such appointment, are authorized to
exercise the powers that any justice of the peace or
other magistrate of any of the United States, may
exercise in respect to offenders for any crime or
offense against the United States, by arresting,
imprisoning, or bailing the same under and by virtue of
the thirty-third section of the act of the twenty-fourth
of September, seventeen hundred and eight-nine,
entitled, "An act to establish the judicial courts of
the United States," shall be, and are hereby authorized
and required to exercise and discharge all the powers
and duties conferred by this act.
And be it further enacted: That the superior court
of each organized territory of the United States, shall
have the same power to appoint commissioners to take
acknowledgements of bail and affidavit, and to take
depositions of witnesses in civil causes, which is now
possessed by the circuit courts of the United States,
and all commissioners, who shall hereafter be appointed
for such purposes, by the superior court of any
organized territory of the United States, shall possess
all the powers, and exercise all the duties conferred by
law, upon the commissioners appointed by the circuit.
courts of the United States for similar purposes, and
shall, moreover, exercise and discharge all the powers
and duties conferred by this act.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted:
That the circuit courts of the United States, and the
superior courts of each organized territory of the
United States, shall, from time to time, enlarge the
number of Commissioners, with a view to afford
reasonable facilities to reclaim fugitives from labor,
and to the prompt discharge of the duties imposed by
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, that
the commissioners above named, shall have concurrent
jurisdiction with the commissioners above named, shall
have concurrent jurisdiction with the judges of the
circuit and district courts of the United States, in
their respective circuits and districts within the
several States, and the judges of the superior courts of
the Territories severally and collectively, in term time
and vacation; and shall grant certificates to such
claimants, upon satisfactory proof being made, with
authority to take and remove such fugitives from service
or labor, under the restrictions herein contained, to
the State or territory from which such persons may have
escaped or fled.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted:
That it shall be the duty of all marshals and deputy
marshals, to obey and execute all warrants and precepts
issued under the provisions of this act, when to them
directed; and should any marshal or deputy marshal
refuse to receive such warrant or other process when
tendered, or to use all proper means diligently to
execute the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, be
fined in the sum of one thousand dollars to the use of
such claimant, on the motion of such claimant by the
circuit or district court for the district of such
marshal; and after arrest of such fugitive by the
marshal, or his deputy, or whilst at any time in his
custody, under the provisions of this act, should such
fugitive escape, whether with or without the assent of
such marshal or his deputy, such marshal shall be
liable, on his official bond, to be prosecuted, for the
benefit of such claimant, for the full value of the
service or labor of said fugitive in the State,
Territory or district whence he escaped; and the better
to enable the said commissioners, when thus appointed,
to execute their duties faithfully and efficiently, in
conformity with the requirements of the Constitution of
the United States, and of this act, they are hereby
authorized and empowered, within their counties
respectively, to appoint in writing under their hands,
any one or more suitable persons, from time to time, to
execute all such warrants and other process as may be
issued by them in the lawful performance of their
respective duties, with an authority to such
commissioners, or the persons to be appointed by them,
to execute process as aforesaid, to summon and call to
their aid the bystanders or posse comitatus, of the
proper county, when necessary to insure a faithful
observance of the clause of the Constitution referred
to, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and
efficient execution of this law, whenever their services
may be required, as
aforesaid, for that purpose; and said warrants shall run
and be executed by said officers anywhere in the State
within which they are issued.
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That
when a person held to service or labor in any State or
Territory of the United States, ,has heretofore, or
shall hereafter escape into another State or Territory
of the United States, the person or persons to whom such
service or labor may be due, or his her or their agent
or attorney, duly authorized, by power of attorney, in
writing, acknowledged and certified under the seal of
some legal office or court of the State or Territory, in
which the same may be executed, may pursue and reclaim
such fugitive person, either by procuring a warrant from
some one of the courts, judges, or commissioners
aforesaid, of the proper circuit, district or county,
for the apprehension of such fugitive from service or
labor, or by seizing and arresting such fugitive, where
the same can be done without process, and by taking, or
causing such person to be taken, forthwith, before such
court, judge or commissioner, whose duty it shall be to
hear and determine the case of such claimant in a
summary manner, and upon satisfactory proof being made,
by deposition or affidavit, in writing, to be taken and
certified by such court, judge or commissioner, or by
other satisfactory testimony, duly taken and certified
by some court, magistrate, justice of the peace, or
other legal officer authorized to administer an oath and
take depositions under the laws of the State or
Territory from which such person owing service or labor
may have escaped, with a certificate of such magistrate,
or other authority, as aforesaid, with the seal of the
proper court or officer thereto attached, which seal
shall be sufficient to establish the competency of the
proof, and with proof also, by affidavit, of the
identity of the person whose service or labor is claimed
to be due, as aforesaid, that the person so arrested
does in fact owe service or labor to the person or
persons claiming him or her, in the State or Territory
from which such fugitive may have escaped, as aforesaid,
and that said person escaped, to make out and deliver to
such claimant, his or her agent or attorney, a
certificate setting forth the substantial facts as to
the service or labor due from such fugitive to the
claimant, and of his or her escape from the State or
Territory in which such service or labor was due, to the
State or Territory, in which he or she was arrested,
with authority to such claimant, or his or her agent or
attorney, to use such reasonable force and restraint as
may be necessary, under the circumstances of the case,
to take and remove such fugitive person back to the
State or Territory from whence he or she may have
escaped, as aforesaid. In no trial or hearing,
under this act, shall the testimony of such alleged
fugitives be admitted in evidence, and the certificates
in this and the first section mentioned, shall be
conclusive of the right of the person or persons in
whose favor granted to remove such fugitives to the
State or Territory from which they escaped, and shall
prevent all molestation of said
person or persons by any process issued by any court,
judge, magistrate, or other person whomsoever.
SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That
any person who shall knowingly and willfully obstruct,
hinder, or prevent such claimant, his agent, or attorney,
or any other person or persons lawfully assisting him,
her or t hem from arresting such a fugitive from service
or labor, either with or without process, as aforesaid,
or shall rescue, or attempt to rescue, such fugitive
from service or labor, or from the custody of such
claimant, his or her agent, or attorney, or other person
or persons lawfully assisting, as aforesaid, when so
arrested, pursuant to the authority herein given and
declared, or shall aid, abet, or assist such person, so
owing service or labor, as aforesaid, directly or
indirectly, to escape from such claimant, his agent or
attorney, or other person or persons legally authorized,
as aforesaid, or shall harbor or conceal such fugitive,
so as to prevent the discovery and arrest of such
person, after notice or knowledge of the fact that such
person was a fugitive from service or labor, as
aforesaid, shall, for either or said offences, be
subject to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars,
and imprisonment not exceeding six months, by indictment
and conviction before the District Court of the United
States, for the distinct in which such offence may have
been committed, or before the proper court of criminal
jurisdiction, if committed within any one of the
organized Territories of the United States; and shall,
moreover, forfeit and pay, by way of civil damages, to
the party injured by such illegal conduct, the sum of
one thousand dollars for such fugitive so lost, as
aforesaid, to be recovered by action of debt in any of
the District or Territorial Courts aforesaid, within
those jurisdiction the said offence may have been
SEC. 8. And be it
further enacted, That the Marshals, their deputies, and
the clerks of the said districts and territorial courts,
shall be paid for their services the like fees as may be
allowed to them for similar services in other cases; and
where such services are rendered exclusively in the
arrest, custody, and delivery of the fugitives to the
claimant, his or her agent, or attorney, or where such
supposed fugitive may be discharged out of custody from
the want of sufficient proof, as aforesaid, then such
fees are to be paid in the whole by such
complainant, his agent or attorney, and in all cases
where the proceedings are before a Commissioner, he
shall be entitled to a fee of ten dollars in full for
his services in each case, upon the delivery of the said
certificate to the claimant, his or her agent or
attorney; or a fee of five dollars in cases where proof
shall not, in the opinion of said Commissioner, warrant
such certificate and delivery, inclusive of all services
incident to such arrest and examination, to be paid in
either case, by the claimant, his or her agent or
attorney. The person or persons authorized to
execute the process to be issued by such Commissioners
for the arrest and detention of fugitives from service
or labor, as aforesaid, shall also be entitled to a fee
of five dollars each for each person he or they may
arrest and take before any
such Commissioners, as aforesaid, at the instance and
request of such claim ant, with such other fees as may
be deemed reasonable by such Commissioner for such other
additional services as may be necessarily performed by
him or them; such as attending to the examination,
keeping the fugitive in custody, and providing him with
food and lodgings during his detention, and until the
final determination of such Commissioner; and in general
for performing such other duties as may be required by
such claimant, his or her attorney or agent or
commissioner in the premises; such fees to be made up in
conformity with the fees usually charged by the officers
of the courts of justice within the proper district or
county as far as may be practicable, and paid by such
claimants, their agents or attorneys, whether such
supposed fugitive from service or labor be ordered to be
delivered to such claimants by the final determination
of such Commissioners or not.
SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That upon
affidavit made by the claimant of such fugitive, his
agent or attorney, after such certificate has been
issued, that he has reason to apprehend that such
fugitive will be rescued by force from his or their
possession before he can be taken beyond the limits of
the State in which the arrest is made, it shall be the
duty of the officer making the arrest to retain such
fugitive in his custody, and to remove him to the State
whence he fled, and there to deliver him to said
claimant, his agent or attorney. And to this end
the officer aforesaid is hereby authorized and required
to employ so many persons as he may deem necessary, to
overcome such force, and to retain them in his service
so long as circumstances may require; the said officer
and his assistants, while so employed, to receive the
same compensation, and to be allowed the same expenses
as are now allowed by law for the transportation of
criminals, to be certified by the judge of the district
within which the arrest is made, and paid out of the
treasury of the United States.
SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That when
any person held to service or labor in any State or
Territory, or in the District of Columbia, shall escape
therefrom, the party to whom such service or labor shall
be due, his, her, or their agent, or attorney may apply
to any court of record therein, or judge thereof in
vacation, and make such satisfactory proof to such court
or judge in vacation, of the escape aforesaid, and that
the person escaping owed service or labor to such party.
Thereupon the court shall cause a record to be made of
the matters so proved, and also a personal description
of the person so escaping, with such convenient
certainty as may be; and a transcript of such record,
authenticated by the attestation of the clerk, and of
the seal of said court being produced in any other
State, Territory or District in which the person so
escaping may be found, and being exhibited to any judge,
commissioner, or other officer authorized by the law of
the United States to (muse persons escaping from service
or labor to be delivered up, shall be held and taken to
be full and conclusive evidence of the fact of
escape, and that the service or labor of the person
escaping is due to the party in such record mentioned.
And upon the production, by the said party, of other and
further evidence, if necessary, either oral or by
affidavit, in addition to what is contained in said
record of the identity of the person escaping, he or she
shall be delivered up to the claimant. And said
court, commissioners, judge, or other persons authorized
by this act to grant certificates to claimants of
fugitives, shall, upon the production of the record and
other evidence aforesaid, grant to such claimant a
certificate of his right to take any such person,
identified and proved to be owing service or labor as
aforesaid, which certificate shall authorize such
claimant to seize, or arrest and transport such person
to the State or Territory from which he escaped:
Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be
construed as requiring the production of a transcript of
such record as evidence of aforesaid, but in its
absence, the claim shall be heard and determined upon
the other satisfactory proofs competent in law.
THE SLAVE-HUNTING TRAGEDY IN
LANCASTER COUNTY, IN SEPTEMBER, 1851.
"TREASON AT CHRISTIANA."
the Fugitive Slave Bill in these records of the
Underground Rail Road, one or two slave cases will
doubtless suffice to illustrate the effect of its
passage on the public mind, and the colored people in
particular. The deepest feelings of loathing,
contempt and opposition were manifested y the opponents
of Slavery on every hand. Anti-slavery papers,
lecturers, preachers, etc., arrayed them selves boldly
against it on the ground of its inhumanity and violation
of the laws of God.
On the other hand, the slave-holders South, and their
pro-slavery adherents in the North demanded the most
abject obedience from all parties, regardless of
conscience or obligation to God. In order to
compel such obedience, as well as to prove the
practicability of the law, unbounded zeal daily marked
the attempt on the part of slave-holders and
slave-catchers to refasten the fetters on the limbs of
fugitives in different parts of the North, whither they
In this dark hour, when colored men's rights were so
insecure, as a matter of self-defence, they felt called
upon to arm themselves and resist all kidnapping
intruders, although clothed with the authority of wicked
law. Among the most exciting cases tending to
justify this course, the following may be named:
was the first slave case who was summarily arrested
under the Fugitive Slave Law, and sent back to bondage
from New York.
WILLIAM and ELLEN CRAFT were hotly
pursued to Boston by hunters from Georgia.
ADAM GIBSON, a free colored man, residing in
Philadelphia, was arrested, delivered into the hands of
his alleged claimants, by commissioner Edward D.
Ingraham, and hurried into Slavery.
EUPHEMIA WILLIAMS (the mother of six living
children), - her case excited much interest and
SHADRACH was arrested and rescued in Boston.
HANNAH DELLUM and her child were returned to
Slavery from Philadelphia.
THOMAS HALL and his wife were pounced upon at
midnight in Chester county, beaten and dragged off to
And, as if gloating over their repeated successes, and
utterly regardless of all caution, about one year after
the passage of this nefarious bill, a party of
slave-hunters arranged for a grand capture at
One year from the passage of the law, at a time when
alarm and excitement were running high, the most decided
stand was taken at Christiana, in the State of
Pennsylvania, to defeat the law, and defend freedom.
Fortunately for the fugitives the plans of the
slave-hunters and officials leaked out while
arrangements were making in Philadelphia for the
capture, and, information being sent to the Anti-slavery
office, a messenger was at once dispatched to Christiana
to put all persons supposed to be in danger on their
Among those thus notified, were brave hearts, who did
not believe in running away form slave-catchers.
They resolved to stand up for the right of self-defence.
They loved liberty and hatred Slavery, and when the
slave-catchers arrived, they were prepared for them.
Of the contest, on that bloody morning, we have copied a
report, carefully written at the time, by C. M.
Burleigh, editor of the "Pennsylvania Freeman," who
visited the scene of battle, immediately after it was
over, and doubtless obtained as faithful an account of
all the facts in the case, as could then be had.
"Last Thursday morning, (the 11th inst.), a peaceful
neighborhood in the borders of Lancaster, was made the
scene of a bloody battle, resulting from an attempt to
capture seven colored men as fugitive slaves. as
the reports of the affray which came to us were
contradictory, and having good reason to believe that
those of the daily press were grossly one-sided and
unfair, we repaired to the scene of the tragedy, and, by
patient inquiry and careful examination, endeavored to
learn the real facts. To do this, from the varying
and conflicting statements which we encountered,
scarcely account we give below, as the result of these
inquiries, is substantially correct.
Very early on the 11th inst. a party of slave hunters
went into a neigh-
borhood about two miles west of Christiana, near the
eastern border of Lancaster county, in pursuit of
fugitive slaves. The party consisted of Edward
Gorsuch, his son, Dickerson Gorsuch, his
nephew, Dr. Pearce, Nicholas Hutchins, and
others, all from Baltimore county, Md., and one Henry
H. Kline, a notorious slave-catching constable form
Philadelphia, who had been deputized by Commissioner
Ingraham for this business. At about day-dawn
they were discovered lying in an ambush near the house
of one William Parker, a colored man, by an
inmate of the house, who had started for his work.
He fled back to the house, pursued by the slave-hunters,
who entered the lower part of the house, but were unable
to force their way into the upper part, to which the
family had retired. A horn was blown from an upper
window; two shots were fired, both, as we believe,
though we are not certain, by the assailants, one at the
colored man who fled into the house, and the other at
the inmates, through the window. No one was
wounded by either. A parley ensued. The
slave-holder demanded his slaves, who he said were
concealed in the house. The colored men presented
themselves successively at the window, and asked if they
were the slaves claimed; Gorsuch said, that
neither of them was his slave. They told him that
they were the only colored men in the house, and were
determined never to be taken alive as slaves. Soon
the colored people of the neighborhood, alarmed by the
horn, began to gather, armed with guns, axes,
corn-cutters, or clubs. Mutual threatenings were
uttered by the two parties. The slave-holders told
the blacks that resistance would be useless, as they had
a party of thirty men in the woods near by. The
blacks warned them again to leave, as they would die
before they would go into Slavery.
From an hour to an hour and a half passed in these
parleyings, angry conversations, and threats; the blacks
increasing by new arrivals, until they probably numbered
from thirty to fifty, most of them armed in some way.
About this time, Castner Hanaway, a white man,
and a Friend, who resided in the neighborhood, rode up,
and was soon followed by Elijah Lewis, another
Friend, a merchant, in Cooperville, both gentlemen
highly esteemed as worthy and peaceable citizens.
As they came up, Kline, the deputy marshal,
ordered them to aid him, as a United States officer, to
capture the fugitive slaves. They refused of
course, as would any man not utterly destitute of honor,
humanity, and moral principle, and warned the assailants
that it was madness for them to attempt to capture
fugitive slaves there, or even to remain, and begged
them if they wished to save their own lives, to leave
the ground. Kline replied, "Do you really
think so?" "Yes," was the answer, "the sooner you
leave, the better, if you would prevent bloodshed."
Kline then left the ground, retiring into very safe
distance into a cornfield, and took the woods. The
blacks were so exasperated by his threats, that, but for
the interposition of the two white Friends, it is very
doubtful whether he would have escaped without injury.
Messrs. Hanaway and
THE CHRISTIANA TRAGEDY.
Lewis both exerted their influence to dissuade
the colored people from violence, and would probably
have succeeded in restraining them, had not the
assailing party fired upon them. Young Gorsuch
asked his father to leave, but the old man refused,
declaring, as it is said and believed, that he would "go
to hell, or have his slaves."
Finding they could do nothing further, Hanaway
and Lewis both started to leave, again
counselling the slave-hunters to go away, and the
colored people to peace, but had gone but a few rods,
when one of the inmates of the house attempted to come
out at the door. Gorsuch presented his
revolver, ordering him back. The colored man
replied, "You had better go away, if you don't want to
get hurt," and at the same time pushed him aside and
passed out. Maddened at this, and stimulated by
the question of his nephew, whether he would "take such
an insult from a d--d nigger," Gorsuch fired at
the colored man, and was followed by his son and nephew,
who both fired their revolvers. The fire was
returned by the blacks, who made a rush upon them at the
same time. Gorsuch and his son fell, the
one dead the other wounded. The rest of the party
after firing their revolvers, fled precipitately through
the corn and to the woods, pursued by some of the
blacks. One was wounded, the rest escaped unhurt.
Kline, the deputy marshal, who now boasts of his
miraculous escape from a volley of musket balls, had
kept at a safe distance, though urged by young
Gorsuch to stand by his father and protect him, when
he refused to leave the ground. He of course came
off unscathed. Several colored men were wounded,
but none severely. Some had their hats or their
clothes perforated with bullets; others had flesh
wounds. They said that the Lord protected them,
and they shook the bullets from their clothes. One man
found several shot in his boot, which seemed to have
spent their force before reaching him, and did not even
break the skin. The slave-holders having fled,
several neighbors, mostly Friends and anti-slavery men,
gathered to succor the wounded and take charge of the
dead. We are told that Parker himself
protected the wounded man from his excited comrades, and
brought water and a bed from his own house for the
invalid, thus showing that he was as magnanimous to his
fallen enemy as he was brave in the defence of his own
liberty. The young man was then removed to a
neighboring house, where the family received him with
the tenderest kindness and paid him every attention,
though they told him in Quaker phrase, that “ they had
no unity with his cruel business,” and were very sorry
to see him engaged in it. He was much affected by
their kindness, and we are told, expressed his regret
that he had been thus engaged, and his determination, if
his life was spared, never again to make a similar
attempt. His wounds are very severe, and it is
feared mortal. All attempts to procure assistance
to capture the fugitive slaves failed, the people in the
neighborhood either not relishing the business of
slave-catching, or at least, not choosing to risk their
lives in it.
There was a very great reluctance felt to going even to
remove the body and the wounded man, until several
abolitionists and Friends had collected for that object,
when others found courage to follow on. The
excitement caused by this most melancholy affair is very
great among all classes. The abolitionists, of
course, mourn the occurrence, while they see in it a
legitimate fruit of the Fugitive Slave Law, just such a
harvest of blood as they had long feared that the law
would produce, and which they had earnestly labored to
prevent. We believe that they alone, of all
classes of the nation, are free from responsibility for
its occurrence, having wisely foreseen the danger, and
faithfully labored to avert it by removing its causes,
and preventing the inhuman policy which has hurried on
the bloody convulsion.
The enemies of the colored people, are making this the
occasion of fresh injuries, and a more bitter ferocity
toward that defenceless people, and of new
misrepresentation and calumnies against the
The colored people, though the great body of them had
no connection with this affair, are hunted like
partridges upon the mountains, by the relentless horde
which has been poured forth upon them, under the
pretense of arresting the parties concerned in the
fight. When we reached Christiana, on
Friday afternoon, we found that the Deputy-Attorney
Thompson, of Lancaster, was there, and had issued
warrants, upon the depositions of Kline and
others, for the arrest of all suspected persons. A
company of police were scouring the neighborhood in
search of colored people, several of whom were seized
while at their work near by, and brought in.
HANAWAY and Elijah Lewis, hearing that
warrants were issued against them, came to Christiana,
and voluntarily gave themselves up, calm and strong in
the confidence of their innocence. They, together
with the arrested colored men, were sent to Lancaster
jail that night.
The next morning we visited the ground of the battle,
and the family where young Gorsuch now lives, and
while there, we saw a deposition which he had just made,
that he believed no white persons were engaged in the
affray, beside his own party. As he was on the
ground during the whole controversy, and deputy
Marshall Kline had discreetly run off into
the corn-field, before the fighting began, the hireling
slave—catcher’s eager and confident testimony against
our white friends, will, we think, weigh lightly with
On returning to Christiana, we found that the United
States Marshal from the city, had arrived at that place,
accompanied by Commissioner Ingraham, Mr.
Jones, a special commissioner of the United
States, from Washington, the U. S. District Attorney
Ashmead, with forty-five U. S. Marines from the Navy
Yard, and a posse of about forty of the City Marshal’s
police, together with a large body of special
constables, eager for such a man hunt, from Columbia and
Lancaster and other places. This crowd divided
into parties, of from ten to twenty-five, and scoured
the country, in every
direction, for miles around, ransacking the houses of
the colored people, and captured every colored man they
could find, with several colored women, and two other
white men. Never did our heart bleed with deeper
pity for the peeled and persecuted colored people, than
when we saw this troop let loose upon them, and
witnessed the terror and distress which its approach
excited in families, wholly innocent of the charges laid
On the other had, a few extracts from the editorials of
some of the leading papers, will suffice to show the
state of public feeling at that time, and the dreadful
opposition abolitionists and fugitives had to contend
From one of the leading daily journals of Philadelphia,
we copy as follows:
"There can be no difference of opinion concerning the
shocking affair which occurred at Christiana, on
Thursday, the resisting of a law of Congress by a band
of armed negroes, whereby the majesty of the Government
was defied and life taken in one and the same act.
There is something more than a mere ordinary, something
more than even a murderous, riot in all this. It
is an act of insurrection, we might, considering the
peculiar class and condition of the guilty parties,
almost call it a servile insurrection - if not also one
of treason. Fifty, eighty, or a hundred persons,
whether white even the law for the recovery of fugitive
slaves, are in the attitude of levying war against the
United States; and doubly heavy becomes the crime of
murder in such a case, and doubly serious the
accountability of all who have any connection with the
act as advisers, suggesters, countenancers ,or
accessories in any way whatever."
In those days, the paper from which this extract is
taken, represented the Whig party and the more moderate
and respectable class of citizens.
The following is an extract from a leading democratic
organ of Philadelphia:
"We will not, however, insult the reader by arguing
that which has not been heretofore doubted, and which is
not doubted now, by ten honest men in the State, and
that is the abolitionists are implicated in the
Christiana murder. All the ascertained facts go to
show that they were the real, if not the chief
instigators. White men are known to harbor
fugitives, in the neighborhood of Christiana, and these
white men are known to be abolitionists, known to the
opposed to the Fugitive Slave Law, and known to
be the warm friends of William F. Johnston,
(Governor of the State of Pennsylvania). And, as
if to clinch the argument, no less than three
white men are now in the Lancaster prison, and were
arrested as accomplices in the dreadful affair on the
morning of the eleventh. And one of these white
men was committed on a charge of high treason, on
Saturday last, by United States Commissioner
Another daily paper of
opposite politics thus spake:
unwarrantable outrage committed last week, as
Christiana, Lancaster county, is a foul stain upon the
fair name and fame of our State. We are pleased to
see that the officers of the Federal and State
Governments are upon the tracts of those who were
engaged in the riot, and that several arrests have been
We do not wish to see the poor misled blacks who
participated in the affair, suffer to any great extent,
for they were but tools. The men who are really
chargeable with treason against the United States
Government, and with the death of Mr. Gorsuch, an
estimable citizen of Maryland, are unquestionably
white, with hearts black enough to incite them to
the commission of any crime equal in atrocity to that
committed in Lancaster country. Pennsylvania has
now but one course to pursue, and, that is to aid, and
warmly aid, the United States in bringing to condign
punishment, every man engaged in the riot. She
owes it to herself and to the Union. Let her in
this resolve, be just and fearless.
From a leading neutral daily paper the following is
taken: "One would suppose from the advice of forcible
resistance, so familiarly given by the abolitionists,
that they were quite unaware that there is any such
crime as treason recognized by the Constitution, or
punished with death by the laws of the United States.
We would remind the, that not only is there such a
crime, but that there is a solemn decision of the
Supreme Court, that all who are concerned in a
conspiracy which ripens into treason, whether present or
absent from the scene of actual violence, are involved
in the same liabilities as the immediate actors.
If they engage in the conspiracy and stimulate the
treason, they may keep their bodies from the affray
without saving their necks from a halter.
It would be very much to the advantage of society, if
an example could be made of some of these persistent
agitators, who excite the ignorant and reckless to
treasonable violence, from which they themselves shrink,
but who are, not only in morals, but in law, equally
guilty and equally amenable to punishment with the
victims of their inflammatory counsels."
A number of the most influential citizens represented
the occurrence to the Governor as follows:
"To the Governor of Pennsylvania:
The undersigned, citizens of Pennsylvania, respectfully
That citizens of a neighboring State have been cruelly
assassinated by a band of armed outlaws at a place not
more than three hours' journey distant from the seat of
Government and from the commercial metropolis of the
That this insurrectionary movement in one of the most
populous parts of the State has been so far successful
as to overawe the local ministers of justice and
paralyze the power of the law:
That your memorialists are not aware that 'any military
force' has been
sent to the seat of insurrection, or that the civil
authority has been strengthened by the adoption of any
measures suited to the momentous crisis.
They, therefore, respectfully request the chief
executive magistrate of Pennsylvania to take into
consideration the necessity of vindicating the outraged
laws, and sustaining the dignity of the Commonwealth on
this important and melancholy occasion."
Under this high pressure of public excitement,
threatening and alarm breathed so freely on every hand,
that fugitive slaves and their friends in this region of
Pennsylvania at least, were compelled to pass through an
hour of dreadful darkness - an ordeal extremely trying.
The authorities of the United States, as well as the
authorities of the State of Pennsylvania and Maryland,
were diligently making arrests wherever a suspected
party could be found, who happened to belong in the
neighborhood of Christiana.
In a very short time the following persons were in
custody: J. Castner Hanaway, Elijah Lewis,
Joseph Scarlett, Samuel Kendig, Henry Spins, George
Williams, Charles Hunter, Wilson Jones, Francis Harkins,
Benjamin Thomson, William Brown (No. 1), William
Brown (No. 2), John Halliday, Elizabeth Mosey,
John Morgan, Joseph Berry, John Norton, Denis Smith,
Harvey Scott, Susan Clark, Tansy Brown, Eliza Brown,
Eliza Parker, Hannah Pinckney, Robert Johnson, Miller
Thompson, Isaiah Clark, and Jonathan Black.
These were not all, but sufficed for a beginning;
at least it made an interesting entertainment for the
first day's examination; and although there were two or
three non-resistant Quakes, and a number of poor
defenceless colored women among those thus taken as
prisoners, still it seemed utterly impossible for the
exasperated defenders of Slavery to divest themselves of
the idea, that this heroic deed, in self-defence, on the
part of men who felt that their liberties were in
danger, was anything less than actually levying war
against the United States.
Accordingly, therefore, the hearing gravely took place
at Lancaster. On the side of the Commonwealth, the
following distinguished counsel appeared on examination:
Hon. John L. Thompson, District Attorney; Wm.
B. Faulney, Esq.; Thos. E. Franklin, Esq.,
Attorney General of Lancaster County; George L.
Ashmead, Esq., of Philadelphia, representative of
the United States authorities; and Hon. Robert Brent,
Attorney-General of Maryland.
For the defence - Hon. Thaddeus Steens, Reah Frazer,
Messrs. Ford, Cline, and Dickey, Esquires.
From a report of the first day's hearing we copy a
short extract, as follows:
"The excitement at Christiana, during yesterday, was
very great. Several hundred persons were present,
and the deepest feeling was manifested against the
perpetrators of the outrage. At two o'clock
the United States Marshal, Mr. Roberts, United
States District Army, J. H. Ashmead, Esq., Mr.
Commissioner Ingraham and Recorder Lee,
accompanied by the United States Marines, returned to
the city. Lieut. Johnson, and officers
Lewis S. Brest, Samuel Mitchell, Charles McCully, Samuel
Neff, Jacob Albright, Robert McEwen, and ___
Perkinpine, by direction of the United States
Marshal, had charge of the following named prisoners,
who were safely lodged in Moyamensing prison,
accompanied by the Marines: - Joseph Scarlett,
(white), William Brown, Ezekiel Thompson, Isaiah
Clarkson, Daniel Caulsberry, Benjamin Pendergrass,
Elijah Clark, George W. H. Scott, Miller Thompson,
and Samuel Hanson, all colored. The last
three were placed in the debtors' apartment, and the
others in the criminal apartment of the Moyamensing
prison to await their trial for treason, &c.
In alluding to the second day's doings the
Philadelphia, Ledger thus represented matters at the
field of battle:
"The intelligent received last evening, represents the
country for miles around, to be in as much excitement as
at any time since the horrible deed was committed.
The officers sent there at the instant of the proper
authorities are making diligent search in every
direction, and securing every person against whom the
least suspicion is attached. The police force from
this city, amounting to about sixty men, are under the
marshalship of Lieut. Ellis. Just as the
cars started east, in the afternoon, five more prisoners
who were secured at a place called the Welsh Mountains,
twelve miles distant, were brought into Christiana.
They were placed in custody until such time as a hearing
will take place.
Although the government had summoned its ablest legal
talent and the popular sentiment was as a hundred to one
against William Parker and his brave comrades who
had made the slave-hunter "bite the dust," most nobly
did Thaddeus Stevens prove that he was not to be
cowed, that he believed in the stirring sentiment so
much applauded by the American people, "Give me liberty,
or give me death," not only for the white man but for
all men. Thus standing upon such great and
invulnerable principles, it was soon discovered that one
could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to
flight in latter as well in former times.
At first even the friends of freedom thought that the
killing of Gorsuch was not only wrong, but
unfortunate for the cause. Scarcely a week passed,
however, before the matter was looked upon in a
far different light, and it was pretty generally thought
that, if the Lord had not a direct hand in it, the cause
of Freedom at least would be greatly benefited thereby.
And just in proportion as the masses cried, Treason!
Treason! the hosts of freedom from one end of the land
to the other were awakened to sympathize with the slave.
Thousands were soon aroused to show sympathy who had
hithreto been dormant. Hundreds visited the
prisoners in their
cells to greet, cheer, and offer them aid and counsel in
their hour of sore trial.
The friends of freedom remained calm even while the
pro-slavery party were fiercely raging and gloating over
the prospect, as they evidently thought of the
satisfaction to be derived from teaching the
abolitionists a lesson from the scaffold, which would in
future prevent Underground Rail Road passengers from
killing their masters when in pursuit of them.
Through the efforts of the authorities three white men,
and twenty-seven colored had been safely lodged in
Moyamensing prison, under the charge of treason.
The authorities, however, had utterly failed to catch
the hero, William Parker, as he had been sent to
Canada, via the Underground Rail Road, and was
thus "sitting under his own vine and fig tree, where
none dared to molest, or make him afraid."
As an act of simple justice it may here be stated that
the abolitionists and prisoners found a true friend and
ally at least in one United States official, who, by the
way, figured prominently in making arrests, etc.,
namely: the United States Marshal, A. E. Roberts.
In all his intercourse with the prisoners and their
friends, he plainly showed that all his sympathies were
on the side of Freedom, and not with the popular
pro-slavery sentiment which clamored so loudly against
traitors and abolitionists.
Two of his prisoners had been identified in the jail as
fugitive slaves by their owners. When the trial
escaped as unknown the Marshal, however, was strongly
suspected of being a friend of the Underground Rail
Road, and to add now, that those suspicions were founded
on fact, will doubtless, do him no damage.
In order to draw the contrast between Freedom and
Slavery, simply with a view of showing how the powers
that were acted and judged in the days of the reign of
the Fugitive Slave Law, unquestionably nothing better
could be found to meet the requirements of this issue
than the charge of Judge Kane, coupled with the
indictment of the Grand Jury. In the light of the
Emancipation and the Fifteenth Amendment, they are too
transparent to need a single word of comment.
Judge and jury having found the accused chargeable with
Treason, nothing remained, so far as the men were
concerned, but to bide their time as best they could be
prison. Most of them were married, and had wives
and children clinging to them in this hour of fearful
looking for of judgment.
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