GENEALOGY EXPRESS

 

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Black
History & Genealogy

STILL'S
UNDERGROUND RAIL ROAD RECORDS,

REVISED EDITION.
(Previously Published in 1879 with title: The Underground Railroad)
WITH A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
NARRATING
THE HARDSHIPS, HAIRBREADTH ESCAPES AND DEATH STRUGGLES
OF THE
SLAVES
IN THEIR EFFORTS FOR FREEDOM.
TOGETHER WITH
SKETCHES OF SOME OF THE EMINENT FRIENDS OF FREEDOM, AND
MOST LIBERAL AIDERS AND ADVISERS OF THE ROAD
BY
WILLIAM STILL,
For many years connected with the Anti-Slavery Office in Philadelphia, and Chairman of the Acting
Vigilant Committee of the Philadelphia Branch of the Underground Rail Road.

Illustrated with 70 Fine Engravings by Bensell, Schell and Others,
and Portraits from Photographs from Life.

Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant that has escaped from his master unto thee. - Deut. xxiii 16.

SOLD ONLY BY SUBSCRIPTION.

PHILADELPHIA:
WILLIAM STILL, PUBLISHER
244 SOUTH TWELFTH STREET.
1886

[Pg. 97 - continued]

-------------------------

THE ARRIVALS OF A SINGLE MONTH
SIXTY PASSENGERS CAME IN ONE MONTH - TWENTY-EIGHT IN ONE ARRIVAL - GREAT PANIC AND INDIGNATION MEETING - INTERESTING CORRESPONDENCE FROM MASTERS AND FUGITIVES.

     The great number of cases to be here notice forbids more than a brief reference to each passenger.  AS they arrived in parties, their narratives will be given in due order as found on the book of records:
     William Griffen, Henry Moor, James Camper, Noah Ennells and Levin Parker.  This party came from Cambridge, Md.
     WILLIAM is thirty-four years of age, of medium size and substantial appearance.  He fled from James Waters, Esq., a lawyer, living in Cambridge.  He was "wealthy, close, and stingy," and owned nine head of slaves and a farm, on which William served.  He was used very hard, which was the cause of his escape, though the idea that he was entitled to his freedom had been entertained for the previous twelve years.  On preparing to take the Underground, he armed himself with a big butcher-knife, and resolved, if attacked, to make his enemies stand back.  His master was a member of the Methodist Church.
     HENRY is tall, copper-colored, and about thirty years of age.  He complained not so much of bad usage as of the utter distaste he had to working all the time for the "white people for nothing."  He was also decidedly of the opinion that every man should have his liberty.  Four years ago his wife was "sold away to Georgia" by her young master; since which time not a word had he heard from her.  She left three children, and he, in escaping also had to leave them in the same hands that sold their mother.  He was owned by Levin Dale, a farmer near Cambridge.  Henry was armed with a six-barrelled revolver, a large knife, and a determined mind.
     JAMES is twenty-four years of age, quite black, small size, keen look, and full of hope for the "best part of Canada."  He fled from Henry Hooper "a dashing young man and a member of the Episcopal Church."  Left because he "did not enjoy privileges" as he wished to do.  He was armed with two pistols and a dirk to defend himself.
     NOAH is only nineteen, quite dark, well-proportioned, and possessed of a fair average of common sense.  He was owned by "Black-head Bill LeCount," who "followed drinking, chewing tobacco, catching 'runaways,' and hanging around the court house."  However, he owned six head of slaves, and had a "rough wife," who belonged to the Methodist Church.  Left be

[pg. 98]
cause he "expected every day to be sold" - his master being largely in "debt." Brought with him a butcher-knife.
     LEVIN is twenty-two, rather short built, medium size and well colored.  He fled from Lawrence G. Colson, "a very bad man, fond of drinking, great to fight and swear, and hard to please.  His mistress was "real rough; very bad, worse than he was as 'fur' as she could be."  Having been stinted with food and clothing and worked hard, was the apology offered by Levin for running off.
     STEBNEY SWAN, John Stinger, Robert Emerson, Anthony Pugh and Isabella _____.  This company came from Portsmouth, Va.  Stebney is thirty-four years of age, medium size, mulatto, and quite wide awake.  He was owned by an oysterman by the name of Jos. Carter, who lived near Portsmouth.  Naturally enough his master "drank hard, gambled" extensively, and in every other respect was a very ordinary man.  Nevertheless, he "owned twenty-five head," and had a wife and six children.  Stebney testified that he had not been used hard, though he had been on the "auction-block three times."  Left because he was "tired of being a servant."  Armed with a board-axe and hatchet, he started, joined by the above-named companions, and came in a skiff, by sea.  Robert Lee was the brave Captain engaged to pilot this Slavery-sick party from the prison-house of bondage.  And although every rod of rowing was attended with inconceivable peril, the desired haven was safely reached, and the overjoyed voyagers conducted to the Vigilance Committee.
     JOHN
is about forty years of age, and so near white that a microscope would be required to discern his colored origin.  His father was white and his mother nearly so.  He also had been owned by the oysterman alluded to above; had been captain of one of his oyster-boats, until recently.  And but for his attempt some months back to make his escape, he might have been this day in the care of his kind-hearted master.  But, because of this wayward step on the part of John, his master felt called upon to humble him.  Accordingly, the captaincy was taken from him, and he was compelled to struggle on in a less honorable position.  Occasionally John's mind would be refreshed by his master relating the hard times in the North, the great starvation among the blacks, etc.  He would also tell John how much better off he was as a "slave with a kind master to provide for all his wants," etc.  Notwithstanding all this counsel, John did not rest contented until he was on the Underground Rail Road.
     ROBERT was only nineteen, with an intelligent face and prepossessing manners; reads, writes and ciphers; and is about half Anglo-Saxon.  He fled from Wm. H. Wilson, Esq.., Cashier of the Virginia Bank.  Until within the four years previous to Robert's escape, the cashier was spoken of as a "very god man;" but in consequence of speculations in a large Hotel in Portsmouth, and the then financial embarrassments, "he had become ser



ESCAPING FROM NORFOLK, IN CAPT. LEE'S SKIFF.

[pg. 99]
ously involved," and decidedly changed in his manners.  Robert noticed this, and concluded he had "better get out of danger as soon as possible."
     ANTHONY and Isabella were an engaged couple, and desired to cast their lot where husband and wife could not be separated on the auction block.
     The following are of the Cambridge party, above alluded to.  All left together, but for prudential reasons separated before reaching Philadelphia.  The company that left Cambridge on the 24th of October may be thus recognized:  Aaron Cornish and wife, with their six children; Solomon, George Anthony, Joseph, Edward James, Perry Lake, and a nameless babe, all very likely; Kit Anthony and wife Leah, and three children, Adam, Mary, and Murray; Joseph Hill and wife Alice, and their son Henry; also Joseph's sister.  Add to the above, Marshall Dutton and George Light, both single young men, and we have twenty-eight in one arrival, as hearty-looking, brave and interesting specimens of Slavery as could well be produced from Maryland.  Before setting out they counted well the cost.  Being aware that fifteen had left their neighborhood only a few days ahead of them, and that every slave-holder and slave-catcher throughout the community, were on the alert, and raging furiously against the inroads of the Underground Rail Road, they provided themselves with the following weapons of defense: three revolvers, three double-barreled pistols, three single-barreled pistols, three sword-canes, four butcher knives, one bowie-knife, and one paw.*  Thus, fully resolved from freedom or death, with  scarcely provisions enough for a single day, while the rain and storm was piteously descending, fathers and mothers with children in their arms (Aaron Cornish had two) - the entire party started.  Of course, their provisions gave out before they were fairly on the way, but not so with the storm.  It continued to pour upon them for nearly three days.  With nothing to appease the gnawings of hunger but parched corn and a few dry crackers, wet and cold, with several of the children sick, some of their feet bare and worn, and one of the mothers with an infant in her arms, incapable of partaking of the diet, - it is impossible to imagine the ordeal they were passing.  It was enough to cause the bravest hearts to falter.  But not for a moment did they allow themselves to look back.  It was exceedingly agreeable to hear even the little children testify that in the most trying hour on the road, not for a moment did they want to go back.  The following advertisement, taken from The Cambridge Democrat of November 4, shows how the Rev. Levi Traverse felt about Aaron -

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

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

[pg. 100]

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

 

 

 

 

[pg. 101]
he declared, should never have his property (having no other heir but his niece, except his widow), that the slaves relied on his promise to free them.  Thus in view of the facts referred to, Aaron was led to commit the unpardonable sin of runaway with his wife Daffney, who, by the way, looked like a woman fully capable of taking care of herself and children, instead of having then stolen away from her, as though they were pigs.

     JOSEPH VINEY and family- Joseph was 'held to service or labor,"  by Charles Bryant, of Alexandria, VA.  Joseph had very nearly finished paying for himself.  His wife and children were held by Samuel Pattison, Esq., a member of the Methodist Church, "a great big man," "with red eyes, bald heard, drank pretty freely," and in the language of Joseph, "wouldn't hear nothing."  Two of Joseph's brothers - in - law had been sold by his master.  Against Mrs. Pattison his complaint was, that "she was mean, sneaking, and did not want to give half enough to eat."
     For the enlightenment of all Christendom, and coming posterity especially, the following advertisement and letter are recorded, with the hope that they will have an important historical value.  The writer was at great pains to obtain these interesting documents, directly after the arrival of the memorable Twenty-eight; and shortly afterwards furnished to the New York Tribune, in a prudential manner, a brief sketch of these very passengers, including the advertisements, but not the letter.  It was safely laid away for history -

     $2,000 Reward. - Ran away from the subscriber on Saturday night, the 24th inst., FOURTEEN HEAD OF NEGROES, viz: Four men, two women, one boy and seven children.  KIT is about 35 years of age, five feet six or seven inches high, dark chestnut color, and has a scar on one of his thumbs.  JOE is about 30 years old, very black, his teeth are very white, and is about five feet eight inches high.  HENRY is about 22 years old, five feet ten inches high, of dark chestnut color and large front teeth.  JOE is about 20 years old, about five feet six inches high, heavy built and black.  TOM is about 16 years old, about five feet high, light chestnut color.  SUSAN is about 35 years old, dark chestnut color, and rather stout built; speaks rather slow, and has with her FOUR CHILDREN, varying from one to seven years of age.  LEAH is about 28 years old, about five feet high, dark chestnut color, with THREE CHILDREN, two boys and one girl from one to eight years old.
     I will give $1,000 if taken in the county, $1,500 if taken out of the county and in the State, and $2,000 if taken out of the State; in either case to belonged in Cambridge (Md.) Jail, so that I can get them again; or I will give a fair proportion of the above reward of any part be secured.

SAMUEL PATTISON
Near Cambridge, Md

     October 26, 1857.

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

SAMUEL PATTISON'S LETTER

CAMBRIDGE, Nov. 16th, 1857.

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

[Pg. 102]
quick step and walks very straight, and can read and write.  Joe, is about 80 years old, very black and about five feet eight inches high, has a very pleasing appearance, he has a free wife who left with him she is a light molatoo, she has a child not over one year old.  Henry is about 22 years old, five feet, ten inches high, of dark chestnut large front teeth, he stoops a little in his walk and has a downward look.  Joe is about 20 years old, about five feet six inches high, heavy built, and has a grum look and voice dull, and black.  Tom is about 16 years old about five feet high light chestnut coller, smart active boy, and swagers in his walk.  Susan is about 35 years old, dark chesnut coller and stout built, speaks rather slow and has with her four children, three boys and one girl - the girl has a thumb or finger on her left hand (part of it) cut off, the children are from 9 months to 8 years old.  (the youngest a boy 9 months and the oldest whose name is Lloyd is about 8 years old)  The husband of Susan (Joe Viney) started off with her, he is a slave, belonging to a gentleman in Alexandria D. C. he is about 40 years old and dark chesnut coller rather slender built and about five feet seven or eight inches high, he is also the Father of Henry, Joe and Tom.  A reward of $400 will be given for his apprehension.  2 Boys and 1 girl, they are from one to eight years old, the oldest boy is called Adam, Lee is the wife of Kit, the first named man in the list.  Sarah Jane is about 25 years old, stout built and chesnut coller, quick and active in her walk.  Making in all 15 head, men, women and children belonging to me, or 16 head including Joe Viney, the husband of my woman Susan.
    
A Reward of $2250 will be given for my negroes if taken out of the State of Maryland and lodged in Cambridge or Baltimore Jail, so that I can get them or a fair proportion for any part of them.
     If you should want any information, witnesses to prove or indentify the negroes, write immediately on to me.  Or if you should read any information with regard to provign the negroes, before I could reach Philadelphia, you can call on Mr. Burroughs at Martin & Smith's store, Market Street, No. 308.  Phila and he can refer you to a gentleman who knows the negroes.

Yours & c SAML. PATTISON

     This letter was in answer to one written in Philadelphia and signed, "L. W. Thompson."  It is not improbable that Mr. Pattison's loss had produced such a high state of mental excitement that he was hardly in a condition for cool reflection, or he would have weighed the matter a little more carefully exposing himself to the U. G. R. R. agents.  But the letter possesses two commendable features, nevertheless.  It was tolerably well written and prompt.
     Here is a wonderful exhibition of affection for his contented and happy negroes.  Whether Mr. Pattison suspended on suddenly learning that he was minus fifteen head, the writer cannot say.  But that there was a great slave hunt in every direction there is no room to doubt.  Though much more might be said about the parties concerned, it must suffice to add that they came to the Vigilance Committee in a very sad plight - in tattered garments, hungry, sick, and penniless; but they were kindly clothed, fed, doctored, and sent on their way rejoicing.

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


TWENTY-EIGHT FUGITIVES ESCAPING FROM THE EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND

[pg. 103]
John Stanly and Miller Stanly (arrival from Cambridge.)  Daniel is about 35, well-made and wide-awake.  Fortunately, in emancipating himself, he also, through great perseverance, secured the freedom of his wife and six children; one child he was compelled to leave behind.  Daniel belonged to Robert Calender, a farmer, and, "except when in a passion," said to be  "pretty clever."  However, considering as a father, that it was his "duty to do all he could" for his children, and that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, Daniel felt bound to seek refuge in Canada.  His wife and children were owned by "Samuel Count, an old, bald-headed, bad man," who "had of late years been selling and buying slaves as a business,"  thought he stood high and was a "big bug in Cambridge."  The children were truly likely-looking.
     Nat is no ordinary man.  Like a certain other Nat known to history, his hnest and independent bearing in every respect was that of a natural hero.  He was full black, and about six feet high; of powerful physical proportions, and of more the Port of Canada safely, he had resolved to be "carried back," if attacked by the slave hunters, "only as a dead man."  He was held to service by John Muir, a wealthy farmer, and the owner of 40 or 50 slaves  "Muir would drink and was generally devilish."  Two of Nat's sisters and one of his brothers had been "sold away to Georgia by him."  Therefore, admonished by threats and fears of having to pass through the same firey furnace, Nat's mistress to his present owner that he came into Muir's hands.  "Up to the time of her death," he had been encouraged to "hope" that he would be "free;" indeed, he was assured by her "dying testimony that the slaves were not to be sold."  But regardless of the promises and will of his departed wife, Muir soon extinguished all hopes of freedom from that quarter.  But not believing that God had put one man here to "be the servant of another - to work," and get none of the benefit of his labor, Nat armed himself with a good pistol and a big knife, and taking his wife with him, bade adieu forever to bondage.  Observing that Lizzie (Nat's wife) looked pretty decided and resolute, a member of the committee remarked,  "Would your wife fight for freedom?"  "I have heard her say she would wade through blood and tears for her freedom," said Nat, in the most serious mood.
     The following advertisement from The Cambridge Democrat  of Nov. 4, speaks for itself -

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

[pg. 104]
     I will give the above reward if taken in this County, or one-half of what she sells for if taken out of the County or State.  In either case to be lodged in Cambridge Jail.

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

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

JOHN MUIR.

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

AUBURN, JUNE 10th, 1858.

     MR. WILLIAM STILL: - Sir, will you be so Kind as to write a letter to affey White in straw berry alley in Baltimore city on the point.  Say to her at nat Ambey that I wish to Know from her the Last Letar that Joseph Ambie and Henry Ambie to Brothers and Ann Warfield a couisin of them two boys.  I state above I would like to hear from my mother sichy Ambie you will Please write to my mother and tell her that I am well and doing well and state to her that I perform my Relissius dutys and I would like to hear from her and want to know if she is performing her Relissius dutys yet and send me word from all her children I left behind say to affey White that I wish her to write me a Letter in Hast my wife is well and doing well and my nephew is doing well  Please tell affey White when she writes to me to Let me know where Joseph and Henry Ambie is.
     My Still Please Look on your Book and you will find my name on your Book.  They was eleven of us children and all when we came through and I feal interrest about my Brothers.  I have never heard from them since I Left home you will Please Be Kind annough to attend to this Letter  When you send the answer to this Letter you will Please send it to P. R. Freeman Auburn City Cayuga County New York.

Yours Truly                                     NAT AMBIE

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

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

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

[pg. 105]

MONTREAL, September 1st 1859

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERESTING LETTER FROM ISRAEL.

HAMILTON, Oct. 16, 1858

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

[pg. 106]
November, next.  I wish you would write to me how many of my friends you have seen since October, 1857.  Montgomery Green keeps a barber shop in Cayuga, in the State of New York.  I have not heard of Oscar Ball but once since I came here, and then he was well and doing well.  George Carroll is in Hamilton.  The times are very dull at present and have been ever since I came here.  Please write soon.  Nothing more at present, only I still remain in Hamilton, C. W.    

ISRAEL WHITNEY

     JOHN is nineteen years of age, mulatto, spare made, but not lacking in courage, mother wit or perseverance.  He was born in Fauquier county, Va., and, after experiencing Slavery for a number of years there - being sold two or three times to the "highest bidder" - he was finally purchased by a cotton planter named Hezekiah Thompson, residing at Huntsville, Alabama.  Immediately after the sale Hezekiah bundled his new "purchase" off to Alabama, where he succeeded in keeping him only about two years, for at the end of that time John determined to strike a blow for liberty.  The incentive to this step was the inhuman treatment he was subjected to.  Cruel indeed did he find it there.  His master was a young man, "fond of drinking and carousing, and always ready for a fight or a knock-down."  A short time  before John left his master whipped him so severely with the "bull whip" that he could not use his arm for three or four days.  Seeing but one way of escape (and that more perilous than the way William and Ellen Craft, or Henry Box Brown traveled), he resolved to try it.  It was to get on the top of the car, instead of inside of it, and thus ride of nights till nearly daylight, when, at a stopping-place on the road, he would slip off the car, and conceal himself in the woods until under cover of the next night he could mange to get on the top of another car.  By this most hazardous mode of travel he reached Virginia.
     It may be best not to attempt to describe how he suffered at the hands of his owners in Alabama; or how severely he was pinched with hunger in traveling; or how, when he reached his old neighborhood in Virginia, he could not venture to inquire for his mother, brothers or sisters, to receive from them an affectionate word, an encouraging smile, a crust of bread, or a drink of water.
     Success attended his efforts for more than two weeks; but alas, after having got back north of Richmond, on his way home to Alexandria, he was captured and put in prison; his master being informed of the fact, came on and took possession of him again.  At first he refused to sell him; said he "had money enough and owned about thirty slaves;" therefore wished to "take him back to make an example of him."  However, through the persuasion of an uncle of his, he consented to sell.  Accordingly, John  was put on the auction-block and bought for $1,300 by Green McMurray, a regular trader in Richmond.  McMurray again offered him for sale, but in consequence of hard times and the high price demanded, John did not go off, at least not in the way the trader desired to dispose of him, but did, nevertheless, succeed in going off on the Underground Rail Road.  Thus once more

[pg. 107]
he reached his old home, Alexandria.  His mother was in one place, and his six brothers and sisters evidently scattered, where he knew not.  Since he was five years of age, not one of them had he seen.
     If such sufferings and trials were not entitled to claim for the sufferer the honor of a hero, where in all Christendom could one be found who could  prove a better title to that appellation?
     Of his subsequent career the following extract from a letter written at London shows that he found no rest for the soles of his feet under the Stars and Stripes in New York:

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

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

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