GENEALOGY EXPRESS

 

Welcome to
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. 134 - continued]

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

WILLIAM N. TAYLOR

     ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD. - Ran away from Richmond City on Tuesday, the 2d of June, a negro man named WM. N. TAYLOR, belonging to Mrs. Margaret Tyler of Hanover county.
     Said negro was hired to Fitzhugh Mayo, Tobacconist; is quite black, of genteel and easy manners, about five feet ten or eleven inches high, has one front tooth broken, and is about 35 years old.
     He is supposed either to have made his escape North, or attempted to do so.  The above reward will be paid for his delivery to Messrs. Hill and Rawlings, in Richmond, or secured in jail, so that I get him again.
                                                                           JAS. G. TYLER, Trustee for Margaret Tyler.
     
June 8th &c2t-                                                                           
Richmond Enquirer, June 9, 57.

     William unquestionably possessed a fair share of common sense, and just enough distaste to Slavery to arouse him most resolutely to seek his freedom.
     The advertisement of James G. Tyler was not altogether accurate with regard to his description of William; but notwithstanding, in handing William down to posterity, the description of Tyler has been adopted in stead of the one engrossed in the records by the Committee.  But as a simple matter of fair play, it seems fitting, that the description given by William, while on the Underground Rail Road, of his master, &c., should come in just here.
     William acknowledged that he was the property of Walter H. Tyler, brother of Ex-President Tyler, who was described as follows: "He (master) was about sixty-five years of age; was a barbarous man, very in

[Pg. 135]
 

 

 

 

-------------------------
LOUISA BROWN.

 

 

 

 

 

-------------------------
JACOB WATERS AND ALFRED GOULDEN.

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

[Pg. 136]
master, and had sold two of Jacob's sisters, South, only three years prior to his escape.  Jacob left three brothers in chains.
     ALFRED is twenty-three years of age, in stature quite small, full black, and bears the marks of ill usage.  Though a member of the Methodist Church, his master, Fletcher Jackson "thought nothing of taking the shovel to Alfred's head; or of knocking him, and stamping his head with the heels of his boots."  Repeatedly, of late, he had been shockingly beaten.  To escape those terrible visitations, therefore, he made up his mind to seek a refuge in Canada.

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

ARRIVAL FROM BALTIMORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Pg. 137]

 

 

LETTER FROM JEFFERSON PIPKINS.

 

 

 

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

SEVERAL ARRIVALS FROM DIFFERENT PLACES.

 

 

 

 

[Pg. 138]

 

[Pg. 139]

 

 

[Pg. 140]
a "pretty bad man," who was "always quarreling," and " would drink, swear and lie."  Left simply because he "never got anything for his labor."  On taking his departure for Canada, he was called upon to bid adieu to his mother and three brothers, all under the yoke.  His master he describes thus—
     "His face was long, cheek-bones high, middling tall, and about twenty-six years of age."  With this specimen of humanity, Charles was very much dissatisfied, and he made up his mind not to stand the burdens of Slavery a day longer than he could safely make his way to the North.  And in making an effort to reach Canada, he was quite willing to suffer many things.  So the first chance Charles got, he started, and Providence smiled upon his resolution; he found himself a joyful passenger on the Underground Rail Road, being entertained free, and receiving attentions from the Company all along the line through to her British Majesty's boundlessly free territory in the Canadas.
     True, the thought of his mother and brothers, left in the prison house, largely marred his joy, as it did also the Committee's, still the Committee felt that Charles had gained his Freedom honorably, and at the same time, had left his master a poorer, if not a wiser man, by at least $1200.
     CHARLES HENRY was a good-looking young man, only twenty years of age, and appeared to possess double as much natural sense as he would require to take care of himself.  John Webster of Sandy Hook, claimed Charles' time, body and mind, and this was what made Charles unhappy.  Uneducated as he was, he was too sensible to believe that Webster had any God-given right to his manhood.  Consequently, he left because his master "did not treat him right."  Webster was a tall man, with large black whiskers, about fourty years of age, and owned Charles' two sisters.  Charles was sorry for the fate of his sisters, but he could not help them if he remained.  Staying to wear the yoke, he felt would rather make it worse instead of better for all concerned.
     LUTHER DORSEY  is about nineteen years of age, rather smart, black, well made and well calculated for a Canadian.  He was prompted to escape purely from the desire to be "free."  He fled from a "very insulting man," by the name of Edward Schriner, from the neighborhood of Sairsville Mills, Frederick Co., Md.  This Schriner was described as a "low chunky man, with grum look, big mouth, etc.," and was a member of the German Reformed Church.  "Don't swear, though might as well; he was so bad other ways."
     LUTHER was a member of the Methodist church at Jones Hill.  Left his father in chains; his mother had wisely escaped to Canada years back, when he was but a boy.  Where she was then, he could not tell, but hoped to meet her in Canada.

[Pg. 141]

ARRIVAL FROM RICHMOND.

JEREMIAH W. SMITH AND WIFE JULIA.

     Richmond was a city noted for its activity and enterprise in slave trade.  Several slave pens and prisons were constantly kept up to accommodate the trade.  And slave auctions were as common in Richmond as dress goods auctions in Philadelphia; notwithstanding this fact, strange as it may seem, the Underground Rail Road brought away large numbers of passengers from Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk, and not a few of them lived comparatively within a hair's breadth of the auction block.  Many of those from these localities were amongst the most intelligent and respectable slaves in the South, and except at times when disheartened by some grave disaster which had befallen the road, as, for instance, when some friendly captain or conductor was discovered in aiding fugitives, many of the thinking bondmen were daily manśuvering and watching for opportunities to escape or aid their friends so to do.  This state of things of course made the naturally hot blood of Virginians fairly boil.  They had preached long and loudly about the contented and happy condition of the slaves,—that the chief end of the black man was to worship and serve the white man, with joy and delight, with more willingness and obedience indeed than he would be expected to serve his Maker.  So the slave-holders were utterly at a loss to account for the unnatural desire on the part of the slaves to escape to the North where they affirmed they would be far less happy in freedom than in the hands of those so " kind and indulgent towards them."  Despite all this, daily the disposition increased, with the more intelligent slaves, to distrust the statements of their masters especially when they spoke against the North.  For instance if the master was heard to curse Boston the slave was then satisfied that Boston was just the place he would like to go to; or if the master told the slave that the blacks in Canada were freezing and starving, to death by hundreds, his hope of trying to reach Canada was made ten fold stronger; he was willing to risk all the starving and freezing that the country could afford; his eagerness to find a conductor then would become almost painful.
     The situations of Jeremiah and Julia Smith, however, were not considered very hard, indeed they had fared rather better than most slaves in Virginia, nevertheless it will be seen that they desired to better their condition, to keep off" of the auction-block at least.   Jeremiah could claim to have no mixture in his blood, as his color was of such a pure black; but with the way of the world, in respect to shrewdness and intelligence, he had evidently been actively conversant.  He was about twenty-six years of age, and in stature only medium, with poor health.
     The name of James Kinnard, whom he was obliged to call master and serve, was disgusting to him.  Kinnard, he said, was a "close and severe

[Pg. 142]
man."  At the same time he was not considered by the community "a hard man."  From the age of fifteen years Jeremiah had been hired out, for which his owner had received from $50 to $130 per annum.  In consequence of his master's custom of thus letting out Jeremiah, the master had avoided doctors' bills, &c.  For the last two years prior to his escape, how ever, Jeremiah's health had been very treacherous, in consequence of which the master had been compelled to receive only $50 a year, sick or well.  About one month before Jeremiah left, he was to have been taken on his master's' farm, with the hope that he could be made more profitable there than he was in being hired out.
     His owner had thought once of selling him, perhaps fearing that Jeremiah might unluckily die on his hands.  So he put him in prison and advertised; but as he had the asthma pretty badly at that time, he was not saleable, the traders even declined to buy him.
     While these troubles were presenting themselves to Jeremiah, Julia, his wife, was still more seriously involved, which added to Jeremiah's perplexities, of course.
     Julia was of a dark brown color, of medium size, and thirty years of age.  Fourteen years she had been the slave of A. Judson Crane, and under him she had performed the duties of nurse, chamber-maid, etc., "faithfully and satisfactorily," as the certificate furnished her by this owner witnessed.  She actually possessing a certificate, which he, Crane, gave her to enable her to find a new master, as she was then about to be sold.  Her master had experienced a failure in business.  This was the reason why she was to be sold.
     Mrs. Crane, her mistress, had always promised Julia that she should be free at her death.  But, unexpectedly, as Mrs. Crane was on her journey home from Cape May, where she had been for her health the summer before Julia escaped, she died suddenly in Philadelphia.  Julia, however, had been sold twice before her mistress' death; once to the trader, Reed, and afterwards to John Freeland, and again was on the eve of being sold.  Freeland, her last owner, thought she was unhappy because she was denied the privilege of going home of nights to her husband, instead of being on hand at the beck and call of her master and mistress day and night.  So the very day Julia and her husband escaped, arrangements had been made to put her up at auction a third time.  But both Julia and her husband had seen enough of Slavery to leave no room to hope that they could ever find peace or rest so long as they remained.  So there and then, they resolved to strike for Canada, via the Underground Rail Road.  By a little good management, berths were procured for them on one of the Richmond steamers (berths not known to the officers of the boat), and they were safely landed in the hands of the Vigilance Committee, and a most agreeable interview was had.
     The Committee extended to them the usual hospitalities, in the way of

[Pg. 143]
board, accommodations, and free tickets Canadaward, and wished them a safe and speedy passage.  The passengers departed, exceedingly light-hearted, Feb. 1, 1854.

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

EIGHT ARRIVALS:

JAMES MASSEY, PERRY HENRY TRUSTY, GEORGE RHOADS, JAMES RHODES,
GEORGE WASHINGTON, SARAH ELIZABETH RHODES, AND CHILD,
MARY ELIZABETH STEVENSON

     Doubtless there was a sensation in "the camp," when this gang was found missing.
     JAMES was a likely-looking young man of twenty years of age, dark, tall, and sensible; and worth, if we may judge, about $1,600.  He was owned by a farmer named James Pittman, a "crabid kind of a man," grey headed, with a broken leg; drank very hard, at which times he would swear that he would "sell them all to Georgia;" this threat was always unpleasant to the ears of James, but it seemed to be a satisfaction to the master.  Fearing that it would be put into execution, James thought he had better let no time be lost in getting on towards Canada, though he was entitled to his Freedom at the age of twenty-five.  Left his father, four brothers and two sisters.  Also left his wife, to whom he had been married the previous Christmas.
     His master's further stock of slaves consisted of two women, a young man and a child.  The name of his old mistress was Amelia.  She was " right nice,"  James admitted.  One of James' brothers had been sold to Georgia by Pittman, although he was also entitled to his Freedom at the age of twenty-five.
     His near relatives left in bondage lived near Level Square, Queen Ann's county, Maryland.  His wife's name was Henrietta. "She was free."
     Interesting letter from James Massey to his wife. It was forwarded to the corresponding secretary, to be sent to her, but no opportunity was afforded so to do, safely.

                                                                               ST. CATHARINES, C. W., April 24, 1857.

     DEAR WIFE - —I take this opertunity to inform you that I have Arive in St Catharines this Eving, After Jorney of too weeks, and now find mysilf on free ground and wish that you was here with me But you are not here, when we parted I did not know that, I should come away so soon as I did.  But for that of causin you pain I left as I did, I hope that you will try to come.  But if you cannot, write to me as soon as you can and tell me all that you can But dont be Desscuredged I was sory to leave you, and I could not help it for you know that I promest see you to sister, But I was persuaded By Another man go part with it grived mutch, you must not think that I did not care for you.  I cannot tell how I come, for I was some times on the earth and some times under the earth Do not Bee afraid to come But start and keep trying, if you are afrid fitch your tow sister with you for compeny and I will take care of you and treat you like a lady so

[Pg. 144]
long as you live.  The talk of cold in this place is all a humbug, it is wormer here than it was there when I left, your father and mother has allways treated me like their own child I have no fault to find in them.  I send my Respects to them Both and I hope that they will remember me in Prayer, if you make a start come to Philidelpa tell father and mother that, I am safe and hope that they will not morn after me I shall ever Remember them.  No more at present But yours in Body and mind, and if we no meet on Earth I hope that we shall meet in heven.       Your husbern.       Good night.
                                                                                                JAME MASEY.

< CLICK HERE to go to PAGE  144 - continued >

< BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS >

 

-----
 

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO
BLACK HISTORY INDEX PAGE

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO
GENEALOGY EXPRESS

GENEALOGY EXPRESS
FREE GENEALOGY RESEARCH is My MISSION

This Webpage has been created by Sharon Wick exclusively for Genealogy Express  ©2008
Submitters retain all copyrights