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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

PORTRAITS AND SKETCHES
Page 613

ESTHER MOORE.

     For many years no woman living in Philadelphia was better known to the colored people of the city generally, than Esther Moore.  No woman, white or colored, living in the Philadelphia for the same number of years, left her home oftener, especially to seek out and aid the weary travelers escaping from bondage, than did this philanthropist.  It is hardly too much to say that with her own hand she administered to hundreds.  She begged of the Committee, as a special favor, that she might be duly notified of every fugitive reaching Philadelphia, and actually felt hurt if from any cause whatever this request was not complied with.  For it was her delight to see the fugitives individually, take them by the hand and warmly welcome them to freedom.  She literally wept with those who wept, while in tones of peculiar love, sincerity, and firmness, she lauded them for their noble daring, and freely expressed her entire sympathy with them, and likewise with all in the prison-house.  She condemned Slavery in all its phases, as a "monster to be loathed as the enemy of God and man."
     Often after listening attentively for hours together to recitals of a very harrowing nature, especially from females, her mind would seem to be filled with the sufferings of the slave and it was hard for her to withdraw from them even when they were on the eve of taking up their march for a more distant station; and she never thought of parting with them without showing her faith by her works putting  "gold dollar" in the hand of each passenger, as she knew that it was not in the power of the Committee to do much more than defray their expenses to the next station, to New York sometimes, to Elmira at other times, and now and then clear through to Canada.  She desired at other times, and now and then clear through to Canada.  She desired that they should have at least one dollar to fall back upon, independent of the Committee's aid.  This magnanimous rule of giving the gold dollar was adopted by her shortly after her passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, which daily vexed her righteous soul, and was kept up as long  as she was able to leave her house, which was within a short time of her death.
     Not only did Esther Moore manifest such marked interest in the fugitive but she likewise took an abiding interest in visiting the colored people in their religious meetings, schools, and societies, and whenever they way opened and the Spirit moved her she would take occasion to address them in the most affectionate manner, in regard to their present and future welfare, choosing for her theme the subjects of temperance, education, and slavery.

[pg. 614]

Nor did she mean that her labors in the interest of the oppressed should cease with her earthly existence, as the following extracts from her last will and testament I will prove:
     2d Item.  I give and bequeath to my executors, hereinafter named, the sum of Twelve hundred dollars, in trust to invest in ground rent, or City of Philadelphia Loans at their disposal or discretion to pay the interest or income arising therefrom annually.  To be applied, the interest of the Twelve hundred dollars above mentioned, for educational purposes alone, for children of both sexes of color, in Canada, apart from all sectarian or traditional dogmas, which is the only hope for the rising generation.  The application of this money is intended to remain perpetual.
     7th Item.  I give and bequeath to my executors the sum of one hundred dollars, to be expended by them in educating and assisting to clothe Phaeton? and Pliney J. Lock, the son of Ishmael Lock, deceased, and Matilda Lock (his wife).  My will is that it shall be given out descretionally by my executors for the purpose above mentioned.
     17th Item.  I give and bequeath to Oliver Johnson, editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman, one hundred dollars, if he be living at my death; if not living, to go with the remainder of my estate.  My will is that if Oliver Johnson, be not living at my death his bequest go with my estate.
     18th Item.  I give and bequeath to Cyrus Burleigh, lecturer and agent for the Pennsylvania Anti-slavery Society, one hundred dollars, if Cyrus be living at my death.  If not living at my death, his bequest, Cyrus Burleigh's I wish to go with the residue of my estate.  The untiring vigilance of these two young men, in devoting the best of their days to the rescue and emancipation of the poor and down trodden fugitives has obtained for them a warm place in my heart.  And may heaven's richest blessings reward them.  They have ministered more than "the cup of water."
     Item 19thI give and bequeath unto the Association for the care of Colored Orphans of Philadelphia, called the Shelter for the use and benefit of colored orphans of both sexes, to be paid into the hands of the treasurer for the time being, for the use of said Society all the rest and remainder of my estate.
     I wish my Executors or Trustees to carry out my views in regard to the education of colored children in Canada, by paying over the interest arising annually from the twelve hundred dollars mentioned in the second item to such school or schools as in their judgment they may deem best.  My desire being the benefit of such children who may be in the same neighborhood with them.  The interest arising from the twelve hundred dollars mentioned in second item for the purpose of educating colored children in Canada is intended to remain perpetual.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     I give and bequeath to William Still, of Philadelphia, now employed in

[pg. 615]

an Anti-slavery office, in Fifth St., Philadelphia, February 21, the sum of one hundred dollars; and request my executors and trustees to pay over that amount out of my estate.

     Esther Moore, was not rich in this world's goods, but was purely benevolent and rich in good works towards her fellow-men, hating every form of oppression and injustice, and an uncompromising witness against prejudice on account of color.  Such a friend as was Esther Moore during these many dark years of kidnapping, slave-catching, mob violence, and bitter prejudice which the colored people were wont to encounter, should never be forgotten.
     The legacy devised for educational purposes was applied in due time, after one of the executors in company with his wife, Dr. J. Wilson and Rachel Barker Moore, visited the various settlements of fugitives in Canada, expressly with a view of finding out where the fund would do the most good, in accordance with the testator's wishes.  And although the testator has been dead seventeen years, her legacy is still doing its mission in her name, in a school, near Chatham, Canada West.
     In order to complete this sketch, it is only necessary that we should copy the beautiful and just tribute to her memory, written by Oliver Johnson, editor of the "National Anti-slavery Standard," and published in the columns thereof, as follows:

DEATH OF A NOBLE WOMAN.
[
From the "National Anti-Slavery Standard."]

     Just as our paper is going to press, there comes to us intelligence of the death of our beloved and revered friend, Esther Moore, widow of the late Dr. Robert Moore, of Philadelphia.  She expired on Tuesday morning, November 21st, 1854, of gout of the heart, after a short, but painful illness, in the eightieth year of her age.
     The writer of this first became acquainted with her in 1836, and, at various times, since then, has met her at Anti-slavery meetings, or in familiar intercourse at her own house.  Her most remarkable traits of character were an intense hatred of oppression in all its forms, a corresponding love for the oppressed, an untiring devotion to their welfare, and a courage that never quailed before any obstacles, however formidable.  Her zeal in behalf of the Anti-slavery cause, and especially in behalf of the fugitive, a zeal that absorbed all the powers of her noble nature, was a perpetual rebuke to the comparative coldness and indifference of those around her.  We well remember how her soul was fired with a righteous indignation when upwards of thirty innocent persons, most of them colored people, were thrown into prison in Philadelphia, upon a charge of treason, for their alleged participation in the tragedy at Christmas.  Day after day did she visit the prisoners in their cells, to minister to their wants, and cheer them in their sorrow;

[pg. 616]

and during the progress of Hanway's trial, her constant presence in the court-room, and her frequent interviews with the District Attorney, attested her deep anxiety as to the result of the impending struggle.  When we last saw her, about a month since, she was engaged in collecting a large sum of money to ransom a family of slaves, whose peculiar condition had enlisted her deepest sympathy.  Notwithstanding her age and infirmities, she had enlisted in this work with a zeal which, even in a younger person, would have been remarkable.  For many days, perhaps for many weeks, she went from door to door, asking for the means whereby to secure the freedom and the happiness of an enslaved and plundered household.
     As a member of the Society of Friends, she lamented the guilty supineness of that body, in regard to the question of Slavery, and often, in its meetings, as well as in private intercourse, felt herself constrained to utter the language of expostulation and rebuke.  In this, as in other relations of life, she was obedient to the revelation of God in her own soul, and a worthy example of fidelity to her convictions of duty.  Her step-son, J. Wilson Moore, in a letter to us announcing her deceased, says:
     Among the last injunctions she gave, was, "Write to Oliver Johnson, and tell him I die firm in the faith!  MIND THE SLAVE!"  She had enjoyed excellent health the last few years, and continued actively engaged in works of benevolence.  During the last few weeks, she had devoted much time and labor to the collection of funds for the liberation of ten slaves in North Carolina, who had been promised their freedom at the comparatively small amount.  Notwithstanding her great bodily suffering, her mind was clear to the last, expressing her full assurance of Devine approbation in the course she had taken.
     This is all that we can now say of the life of our revered and never-to-be-forgotten friend.  Perhaps some one who knew her more intimately than we did, and who is better acquainted with the history of her life and labors, will furnish us with a more complete sketch.  If so, we shall publish it with great satisfaction.

Happy! ay, happy! let her ashes rest;
Her heart was honest, and she did her best;
In storm and darkness, evil and dismay,
The star of duty was her guiding ray.

     Her injunction to 'MIND THE SLAVE," comes to us as the dying admonition of one, whose life was a beautiful exemplification of the duty and the privilege thus enjoined.  It imposes, indeed, no new obligation; but coming from such a source, it will linger in our memory while life and its scenes shall last, inspiring in us, we hope, a purer and a more ardent devotion to the cause of freedom and humanity.  And may we not hope that others also, will catch a new inspiration from the dying message of our departed friend: "MIND THE SLAVE!"

[pg. 617]

ABIGAIL GOODWIN.

[pg. 618]

 

[pg. 619]

 

[pg. 620]

 

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