KNOX COUNTY, ILLINOIS
Together with Sketches of the Cities, Villages and
of its Volunteer in the Late War; Educational,
and Political History; Portraits of Prominent Persons
and Biographical Sketches of the Subscribers;
History of Illinois, Abstracts of the
State Laws, Etc., Etc.,Etc.
By Chas. C. Chapman & Co.
Blakely, Brown & March, Printers
155 and 157 Dearborn Street
The early settlers of this county, although mainly from
the Southern or slave States, entertained a deep-seated
prejudice against the negro, for which it is hard for us
to account at the present day. Thi__ prejudice, we may
remark, was not held altogether and only in this county,
for by referring to the Revised Statutes of this State,
approved Mar. 3, 1845, we find the following in chapter
54, under the head of "Negroes and Mulattoes:"
Section 8. Any person who shall hereafter bring
into this State any black or mulatto person, in order to
free him or her from slavery, or shall directly or
indirectly bring into this State, or aid or assist any
person in bringing any such black and mulatto person to
settle and reside therein, shall be fined one hundred
dollars on conviction and indictment, before any justice
of the peace in the county were such offense shall be
Section 9. If any slave or servant shall be found at a
distance of ten miles from the tenement of his or her
master, or person with whom he or she lives, without a
pass or some letter or token whereby it may appear that
he or she is proceeding by authority from his or her
master, employer or overseer, it shall and may be lawful
for any person to apprehend and carry him or her before
a justice of the peace, to be by his order punished with
stripes, not exceeding thirty-five, at his discretion.
Section 10. If any slave or servant shall presume to
come and be upon the plantation or at the dwelling of
any person whatsoever, without leave from his or her
owner, not being sent upon lawful business, it shall be
lawful for the owner of such plantation or dwelling
house to give or order such slave or servant ten lashes
on his or her bare back.
Section 12. If any person or persons shall permit or
suffer any slave or slaves, servant or servants of
color, to the number of three or more, to assemble in
his, her or their outhouse, yard or shed, for the
purpose of dancing or revelling, either by night or by
day, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit
and pay the sum of twenty dollars with cost
to any person of persons who will sue for and recover
the same by action of debt or indictment, in any court
of record proper to try the same.
Section 13. It shall be the duty of all coroners,
sheriffs, judges and justices of the peace, who shall
see or know of, or be informed of any such assemblage of
slaves or servants, immediately to commit such slaves or
servants to the jail of the county, and on view or proof
thereof to order each and every such slave or servant to
be whipped not exceeding thirty-nine stripes on his or
her bare back.
MODE OF RUNNING THE
U. G. R. R.
Very likely all of our readers have heard of the famous
Underground Railroad, but very few know anything of its
system of work. Happily the corporation does not
now exist, the necessity for the enterprise not being
apparent at the present time, as the class of freight or
passengers transported over the line are not now
The question of slavery has always been a mixed one,
from the time the first slave was imported into our
country until, by the emancipation proclamation of
Abraham Lincoln, all men were made free and
equal in the eyes of the law. A strong
anti-slavery party has long existed in the country.
The framers of our constitution upon the organization of
the government had to deal with the question of slavery,
the successive administrations from Washington to
Lincoln had to grapple with it; various
compromises were adopted which it was thought would
quiet its spirit; but, like Banquo's ghost, it
would not down at the bidding of any man or party.
The death of Lovejoy at Alton, in 1837, a martyr
to the anti-slavery cause, gave an impetus to the
agitation of the question which never ceased until the
final act was consummated which broke in pieces the
shackles that bound the slave.
Growing out of the agitation of this question, and the
formation of a party in sympathy with the slaves, was
the organization of the so-called Underground Railroad,
for the purpose of aiding fugitives to escape to a land
of freedom. The secrecy of its workings justified
its name. Notwithstanding the system was an
organized one, those engaged in it had no signs or
passwords by which they might be known, save now and
then a proconcerted rap at the door when a cargo of
freight was to be delivered. Each relied upon the
honor of the other, and, as the work was an
extra-hazardous one, few cowards ever engaged in it.
Pro-slavery men complained bitterly of the violation of
the law by their abolition neighbors, and persecuted
them as much as they dared; and this was not a little.
But the friends of the slaves
were not to be deterred by persecution. "The blood
of martyrs is the seed of the church," and persecution
only made them more determined than ever to carry out
their just convictions of right and duty. No class
of people ever made better neighbors than the
Abolitionists, or better conductors on a railroad.
It is well, perhaps, in this connection, to note how the
passengers over this road were received in Canada, the
northern termination. From mere goods and chattels
in our liberty-boasting nation they were transformed
into men and women; from being hunted with fire-arms and
blood-hound, like wild beasts, they were recognized and
respected as good and loyal subjects by the Queen as
soon as their feet touched British soil. At the
same time there stood, with open arms, Rev.
Hiram Wilson, the true, noble-hearted
missionary, ready to receive these refugees from
"freedom's (?) soil," and administer to their wants.
In February, 1841, there came a day of jubilee to the
doubting ones, when Queen Victoria's
proclamation was read to them: "That every fugitive from
United States slavery should be recognized and protected
as a British subject the moment his or her foot touched
the soil of her domain." Mr. "Wilson
arranged with the authorities to have all supplies for
the fugitive slaves admitted free of custom duty.
Many were the large, well filled boxes of what was most
needed by the poor wanderer taken from the wharf at
Toronto during that winter by E. Child, mission
teacher. He was then a student of Oneida
Institute, N. Y., but for many years has resided in
Oneida, this county. He went into Canada for the
purpose of teaching the fugitives.
A very singular circumstance in connection with this
road was the fact that, although people well knew who
were engaged in it, and where the depot was located,
freight could seldom be found, search as carefully as
they might. A consignment would be forwarded over
the line, notice of which would reach the ears of slave
hunters, and when ready to place their hands upon the
fugitives, like the Irishman's flea, they wouldn't be
there. The business of this road for a number of
years was quite extensive, but to-day all 'its employes
are discharged, and, strange to relate, none are sorry,
but all rejoice in the fact. As illustrating the
peculiarities of this line, we append several incidents
that occurred in this county:
One wintry day in the year 1843, a negro woman with two
small children and a son about seventeen years ol,
together with a negro girl about the same age, were
brought to Knoxville and incarcerated in the county
jail, "What for?" you will quite naturally ask.
had they committed that they should be imprisoned?
They were making an attempt to gain the liberty which
their Creator had destined for them, but which was
denied by man's inhumanity. They had made their
way from Southern Illinois, carefully secreting
themselves during the day, and the anxious mother with
her loved ones hurried along by night, directed to the
land of freedom by the changeless north star. It
was not for her own freedom that Aunt Sukey
was trying to obtain so much as to purchase that prized
boon for her children. Her master had repeatedly
threatened to sell them to Southern traders. This
the mother well knew would be done. She had often
seen loved children mercilessly torn from their mother's
arms and sent South, never again to be heard from.
How like the sad sequel of this story! and worse; for
here in Knox county this loving mother was robbed of her
babes and son by cruel hands. They were violently
torn from her care and borne to a Southern clime to
receive the abuses and cruelties of the poor, degraded
plantation slaves, and man's uncompassionate, selfish
nature and inhuman hand would still more ruthlessly
cause all the torture and degradation of such a life of
Thirty-five years have passed; a bloody and destructive
war has been fought; the right prevailed after much
carnage and bloodshed; and the shackles of four million
degraded slaves were broken, and the much coveted
liberty given the poor, benighted beings. Whether
the two babes were among the number (the son being
killed the year after his capture) the mother never
knew. The continent was convulsed a few years ago
over the sad story of little Charley Ross;
but there is a mother living in Knox county whose babes
were taken thirty-five years ago, and yet she has never
heard a single word from them; she knows not whether
they are living or dead, but for years she too well knew
they were in inhuman hands, suffering the cruelties of
bondage and pain which slavery and the bartering for
human flesh could but produce. It was such
incidents as these that aroused the liberty-loving
spirit of the North and goaded her soldiers to go and so
nobly fight for the slave's freedom.
Let us continue our narrative. Susan
Richardson, for such was "Aunt Sukey's"
real name, was brought into the Territory of Illinois a
few years before it was admitted into the Union as a
State. Her master, Andrew Border,
lived in Randolph county, where she was kept a slave
until, as she told us, "she left betwixt two suns."
The immediate cause for this unannounced departure was
certainly one wholly justifiable. Her children and
those of her master had gotten into some altercation,
when her mistress had her children whipped.
The mother very naturally resented this, and her
passionate mistress then declared the lash should be
laid most heavily upon her back. When Mr.
Border arrived home his wife told him she wanted
Sukey whipped. Seemingly he possessed finer
feelings, more sensitive than those of his delicate wife
to the pains of others, for he said he could not comply,
Aunt Sukey had always been so good, and
besides he was afraid she would run away if he did.
Refusal aroused the fiery temper of his wife, when she
avowed that she would neither eat nor sleep until he
promised that Aunt Sukey should be
whipped. As a compromise he agreed to tie her and
make all the other necessary preparations, then to give
the lash to her and let her apply it to the bared back
of the poor abased slave until her anger was fully
appeased. This was entirely satisfactory to the
groveling mind of the unkind mistress, and she promised
herself to punish the impudent slave (as she considered
her) as severely as her strength would permit.
Aunt Sukey knew the design of her mistress,
and accordingly was on the "look-out," for she had
overheard the promise made by her master. The
thoughts of being scourged, and by a woman too, was more
than she could endure, and so aroused her wounded and
indignant spirit that she hastily and secretly, with her
children, left her master that night and went to Cairo,
where she got on the line of the Underground Railroad
and reached Canton, Fulton county, in safety. Here
Conductor Wilson took her in charge to
convey her to the next station, which was at the Rev.
John Cross' in the eastern part of Knox county.
He did not arrive until after daylight; and scarcely had
Aunt Sukey and her charge alighted from the wagon
when she was arrested and conveyed to Knoxville, where
for some days the five were confined in the county jail.
Notices of their capture were immediately sent South.
Of course the cruel master was on the lookout, and the
notice soon fell under his eyes. In the meantime,
however, through the agency of humane citizens of
Knoxville, they were released on bail. The woman
was soon engaged in going from home to home and doing
the washings of the different families. For her
son she had secured a situation on a farm near town, and
her younger children she left at the hotel during the
day. One day while washing at the residence of
Rev. Cole, the Presbyterian minister of the
town, the startling intelligence of her old master being
in town was communicated to her. Her first thought
was for the safety of her children, and remembering the
little ones at the hotel, the same tender, loving,
motherly feeling prompted her to make the attempt to
secrete them. But unfortunately for the thoughtful
mother, her master had met them in the hall-way at the
hotel, when he at once seized them, carrying
them to Mr. Newman's house and hiding them
in the loft, and then going in search of the son; for
said he, "If I can get the children I am not afraid but
what the old one will follow." Aunt
Sukey then thought to save her son, but ere she
could even give him a warning note his merciless master
had also captured him.
The grief of the poor, distracted mother, too terrible
and intense in its nature to be pictured, can be perhaps
much better imagined than described; so we will pass
over it. Frantic and almost heart-broken, the poor
woman thought she must return to the dreaded scourged
life of bondage with her children. She was advised
by her sympathizing friends not to go, for it would only
be to suffer increased pain and mental anxiety, as the
children would undoubtedly be sold and sent south.
Charles Gilbert from near Galesburg drove
up to Rev. Cole's residence in a sleigh about
this time. His finer feelings were wrought upon
and touched by the sad recital of the story of the
hunted fugitives. He resolved to save the mother :
so, donning her in clothing of Mrs. Cole's,
with closely veiled face, he helped her into his sleigh,
and sitting down beside her, took up the reins and sped
over the snowy earth for Galesburg, where it was well
known then, as always after, that a negro was safe when
once within its limits. The two small children and
the son were taken back to the dreaded and bitter life
of toil, pain and bondage, never to again look upon the
mother that had battled so nobly for their liberty.
Can any one, who has never been placed in any such, or
similar, position, fully realize the pain and anguish of
such a parting? Can the dreariness, the gloom and
terrors of the embittered and bondaged life of slavery,
be too plainly pictured or overdrawn?
Hannah, the name of the young girl who
accompanied Aunt Sukey, did not belong to
the same master, and being nearly of age, she was not
molested but suffered to go free. She went to
Galesburg, and lived for some years, but at present
resides in New York city. Mrs.
Richardson lives on the corner of West and Ferris
streets, Galesburg. She is a very intelligent,
fine-looking and active old negro lady.
Soon after Aunt Sukey had settled in
Galesburg a lawsuit, which became famous, was instituted
by her former master, Mr. Border, for her
recovery; but by some means he was beaten, although he
had that eminent lawyer, Hon. Julius
Manning, for his attorney.
Bill Casey was another passenger over the
Underground Railroad, but so closely pursued that he
left the main line and worked his way as far as
Galesburg himself. That city was well known among
J. M. Holyoke
Compliments of his Fellow Townsman
[Pg. 208] - BLANK PAGE
negroes, and a runaway slave was considered as free from
capture when within its limits as if in Canada.
Being settled by Eastern people, who not only had no
sympathy with slavery, but held for it a righteous
indignation, and whose citizens would any time violate
an inhumane and unjust law to help a fugitive slave,
Galesburg was known throughout the country as the
strongest kind of an abolitionist place. Here the
weary, hunted slaves could find a refuge, some comfort,
and a host of sympathizing friends.
Bill Casey reached Galesburg Saturday night, and
going to the residence of the colored lady, Susan
Richardson, whose coming to the county is related
above, he was admitted and kindly cared for. He
was a miserable and affecting human being to look upon,
having neither shoes nor hat and almost naked, with feet
bleeding and swollen, and body bruised, besides being
almost in a starving state, having had nothing with
which to appease his hunger for several days. With
five companions he had started from Missouri. They
were pursued, and two or three of the number had been
shot, and the others captured, and only by the rapidity
of his flight through the woods with heavy undergrowth
had he escaped. Sunday morning came, and "Aunt
Sukey " locked her house and with her family as
usual went to church, leaving Casey at her home.
She knew, as she told us, "who to tell."
Accordingly she soon made known to members of the
Underground Railroad that a fugitive was at her house.
They immediately visited him, and found him in a needy
condition, and that he must have a pair of shoes before
he could go farther, as well as some clothing. So
Messrs. Neeley, West and
Blanchard began to prepare him for the journey.
Of course he could not be taken to the store and have
his shoes fitted there, but they had to bring them to
him. His feet were so badly swollen that it was
necessary for them to make three or four trips before
they could find shoes that would fit or he
could wear. After everything was fully arranged,
Casey was put in charge of a conductor on the
Underground Railroad and conveyed to the next station.
In a year or two he returned to Galesburg and engaged in
cutting timber northwest of town.
One day two men, evidently "Southern gentlemen," rode
up to the Galesburg hotel. There they met a young
negro boy, Charley Love, of whom they
inquired of Bill Casey. Although
small, Charlie was well posted, and of course
"never heard of such a fellow." However, as soon
as possible he ran and gave the alarm, and immediately a
fleet-footed horse with noble rider was off for the
woods where Casey was at work. The two
strangers referred to were on the hunt for Casey,
arc. after some inquiries learned his whereabouts and
started for him,
but Charlie Love had saved him, for he was warned
in time an escaped capture.
Galesburg, from the very starting of the colony to the
time of the war, was noted as the principal depot of the
Underground Railroad in Western Illinois, if not in the
whole State. The refugees were from Missouri, and
most of them would first stop at a Quaker settlement in
southeastern Iowa, where friends would keep them and
bring them on at night to Galesburg. Here
George Davis, Samuel Hitchcock, Nehemiah West and
others would promote their welfare as far towards Canada
as Stark county or Ontario in this county. A
Mr. Hizer, one of the Iowa Quakers, called on Mr.
Davis in this city only two years ago, surprising
him with an unexpected but very pleasurable visit, and
the gentlemen refreshed their memories concerning a
certain colored man whom they had helped through over
thirty years previously. Mr. Davis
was accompanied by Rev. R. C. Dunn in
taking the refugee to Mr. Wyckoff's in the
southern part of Stark county. In 1858 a colored
man was taken through here to Canada, who shortly
afterward found his way back to Missouri and started
with nine other slaves for the land of freedom, but
reached Galesburg with only five or six. With
these it is presumed he got safely through to Canada.
There was a negro man, who stopped at Nehemiah West's
on his way to freedom. He formerly lived in
luxury, being the favored coachman of an eminent
gentleman, but who, through misfortune, failed and
consequently all his property was sold. His
coachman was sold to a cruel master, who stripped him of
all the good clothing his former master had given him
and donned him in the coarsest of garments and
beat him unmercifully in order, as he said, "to learn
him where he belonged, and to show him that he couldn't
act the gentleman around him." This negro was
greatly afflicted with the consumption and was quite
Another one, a cook, stopped at the same place.
He was a fine intelligent fellow, but not unlike all
others, he was continually on the watch, thinking every
footstep he heard was made by his master. Mrs.
West says they would run and hide the moment they
heard the slightest evidence of some one approaching.
This cook was anxious to help prepare the meals.
He was sent to the well, just a few feet from the house,
to peel some potatoes, but becoming nervous he would
start, even at the fall of a leaf. Finally being
unable to endure the torture of fear any longer, he
begged to come into the house and work, which request
was granted him. He would go to the window and
look out every few minutes, expecting to see his master
coming after him.
Four negroes were hidden, and kept one day in the cupola
of the First Church, of Galesburg, and when night came
they were hurried on their journey.
After the railroad was built through from Chicago to
Quincy, in 1854-5, these refugees would get aboard
freight trains at Quincy and go right through without
much local help along the route. The Galesburg
Underground depot was then about superseded.
There is no telling how many fugitive slaves were
helped through this region of the country, no one
thinking at the time what important history he was
making for future generations to write up. The
number, however, was quite large, for often business was
over the road.
The depot of the Underground Railroad in Ontario
township was at the residence of C. F. Camp,
Hod Powell, conductor. Passengers for
one train consisted of four well dressed negroes, who
were evidently rather intelligent. They arrived on
the evening train from Galesburg in care of Conductor
Neeley. After a partial night's lodging,
and a sumptuous meal, Conductor Powell,
with his load, looking as if he were going to mill,
started for Andover Station, the next on the route.
One of the above four returned South three different
times for his family. He was so closely watched
that he failed each time to rescue his loved ones.
On the third trip he found they had been sold and sent
In the files of the Probate Court records of 1837 and
1838 are "free papers" of the freedom of slaves.
One is found stating that "Harvey Van Allen,
a boy, who was born free, and when he arrives at the age
of 21 will be as free as any white person."
Another, filed May 15, 1837, of "Joe, commonly
called Joe Allen, property of John
Allen of Pulaski county, Kentucky, being, for
certain causes and considerations desirous to emancipate
and set free a certain negro woman, called Sukey,
the wife of free Joe, aged about 29.
Said John Allen do emancipate, liberate
and set free forever the said negro woman and to all
intent and purposes to enjoy the privilege of freedom as
though she had been free born."
Samuel Hitchcock's farm, three miles
northwest of Galesburg, was a prominent station on the
Underground .Railroad for ten years. Many a time
he secreted six or more of the fugitive slaves in his
hay mow, or in the back rooms of the house. He
usually carried them to
the next station in Ontario township, fifteen miles
distant, starting at 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening.
On one occasion, which happened to be Commencement day
of Knox College, and a very warm June morning, a
gentleman from Warren county, Mr. Dilley by name,
drove up, in company with one Mr. Parker, with
what resembled a load of oat straw. Mr.
Parker hailed Mr. Hitchcock.
"All right!" Mr. Hitchcock
exclaimed. "All right," was again the response,
when the load of straw began to present signs of life
and one by one crawled out the brunettes, until three
women, one man and three children, seven in all, were
safely landed at Mr. Hitchcock's.
They were kept and secreted until opportunity offered to
forward them to the next station.
ARREST OF THE REV.
About the year 1843 some fugitive slaves passing North
through the eastern part of Knox county were helped on
their journey by members of the Underground Railroad.
Rev. John Cross, a Presbyterian minister, then
living in Elba township, was suspected of helping them.
He was accordingly arrested and indicted therefor.
In the meantime, before the trial came off, he removed
to Bureau county. When the time for trial finally
came the sheriff of this county sent a requisition to
the sheriff of Bureau county to deliver the said
Cross into court. The deputy sheriff, John
Long, could find no one to bring him. Mr.
Cross, appreciating his dilemma, proposed to aid
him, and offered to take his own team and deliver
himself and the deputy in good order to the authorities
of this county. They started on Saturday, and came
as far as Mr. Whitaker's, in the township
of Osceola, and stayed over Sunday, as they were no
doubt conscientiously opposed to desecrating that holy
day. On the Sabbath Rev. Cross
preached to the good people of Osceola. Their
sympathies were aroused and excited in behalf of the
reverend prisoner, and some insinuations were uttered
relative to a rescue. When Monday morning came,
and they were about to start, the deputy expressed some
suspicions that there was danger. Mr.
Cross felt they were quite safe and so assured the
deputy, who said—"Well, I am prepared for any
emergency." The young men of the neighborhood
who were somewhat waggish in their natures, thought to
test the courage of the blustering, boasting Kentuckian
official. They mounted their horses and circulated
about through the woods, which Mr. Cross
and the deputy passed through shortly after leaving
Mr. Whitaker's. The deputy, observing
their mysterious movements through the trees, became
further alarmed, and tremulously suggested to the
lie feared trouble ahead. Mr. Cross reassured him that
his courage did not waver, as he had a good team, and
could give anyone with mischievous intent a lively
chase, but added suggestively—"If you feel there is
danger of not getting through with a whole skin, perhaps
you had better lie down in the bottom of the wagon-box,
and I will throw this buffalo robe over you, so that you
will be entirely unobserved, and I will in the meantime
keep a sharp look-out for foes." The courageous
(?) official at once profited by the prisoner's hint and
deposited his heroic form in the bottom of the wagon,
assuming the shape of a flounder as nearly as possible,
when the robe was thrown over him, completely obscuring
him from view. The road over which they had to
travel for the next two miles was of that antique
construction known as "corduroy.'' Mr.
Cross at once began to apply the whip, and anon
loudly saluted imaginary equestrians with a "Good
morning!" " How do you do?" " Fine morning!"
etc., etc., not failing in the intervals to tell the
poor, quivering official, who was writhing under the
double torture of fear and a free dose of "corduroy," to
lie fiat and keep quiet, at the same time urging forward
the horses to a still more lively speed. When
Rev. Cross, who was evidently a practical
joker, had punished the deputy to his satisfaction, he
halted and informed his tortured passenger that he
thought the danger now passed, and they could proceed
more leisurely without fear of interruption. They
drove on to Galesburg, and Mr. Cross at
once notified the court that he had brought the
prisoner, and delivered himself up.
The prisoner expected to have George W. Collins
as attorney, but he did not come. Persons were
ready to bail him. Mr. Cross
undertook his own defense, saying "his attorney had
failed to appear; and although 'tis said that ' he who
undertakes to defend his own cause has a fool for a
client,' he was forced to that resort," and signified
his readiness to proceed to trial. This was an
unexpected attack upon the State's attorney, and he was
compelled to enter the plea that he was not ready for
trial, for want of witnesses. The defense entered
a nolle prosequi, which ended the case, somewhat
ingloriously to the participants on the part of the
REV. JOHN CROSS
The following was written by Jacob Kightlinger,
an old settler of Knox county, who now resides at Yates
city. It has reference to the reverend gentleman
of the previous story, and is the "other side" of
Underground Railroad life. It shows Mr. Cross
to have been a persistent worker and an active
member of this humane railroad, the best ever conducted
on the continent.
About the year 1839 or 1840, Rev. Mr. John Cross
came into the township of Elba, Knox county. He
was a Presbyterian preacher, and an abolitionist at
that. He told me to come and hear him preach, and
the next Sunday I took my wife and family, and went, and
he preached a very good sermon. I had no
objections to his preaching. After the services we
started for home. We got into the wagon, and seeing that
Mr. Cross was afoot, I said, "Mr.
Cross, you can ride in my wagon if you choose."
So he got in, and we started. Very soon he
commenced running down the laws of Illinois, saying they
were black, and he would not obey them. He said he
would harbor, feed, and convey off negroes in defiance
of the black laws of Illinois. I then said, "
Mr. Cross, do not let me see you violate the
law." "Why, sir, what would you do?" "I would take
you up for violating the law." "That, sir, is just
what I want to find. Some one that has the fortitude to
take me up."
So that week a load of negroes passed my house, and was
conveyed to Mr. Cross' house by a man
named Wilson. I, with five or six
neighbors, went after Wilson, and we met him
coming back empty. I asked him where his negroes
were. He would not tell; so we went to Mr.
Cross' house, and found the negroes in a lot of
corn. We took the negroes to Mr. Palmer,
the constable, and told him to give them a good dinner,
and I said I would pay for it. Mrs.
Cross had dinner cooking for them. It was corn
in the ear and potatoes with the skins on, all boiling
together in one pot. I said they should have a
better dinner than that, for I fed my hogs in that way,
on that kind of feed.
Mr. Cross had gone down South after some
negroes that day, and he was afraid that I would take
the negroes from him; so he sent a spy to my house—a
Mr. Thomas, of Farmington. He came to
my house about midnight, and wanted to know the way to
Spoon river bridge, about five miles off. Said I,
"You appear to be in a hurry." "Yes," said he.
"Well, sir, what is your business?" He said he did
not tell his business to every person. "Well, sir,
you will tell it to me, or you shall not leave here
to-night," and I picked up my rifle. I saw he got
some scared, and then he was ready to tell me his
business. He said he was in search of some
negroes. I said, "Have you lost some negroes?"
"Yes." "Can you describe them?" "Yes."
"Well, go at it." He commenced, and described them
perfectly. Said I, "Do you own those negroes?"
He said he had an interest in them, so I took him to be
the owner of said negroes. I said, "I will put
your horse up, and in the morning I will tell you where
your negroes are." I set my rifle up and walked
out, and I heard a wagon down at the bridge. Said
I, "Do you know what wagon that is?"
He said it was the Rev. Mr. Cross.
"Ho, ho! you are a spy and an infernal scoundrel!"
cried I. He jumped on his horse, and went to Mr.
Cross, and told him that I would take his new
load of negroes from him. So Mr. Cross
put the negroes in Wilson's wagon, and he drove
up empty. Another man and I were mounted on horses
at my gate, when Mr. Cross drove up.
I called three times, "Is that you, Mr. Cross?"
But instead of answering, he put whip to his horses, and
they ran, and I after them about a mile and a half.
I called to a man that lived there, named McLaughlin,
to stop Cross. I said, "Shoot the horses if
he won't stop, for he has stolen something," but he did
not shoot. There was another man further on, however,
who with a pole struck down both horses.
The next day Mr. Cross went to Galesburg
and swore out a warrant against me, and I went to
Galesburg before an abolition squire, and he fined me
$100. I then took an appeal to the Circuit Court.
"When all the evidence was given in, the judge (Douglas)
threw it out of court—no cause for action. I then
went into the grand jury room, sent for witnesses, and
Cross was indicted, and three bills found against
him for stealing negroes. He was put in jail.
Afterwards the abolitionists of Galesburg bailed him
out. This is all true.
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