Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 63 pages of information about The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave.
to a blacksmith’s shop, and had a ball and chain fastened to his leg, and then put him to driving a yoke of oxen, and kept him at hard labor, until the iron around his leg was so worn into the flesh, that it was thought mortification would ensue.  In addition to this, John told me that his master whipped him regularly three times a week for the first two months:—­and all this to “tame him.”  A more noble looking man than he, was not to be found in all St. Louis, before he fell into the hands of More; and a more degraded and spirit-crushed looking being was never seen on a southern plantation, after he had been subjected to this “taming” process for three months.  The last time that I saw him, he had nearly lost the entire use of his limbs.

While living with Mr. Lovejoy, I was often sent on errands to the office of the “Missouri Republican,” published by Mr. Edward Charles.  Once, while returning to the office with type, I was attacked by several large boys, sons of slave-holders, who pelted me with snow-balls.  Having the heavy form of type in my hands, I could not make my escape by running; so I laid down the type and gave them battle.  They gathered around me, pelting me with stones and sticks, until they overpowered me, and would have captured me, if I had not resorted to my heels.  Upon my retreat, they took possession of the type; and what to do to regain it I could not devise.  Knowing Mr. Lovejoy to be a very humane man, I went to the office, and laid the case before him.  He told me to remain in the office.  He took one of the apprentices with him, and went after the type, and soon returned with it; but on his return informed me that Samuel McKinney had told him that he would whip me, because I had hurt his boy.  Soon after, McKinney was seen making his way to the office by one of the printers, who informed me of the fact, and I made my escape through the back door.

McKinney not being able to find me on his arrival, left the office in a great rage, swearing that he would whip me to death.  A few days after, as I was walking along Main Street, he seized me by the collar, and struck me over the head five or six times with a large cane, which caused the blood to gush from my nose and ears in such a manner that my clothes were completely saturated with blood.  After beating me to his satisfaction, he let me go, and I returned to the office so weak from the loss of blood, that Mr. Lovejoy sent me home to my master.  It was five weeks before I was able to walk again.  During this time, it was necessary to have some one to supply my place at the office, and I lost the situation.

After my recovery, I was hired to Capt.  Otis Reynolds, as a waiter on board the steamboat Enterprize, owned by Messrs. John and Edward Walsh, commission merchants at St. Louis.  This boat was then running on the upper Mississippi.  My employment on board was to wait on gentlemen, and the captain being a good man, the situation was a pleasant one to me;—­but in passing from place to place, and seeing new faces every day, and knowing that they could go where they pleased, I soon became unhappy, and several times thought of leaving the boat at some landing place, and trying to make my escape to Canada, which I had heard much about as a place where the slave might live, be free, and be protected.

Follow Us on Facebook