The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 76 pages of information about The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave.


My master had family worship, night and morning.  At night, the slaves were called in to attend; but in the mornings, they had to be at their work, and master did all the praying.  My master and mistress were great lovers of mint julep, and every morning, a pitcher-full was made, of which they all partook freely, not excepting little master William.  After drinking freely all round, they would have family worship, and then breakfast.  I cannot say but I loved the julep as well as any of them, and during prayer was always careful to seat myself close to the table where it stood, so as to help myself when they were all busily engaged in their devotions.  By the time prayer was over, I was about as happy as any of them.  A sad accident happened one morning.  In helping myself, and at the same time keeping an eye on my old mistress, I accidentally let the pitcher fall upon the floor, breaking it in pieces, and spilling the contents.  This was a bad affair for me; for as soon as prayer was over, I was taken and severely chastised.

My master’s family consisted of himself, his wife, and their nephew, William Moore.  He was taken into the family, when only a few weeks of age.  His name being that of my own, mine was changed, for the purpose of giving precedence to his, though I was his senior by ten or twelve years.  The plantation being four miles from the city, I had to drive the family to church.  I always dreaded the approach of the Sabbath; for, during service, I was obliged to stand by the horses in the hot broiling sun, or in the rain, just as it happened.

One Sabbath, as we were driving past the house of D.D.  Page, a gentleman who owned a large baking establishment, as I was sitting upon the box of the carriage, which was very much elevated, I saw Mr. Page pursuing a slave around the yard, with a long whip, cutting him at every jump.  The man soon escaped from the yard, and was followed by Mr. Page.  They came running past us, and the slave perceiving that he would be overtaken, stopped suddenly, and Page stumbled over him, and falling on the stone pavement, fractured one of his legs, which crippled him for life.  The same gentleman, but a short time previous, tied up a woman of his, by the name of Delphia, and whipped her nearly to death; yet he was a deacon in the Baptist church, in good and regular standing.  Poor Delphia!  I was well acquainted with her, and called to see her while upon her sick bed; and I shall never forget her appearance.  She was a member of the same church with her master.

Soon after this, I was hired out to Mr. Walker; the same man whom I have mentioned as having carried a gang of slaves down the river, on the steamboat Enterprize.  Seeing me in the capacity of steward on the boat, and thinking that I would make a good hand to take care of slaves, he determined to have me for that purpose; and finding that my master would not sell me, he hired me for the term of one year.

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The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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