After crossing the river, his wet clothing freezing to him, he rode all night, a distance of about forty miles. In the morning he left his faithful horse tied to a fence, quite broken down. He then commenced his dreary journey on foot—cold and hungry—in a strange place, where it was quite unsafe to make known his condition and wants. Thus for a day or two, without food or shelter, he traveled until his feet were literally worn out, and in this condition he arrived at Harrisburg, where he found friends. Passing over many of the interesting incidents on the road, suffice it to say, he arrived safely in this city, on New Year’s night, 1857, about two hours before day break (the telegraph having announced his coming from Harrisburg), having been a week on the way. The night he arrived was very cold; besides, the Underground train, that morning, was about three hours behind time; in waiting for it, entirely out in the cold, a member of the Vigilance Committee thought he was frosted. But when he came to listen to the story of the Fugitive’s sufferings, his mind changed.
Scarcely had Robert entered the house of one of the Committee, where he was kindly received, when he took from his pocket his wife’s likeness, speaking very touchingly while gazing upon it and showing it. Subsequently, in speaking of his family, he showed the locks of hair referred to, which he had carefully rolled up in paper separately. Unrolling them, he said, “this is my wife’s;” “this is from my oldest daughter, eleven years old;” “and this is from my next oldest;” “and this from the next,” “and this from my infant, only eight weeks old.” These mementoes he cherished with the utmost care as the last remains of his affectionate family. At the sight of these locks of hair so tenderly preserved, the member of the Committee could fully appreciate the resolution of the fugitive in plunging into the Potomac, on the back of a dumb beast, in order to flee from a place and people who had made such barbarous havoc in his household.
His wife, as represented by the likeness, was of fair complexion, prepossessing, and good looking—perhaps not over thirty-three years of age.
* * * * *
ANTHONY LONEY, ALIAS WILLIAM ARMSTEAD.
Anthony had been serving under the yoke of Warring Talvert, of Richmond, Va. Anthony was of a rich black complexion, medium size, about twenty-five years of age. He was intelligent, and a member of the Baptist Church. His master was a member of the Presbyterian Church and held family prayers with the servants. But Anthony believed seriously, that his master was no more than a “whitened sepulchre,” one who was fond of saying, “Lord, Lord,” but did not do what the Lord bade him, consequently Anthony felt, that before the Great Judge his “master’s many prayers” would not benefit him, as long as he continued to hold his fellow-men in bondage. He left a father, Samuel Loney, and mother, Rebecca also, one sister and four brothers. His old father had bought himself and was free; likewise his mother, being very old, had been allowed to go free. Anthony escaped in May, 1857.