April 18th, 1857.
J.W. RANDOLPH, Richmond, Va.
Even at this late date, it may perhaps afford Mr. R. a degree of satisfaction to know what became of Richard; but if this should not be the case, Richard’s children, or mother, or father, if they are living, may possibly see these pages, and thereby be made glad by learning of Richard’s wisdom as a traveler, in the terrible days of slave-hunting. Consequently here is what was recorded of him, April 3d, 1857, at the Underground Rail Road Station, just before a free ticket was tendered him for Canada. “Richard is thirty-three years of age, small of stature, dark color, smart and resolute. He was owned by Captain Tucker, of the United States Navy, from whom he fled.” He was “tired of serving, and wanted to marry,” was the cause of his escape. He had no complaint of bad treatment to make against his owner; indeed he said, that he had been “used well all his life.” Nevertheless, Richard felt that this Underground Rail Road was the “greatest road he ever saw.”
When the war broke out, Richard
girded on his knapsack and went
to help Uncle Sam humble Richmond and break the yoke.
* * * * *
(TWO OTHERS WHO STARTED WITH THEM WERE CAPTURED.)
All these persons journeyed together from Loudon Co., Va. on horseback and in a carriage for more than one hundred miles. Availing themselves of a holiday and their master’s horses and carriage, they as deliberately started for Canada, as though they had never been taught that it was their duty, as servants, to “obey their masters.” In this particular showing a most utter disregard of the interest of their “kind-hearted and indulgent owners.” They left home on Monday, Christmas Eve, 1855, under the leadership of Frank Wanzer, and arrived in Columbia the following Wednesday at one o’clock. As willfully as they had thus made their way along, they had not found it smooth sailing by any means. The biting frost and snow rendered their travel anything but agreeable. Nor did they escape the gnawings of hunger, traveling day and night. And whilst these “articles” were in the very act of running away with themselves and their kind master’s best horses and carriage—when about one hundred miles from home, in the neighborhood of Cheat river, Maryland, they were attacked by “six white men, and a boy,” who, doubtless, supposing that their intentions were of a “wicked and unlawful character” felt it to be their duty in kindness to their masters, if not to the travelers to demand of them an account of themselves. In other words, the assailants positively commanded the fugitives to “show what right” they possessed, to be found in a condition apparently so unwarranted.