Treasurer to the Ladies’ Society to aid colored refugees.
For a time Frank enjoyed his newly won freedom and happy bride with bright prospects all around; but the thought of having left sisters and other relatives in bondage was a source of sadness in the midst of his joy. He was not long, however, in making up his mind that he would deliver them or “die in the attempt.” Deliberately forming his plans to go South, he resolved to take upon himself the entire responsibility of all the risks to be encountered. Not a word did he reveal to a living soul of what he was about to undertake. With “twenty-two dollars” in cash and “three pistols” in his pockets, he started in the lightning train from Toronto for Virginia. On reaching Columbia in this State, he deemed it not safe to go any further by public conveyance, consequently he commenced his long journey on foot, and as he neared the slave territory he traveled by night altogether. For two weeks, night and day, he avoided trusting himself in any house, consequently was compelled to lodge in the woods. Nevertheless, during that space of time he succeeded in delivering one of his sisters and her husband, and another friend in the bargain. You can scarcely imagine the Committee’s amazement on his return, as they looked upon him and listened to his “noble deeds of daring” and his triumph. A more brave and self-possessed man they had never seen.
He knew what Slavery was and the dangers surrounding him on his mission, but possessing true courage unlike most men, he pictured no alarming difficulties in a distance of nearly one thousand miles by the mail route, through the enemy’s country, where he might have in truth said, “I could not pass without running the gauntlet of mobs and assassins, prisons and penitentiaries, bailiffs and constables, &c.” If this hero had dwelt upon and magnified the obstacles in his way he would most assuredly have kept off the enemy’s country, and his sister and friends would have remained in chains.
The following were the persons delivered by Frank Wanzer. They were his trophies, and this noble act of Frank’s should ever be held as a memorial and honor. The Committee’s brief record made on their arrival runs thus:
“August 18, 1856. Frank Wanzer, Robert Stewart, alias Gasberry Robison, Vincent Smith, alias John Jackson, Betsey Smith, wife of Vincent Smith, alias Fanny Jackson. They all came from Alder, Loudon county, Virginia.”
Robert is about thirty years of age, medium size, dark chestnut color, intelligent and resolute. He was held by the widow Hutchinson, who was also the owner of about one hundred others. Robert regarded her as a “very hard mistress” until the death of her husband, which took place the Fall previous to his escape. That sad affliction, he thought, was the cause of a considerable change in her treatment of her slaves. But yet “nothing was said about freedom,” on her part. This