The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
reticence Robert understood to mean, that she was still unconverted on this great cardinal principle at least.  As he could see no prospect of freedom through her agency, when Frank approached him with a good report from Canada and his friends there, he could scarcely wait to listen to the glorious news; he was so willing and anxious to get out of slavery.  His dear old mother, Sarah Davis, and four brothers and two sisters, William, Thomas, Frederick and Samuel, Violet and Ellen, were all owned by Mrs. Hutchinson.  Dear as they were to him, he saw no way to take them with him, nor was he prepared to remain a day longer under the yoke; so he decided to accompany Frank, let the cost be what it might.

Vincent is about twenty-three years of age, very “likely-looking,” dark color, and more than ordinarily intelligent for one having only the common chances of slaves.

He was owned by the estate of Nathan Skinner, who was “looked upon,” by those who knew him, “as a good slave-holder.”  In slave property, however, he was only interested to the number of twelve head.  Skinner “neither sold nor emancipated.”  A year and a half before Vincent escaped, his master was called to give an account of his stewardship, and there in the spirit land Vincent was willing to let him remain, without much more to add about him.

Vincent left his mother, Judah Smith, and brothers and sisters, Edwin, Angeline, Sina Ann, Adaline Susan, George, John and Lewis, all belonging to the estate of Skinner.

Vincent was fortunate enough to bring his wife along with him.  She was about twenty-seven years of age, of a brown color, and smart, and was owned by the daughter of the widow Hutchinson.  This mistress was said to be a “clever woman.”

* * * * *


Under Governor Badger, of North Carolina, William had experienced Slavery in its most hateful form.  True, he had only been twelve months under the yoke of this high functionary.  But William’s experience in this short space of time, was of a nature very painful.

Previous to coming into the governor’s hands, William was held as the property of Mrs. Mary Jordon, who owned large numbers of slaves.  Whether the governor was moved by this consideration, or by the fascinating charms of Mrs. Jordon, or both, William was not able to decide.  But the governor offered her his hand, and they became united in wedlock.  By this circumstance, William was brought into his unhappy relations with the Chief Magistrate of the State of North Carolina.  This was the third time the governor had been married.  Thus it may be seen, that the governor was a firm believer in wives as well as slaves.  Commonly he was regarded as a man of wealth.  William being an intelligent piece of property, his knowledge of the governor’s rules and customs was quite complete, as he readily answered such questions as were propounded to him.  In this way a great amount of interesting information was learned from William respecting the governor, slaves, on the plantation, in the swamps, etc.  The governor owned large plantations, and was interested in raising cotton, corn, and peas, and was also a practical planter.  He was willing to trust neither overseers nor slaves any further than he could help.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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