Stephen Taylor, Charles Brown, Charles Henry Hollis, and Luther Dorsey. Stephen was a fine young man, of twenty years of age; he fled to keep from being sold. He “supposed his master wanted money.” His master was a “tall, spare-faced man, with long whiskers, very wicked and very quick-tempered,” and was known by the name of James Smithen, of Sandy Hook, Harford county, Md. His wife was also a very “close woman.” They had four children growing up to occupy their places as oppressors. Stephen was not satisfied to serve either old or young masters any longer, and made up his mind to leave the first opportunity. Before this watchful and resolute purpose the way opened, and he soon found it comparatively easy to find his way from Maryland to Pennsylvania, and likewise into the hands of the Vigilance Committee, to whom he made known fully the character of the place and people whence he had fled, the dangers he was exposed to from slave-hunters, and the strong hope he cherished of reaching free land soon. Being a young man of promise, Stephen was advised earnestly to apply his mind to seek an education, and to use every possible endeavor to raise himself in the scale of manhood, morally, religiously and intellectually; and he seemed to drink in the admonitions thus given with a relish. After recruiting, and all necessary arrangements had been made for his comfort and passage to Canada, he was duly forwarded. “One more slave-holder is minus another slave worth at least $1200, which is something to rejoice over,” said Committee. Stephen’s parents were dead; one brother was the only near relative he left in chains.
Charles Brown was about twenty-five years of age, quite black, and bore the marks of having been used hard, though his stout and hearty appearance would have rendered him very desirable to a trader. He fled from William Wheeling, of Sandy Hook, Md. He spoke of his master as a “pretty bad man,” who was “always quarreling,” and “would drink, swear and lie.” Left simply because he “never got anything for his labor.” On taking his departure for Canada, he was called upon to bid adieu to his mother and three brothers, all under the yoke. His master he describes thus—
“His face was long, cheek-bones high, middling tall, and about twenty-six years of age.” With this specimen of humanity, Charles was very much dissatisfied, and he made up his mind not to stand the burdens of Slavery a day longer than he could safely make his way to the North. And in making an effort to reach Canada, he was quite willing to suffer many things. So the first chance Charles got, he started, and Providence smiled upon his resolution; he found himself a joyful passenger on the Underground Rail Road, being entertained free, and receiving attentions from the Company all along the line through to her British Majesty’s boundlessly free territory in the Canadas.
True, the thought of his mother and brothers, left in the prison house, largely marred his joy, as it did also the Committee’s, still the Committee felt that Charles had gained his Freedom honorably, and at the same time, had left his master a poorer, if not a wiser man, by at least $1200.