Charles Henry was a good-looking young man, only twenty years of age, and appeared to possess double as much natural sense as he would require to take care of himself. John Webster of Sandy Hook, claimed Charles’ time, body and mind, and this was what made Charles unhappy. Uneducated as he was, he was too sensible to believe that Webster had any God-given right to his manhood. Consequently, he left because his master “did not treat him right.” Webster was a tall man, with large black whiskers, about forty years of age, and owned Charles’ two sisters. Charles was sorry for the fate of his sisters, but he could not help them if he remained. Staying to wear the yoke, he felt would rather make it worse instead of better for all concerned.
Luther Dorsey is about nineteen years of age, rather smart, black, well made and well calculated for a Canadian. He was prompted to escape purely from the desire to be “free.” He fled from a “very insulting man,” by the name of Edward Schriner, from the neighborhood of Sairsville Mills, Frederick Co., Md. This Schriner was described as a “low chunky man, with grum look, big mouth, etc.,” and was a member of the German Reformed Church. “Don’t swear, though might as well; he was so bad other ways.”
Luther was a member of the Methodist church at Jones Hill. Left his father in chains; his mother had wisely escaped to Canada years back, when he was but a boy. Where she was then, he could not tell, but hoped to meet her in Canada.
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JEREMIAH W. SMITH AND WIFE JULIA.
Richmond was a city noted for its activity and enterprise in slave trade. Several slave pens and prisons were constantly kept up to accommodate the trade. And slave auctions were as common in Richmond as dress goods auctions in Philadelphia; notwithstanding this fact, strange as it may seem, the Underground Rail Road brought away large numbers of passengers from Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk, and not a few of them lived comparatively within a hair’s breadth of the auction block. Many of those from these localities were amongst the most intelligent and respectable slaves in the South, and except at times when disheartened by some grave disaster which had befallen the road, as, for instance, when some friendly captain or conductor was discovered in aiding fugitives, many of the thinking bondmen were daily manoeuvering and watching for opportunities to escape or aid their friends so to do. This state of things of course made the naturally hot blood of Virginians fairly boil. They had preached long and loudly about the contented and happy condition of the slaves,—that the chief end of the black man was to worship and serve the white man, with joy and delight, with more willingness and obedience indeed than he would be expected to serve his Maker.