Mrs. Crane, her mistress, had always promised Julia that she should be free at her death. But, unexpectedly, as Mrs. Crane was on her journey home from Cape May, where she had been for her health the summer before Julia escaped, she died suddenly in Philadelphia. Julia, however, had been sold twice before her mistress’ death; once to the trader, Reed, and afterwards to John Freeland, and again was on the eve of being sold. Freeland, her last owner, thought she was unhappy because she was denied the privilege of going home of nights to her husband, instead of being on hand at the beck and call of her master and mistress day and night. So the very day Julia and her husband escaped, arrangements had been made to put her up at auction a third time. But both Julia and her husband had seen enough of Slavery to leave no room to hope that they could ever find peace or rest so long as they remained. So there and then, they resolved to strike for Canada, via the Underground Rail Road. By a little good management, berths were procured for them on one of the Richmond steamers (berths not known to the officers of the boat), and they were safely landed in the hands of the Vigilance Committee, and a most agreeable interview was had.
The Committee extended to them the usual hospitalities, in the way of board, accommodations, and free tickets Canadaward, and wished them a safe and speedy passage. The passengers departed, exceedingly light-hearted, Feb. 1, 1854.
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JAMES MASSEY, PERRY HENRY TRUSTY, GEORGE RHOADS, JAMES RHOADS, GEORGE WASHINGTON, SARAH ELIZABETH RHOADS AND CHILD, MARY ELIZABETH STEVENSON.
Doubtless there was a sensation in “the camp,” when this gang was found missing.
James was a likely-looking young man of twenty years of age, dark, tall, and sensible; and worth, if we may judge, about $1,600. He was owned by a farmer named James Pittman, a “crabid kind of a man,” grey-headed, with a broken leg; drank very hard, at which times he would swear that he would “sell them all to Georgia;” this threat was always unpleasant to the ears of James, but it seemed to be a satisfaction to the master. Fearing that it would be put into execution, James thought he had better let no time be lost in getting on towards Canada, though he was entitled to his Freedom at the age of twenty-five. Left his father, four brothers and two sisters. Also left his wife, to whom he had been married the previous Christmas.
His master’s further stock of slaves consisted of two women, a young man and a child. The name of his old mistress was Amelia. She was “right nice,” James admitted. One of James’ brothers had been sold to Georgia by Pittman, although he was also entitled to his Freedom at the age of twenty-five.
His near relatives left in bondage lived near Level Square, Queen Ann’s county, Maryland. His wife’s name was Henrietta. “She was free.”