Interesting letter from James Massey to his wife. It was forwarded to the corresponding secretary, to be sent to her, but no opportunity was afforded so to do, safely.
ST. CATHARINES, C.W., April 24, 1857.
Dear Wife—I take this opertunity to inform you that I have Arive in St Catharines this Eving. After Jorney of too weeks, and now find mysilf on free ground and wish that you was here with me But you are not here, when we parted I did not know that I should come away so soon as I did. But for that of causin you pain I left as I did, I hope that you will try to come. But if you cannot, write to me as soon as you can and tell me all that you can But don’t be Desscuredged I was sory to leave you, and I could not help it for you know that I promest see you to sister, But I was persuaded By Another man go part with it grived mutch, you must not think that I did not care for you. I cannot tell how I come, for I was some times on the earth and some times under the earth Do not Bee afraid to come But start and keep trying, if you are afrid fitch your tow sister with you for compeny and I will take care of you and treat you like a lady so long as you live. The talk of cold in this place is all a humbug, it is wormer here than it was there when I left, your father and mother has allways treated me like their own child I have no fault to find in them. I send my Respects to them Both and I hope that they will remember me in Prayer, if you make a start come to Philidelpa tell father and mother that I am safe and hope that they will not morn after me I shall ever Remember them. No more at present But yours in Body and mind, and if we no meet on Earth I hope that we shall meet in heven.
Perry was about thirty-one years of age, round-made, of dark complexion, and looked quite gratified with his expedition, and the prospect of becoming a British subject instead of a Maryland slave. He was not free, however, from the sad thought of having left his wife and three children in the “prison house,” nor of the fact that his own dear mother was brutally stabbed to the heart with a butcher knife by her young master, while he (Perry) was a babe; nor of a more recent tragedy by which a fellow-servant, only a short while before he fled, was also murdered by a stab in the groin from another young master. “Powerful bad” treatment, and “no pay,” was the only reward poor Perry had ever received for his life services. Perry could only remember his having received from his master, in all, eleven cents. Left a brother and sister in Slavery. Perry was worth $1200 perhaps.
Perry was compelled to leave his wife and three children—namely, Hannah (wife), Perry Henry, William Thomas and Alexander, who were owned by John McGuire, of Caroline county, Maryland. Perry was a fellow-servant of James Massey, and was held by the same owner who held James. It is but just, to say, that it was not in the Pittman family that his mother and his fellow-servant had been so barbarously murdered. These occurrences took place before they came into the hands of Pittman.