The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

George Washington, one of the same party, was only about fifteen years of age; he was tall enough, however, to pass for a young man of twenty.  George was of an excellent, fast, dark color.  Of course, mentally he was undeveloped, nevertheless, possessed of enough mother-wit to make good his escape.  In the slave market he might have been valued at $800.  George was claimed as the lawful property of Benjamin Sylves—­a Presbyterian, who owned besides, two men, three girls, and a boy.  He was “tolerable good” sometimes, and sometimes “bad.”  Some of the slaves supposed themselves to be on the eve of being emancipated about the time George left; but of this there was no certainty.  George, however, was not among this hopeful number, consequently, he thought that he would start in time, and would be ready to shout for Freedom quite as soon as any other of his fellow-bondmen.  George left a father and three sisters.  Sarah Elizabeth Rhoads, wife of James Rhoads, was seventeen years of age, a tall, dark, young woman, who had had no chances for mental improvement, except such as were usual on a farm, stocked with slaves, where learning to read the Bible was against the “rules.”  Sarah was a young slave mother with a babe (of course a slave) only eight months old.  She was regarded as having been exceedingly fortunate in having rescued herself and child from the horrid fate of slaves.

MARY ELIZABETH STEPHENSON is a promising-looking young woman, of twenty years of age, chestnut color, and well made.  Hard treatment had been her lot.  Left her mother, two sisters and four brothers in bondage.  Worth $1100.

Although these travelers were of the “field hand” class, who had never been permitted to see much off of the farm, and had been deprived of hearing intelligent people talk, yet the spirit of Freedom, so natural to man, was quite uppermost with all of them.  The members of the Committee who saw them, were abundantly satisfied that these candidates for Canada would prove that they were able to “take care of themselves.”

Their wants were attended to in the usual manner, and they were sent on their way rejoicing, the Committee feeling quite a deep interest in them.  It looked like business to see so many passing over the Road.

* * * * *

CHARLES THOMPSON,

CARRIER OF “THE NATIONAL AMERICAN,” OFF FOR CANADA.

The subjoined “pass” was brought to the Underground Rail Road station in Philadelphia by Charles, and while it was interesting as throwing light upon his escape, it is important also as a specimen of the way the “pass” system was carried on in the dark days of Slavery in Virginia: 

    “NAT.  AMERICAN OFFICE,

    Richmond, July 20th, 1857.

    Permit Charles to pass and repass from this office to the
    residence of Rev B. Manly’s on Clay St., near 11th, at any hour
    of the night for one month.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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