The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

* * * * *



She anxiously waits their coming in Syracuse, N.Y.  Not until after the foregoing story headed, the “Escape of a Child,” etc., had been put into the hands of the printer and was in type, was the story of the mother discovered, although it was among the records preserved.  Under changed names, in many instances, it has been found to be no easy matter to cull from a great variety of letters, records and advertisements, just when wanted, all the particulars essential to complete many of these narratives.  The case of the child, alluded to above, is a case in point.  Thus, however, while it is impossible to introduce the mother’s story in its proper place, yet, since it has been found, it is too important and interesting to be left out.  It is here given as follows: 

$300 REWARD.—­RAN AWAY from the subscriber on Saturday, the 30th of August, 1856, my SERVANT WOMAN, named EMELINE CHAPMAN, about 25 years of age; quite dark, slender built, speaks short, and stammers some; with two children, one a female about two and a half years old; the other a male, seven or eight months old, bright color.  I will give the above reward if they are delivered to me in Washington.

    [Illustration:  ]


    s23-TU, Th&st&

    Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

Emeline Chapman, so particularly described in the “Baltimore Sun” of the 23d of September, 1856, arrived by the regular Underground Rail Road train from Washington.  In order to escape the responsibility attached to her original name, she adopted the name of Susan Bell.  Thus for freedom she was willing to forego her name, her husband, and even her little children.  It was a serious sacrifice; but she had been threatened with the auction block, and she well understood what that meant.  With regard to usage, having lived away from her owner, Emeline did not complain of any very hard times.  True, she had been kept at work very constantly, and her owner had very faithfully received all her hire.  Emeline had not even been allowed enough of her hire to find herself in clothing, or anything for the support of her two children—­for these non-essentials, her kind mistress allowed her to seek elsewhere, as best she could.  Emeline’s husband was named John Henry; her little girl she called Margaret Ann, and her babe she had named after its father, all with the brand of Slavery upon them.  The love of freedom, in the breast of this spirited young Slave-wife and mother, did not extinguish the love she bore to her husband and children, however otherwise her course, in leaving them, as she did, might appear.  For it was just this kind of heroic and self-sacrificing struggle, that appealed to the hearts of men and compelled attention.  The letters of Biglow and Stevens, relative to the little child, prove this fact, and additional testimony found in the appended letter from Rev. J.W.  Loguen conclusively confirms the same.  Indeed, who could close his eyes and ears to the plaintive cries of such a mother?  Who could refrain from aiding on to freedom children honored in such a heroic parent?

Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook