Whether Samuel ever met with the opportunity of communicating with his wife, the writer cannot say. But of all the trials which Slaves had to endure, the separations of husbands and wives were the most difficult to bear up under. Although feeling keenly the loss of his wife, Samuel’s breast swelled with the thought of freedom, as will be seen from the letter which he wrote immediately after landing in Canada:
ST. CATHARINE, UPPER CANADA WEST.
MR. WILLIAM STILL:—I am now in safety. I arrived at home safe on the 11th inst at 12 o’clock M. So I hope that you will now take it upon yourself to inform me something of that letter I left at your house that night when I left there and write me word how you are and how is your wife. I wish you may excuse this letter for I am so full that I cannot express my mind at all. I am only got $1.50 and I feel as if I had an independent fortune but I don’t want you to think that I am going to be idle because I am on free ground and I shall always work though I am not got nothing to do at present. Direct your letter to the post office as soon as possible.
SAMUEL W. JOHNSON.
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STEPHEN AMOS, alias HENRY JOHNSON, HARRIET, alias MARY JANE JOHNSON (man and wife), and their four children, ANN REBECCA, WM. H., ELIZABETH and MARY ELLEN. Doubtless, in the eyes of a Slaveholder, a more “likely-looking” family could not readily be found in Baltimore, than the one to be now briefly noticed. The mother and her children were owned by a young slave-holder, who went by the name of William Giddings, and resided in Prince George’s county, Md. Harriet acknowledged, that she had been treated “tolerably well in earlier days” for one in her condition; but, as in so many instances in the experience of Slaves, latterly, times had changed with her and she was compelled to serve under a new master who oft-times treated her “very severely.” On one occasion, seven years previously, a brother of her owner for a trifling offence struck and kicked her so brutally, that she was immediately thrown into a fit of sickness, which lasted “all one summer”—from this she finally recovered.
On another occasion, about one year previous to her escape, she was seized by her owner and thrust into prison to be sold. In this instance the interference of the Uncle of Harriet’s master saved her from the auction block. The young master, was under age, and at the same time under the guardianship of his Uncle. The young master had early acquired an ardent taste for fast horses, gambling, etc. Harriet felt, that her chances for the future in the hands of such a brutal master could not be other than miserable. Her husband had formerly been owned by John S. Giddings, who was said to have been a “mild man.” He had allowed Stephen (her husband)