The Underground Railroad eBook

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


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This candidate for Canada managed to secure a private berth on the steamship City of Richmond.  He was thus enabled to leave his old mistress, Mary A. Ely, in Norfolk, the place of her abode, and the field of his servitude.  Solomon was only twenty-two years of age, rather under the medium size, dark color, and of much natural ability.  He viewed Slavery as a great hardship, and for a length of time had been watching for an opportunity to free himself.  He had been in the habit of hiring his time of his mistress, for which he paid ten dollars per month.  This amount failed to satisfy the mistress, as she was inclined to sell him to North Carolina, where Slave stock, at that time, was commanding high prices.  The idea of North Carolina and a new master made Solomon rather nervous, and he was thereby prompted to escape.  On reaching the Committee he manifested very high appreciation of the attention paid him, and after duly resting for a day, he was sent on his way rejoicing.  Seven days after leaving Philadelphia, he wrote back from Canada as follows: 

    ST. CATHARINES, Feb. 20th, 1854.

MR. STILL—­DEAR SIR:—­It is with great pleasure that I have to inform you, that I have arrived safe in a land of freedom.  Thanks to kind friends that helped me here.  Thank God that I am treading on free soil.  I expect to go to work to-morrow in a steam factory.
I would like to have you, if it is not too much trouble, see Mr. Minhett, the steward on the boat that I came out on, when he gets to Norfolk, to go to the place where my clothes are, and bring them to you, and you direct them to the care of Rev. Hiram Wilson, St. Catharines, Niagara District, Canada West, by rail-road via Suspension Bridge.  You mentioned if I saw Mr. Foreman.  I was to deliver a message—­he is not here.  I saw two yesterday in church, from Norfolk, that I had known there.  You will send my name, James Henry, as you knew me by that name; direct my things to James Henry.  My love to your wife and children.

    Yours Respectfully,


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William fled from Lewis Roberts, who followed farming in Baltimore county, Md.  In speaking of him, William gave him the character of being a “fierce and rough man,” who owned nine head of slaves.  Two of William’s sisters were held by Roberts, when he left.  His excuse for running away was, “ill-treatment.”  In traveling North, he walked to Columbia (in Pennsylvania), and there took the cars for Philadelphia.  The Committee took charge of him, and having given him the usual aid, sent him hopefully on his way.  After safely reaching Canada, the thought of his wife in a land of bondage, pressed so deeply upon his mind, that he was prompted to make an effort to rescue her.  The following letter, written on his behalf by the Rev. H. Wilson, indicates his feelings and wishes with regard to her: 

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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