If at the time of their arrival, it had been imagined that the glorious day of universal freedom was only about eight years off, doubtless much fuller records would have been made of these struggling Underground Rail Road passengers. If Harrison’s relatives and friends, who suddenly missed him and his daughter Harriet Ann, in the Spring of 1854, are still ignorant of his whereabouts, this very brief account of their arrival in Philadelphia, may be of some satisfaction to all concerned, not excepting his old master, whom he had served so faithfully.
The Committee finding them in need, had the pleasure of furnishing them with food, material aid and a carriage, with cheering words and letters of introduction to friends on the road to Canada.
Daniel was only about twenty, just at a capital age to make a bold strike for freedom. The appearance and air of this young aspirant for liberty indicated that he was not of the material to be held in chains. He was a man of medium size, well-built, dark color, and intelligent. Hon. Charles J. Fortner, M.C. was the reputed owner of this young fugitive, but the honorable gentleman having no use for his services, or because he may have profited more by hiring him out, Daniel was placed in the employ of a farmer, by the name of Adam Quigley. It was at this time he resolved that he would not be a slave any longer. He declared that Quigley was a “very mean man,” one for whom he had no respect whatever. Indeed he felt that the system of Slavery was an abomination in any form it might be viewed. While he was yet so young, he had pretty clear views with regard to Slavery, and remembered with feelings of deep indignation, how his father had been sold when he himself was a boy, just as a horse might have been sold; and how his mother was dragging her chains in Slavery, up to the hour he fled. Thus in company with his two companions he was prepared for any sacrifice.
Adam’S tale is soon told; all that is on the old record in addition to his full name, is in the following words: “Adam is dark, rugged and sensible, and was owned by Alexander Hill, a drunkard, gambler, &c.”
Reuben had been hired out to John Sabbard near Hedgeville. Startled at hearing that he was to be sold, he was led to consider the propriety of seeking flight via the Underground Rail Road. These three young men were all fine specimens of farm hands, and possessed more than average common sense, considering the oppression they had to labor under. They walked the entire distance from Hedgeville, Va., to Greenville, Pa. There they took the cars and walked no more. They appeared travel-worn, garments dirty, and forlorn; but the Committee had them cleanly washed, hair cut and shaved, change of clothing furnished, &c., which at once made them look like very different men. Means were appropriated to send them on free of cost.