Aided by the Committee, the journey was made safely to the desired haven, where many old friends from Norfolk were found. Here our hero was known by the name of Dr. Thomas Bayne—he was no longer “Sam.” In a short time the Dr. commenced his profession in an humble way, while, at the same time, he deeply interested himself in his own improvement, as well as the improvement of others, especially those who had escaped from Slavery as he himself had. Then, too, as colored men were voters and, therefore, eligible to office in New Bedford, the Doctor’s naturally ambitious and intelligent, turn of mind led him to take an interest in politics, and before he was a citizen of New Bedford four years, he was duly elected a member of the City Council. He was also an outspoken advocate of the cause of temperance, and was likewise a ready speaker at Anti-slavery meetings held by his race. Some idea of his abilities, and the interest he took in the Underground Rail Road, education, etc., may be gathered from the appended letters:
NEW BEDFORD, June 23d, 1855.
W. Still:—Sir—I write you this to inform you that I has received my things and that you need not say any thing to Bagnul about them—I see by the Paper that the under ground Rail Road is in operation. Since 2 weeks a go when Saless Party was betrayed by that Capt whom we in mass. are so anxious to Learn his name—There was others started last Saturday night—They are all my old friends and we are waiting their arrival, we hope you will look out for them they may come by way of Salem, N.J. if they be not overtaken. They are from Norfolk—Times are very hard in Canada 2 of our old friends has left Canada and come to Bedford for a living. Every thing are so high and wages so low They cannot make a living (owing to the War) others are Expected shortly—let me hear from Sales and his Party. Get the Name of the Capt. that betrayed him let me know if Mrs. Goodwin of Salem are at the same place yet—John Austin are with us. C. Lightfoot is well and remembers you and family. My business increases more since I has got an office. Send me a Norfolk Paper or any other to read when convenient.
Let me hear from those People
as soon as possible. They consist
of woman and child 2 or 3 men belonging to Marsh Bottimore, L.
Slosser and Herman & Co—and Turner—all of Norfolk, Va.
Direct to Box No. 516, New Bedford, Mass. Don’t direct my letters to my office. Direct them to my Box 516. My office is 66-1/2 William St. The same street the Post office is near the city market.
The Doctor, feeling his educational deficiency in the enlightened city of New Bedford, did just what every uncultivated man should, devoted himself assiduously to study, and even applied himself to abstruse and hard subjects, medicine, etc., as the following letters will show: