The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
of his hire he was only allowed $1.50 per week to pay his board, clothe himself, and defray all other expenses; leaving no room whatever for him to provide for his wife.  It was, therefore, a never-failing source of unhappiness to be thus debarred, and it was wholly on this account that he “took out,” as he did, and at the time that he did.  His wife’s name was “Sally.”  She too was a slave, but “had not been treated roughly.”

For fifty long years Henry had been in the grasp of this merciless system—­constrained to toil for the happiness of others, to make them comfortable, rich, indolent, and tyrannical.  To say that he was like a bird out of a cage, conveys in no sense whatever the slightest idea of his delight in escaping from the prison house.  And yet, his pleasure was sadly marred by the reflection that his bosom companion was still in bondage in the gloomy prison-house.  Henry was a man of dark color, well made, and of a reflective turn of mind.  On arriving in Canada, he manifested his gratitude through Rev. H. Wilson, as follows—­

    ST. CATHARINES, Aug. 20th, 1855.

DEAR BR.  STILL:—­I am requested by Henry Washington to inform you that he got through safe, and is here in good business.  He returns to you his sincere thanks for your attention to him on his way.  I had the pleasure of receiving seven fugitives last week.  Send them on, and may God speed them in the flight.  I would like to have a miracle-working power, that I could give wings to them all so that they could come faster than by Railroads either underground or above.

    Yours truly,

    HIRAM WILSON.

While he was thus hopefully succeeding in Canada, separated from his companion by many hundreds of miles, death came and liberated her from the yoke, as the subjoined letter indicates—­

    ST. CATHARINES, C.W.  Nov. 12, 1855.

MR. WILLIAM STILL:—­Dear Sir:—­I have received a letter from Joseph G. Selden a friend in Norfolk, Va., informing me of the death of my wife, who deceased since I saw you here; he also informs me that my clothing will be forwarded to you by Jupiter White, who now has it in his charge.  You will therefore do me a great favor, if you will be so good as to forward them to me at this place St. Catharines, C.W.
The accompanying letter is the one received from Mr. Selden which I send you, that you may see that it is all right.  You will please give my respects to Mrs. Still and family.  Most respectfully yours,

    HENRY WASHINGTON.

Henry Stewart, who accompanied the above mentioned traveler to Canada, had fled a short while before from Plymouth, North Carolina.  James Monroe Woodhouse, a farmer, claimed Stewart as his property, and “hired him out” for $180 per annum.  As a master, Woodhouse was considered to be of the “moderate” type, according to Stewart’s judgment.  But respecting money matters (when his slaves wanted a trifle), “he was very hard.  He did not flog, but would not give a slave a cent of money upon any consideration.”

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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