The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
man.”  Josiah Bailey was the leader of this party, and he appeared well-qualified for this position.  He was about twenty-nine years of age, and in no particular physically, did he seem to be deficient.  He was likewise civil and polite in his manners, and a man of good common sense.  He was held and oppressed by William H. Hughlett, a farmer and dealer in ship timber, who had besides invested in slaves to the number of forty head.  In his habits he was generally taken for a “moderate” and “fair” man, “though he was in the habit of flogging the slaves—­females as well as males,” after they had arrived at the age of maturity.  This was not considered strange or cruel in Maryland.  Josiah was the “foreman” on the place, and was entrusted with the management of hauling the ship-timber, and through harvesting and busy seasons was required to lead in the fields.  He was regarded as one of the most valuable hands in that part of the country, being valued at $2,000.  Three weeks before he escaped, Joe was “stripped naked,” and “flogged” very cruelly by his master, simply because he had a dispute with one of the fellow-servants, who had stolen, as Joe alleged, seven dollars of his hard earnings.  This flogging, produced in Joe’s mind, an unswerving determination to leave Slavery or die:  to try his luck on the Underground Rail Road at all hazards.  The very name of Slavery, made the fire fairly burn in his bones.  Although a married man, having a wife and three children (owned by Hughlett), he was not prepared to let his affection for them keep him in chains—­so Anna Maria, his wife, and his children Ellen, Anna Maria, and Isabella, were shortly widowed and orphaned by the slave lash.

William Bailey was owned by John C. Henry, a large slave-holder, and a very “hard” one, if what William alleged of him was true.  His story certainly had every appearance of truthfulness.  A recent brutal flogging had “stiffened his back-bone,” and furnished him with his excuse for not being willing to continue in Maryland, working his strength away to enrich his master, or the man who claimed to be such.  The memorable flogging, however, which caused him to seek flight on the Underground Rail Road, was not administered by his master or on his master’s plantation.  He was hired out, and it was in this situation that he was so barbarously treated.  Yet he considered his master more in fault than the man to whom he was hired, but redress there was none, save to escape.

The hour for forwarding the party by the Committee, came too soon to allow time for the writing of any account of Peter Pennington and Eliza Nokey.  Suffice it to say, that in struggling through their journey, their spirits never flagged; they had determined not to stop short of Canada.  They truly had a very high appreciation of freedom, but a very poor opinion of Maryland.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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