The Underground Railroad eBook

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

Isaac was a stout-made young man, about twenty-six years of age, possessing a good degree of physical and mental ability.  Indeed his intelligence forbade his submission to the requirements of Slavery, rendered him unhappy and led him to seek his freedom.  He owed services to D. Fitchhugh up to within a short time before he escaped.  Against Fitchhugh he made grave charges, said that he was a “hard, bad man.”  It is but fair to add that Isaac was similarly regarded by his master, so both were dissatisfied with each other.  But the master had the advantage of Isaac, he could sell him.  Isaac, however, could turn the table on his master, by running off.  But the master moved quickly and sold Isaac to Dr. James, a negro trader.  The trader designed making a good speculation out of his investment:  Isaac determined that he should be disappointed; indeed that he should lose every dollar that he paid for him.  So while the doctor was planning where and how he could get the best price for him, Isaac was planning how and where he might safely get beyond his reach.  The time for planning and acting with Isaac was, however, exceedingly short.  He was daily expecting to be called upon to take his departure for the South.  In this situation he made known his condition to a friend of his who was in a precisely similar situation; had lately been sold just as Isaac had to the same trader James.  So no argument was needed to convince his friend and fellow-servant that if they meant to be free they would have to set off immediately.

That night Henry Banks and Isaac Williams started for the woods together, preferring to live among reptiles and wild animals, rather than be any longer at the disposal of Dr. James.  For two weeks they successfully escaped their pursuers.  The woods, however, were being hunted in every direction, and one day the pursuers came upon them, shot them both, and carried them to King George’s Co. jail.  The jail being an old building had weak places in it; but the prisoners concluded to make no attempt to break out while suffering badly from their wounds.  So they remained one month in confinement.  All the while their brave spirits under suffering grew more and more daring.  Again they decided to strike for freedom, but where to go, save to the woods, they had not the slightest idea.  Of course they had heard, as most slaves had, of cave life, and pretty well understood all the measures which had to be resorted to for security when entering upon so hazardous an undertaking.  They concluded, however, that they could not make their condition any worse, let circumstances be what they might in this respect.  Having discovered how they could break jail, they were not long in accomplishing their purpose, and were out and off to the woods again.  This time they went far into the forest, and there they dug a cave, and with great pains had every thing so completely arranged as to conceal the spot entirely.  In this den they stayed three months.  Now and

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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