The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
good of him, although he had labored under him like a beast of burden all his days.  He had been “clothed meanly,” and “poorly fed.”  He also alleged, that his mistress was worse than his master, as she would “think nothing of knocking and beating the slave women for nothing.”  John was owned by Thomas Murphy.  From that day to this, Thomas may have been troubling his brain to know why his man John treated him so shabbily as to leave him in the manner that he did.  Jack had a good reason for his course, nevertheless.  In his corn field-phrase he declared, that his master Murphy would not give you half clothes, and besides he was a “hard man,” who kept Jack working out on hire.  Therefore, feeling his wrongs keenly, Jack decided, with his other friends, to run off and be free.

Sam, another comrade, was also owned by William Rybold.  Sam had just arrived at his maturity (twenty-one), when he was invited to join in the plot to escape.  At first, it might be thought strange, why one so young should seek to escape.  A few brief words from Sam soon explained the mystery.  It was this:  his master, as he said, had been in the habit of tying him up by the hands and flogging him unmercifully; besides, in the allowance of food and clothing, he always “stinted the slaves yet worked them very hard.”  Sam’s chances for education had been very unfavorable, but he had mind enough to know that liberty was worth struggling for.  He was willing to make the trial with the other boys.  He was of a dark chestnut color, and of medium size.

Jonathan belonged to A. Rybold, and was only nineteen years of age.  All that need be said in relation to his testimony, is, that it agreed with his colleague’s and fellow-servant’s, Samuel.  Before starting on their journey, they felt the need of new names, and in putting their wits together, they soon fixed this matter by deciding to pass in future by the following names:  James and David Green, John Henry, and Jonathan Fisher.

In the brief sketches given in this chapter, some lost ones, seeking information of relatives, may find comfort, even if the general reader should fail to be interested.

PART OF THE ARRIVALS IN DECEMBER, 1855.

THOMAS JERVIS GOOSEBERRY and WILLIAM THOMAS FREEMAN, alias EZEKIEL
CHAMBERS; HENRY HOOPER; JACOB HALL, alias HENRY THOMAS, and wife,
HENRIETTA and child; Two men from near Chestertown, Md.; FENTON JONES;
MARY CURTIS; WILLIAM BROWN; CHARLES HENRY BROWN; OLIVER PURNELL and
ISAAC FIDGET.

Thomas Jervis Gooseberry and William Thomas Freeman.  The coming of this party was announced in the subjoined letter: 

    SCHUYLKILL, 11th Mo., 29th, 1855.

WILLIAM STILL:  DEAR FRIEND:—­Those boys will be along by the last Norristown train to-morrow evening.  I think the train leaves Norristown at 6 o’clock, but of this inform thyself.  The boys will be sent to a friend at Norristown, with instructions to assist them in getting seats in the last train that leaves Norristown to-morrow evening.  They are two of the eleven who left some time since, and took with them some of their master’s horses; I have told them to remain in the cars at Green street until somebody meets them.

    E.F.  PENNYPACKER.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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