Having arrived safely, by the way and manner indicated in E.F. Pennypacker’s note, as they were found to be only sixteen and seventeen years of age, considerable interest was felt by the Acting Committee to hear their story. They were closely questioned in the usual manner. They proved to be quite intelligent, considering how young they were, and how the harrow of Slavery had been upon them from infancy.
They escaped from Chestertown, Md., in company with nine others (they being a portion of the eleven who arrived in Wilmington, with two carriages, etc., noticed on page 302), but, for prudential reasons they were separated while traveling. Some were sent on, but the boys had to be retained with friends in the country. Many such separations were inevitable. In this respect a great deal of care and trouble had to be endured for the sake of the cause.
Thomas Jervis, the elder boy, was quite dark, and stammered somewhat, yet he was active and smart. He stated that Sarah Maria Perkins was his mistress in Maryland. He was disposed to speak rather favorably of her, at least he said that she was “tolerably kind” to her servants. She, however, was in the habit of hiring out, to reap a greater revenue for them, and did not always get them places where they were treated as well as she herself treated them. Tom left his father, Thomas Gooseberry, and three sisters, Julia Ann, Mary Ellen, and Katie Bright, all slaves.
Ezekiel, the younger boy, was of a chestnut color, clever-looking, smart, and well-grown, just such an one as a father enjoying the blessings of education and citizenship, might have felt a considerable degree of pride in. He was owned by a man called John Dwa, who followed “farming and drinking,” and when under the influence of liquor, was disposed to ill-treat the slaves. Ezekiel had not seen his mother for many years, although she was living in Baltimore, and was known by the name of “Dorcas Denby.” He left no brothers nor sisters.
The idea of boys, so young and inexperienced as they were, being thrown on the world, gave occasion for serious reflection. Still the Committee were rejoiced that they were thus early in life, getting away from the “Sum of all villanies.” In talking with them, the Committee endeavored to impress them with right ideas as to how they should walk in life, aided them, of course, and sent them off with a double share of advice. What has been their destiny since, is not known.
Henry Hooper, a young man of nineteen years of age, came from Maryland, in December, in a subsequent Underground Rail Road arrival. That he came in good order, and was aided and sent off, was fully enough stated on the book, but nothing else; space, however was left for the writing out of his narrative, but it was never filled up. Probably the loose sheet on which the items were jotted down, was lost.