Jane did not know how old she was. She was probably sixty or seventy. She fled to keep from being sold. She had been “whipt right smart,” poorly fed and poorly clothed, by a certain Roger McZant, of the New Market District, Eastern Shore of Maryland. His wife was a “bad woman too.” Just before escaping, Jane got a whisper that her “master” was about to sell her; on asking him if the rumor was true, he was silent. He had been asking “one hundred dollars” for her.
Remembering that four of her children had been snatched away from her and sold South, and she herself was threatened with the same fate, she was willing to suffer hunger, sleep in the woods for nights and days, wandering towards Canada, rather than trust herself any longer under the protection of her “kind” owner. Before reaching a place of repose she was three weeks in the woods, almost wholly without nourishment.
Jane, doubtless, represented thousands of old slave mothers, who, after having been worn out under the yoke, were frequently either offered for sale for a trifle, turned off to die, or compelled to eke out their existence on the most stinted allowance.
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FLED FROM CAROLINE COUNTY, EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND, JUNE, 1857.
This party stated that Dr. Anthony Thompson had claimed them as his property. They gave the Committee a pretty full report of how they had been treated in slavery, especially under the doctor. A few of the interesting points were noted as follows: The doctor owned about twenty head of slaves when they left; formerly he had owned a much larger number, but circumstances had led him to make frequent sales during the few years previous to their escape, by which the stock had been reduced. As well as having been largely interested in slaves, he had at the same time been largely interested in real estate, to the extent of a dozen farms at least. But in consequence of having reached out too far, several of his farms had slipped out of his hands.