The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
slaves on the plantation consisted of the pot liquor in which the pork was boiled, with Indian-meal bread.  The merest glance at what he experienced during his brief stay on the plantation must suffice.  In the field where John, with a number of others was working, stood a hill, up which they were repeatedly obliged to ascend, with loads on their backs, and the overseer at their heels, with lash in hand, occasionally slashing at first one and then another; to keep up, the utmost physical endurance was taxed.  John, though a stout young man, and having never known any other condition than that of servitude, nevertheless found himself quite unequal to the present occasion.  “I was surprised,” said he, “to see the expertness with which all flew up the hill.” “One woman, quite LUSTY, unfit to be out of the house, on RUNNING UP THE HILL, fell; in a moment she was up again with her brush on her back, and an hour afterwards the overseer was whipping her.”  “My turn came.”  “What is the reason you can’t get up the hill faster?” exclaimed the overseer, at the same time he struck me with a cowhide.  “I told him I would not stand it.”  “Old Uncle George Washington never failed to get a whipping every day.”

So after serving at this only a few days, John made his last solemn vow to be free or die; and off he started for Canada.  Though he had to contend with countless difficulties he at last made the desired haven.  He hailed from one of the lower counties of Maryland.

John was not contented to enjoy the boon alone, but like a true lover of freedom he remembered those in bonds as bound with them, and so was scheming to make a hazardous “adventure” South, on the express errand of delivering his “family,” as the subjoined letter will show: 

    GLANDFORD, August 15th, 1858.

DEAR SIR:—­I received your letter and was glad to hear that your wife and family was all well and I hope it will continue so.  I am glad to inform you that this leaves me well.  Also, Mr. Wm. Still, I want for you to send me your opinion respecting my circumstances.  I have made up my mind to make an adventure after my family and I want to get an answer from you and then I shall know how to act and then I will send to you all particulars respecting my starting to come to your house.  Mr. Still I should be glad to know whare Abraham Harris is, as I should be as glad to see him as well as any of my own brothers.  His wife and my wife’s mother is sisters.  My wife belongs to Elson Burdel’s estate.  Abraham’s wife belongs to Sam Adams.  Mr. Still you must not think hard of me for writing you these few lines as I cannot rest until I release my dear family.  I have not the least doubt but I can get through without the least trouble.  So no more at present from your humble servant,

    JOHN B. WOODS.

* * * * *

ARRIVAL FROM NEW ORLEANS, 1857.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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