The Underground Railroad eBook

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

Ann bore witness against one James Pipper, a farmer, whom she had served as a slave, and from whom she fled, saying that “he was as mean a man as ever walked—­a dark-complected old man, with gray hair.”  With great emphasis she thus continued her testimony:  “He tried to work me to death, and treated me as mean as he could, without killing me; he done so much I couldn’t tell to save my life.  I wish I had as many dollars as he has whipped me with sticks and other things.  His wife will do tolerable.”  “I left because he was going to sell me and my son to Georgia; for years he had been threatening; since the boys ran away, last spring, he was harder than ever.  One was my brother, Perry, and the other was a young man by the name of Jim.”  “David, my master, drank all he could get, poured it down, and when drunk, would cuss, and tear, and rip, and beat.  He lives near the nine bridges, in Queen Ann county.”

Ann was certainly a forcible narrator, and was in every way a wideawake woman, about thirty-seven years of age.  Among other questions they were asked if they could read, etc.  “Read,” said Ann.  “I would like to see anybody (slave) that could read our way; to see you with a book in your hand they would almost cut your throat.”

Ann had one child only, a son, twenty years of age, who came in company with his parents.  This son belonged to the said Pipper already described.  When they started from the land of bondage they had large hopes, but not much knowledge of the way; however, they managed to get safely on the Underground Rail Road track, and by perseverance they reached the Committee and were aided in the usual manner.

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For three years Leeds had been thirsting for his liberty; his heart was fixed on that one object.  He got plenty to eat, drink, and wear, but was nevertheless dissatisfied.

The name of his master was Rev. John Wesley Pearson, who was engaged in school teaching and preaching, and belonged to the more moderate class of slave-holders.  Once when a boy Leeds had been sold, but being very young, he did not think much about the matter.

For the last eight or ten years previous to his escape he had not seen his relatives, his father (George Wright) having fled to Canada, and the remainder of the family lived some fifty miles distant, beyond the possibility of intercourse; therefore, as he had no strong ties to break, he could look to the time of leaving the land of bondage without regret.

Abram, the companion of Leeds, had been less comfortably situated.  His lot in Slavery had been cast under Samuel Jarman, by whom he had been badly treated.

Abram described him as a “big, tall, old man, who drank and was a real wicked man; he followed farming; had thirteen children.  His wife was different; she was a pretty fine woman, but the children were all bad; the young masters followed playing cards.”  No chance at all had been allowed them to learn to read, although Abram and Leeds both coveted this knowledge.  As they felt that they would never be able to do anything for their improvement by remaining, they decided to follow the example of Abram’s father and others and go to Canada.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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