The Underground Railroad eBook

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

Susan Jane came from New Market, near Georgetown Cross-Roads, where she had been held to unrequited labor by Hezekiah Masten, a farmer.  Although he was a man of fair pretensions, and a member of the Methodist Church, he knew how to draw the cords very tightly, with regard to his slaves, keeping his feet on their necks, to their sore grievance.  Susan endured his bad treatment as long as she could, then left, destitute and alone.  Her mother and father were at the time living in Elkton, Md.  Whether they ever heard what became of their daughter is not known.

Amarian was twenty-one years of age, a person of light color, medium size, with a prepossessing countenance and smart; she could read, write, and play on the piano.  From a child, Amarian had been owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Key Scott, who resided near Braceville, but at the time of her flight she was living at Westminster, in the family of a man named “Boile,” said to be the clerk of the court.  In reference to treatment, Amarian said:  “I have always been used very well; have had it good all my life, etc.”  This was a remarkable case, and, at first, somewhat staggered the faith of the Committee, but they could not dispute her testimony, consequently they gave her the benefit of the doubt.  She spoke of having a mother living in Hagerstown, by the name of Amarian Ballad, also three sisters who were slaves, and two who were free; she also had a brother in chains in Mississippi.

* * * * *



William was about fifty-one years of age, a man of unmixed blood.  Physically he was a superior man, and his mental abilities were quite above the average of his class.

He belonged to the estate of the late Mrs. Sarah Twyne, who bore the reputation of being a lady of wealth, and owned one hundred and twelve slaves.  Most of her slave property was kept on her plantation not far from Old Point Comfort.  According to William’s testimony “of times Mrs. Twyne would meddle too freely with the cup, and when under its influence she was very desperate, and acted as though she wanted to kill some of the slaves.”

After the evil spirit left her and she had regained her wonted composure, she would pretend that she loved her “negroes,” and would make a great fuss over them.  Not infrequently she would have very serious difficulty with her overseers.  Having license to do as they pleased, they would of course carry their cruelties to the most extreme verge of punishment.  If a slave was maimed or killed under their correction, it was no loss of theirs.  “One of the overseers by the name of Bill Anderson once shot a young slave man called Luke and wounded him so seriously that he was not expected to live.”  “At another time one of the overseers beat and kicked a slave to death.”  This barbarity caused the mistress to be very much “stirred up,” and she declared that she would not have any more white overseers; condemned them for everything, and decided to change her policy in future and to appoint her overseers from her own slaves, setting the property to watch the property.  This system was organized and times were somewhat better.

Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook