ESTEEMED FRIEND:—WILLIAM STILL:—I have information of 6 able-bodied men that are expected here to-morrow morning; they may, to-morrow afternoon or evening, take the cars at Chester, and most likely reach the city between 11 and 12 at night; they will be accompanied by a colored man that has lived in Philadelphia and is free; they may think it safer to walk to the city than to go in the cars, but for fear of accident it may be best to have some one at the cars to look out for them. I have not seen them yet, and cannot certainly judge what will be best. I gave a man 3 dollars to bring those men 15 miles to-night, and I have been two miles in the country this afternoon, and gave a colored man 2 dollars to get provisions to feed them. Hoping all will be right, I remain thy friend,
Arriving as usual in due time these fugitives were examined, and all found to be extra field hands.
Plymouth was forty-two years of age, of a light chestnut color, with keen eyes, and a good countenance, and withal possessed of shrewdness enough to lead double the number that accompanied him. He had a strong desire to learn to read, but there was no possible way of his gaining the light; this he felt to be a great drawback.
The name of the man who had made merchandise of Plymouth was Nat Horsey, of Horsey’s Cross Roads. The most striking characteristic in Horsey’s character, according to Plymouth’s idea was, that he was very “hard to please, did not know when a slave did enough, had no idea that they could get tired or that they needed any privileges.” He was the owner of six slaves, was engaged in farming and mercantile pursuits, and the postmaster of the borough in which he lived.
When Plymouth parted with his wife with a “full heart,” he bade her good-night, without intimating to her that he never expected to see her again in this world; she evidently supposed that he was going home to his master’s place as usual, but instead he was leaving his companion and three children to wear the yoke as hitherto. He sympathized with them deeply, but felt that he could render them no real good by remaining; he could neither live with his wife nor could he have any command over one of his children. Slavery demanded all, but allowed nothing.
Notwithstanding, Plymouth admitted that he had been treated even more favorably than most slaves. The family thus bound consisted of his wife Jane, and four children, as follows: Dorsey, William Francis, Mary Ellen, and baby.
Horatio was a little in advance of Plymouth in years, being forty-four years of age. His physical outlines gave him a commanding appearance for one who had worn the yoke as he had for so many years. He was of a yellow complexion, and very tall.
As a slave laborer he had been sweating and toiling to enrich a man by the name of Thomas J. Hodgson, a farmer on a large scale, and owning about a dozen slaves.