In reference to the labor usage under the young mistress, John said that they had been “worked very hard, and especially last, and the present year.” “Last year,” he stated, “they had hardly any meat, but were fed chiefly on herring. Seeing that it was going to be the same thing this year too, I thought that if I could make my escape to Canada, I would do it.” He had strong parental and kindred ties to break, but resolved to break them rather than remain under Miss Cornwell.
Josiah was twenty-three. A more promising-looking subject to represent the fugitives in Canada, was not readily to be found. His appearance indicated that he was a young man of extra physical powers, at least, one not likely to turn his face again towards Egypt.
Josiah’s gain was the loss of Thomas J. Hodgson (above alluded to). For full three years this desire and determination to be free had been in Josiah’s heart. The denial of his manhood nerved him to seek for refuge in a foreign clime.
George, the last named in this party, gave his age as twenty-six. In appearance he was not behind any of his comrades. He fled from a farmer, (the late William Jackson), who owned, it was said, “sixteen head.” He had recently died, leaving all his slaves in bondage. Seeing that the settlement of the estate might necessitate the sale of some of the slaves, George thought that he had better not wait for the division of the property or anything else, but push ahead with the first train for Canada. Slavery, as he viewed it, was nothing more nor less than downright robbery. He left his mother, one sister, and other near kin. After George went to Canada, his heart yearned tenderly after his mother and sister, and, as the following letter will show, he was prepared to make commendable exertions in their behalf:
ST. CATHARINES, JULY 19th, 1858.
DEAR SIR:—With pleasure I now inform you that I am well, and hope this may find you and yours the same also. I hope kind sir you will please to see Mr. Paul Hammon, to know when he will try to get my Mother and Sister I wish him to send me word when he will go so I may meet him in Philadelphia.
And I will Endevor to meet him there With some money to assist him in getting them. Let me know when you start for them so I may be able to meet you there, please after this letter passes from you sir, give it to John Camper tell him to give it to his Mother, so that my Mother can get it, be careful and not let no white man get hold of it. I am now living with my cousin Leven Parker, near Saint Catharines, $10 a month. No more at present, from your friend,
The inquiry may arise, as to how such passengers managed to get through Maryland and Delaware. But it cannot be expected that the manner in which each arrival traveled should be particularly described. It might not be prudent even now, to give the names of persons still living in the South, who assisted their fellow-men in the dark days of Slavery. In order, however, that some idea may be gathered as to the workings of one branch of the road in Delaware (with names suppressed) we insert the following original letter for what it may be worth.