The Underground Railroad eBook

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

When asked what first prompted him to seek his freedom, he replied, “Oh my senses!  I always had it in my mind to leave, but I was ‘jubus’, (dubious?) of starting.  I didn’t know the way to come.  I was afraid of being overtaken on the way.”  He fled from near Baltimore, where he left brothers and other relatives in chains.

$20 REWARD.—­Ran way at the same time and in company with the above negro man, a bright mulatto boy named THOMAS SKINNER, about 18 years old, 5 feet 8 inches high and tolerable stout made; he only has a term of years to serve.  I will pay $20 reward if delivered to me or lodged in jail so I can get him again.

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    Towsontown, Baltimore county, Md.


About the same time that this advertisement came to hand a certain young aspirant for Canada was entered on the Underground Rail Road Book thus:  “THOMAS EDWARD SKINNER, a bright mulatto, age eighteen years, well formed, good-looking, and wide awake; says, that he fled from one G.H.  Carman, Esq., head Clerk of the County Court.”  He bore voluntary testimony to Carman in the following words:  “He was a very good man; he fed and clothed well and gave some money too occasionally.”  Yet Thomas had no idea of remaining in Slavery under any circumstances.  He hated everything like Slavery, and as young as he was, he had already made five attempts to escape.  On this occasion, with older and wiser heads, he succeeded.

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This “article” reported himself as having been deprived of his liberty by Dr. Ephraim Bell, of Baltimore County, Maryland.  He had no fault to find with the doctor, however; on the contrary, he spoke of him as a “very clever and nice man, as much so as anybody need to live with;” but of his wife he could not speak so favorably; indeed, he described her as a most tyrannical woman.  Said Elijah, “she would make a practice of rapping the broomstick around the heads of either men, women, or children when she got raised, which was pretty often.  But she never rapped me, for I wouldn’t stand it; I shouldn’t fared any better than the rest if I hadn’t been resolute.  I declared over and over again to her that I would scald her with the tea kettle if she ever took the broomstick to me, and I meant it.  She took good care to keep the broomstick from about my head.  She was as mischievous and stingy as she could live; wouldn’t give enough to eat or wear.”  These facts and many more were elicited from Elijah, when in a calm state of mind and when feeling much elated with the idea that his efforts in casting off the yoke were met with favor by the Committee, and that the accommodations and privileges on the road were so much greater than he had ever dreamed of.  Such luck on the road was indeed a matter of wonder and delight to passengers generally.  They were delighted to find that the Committee received them and forwarded them on “without money and without price.”  Elijah was capable of realizing the worth of such friendship.  He was a young man twenty-three years of age, spare made, yellow complexion, of quick motion and decidedly collected in his bearing.  In short, he was a man well adapted to make a good British subject.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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