The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
name was Nancy Sydan; she was lame for twenty years, and couldn’t walk a step without crutches, and I was her main support.  I was foreman on the farm; sometimes no body but me would work, and I was looked up to for support.  A good deal of the time I would have to attend to her.  If she was going to ride, I would have to pick her up in my arms and put her in the carriage, and many times I would have to lift her in her sick room.  No body couldn’t wait upon her but me.  She had a husband, and he had a master, and that was rum; he drank very hard, he killed himself drinking.  He was poor support.  When he died, fifteen years ago, he left three sons, Thomas, James, and Stephen, they were all together then, only common livers.  After his death about six years mistress died.  I felt sure then I would be free, but was very badly disappointed.  I went to my young masters and asked them about my freedom; they laughed at me and said, no such thought had entered their heads, that I was to be free.  The neighbors said it was a shame that they should keep me out of my freedom, after I had been the making of the family, and had behaved myself so faithful.  One gentleman asked master John what he would take for me, and offered a thousand dollars; that was three months before I ran away, and massa John said a thousand dollars wouldn’t buy one leg.  I hadn’t anything to hope for from them.  I served them all my life, and they didn’t thank me for it.  A short time before I come away my aunt died, all the kin I had, and they wouldn’t let me go to the funeral.  They said ‘the time couldn’t be spared.’” This was the last straw on the camel’s back.

In Lewis’ grief and disappointment he decided that he would run away the first chance that he could get, and seek a home in Canada.  He held counsel with others in whom he could confide, and they fixed on a time to start, and resolved that they would suffer anything else but Slavery.  Lewis was delighted that he had managed so cunningly to leave master Tom and mistress Margaret, and their six children to work for their own living.  He had an idea that they would want Lew for many things; the only regret he felt was that he had served them so long, that they had received his substance and strength for half a century.  Fortunately Lewis’ wife escaped three days in advance of him, in accordance with a mutual understanding.  They had no children.  The suffering on the road cost Lewis a little less than death, but the joy of success came soon to chase away the effects of the pain and hardship which had been endured.

Oscar, the next passenger, was advertised as follows: 

$200 REWARD.—­Ran away from the service of the Rev. J.P.  McGuire, Episcopal High School, Fairfax county, Va., on Saturday, 10th inst, Negro Man, Oscar Payne aged 30 years, 5 feet 4 inches in height, square built, mulatto color, thick, bushy suit of hair, round, full face, and when spoken to has a pleasant manner—­clothes not recollected.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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