Asbury was first examined, and his story ran substantially thus: “I run away because I was used bad; three years ago I was knocked dead with an axe by my master; the blood run out of my head as if it had been poured out of a tumbler; you can see the mark plain enough—look here,” (with his finger on the spot). “I left Millington, at the head of Chester in Kent County, Maryland, where I had been held by a farmer who called himself Michael Newbold. He was originally from Mount Holly, New Jersey, but had been living in Maryland over twenty years. He was called a Hickory Quaker, and he had a real Quaker for a wife. Before he was in Maryland five years he bought slaves, became a regular slave-holder, got to drinking and racing horses, and was very bad—treated all hands bad, his wife too, so that she had to leave him and go to Philadelphia to her kinsfolks. It was because he was so bad we all had to leave,” &c.
While Asbury’s story appeared truthful and simple, a portion of it was too shocking to morality and damaging to humanity to be inserted in these pages.
Asbury was about forty years of age, a man of dark hue, size and height about mediocrity, and mental ability quite above the average.
Ephraim was a fellow-servant and companion of Asbury. He was a man of superior physical strength, and from all outward appearance, he possessed qualities susceptible of ready improvement. He not only spoke of Newbold in terms of strong condemnation but of slave-holders and slavery everywhere. The lessons he had learned gave him ample opportunity to speak from experience and from what he had observed in the daily practices of slave-holders; consequently, with his ordinary gifts, it was impossible for him to utter his earnest feelings without making a deep impression.
Lydia also fled from Michael Newbold. She was a young married woman, only twenty-two years of age, of a chestnut color and a pleasant countenance. Her flight for liberty cost her her husband, as she was obliged to leave him behind. What understanding was entered into between them prior to her departure we failed to note at the time. It was very clear that she had decided never to wear the yoke again.
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Many reasons were given by Josephine for leaving the sunny South. She had a mistress, but was not satisfied with her—hadn’t a particle of love for her; “she was all the time fussing and scolding, and never could be satisfied.” She was very well off, and owned thirteen or fourteen head of slaves. She was a member of the Methodist Church, was stingy and very mean towards her slaves. Josephine having lived with her all her life, professed to have a thorough knowledge of her ways and manners, and seemed disposed to speak truthfully of her. The name of her mistress was Eliza Hambleton, and she lived in Washington. Josephine had fully thought over the matter of her rights, so much so, that she was prompted to escape. So hard did she feel her lot to be, that she was compelled to resign her children, uncle and aunt to the cruel mercy of slavery. What became of the little ones, David, Ogden and Isaiah, is a mystery.