SARAH ANN MILLS, Boonsborough; CAROLINE GASSWAY, Mt.
Airy; LEVIN HOLDEN,
Laurel; WILLIAM JAMES CONNER, with his wife, child, and four brothers;
JAMES LAZARUS, Delaware; RICHARD WILLIAMS, Richmond, Virginia; SYDNEY
HOPKINS and HENRY WHEELER, Havre de Grace.
Sarah Mills set out for freedom long before she reached womanhood; being about sixteen years of age. She stated that she had been very cruelly treated, that she was owned by a man named Joseph O’Neil, “a tax collector and a very bad man.” Under said O’Neil she had been required to chop wood, curry horses, work in the field like a man, and all one winter she had been compelled to go barefooted. Three weeks before Sarah fled, her mistress was called away by death; nevertheless Sarah could not forget how badly she had been treated by her while living. According to Sarah’s testimony the mistress was no better than her husband. Sarah came from Boonsborough, near Hagerstown, Md., leaving her mother and other relatives in that neighborhood.
It was gratifying to know that such bond-women so early got beyond the control of slave-holders; yet girls of her age from having had no pains taken for their improvement, appealed loudly for more than common sympathy and humanity, but rarely ever found it; on the contrary, their paths were beset with great danger.
Caroline Gassway, after being held to service by Summersett Walters, until she had reached her twenty-seventh year, was forced, by hard treatment and the love of freedom, to make an effort for deliverance. Her appearance at once indicated, although she was just out of the prison-house, that she possessed more than an ordinary share of courage, and that she had had a keen insight into the system under which she had been oppressed. She was of a dark chestnut color, well-formed, with a large and high forehead, indicative of intellect. She had much to say of the ways and practices of slave-holders; of the wrongs of the system. She dwelt especially upon her own situation as a slave, and the character of her master; she told not only of his ill treatment of her, but described his physical appearance as well. “He was a spare-made man, with a red head and quick temper: he would go off in a flurry like a flash of powder, and would behave shamefully towards the slaves when in these fits of passion.” His wife, however, Caroline confessed was of a different temper, and was a pretty good kind of a woman. If he had been anything like his wife in disposition, most likely Caroline would have remained in bondage. Fortunately, Caroline was a single woman. She left her mother.