The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

Theophilus is twenty-four years of age, dark, height and stature hardly medium, with faculties only about average compared with ordinary fugitives from Delaware and Maryland.  His appearance is in no way remarkable.  His bearing is subdued and modest; yet he is not lacking in earnestness.  Says Theophilus, “I was in servitude under a man named Houston, near Lewes, Delaware; he was a very mean man, he didn’t allow you enough to eat, nor enough clothes to wear.  He never allowed a drop of tea, or coffee, or sugar, and if you didn’t eat your breakfast before day he wouldn’t allow you any, but would drive you out without any.  He had a wife; she was mean, too, meaner than he was.  Four years ago last Fall my master cut my entrails out for going to meeting at Daniel Wesley’s church one Sabbath night.  Before day, Monday morning, he called me up to whip me; called me into his dining-room, locked the doors, then ordered me to pull off my shirt.  I told him no, sir, I wouldn’t; right away he went and got the cowhide, and gave me about twenty over my head with the butt.  He tore my shirt off, after I would not pull it off; he ordered me to cross my hands.  I didn’t do that.  After I wouldn’t do that he went and got his gun. and broke the breech of that over my head.  He then seized up the fire-tongs and struck me over the head ever so often.  The next thing he took was the parlor shovel and he beat on me with that till he broke the handle; then he took the blade and stove it at my head with all his might.  I told him that I was bound to come out of that room.  He run up to the door and drawed his knife and told me if I ventured to the door he would stab me.  I never made it any better or worse, but aimed straight for the door; but before I reached it he stabbed me, drawing the knife (a common pocket knife) as hard as he could rip across my stomach; right away he began stabbing me about my head,” (marks were plainly to be seen).  After a desperate struggle, Theophilus succeeded in getting out of the building.

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“I started,” said he, “at once for Georgetown, carrying a part of my entrails in my hands for the whole journey, sixteen miles.  I went to my young masters, and they took me to an old colored woman, called Judah Smith, and for five days and nights I was under treatment of Dr. Henry Moore, Dr. Charles Henry Richards, and Dr. William Newall; all these attended me.  I was not expected to live for a long time, but the Doctors cured me at last.”

Andrew reported that he fled from Dr. David Houston.  “I left because of my master’s meanness to me; he was a very mean man to his servants,” said Andrew, “and I got so tired of him I couldn’t stand him any longer.”  Andrew was about twenty-six years of age, ordinary size; color, brown, and was entitled to his freedom, but knew not how to secure it by law, so resorted to the Underground Rail Road method.

Handy, another of this party, said that he left because the man who claimed to be his master “was so hard.”  The man by whom he had been wronged was known where he came from by the name of Shepherd Burton, and was in the farming business.  “He was a churchman,” said Handy, “but he never allowed me to go to church a half dozen times in my life.”

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Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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