His master was a bachelor, a man of considerable means, and “kept tolerable good company,” and only owned two other slaves, Rachel Ann Dumbson and John Price.
Lucinda, the companion of James, was twenty-one years of age, good-looking, well-formed and of a brown color. She spoke of a man named George Ford as her owner. He, however, was said to be of the “moderate class” of slave-holders; Lucinda being the only slave property he possessed, and she came to him through his wife (who was a Methodist). The master was an outsider, so far as the Church was concerned. Once in a great while Lucinda was allowed to go to church, when she could be spared from her daily routine of cooking, washing, etc. Twice a week she was permitted the special favor of seeing her husband. These simple privations not being of a grave character, no serious fault was found with them; yet Lucinda was not without a strong ground of complaint. Not long before escaping, she had been threatened with the auction-block; this fate she felt bound to avert, if possible, and the way she aimed to do it was by escaping on the Underground Rail Road. Charley, a bright little fellow only three years of age, was “contented and happy” enough. Lucinda left her father, Moses Edgar Wright, and two brothers, both slaves. One belonged to “Francis Crookshanks,” and the other to Capt. Jim Mitchell. Her mother, who was known by the name of Betsy Wright, escaped when she (Lucinda) was seven years of age. Of her whereabouts nothing further had ever been heard. Lucinda entertained strong hopes that she might find her in Canada.
Charles Henry Gross began life in Maryland, and was made to bear the heat and burden of the day in Baltimore, under Henry Slaughter, proprietor of the Ariel Steamer. Owing to hard treatment, Charles was induced to fly to Canada for refuge.
A woman with two children, one in her arms, and the other two years of age (names, etc., not recorded), came from the District of Columbia. Mother and children, appealed loudly for sympathy.
John Brown, being at the beck of a man filling the situation of a common clerk (in the shoe store of McGrunders), became dissatisfied. Asking himself what right Benjamin Thorn (his professed master) had to his hire, he was led to see the injustice of his master, and made up his mind, that he would leave by the first train, if he could get a genuine ticket via the Underground Rail Road. He found an agent and soon had matters all fixed. He left his father, mother and seven sisters and one brother, all slaves. John was a man small of stature, dark, with homely features, but he was very determined to get away from oppression.