John and Lamby Roach had been eating bitter bread under bondage near Seaford. John was the so-called property of Joshua O’Bear, “a fractious, hard-swearing man, and when mad would hit one of his slaves with anything he could get in his hands.” John and his companion made the long journey on foot. The former had been trained to farm labor and the common drudgery of slave life. Being a man of thirty-three years of age, with more than ordinary abilities, he had given the matter of his bondage considerable thought, and seeing that his master “got worse the older he got,” together with the fact, that his wife had recently been sold, he was strongly stirred to make an effort for Canada. While it was a fact, that his wife had already been sold, as above stated, the change of ownership was not to take place for some months, consequently John “took out in a hurry.” His wife was the property of Dr. Shipley, of Seaford, who had occasion to raise some money for which he gave security in the shape of this wife and mother. Horsey was the name of the gentleman from whom it was said that he obtained the favor; so when the time was up for the payment to be made, the Dr. was not prepared. Horsey, therefore, claimed the collateral (the wife) and thus she had to meet the issue, or make a timely escape to Canada with her husband. No way but walking was open to them. Deciding to come this way, they prosecuted their journey with uncommon perseverance and success. Both were comforted by strong faith in God, and believed that He would enable them to hold out on the road until they should reach friends.
Henry Smallwood saw that he was working every day for nothing, and thought that he would do better. He described his master (Washington Bonafont) as a sort of a rowdy, who drank pretty hard, leaving a very unfavorable impression on Henry’s mind, as he felt almost sure such conduct would lead to a sale at no distant day. So he was cautious enough to “take the hint in time.” Henry left in company with nine others; but after being two days on the journey they were routed and separated by their pursuers. At this point Henry lost all trace of the rest. He heard afterwards that two of them had been captured, but received no further tidings of the others. Henry was a fine representative for Canada; a tall, dark, and manly-looking individual, thirty-six years of age. He left his father and mother behind.
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HENRY JONES AND TURNER FOSTER.