DEAR BRO. STILL:—I am happy to inform you that Mrs. Jackson and her interesting family of seven children arrived safe and in good health and spirits at my house in St. Catharines, on Saturday evening last. With sincere pleasure I provided for them comfort quarters till this morning, when they left for Toronto. I got them conveyed there at half fare, and gave them letters of introduction to Thomas Henning, Esq., and Mrs. Dr. Willis, trusting that they will be better cared for in Toronto than they could be at St. Catharines. We have so many coming to us we think it best for some of them to pass on to other places. My wife gave them all a good supply of clothing before they left us. James Henry, an older son is, I think, not far from St. Catharine, but has not as yet reunited with the family. Faithfully and truly yours,
* * * * *
LEWIS LEE, ENOCH DAVIS, JOHN BROWN, THOMAS EDWARD DIXON, AND WILLIAM OLIVER.
Slavery brought about many radical changes, some in one way and some in another. Lewis Lee was entirely too white for practical purposes. They tried to get him to content himself under the yoke, but he could not see the point. A man by the name of William Watkins, living near Fairfax, Virginia, claimed Lewis, having come by his title through marriage. Title or no title, Lewis thought that he would not serve him for nothing, and that he had been hoodwinked already a great while longer than he should have allowed himself to be. Watkins had managed to keep him in the dark and doing hard work on the no-pay system up to the age of twenty-five. In Lewis’ opinion, it was now time to “strike out on his own hook;” he took his last look of Watkins (he was a tall, slim fellow, a farmer, and a hard drinker), and made the first step in the direction of the North. He was sure that he was about as white as anybody else, and that he had as good a right to pass for white as the white folks, so he decided to do so with a high head and a fearless front. Instead of skulking in the woods, in thickets and swamps, under cover of the darkness, he would boldly approach a hotel and call for accommodations, as any other southern gentleman. He had a little money, and he soon discovered that his color was perfectly orthodox. He said that he was “treated first-rate in Washington and Baltimore;” he could recommend both of these cities. But destitute of education, and coming among strangers, he was conscious that the shreds of slavery were still to be seen upon him. He had, moreover, no intention of disowning his origin when once he could feel safe in assuming his true status. So as he was in need of friends and material aid, he sought out the Vigilance Committee, and on close examination they had every reason to believe his story throughout, and gave him the usual benefit.