William Hughes was an Eastern Shore “piece of property” belonging to Daniel Cox. William had seen much of the dark doings of Slavery, and his mind had been thoroughly set against the system. True, he had been but twenty-two years under the heel of his master, but that was sufficient.
Wesley Williams, on his arrival from Warrick, Maryland, testified that he had been in the hands of a man known by the name of Jack Jones, from whom he had received almost daily floggings and scanty food. Jones was his so-called owner. These continual scourgings stirred the spirit of freedom in Wesley to that degree, that he was compelled to escape for his life. He left his mother (a free woman), and one sister in Slavery.
Rosanna Johnson, alias Catharine Beige. The spot that Rosanna looked upon with most dread and where she had suffered as a slave, under a man called Doctor Street, was near the Rock of Deer Creek, in Harford county, Maryland.
In the darkness in which Slavery ordinarily kept the fettered and “free niggers,” it was a considerable length of time ere Rosanna saw how barbarously she and her race were being wronged and ground down—driven to do unrequited labor—deprived of an education, obliged to receive the cuffs, kicks, and curses of old or young, who might happen to claim a title to them. But when she did see her true condition, she was not content until she found herself on the Underground Rail Road.
Rosanna was about thirty years of age, of a dark color, medium stature, and intelligent. She left two brothers and her father behind. The Committee forwarded her on North. From Albany Rose wrote back to inquire after particular friends, and to thank those who had aided her—as follows:
ALBANY, Jan. the 30, 1858.
Mrs. William Still:—i sit don to rite you a fue lines in saying hav you herd of John Smith or Bengernin Pina i have cent letters to them but i hav know word from them John Smith was oned by Doker abe Street Bengermin oned by Mary hawkings i wish to kno if you kno am if you will let me know as swon as you get this. My lov to Mis Still i am much oblige for those articales. My love to mrs george and verry thankful to her Rosean Johnson oned by docter Street when you cend the letter rite it Cend it 63 Gran St in the car of andrue Conningham rite swon dela it not write my name Cathrin Brice.
Let me know swon as you can.
Smallwood reported that he came from Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland; that he had been restrained of his liberty all his life, by one Samuel Simons, who had treated him “bad” all the time that he had held him in his possession. He had, therefore, persuaded himself that Ellicott’s Mills was a poor neighborhood for a colored man who wanted his freedom, and that all Maryland was no better. He had heard but little of Canada, but what he had heard pleased him. As to how he should get there, he knew not; a whisper pointed him to the Underground Rail Road, and told him to be fearless and take the first train. Sam considered the matter carefully and concluded that that would be the only way to get off. Unfortunately his mother and two brothers were left behind in the hands of Simons.