The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
failed in order to cheat his creditors it was supposed.  Governor McDowell, of Virginia, was one of those to whom he was largely indebted for a number of slaves which he, the Governor, had placed in his hands for disposal, some time before the trader took the benefit.  Therefore, as the Governor was anxious to recover his loss as much as possible, he seized on Jenny.  It was through this interference that the condition relative to her being sent out of the state was broken.

“The Governor,” said Jenny, “was a very fine gentleman, as good as I could expect of Virginia.  He allowed his slaves to raise fowl and hogs, with many privileges of one kind and another; besides he kept them all together; but he took sick and died.  There was a great change shortly after that.  The slaves were soon scattered like the wind.  The Governor had nine sons and daughters.

After his death Mrs. McDowell, alias Mrs. Sally Thomas, took possession, and employed an overseer, by the name of Henry Morgan.  He was a very good man in his looks, but a very rascally man; would get drunk, and sell her property to get whisky.  Mrs. McDowell would let him do just as he pleased.  For the slightest complaint the overseer might see fit to make against any of the slaves, she would tell him to sell them”—­“Sell, Mr. Morgan.”  “He would treat them worse than he would any dog; would beat them over the head with great hickory sticks, the same as he would beat an ox.  He would pasture cows and horses on the plantation, and keep the money.  We slaves all knew it, and we told her; but our words would not go in court against a white man, and until she was told by Mr. White, and her cousin, Dr. Taylor, and Mr. Barclay, she would not believe how shamefully this overseer was cheating her.  But at last she was convinced, and discharged him, and hired another by the name of John Moore.  The new one, if anything, was worse than the old one, for he could do the most unblushing acts of cruelty with pleasure.  He was a demon.”

Finally the estate had to be settled, and the property divided.  At this time it was in the hands of the oldest daughter, Mistress Sally, who had been married to Frank Thomas, the Governor of Maryland.  But the Governor had discarded her for some reason or other, and according to his published account of her it might seem that he had good reason for doing so.  It was understood that he gave her a divorce, so she was considered single for life.  It was also understood that she was to buy in the homestead at a moderate price, with as many slaves as she might desire.

Said Jenny, “I was sold at this settlement sale, and bought in by the ‘grass widow’ for four hundred dollars.”  The place and a number of slaves were bought in on terms equally as low.  After this the widow became smitten with a reverend gentleman, by the name of John Miller, who had formerly lived North; he had been a popular preacher.  After a courtship, which did not last very long, they were married.  This took place three years ago, prior to the writing of this narrative.  After the marriage, Rev. Mr. Miller took up his abode on the old homestead, and entered upon his duties as a slave-holder in good earnest.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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