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PHILIP STANTON, RANDOLPH NICHOLS, AND THOMAS DOUGLASS.
Philip had a master by the name of John Smith, whom he was very anxious to get rid of, but hardly knew how. For a long time, Philip was annoyed in various ways. Being the only slave on the place, there was no rest for him. Said Smith was a bachelor, and his mother, who kept house for him, was quite aged; “she was worse than the old boy wanted her to be, a more contrary woman never was; she was bad in this way, she was quarrelsome, and then again she would not give you as much to eat as you ought to have, and it was pretty rough; nothing but corn bread and the fattest pork, that was about all. She was a Catholic, and was known by the name of Mary Eliza Smith.” This was Philip’s testimony against his master and mistress. Working on a farm, driving carriage, etc., had been Philip’s calling as a slave. His father and mother were free. His father had been emancipated, and afterwards had purchased his wife. One sister, however, was still in Slavery. Philip had scarcely reached his twenty-second year; he was nevertheless wide-awake and full of courage.
Randolph was still younger; he had only just reached his twentieth year; was nearly six feet high, athletic, and entertained quite favorable notions of freedom. He was owned by Mrs. Caroline Brang, a widow; he had never lived with her, however. Notwithstanding the fact that he had been held in such unpleasant relations, Randolph held the opinion, that “she was a tolerable good woman.” He had been hired out under Isaac Howard, a farmer, who was described by Randolph as “a rough man to everybody around him; he was the owner of slaves, and a member of the Methodist Church, in the bargain.” As if actuated by an evil spirit continually, he seemed to take delight in “knocking and beating the slaves,” and would compel them to “be out in all weathers not fit to be out in.” Randolph declared that “he had never been allowed a day’s schooling in his life. On the contrary, he had often been threatened with sale, and his mind had finally become so affected by this fearful looking-for of evil, that he thought he had better make tracks.”