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William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.



Sam Archer was to “become free at thirty-five years of age.”  He had already served thirty years of this time; five years longer seemed an age to him.  The dangers from other sources presented also a frightful aspect.  Sam had seen too many who had stood exactly in the same relations to Slavery and freedom, and not a few were held over their time, or cheated out of their freedom altogether.  He stated that his own mother was “kept over her time,” simply “that her master might get all her children.”  Two boys and two girls were thus gained, and were slaves for life.  These facts tended to increase Sam’s desire to get away before his time was out; he, therefore, decided to get off via the Underground Rail Road.  He grew very tired of Bell Air, Harford county, Maryland, and his so-called owner, Thomas Hayes.  He said that Hayes had used him “rough,” and he was “tired of rough treatment.”  So when he got his plans arranged, one morning when he was expected to go forth to an unrequited day’s labor, he could not be found.  Doubtless, his excited master thought Sam a great thief, to take himself away in the manner that he did, but Sam was not concerned on this point; all that concerned him was as to how he could get to Canada the safest and the quickest.  When he reached the Philadelphia station, he felt that the day dawned, his joy was full, despite the Fugitive Slave Law.

Lewis Peck was a man six feet high, and of the darkest hue.  He reported that he fled from Joseph Bryant, a farmer, who lived near Patapsco River.  Bryant was in the habit of riding around to look after the slaves.  Lewis had become thoroughly disgusted with this manner of superintending.  “I got tired of having Bryant riding after me, working my life out of me,” said Lewis.  He was also tired of Bryant’s wife; he said “she was always making mischief, and he didn’t like a mischief maker.”

Thus he complained of both master and mistress, seeming not to understand that he “had no rights which they were bound to respect.”

David Edwards broke away from the above named Bryant, at the age of twenty-four.  His testimony fully corroborated that of his comrade, Lewis Peck.  He was also a man of the darkest shade, tall, intellect good, and wore a pleasant countenance.  The ordinary difficulties were experienced, but all were surmounted without serious harm.

Edward Casting and Joseph Henry were each about seventeen years of age.  Boys, as they were, with no knowledge of the world, they had wisely resolved not to remain in that condition.  Edward fled from Robert Moore, who lived at Duck Creek.  He gave his master the name of being a “bad man,” and refused to recommend him for anything.  Being a likely-looking chattel, he would have doubtless brought seven hundred dollars in the market.

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