Henry Dunmore had served as a slave up to the age of thirty-five, and was then on the eve of being sold. As he had endured severe hardship under his old master John Maldon he was unwilling to try another. While he gave Maldon credit for being a member of the Methodist Church, he charged him with treating himself in a most unchristian-like manner. He testified that Maldon did not allow him half enough to eat; and once he kept him out in the cold until his toes were frozen off. Consequently it was not in the heart of Henry to give his master any other than a bad name. He lived about sixteen miles from Elkton, near Charleston, Maryland. He was of a dark chestnut color, well-made, and active.
* * * * *
CROSSING THE BAY IN A BATTEAU.
SHARP CONTEST WITH PURSUERS ON WATER. FUGITIVES VICTORIOUS.
THOMAS SIPPLE, and his wife, MARY ANN, HENRY BURKETT, and ELIZABETH, his wife, JOHN PURNELL, and HALE BURTON. This party were slaves, living near Kunkletown, in Worcester county, Maryland, and had become restive in their fetters. Although they did not know a letter of the alphabet, they were fully persuaded that they were entitled to their freedom. In considering what way would be safest for them to adopt, they concluded that the water would be less dangerous than any other route. As the matter of freedom had been in their minds for a long time, they had frequently counted the cost, and had been laying by trifling sums of money which had fallen perchance into their hands. Among them all they had about thirty dollars. As they could not go by water without a boat, one of their number purchased an old batteau for the small sum of six dollars. The Delaware Bay lay between them and the Jersey shore, which they desired to reach. They did not calculate, however, that before leaving the Delaware shore they would have to contend with the enemy. That in crossing, they would lose sight of the land they well understood. They managed to find out the direction of the shore, and about the length of time that it might take them to reach it. Undaunted by the perils before them the party repaired to the bay, and at ten o’clock, P.M. embarked direct for the other shore.
Near Kate’s Hammock, on the Delaware shore, they were attacked by five white men in a small boat. One of them seized the chain of the fugitives’ boat, and peremptorily claimed it. “This is not your boat, we bought this boat and paid for it,” spake one of the brave fugitives. “I am an officer, and must have it,” said the white man, holding on to the chain. Being armed, the white men threatened to shoot. Manfully did the black men stand up for their rights, and declare that they did not mean to give up their boat alive. The parties speedily came to blows. One of the white men dealt a heavy blow with his oar upon the head of one of the black men, which knocked him down,