The Underground Railroad eBook

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

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ARRIVAL FROM RICHMOND, 1859.

Miles Robinson was the slave of Mrs. Roberts, a widow lady living in York County, Virginia.  He did not live with her, however, but was hired out in the city of Richmond.  He had been fortunate in falling into hands that had not treated him harshly.  He was not contented, however.  Much of the leisure falling incidentally to his lot from hours of duty, he devoted to the banjo.  As a player on this instrument he had become quite gifted, but music in Richmond was not liberty.  The latter he craved, and in thought was often far beyond Mason and Dixon’s line, enjoying that which was denied him in Virginia.  Although but twenty-two years of age, Miles was manly, and determination and intelligence were traits strongly marked in his unusually well-shaped visage.  Hearing that he was to be sold, he conferred not with his mother, brothers, or sisters, (for such he had living as slaves in Richmond) but resolved to escape by the first convenience.  Turning his attention to the Underground Rail Road, he soon found an agent who communicated his wishes to one of the colored women running as cook or chambermaid on one of the Philadelphia and Richmond steamers, and she was bold enough to take charge of him, and found him a safe berth in one of the closets where the pots and other cooking utensils belonged.  It was rather rough and trying, but Miles felt that it was for liberty, and he must pass through the ordeal without murmuring, which he did, until success was achieved and he found himself in Philadelphia.  Boston being the haven on which his hopes were fixed, after recruiting a short while in the city he steered for said place.  Finding liberty there as sweet as he had fondly hoped to find it, he applied himself unceasingly to industrial pursuits, economy, the improvement of his mind and the elevation of his race.  Four years he passed thus, under the shadow of Bunker Hill, at the end of which time he invested the earnings, which he had saved, in a business with two young friends in Philadelphia.  All being first-class waiters and understanding catering, they decided to open a large dining-saloon.  Miles was one of the two friends mentioned in Wm. Scott’s narrative, and as his success and consequent fortunes have been already referred to, it will suffice here to mention him simply in connection with two contests that he sustained with the prejudice that sought to drive colored people from the passenger cars.

At the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets Miles, in company with two other young men, Wallace and Marshall, one evening in a most orderly manner, entered the cars and took their seats.  The conductor ordered them on the front platform; they did not budge.  He stopped the car and ordered them out; this did no good.  He read rules, and was not a little embarrassed by these polite and well-dressed young men.  Finally he called for the police, who arrested

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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