The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
and received Fourteen Hundred Dollars cash in consideration thereof.  Mr. Robert Parrett, of Parson & King’s Express office, happened to have a knowledge of what had transpired, and thinking pretty well of Joseph, confidentially put him in full possession of all the facts in the case.  For reflection he hardly had five minutes.  But he at once resolved to strike that day for freedom—­not to go home that evening to be delivered into the hands of his new master.  In putting into execution his bold resolve, he secreted himself, and so remained for three weeks.  In the meantime his mother, who was a slave, resolved to escape also, but after one week’s gloomy foreboding, she became “faint-hearted and gave the struggle over.”  But Joseph did not know what surrender meant.  His sole thought was to procure a ticket on the U.G.R.R. for Canada, which by persistent effort he succeeded in doing.  He hid himself in a steamer, and by this way reached Philadelphia, where he received every accommodation at the usual depot, was provided with a free ticket, and sent off rejoicing for Canada.  The unfortunate mother was “detected and sold South.”

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About the twenty-ninth of January, 1855, Sheridan arrived from the Old Dominion and a life of bondage, and was welcomed cordially by the Vigilance Committee.  Miss Elizabeth Brown of Portsmouth, Va. claimed Sheridan as her property.  He spoke rather kindly of her, and felt that he “had not been used very hard” as a general thing, although, he wisely added, “the best usage was bad enough.”  Sheridan had nearly reached his twenty-eighth year, was tall and well made, and possessed of a considerable share of intelligence.

Not a great while before making up his mind to escape, for some trifling offence he had been “stretched up with a rope by his hands,” and “whipped unmercifully.”  In addition to this he had “got wind of the fact,” that he was to be auctioneered off; soon these things brought serious reflections to Sheridan’s mind, and among other questions, he began to ponder how he could get a ticket on the U.G.R.R., and get out of this “place of torment,” to where he might have the benefit of his own labor.  In this state of mind, about the fourteenth day of November, he took his first and daring step.  He went not, however, to learned lawyers or able ministers of the Gospel in his distress and trouble, but wended his way “directly to the woods,” where he felt that he would be safer with the wild animals and reptiles, in solitude, than with the barbarous civilization that existed in Portsmouth.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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