The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

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Henry fled from Buckstown, Dorchester Co., Md., March, 1857.  Physically he is a giant.  About 27 years of age, stout and well-made, quite black, and no fool, as will appear presently.  Only a short time before he escaped, his master threatened to sell him south.  To avoid that fate, therefore, he concluded to try his luck on the Underground Rail Road, and, in company with seven others—­two of them females—­he started for Canada.  For two or three days and nights they managed to outgeneral all their adversaries, and succeeded bravely in making the best of their way to a Free State.

In the meantime, however, a reward of $3,000 was offered for their arrest.  This temptation was too great to be resisted, even by the man who had been intrusted with the care of them, and who had faithfully promised to pilot them to a safe place.  One night, through the treachery of their pretended conductor, they were all taken into Dover Jail, where the Sheriff and several others, who had been notified beforehand by the betrayer, were in readiness to receive them.  Up stairs they were taken, the betrayer remarking as they were going up, that they were “cold, but would soon have a good warming.”  On a light being lit they discovered the iron bars and the fact that they had been betrayed.  Their liberty-loving spirits and purposes, however, did not quail.  Though resisted brutally by the sheriff with revolver in hand, they made their way down one flight of stairs, and in the moment of excitement, as good luck would have it, plunged into the sheriff’s private apartment, where his wife and children were sleeping.  The wife cried murder lustily.  A shovel full of fire, to the great danger of burning the premises, was scattered over the room; out of the window jumped two of the female fugitives.  Our hero Henry, seizing a heavy andiron, smashed out the window entire, through which the others leaped a distance of twelve feet.  The railing or wall around the jail, though at first it looked forbidding, was soon surmounted by a desperate effort.

At this stage of the proceedings, Henry found himself without the walls, and also lost sight of his comrades at the same time.  The last enemy he spied was the sheriff in his stockings without his shoes.  He snapped his pistol at him, but it did not go off.  Six of the others, however, marvellously got off safely together; where the eighth went, or how he got off, was not known.

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Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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