Maria, the heroine of the party, was about forty years of age, chestnut color, medium size, and possessed of a good share of common sense. She was owned by George Parker. As was a common thing with slave-holders, Maria had found her owners hard to please, and quite often, without the slightest reason, they would threaten to “sell or make a change.” These threats only made matters worse, or rather it only served to nerve Maria for the conflict. The party walked almost the entire distance from Washington to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
In the meantime George Parker, the so-called owner of Daniel and Maria, hurriedly rushed their good names into the “Baltimore Sun,” after the following manner—
“FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS
REWARD.—Ranaway from my house on Saturday
night, August 30, my negro man ‘Daniel,’ twenty-five years of
age, bright yellow mulatto, thick set and stout made.
Also, my negro woman, ‘Maria,’
forty years of age, bright
mulatto. The above reward will be paid if delivered in
Washington city. GEORGE PARKER.”
While this advertisement was in the Baltimore papers, doubtless these noble passengers were enjoying the hospitalities of the Vigilance Committee, and finally a warm reception in Canada, by which they were greatly pleased. Of Benjamin and Daniel, the subjoined letter from Rev. H. Wilson is of importance in the way of throwing light upon their whereabouts in Canada:
ST. CATHARINE, C.W., Sept. 15th, 1856.
MR. WILLIAM STILL:—Dear Sir—Two young men arrived here on Friday evening last from Washington, viz: Benjamin R. Fletcher and Daniel Neall. Mr. Neall (or Neale) desires to have his box of clothing forwarded on to him. It is at Washington in the care of John Dade, a colored man, who lives at Doct. W.H. Gilman’s, who keeps an Apothecary store on the corner of 4-1/2 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Mr. Dade is a slave, but a free dealer. You will please write to John Dade, in the care of Doct. W.H. Gilman, on behalf of Daniel Neale, but make use of the name of George Harrison, instead of Neale, and Dade will understand it. Please have John Dade direct the box by express to you in Philadelphia; he has the means of paying the charges on it in advance, as far as Philadelphia; and as soon as it comes, you will please forward it on to my care at St. Catherine. Say to John Dade, that George Harrison sends his love to his sister and Uncle Allen Sims, and all inquiring friends. Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Neale both send their respects to you, and I may add mine.
P.S.—Mr. Benjamin R. Fletcher wishes to have Mr. Dade call on his brother James, and communicate to him his affectionate regards, and make known to him that he is safe, and cheerful and happy. He desires his friends to know, through Dade, that he found Mrs. Starke here, his brother Alfred’s wife’s sister; that she is well, and living in St. Catharine, C.W., near Niagara Palls. H.W.
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