In 1842 a party of sixteen slaves came to York, Pa., from Baltimore county, Md. Here they were taken in charge by William Wright, Joel Fisher, Dr. Lewis, and William Yocum. The last named was a constable, and used to assist the Underground Rail Road managers by pretending to hunt fugitives with the kidnappers. Knowing where the fugitives were he was enabled to hunt them in the opposite direction from that in which they had gone, and thus give them time to escape. This constable and a colored man of York took this party one by one out into Samuel Willis’ corn-field, near York, and hid them under the shocks. The following night Dr. Lewis piloted them to near his house, at Lewisburg, York county, on the banks of the Conewago. Here they were concealed several days, Dr. Lewis carrying provisions to them in his saddle-bags. When the search for them had been given up in William Wright’s neighborhood, he went down to Lewisburg and in company with Dr. Lewis took the whole sixteen across the Conewago, they fording the river and carrying the fugitives across on their horses. It was a gloomy night in November. Every few moments clouds floated across the moon, alternately lighting up and shading the river, which, swelled by autumn rains, ran a flood. William Wright and Dr. Lewis mounted men or women behind and took children in their arms. When the last one got over, the doctor, who professed to be an atheist, exclaimed, “Great God! is this a Christian land, and are Christians thus forced to flee for their liberty?” William Wright guided this party to his house that night and concealed them in a neighboring forest until it was safe for them to proceed on their way to Canada.
Just in the beginning of harvest of the year 1851, four men came off from Washington county, Maryland. They were almost naked and seemed to have come through great difficulties, their clothing being almost entirely torn off. As soon as they came, William Wright went to the store and got four pair of shoes. It was soon heard that their masters and the officers had gone to Harrisburg to hunt them. Two of them, Fenton and Tom, were concealed at William Wright’s, and the other two, Sam and one whose name has been forgotten, at Joel Wierman’s. In a day or two, as William Wright, a number of carpenters, and other workmen, among whom were Fenton and Tom, were at work in the barn, a party of men rode up and recognized the colored men as slaves of one of their number. The colored men said they had left their coats at the house. William Wright looked earnestly at them and told them to go to the house and get their coats. They went off, and one of them was observed by one of the family to take his coat hastily down from where it hung in one of the outhouses, a few moments afterward. After conversing a few moments at the barn, William Wright brought the slave-holders down to the house, where he, his wife and daughters engaged them in a controversy on the subject of slavery