The Underground Railroad eBook

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

Levin is twenty-two, rather short built, medium size and well colored.  He fled from Lawrence G. Colson, “a very bad man, fond of drinking, great to fight and swear, and hard to please.”  His mistress was “real rough; very bad, worse than he was as ‘fur’ as she could be.”  Having been stinted with food and clothing and worked hard, was the apology offered by Levin for running off.

Stebney Swan, John Stinger, Robert Emerson, Anthony Pugh and Isabella ——.  This company came from Portsmouth, Va.  Stebney is thirty-four years of age, medium size, mulatto, and quite wide awake.  He was owned by an oysterman by the name of Jos.  Carter, who lived near Portsmouth.  Naturally enough his master “drank hard, gambled” extensively, and in every other respect was a very ordinary man.  Nevertheless, he “owned twenty-five head,” and had a wife and six children.  Stebney testified that he had not been used hard, though he had been on the “auction-block three times.”  Left because he was “tired of being a servant.”  Armed with a broad-axe and hatchet, he started, joined by the above-named companions, and came in a skiff, by sea.  Robert Lee was the brave Captain engaged to pilot this Slavery-sick party from the prison-house of bondage.  And although every rod of rowing was attended with inconceivable peril, the desired haven was safely reached, and the overjoyed voyagers conducted to the Vigilance Committee.

John is about forty years of age, and so near white that a microscope would be required to discern his colored origin.  His father was white, and his mother nearly so.  He also had been owned by the oysterman alluded to above; had been captain of one of his oyster-boats, until recently.  And but for his attempt some months back to make his escape, he might have been this day in the care of his kind-hearted master.  But, because of this wayward step on the part of John, his master felt called upon to humble him.  Accordingly, the captaincy was taken from him, and he was compelled to struggle on in a less honorable position.  Occasionally John’s mind would be refreshed by his master relating the hard times in the North, the great starvation among the blacks, etc.  He would also tell John how much better off he was as a “slave with a kind master to provide for all his wants,” etc.  Notwithstanding all this counsel, John did not rest contented until he was on the Underground Rail Road.

Robert was only nineteen, with an intelligent face and prepossessing manners; reads, writes and ciphers; and is about half Anglo-Saxon.  He fled from Wm. H. Wilson, Esq., Cashier of the Virginia Bank.  Until within the four years previous to Robert’s escape, the cashier was spoken of as a “very good man;” but in consequence of speculations in a large Hotel in Portsmouth, and the then financial embarrassments, “he had become seriously involved,” and decidedly changed in his manners.  Robert noticed this, and concluded he had “better get out of danger as soon as possible.”

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