Journal C of Station No. 2, William Still, 1855, 6

Home Journal C of Station No. 2, William Still, 1855, 6

Journal C of Station No. 2, William Still, 1855, 6

(1)                         March 13th 1855
Arrived_ Jenkins, form Norfolk.  Arrived about 4 months since_ He is about 35 years of age_ dark, intelligent &_ He went directly after leaving to New Bedford, there he meet with an accident by geting one of his hands cripled_ which disabled him from work_ Consequently he went to a friend of his, living in this City, who gave him the invitation to come on here; that he should be doctored free of charge &_ Accordingly, he came, afterwards, had a spell of sicking[?] &c.  J.C.W. & W.S. being fully satisfied of the correctness of his story sent him off.

____  Sam’l Nixion[1], new name Thos. Bayne. safely arrived_ in company with Henry Baker now Chas. Lightfoot_ both from Norfolk.  Sam’l had followed the profession of Dentistry in the service of Dr. C.F. Martin who owned him  As a workman he had gained a good reputation and attended too the principle part of the mechanical department of his master’s large business. Often was allowed to go off at a distance to fulfill his masters engagements_  The business being worth $3000_ a year , Sam’l thought that he had been worth at least $1000_ a year to the master_  As he could read, write cipher well, and had often to attend to the Books, he concluded that his estimate was by no means exaggerated.
      In stature he is rather below the medium size, complexion quite dark, intelligent face, ready talker & of quick motion, age 31_ Left a wife, Edna, daughter, Elizabeth_ both slaves to E.P. Tabb, hardware Merchant of Norfolk_  He was not at liberty to make known to his wife that he was about to leave_ so he left by stealth altogether.
       Many Sam’l had helped to gain their freedom, ere he sought his own_ The cause of his availing himself of the present opportunity was induced through the fear that he would be arrested if he remained_  Several times he had been sold on the Block_ especially in his younger days had known the smart of the severest abuse.

(1)                         Ap. 27/55
Arrived_ John Hall[2] arrived Safely from Richmond, per Sch_ Cap. B.[3]_ was owned by James Dunlop_ Merchant_ Had been several times sold, had therefore some knowledge & experience of hard usage_ especially was he cruelly used one of his owners by the name of Burke_ John & a sister, when young, were sold away by Burke from their Mother, and he never saw either of them afterwards_ he being sold one way and his sister another_  For the last 3 or 4 years he had it in his head to seek his liberty_ Being “imposed upon an not haveing his “own choice about” his “living”_ as he desired to do, was the cause of his escape_  He is about 35, yellow_ fine looking intelligent, genteel well made & tall.  Worth $1000_ at least His owner held at that_ Paid $100_ for his Passage, besides other Expences_

[1] William Still offers significant additional information on Sam Nixon, or Dr. Thomas Bayne as he newly called himself, in Underground Rail Road, 254-59.  Bayne was an accomplished dentist in Norfolk and had stated to Abigail Goodwin, a Quaker conductor who briefly housed Bayne in Salem, New Jersey, that “nobody can make a better set of teeth than he can.”  Bayne was an active member of the underground railroad in Norfolk and forwarded a number of individuals to Philadelphia.  He determined to leave Norfolk in part because he was certain local slaveholders were increasingly suspicious of him.  The Vigilance Committee strongly encouraged Bayne to seek safety in Canada, but he doubted that it would afford the level of opportunity he sought for himself. By mid-1855 he chose instead to settle in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he believed his dentistry practice would flourish—and indeed it did.  As black men could vote in Massachusetts, Bayne became an ardent citizen and within four years was elected to the City Council.  He was also an outspoken advocate of temperance and regularly participated in antislavery meetings.  He constantly pursued further medical and dental education and received numerous professional texts by the mail from Still.  With the conclusion of the Civil War, Bayne returned to Norfolk, where he ran for a seat in Congress and was only barely defeated.

[2] John Hall—of very light complexion—determined to flee enslavement in Richmond in concert with an Irish woman, Mary Weaver, with whom he had fallen in love and desired to marry.  John left first and soon arrived in Hamilton, Canada West. Mary arrived a number of months later with assistance from the underground railroad.  Within a matter of days, they were married.  Hall continued to write letters to William Still seeking his help in bringing other enslaved friends out of Virginia.  Still, Underground Rail Road, 250-54.

[3] Captain Bayliss was a ship captain who carried innumerable fugitives to freedom from Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia.  He routinely charged for the service, often commanding as much as $100 per passenger.  See Still, Underground Rail Road, 74-75 and “Second Letter” in Still, Underground Rail Road, 252.

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