Journal C of Station No. 2, William Still, 1857, 2

                            Feb. 17/57
Henry Townsend_ arrived from CarolineCounty, Purnell, P.O. Md_.  Left on acc’t of ill treatment_  with the cowhide his back had been severely cut.  Is about 21 yr’s of age_ dark chesnut color, medium size,  Left behind his Mother, two Bros, and one Sister, in slavery.  The name of his owner was E. Townsend_ Farmer_

                             Feb. 22/57
John Bennett[1] alias Joseph Gant, age 27 yrs, well made quite black and quite intelligent.  Two years ago last May was sold from Eastern Shore of Md. to a Trader by the name of John B. Campbell of Baltimore, who sold him to New Orleans to his Bro. who was also a Traader_ from N.O. he was sold to Daniel McBean, of Miss, Harrison County_ The thought of his wife from whom he had been sold in Md_ rendered him dissatisfied_  After being on the 3 plan about 3 weeks, and not being satisfied with one of his owners part, who occasionally threatened him pretty sternly_ he ran away_ went to Kent Island_ a distance of 80 miles_  The man attending the light on the Island mistreated him_ and captured him_ with his boat_ (80 miles he had sailed acrost the lake.  After he got him into the Boat, he pulled out his pistols dirk cutlash &c_ threatening the consequence would be if he did not keep still_  Back again. Remained a few months and could stand it no longer_ Started for Md. again_ Walked to Mobile, 80 mi_ stowed himself away in a steam Boat then, and went to Mtgomery 550 miles_ where he was again caught & carried back_ and stayed only a little over a month and put out again_ which caused no little trouble and expense_ which the owners thought they could indure no longer.  They then brought the Slash into requisition_ 300 in numb. Cross your hands_ what for? I shall not do it_  I then left again  Remained 5 weeks_  The owner considering that he was not to be trusted. Said; I had rather loose my right arm than for him to get off without being punished after putting us to so much trouble_  He therefore sent his headman to tie me_  I told him I would not be tied_  I ran and stayed away 4 days_ which made Mr. Henry very anxious_ Mr McBeans told his people if they saw me to tell me to come back, that I should not be hurt_  I was over persuaded_ think as Mr. Beans had always stood to his word (He was the good pardner) I thought I would come back again.  He sent for me in his parlor_ talked the matter over, after which told me to go to the steam Boat &c shortly after being on board_ the capt. told him he was very sorry to tell me he had to be tied_  He tied me & then sent of for Mr Henry_  He came_  well, have I got you at last, said he.  Beg my pardon & promise you will never run away again and I will not be so hard on you_  I could not do it.  He then gave me 300 lashes well laid on_ being striped intirely naked_ my flesh was as raw as a pice of beef_ Then made one of the men bath me in salt & water_ My foot was held by a fellow servant_
Resolved to go then or die in the attempt_ stayed only a week_ but could not work_ on account of the flogging_ went to Ship Island_ the sailors being English men was very sorry to hear of it_ and counseled me how I might be Free_
       In Md’ I was owned by Mary C. Gibson a nice woman_ Her property was morgaged, and had to be sold_ so I had to sold to_  My Dear wife promised me that she would never marry_ and desired me to write to her, and if I ever met with the luck to come see her_  I have seen my owner whip one of his slaves to death at the Tree to which he was tied_  His pardner Mr. Henry would frequently make them lye down, striped, acrost a log, and would whip them, every stroke laying the flesh open.
Being used to it some would on the log without being tied_  In N.O. I have seen women stretched out on Boxes, just as naked as my hand_ given a 150 well laid on_ From men, my self one_ holding them on the Box_  After releasd they could not sit down or hardly walk_  This was at the “Fancy House” in N.O.  3 were so whipped one occasion.  I have seen the chain gangs_ one man chained to another 4 & 5 making the gang_ cleaning the streets_ could hardly till sunday the slaves are always kept going_
              John came came from St. Michael’s, Md.

              John Speaks[2] a young man of 25 or 6 came from Miss with John Bennett well made chesnut color intelligent &c  He too had been sold from Md at the same time that his companion was sold.  also fled to Liverpool
Madison Gaskins, has a wife and 4 children at Middleburg, Loudon Co. Va_ held by Wm Burns living about 15 miles from Middleburg_  He is a Farmer, 70 yr’s of age, in good standing  He owns some 40 or 50 slaves_  Gaskins family go by the following names_ Ann Gaskins, mother, John William, 20_ Azariah,9, Moses Henry 5 yrs Ann 2 yrs, next Apr,  Her Mother is named Allice is about 50_ It will not do to let her know of the scheme unless she can be safely brought on with the rest_  They are some 40 miles from Alexandria_
       $300_ will be paid


[1] The account of the life and flight of Joseph Grant—as William Still refers to this individual—is contained in Still, Underground Rail Road, 132-34.  Apparently, Joseph went to Liverpool, England, after departing Philadelphia.

[2] John Speaks is briefly mentioned in Still, Underground Rail Road, 132.  Apparently he accompanied Joseph Grant to Liverpool, England.

back