Slave Ads from1858
The following is another article from “Canada” by William Stills that tells of yet another successful flight from the yoke to Canada in 1858:

Henry Tucker

Henry fled Baltimore county; disagreement between him and his so-called master was the cause of his flight. Elias Sneveley, a farmer, known on the Arabella Creek Place as a “hard swearer,” an “old bachelor”, and a common tormentor of all around him, was the name of the man that Henry said he fled from. Not willing to be run over at the pleasure of Sneveley, on two occasions just before his escape serious encounters had arisen between master and slave. Henry being spirited and hungering for freedom, while his master was old and hardened in his habits, very grave results had well nigh happened; it was evident, therefore, in Henry’s opinion that the sooner he took his departure for Canada the better. His father’s example was ever present to encourage him, for he had escaped when Henry was a little boy; (his name was Benjamin Tucker). A still greater incentive, however, moved him, which was that his mother had been sold South five years prior to his escape, since which time he had heard of her but once, and that vaguely.

Although education was denied him, Harry (should be Henry) had too much natural ability to content himself under the heel of Slavery. He saw and understood the extent of the wrongs under which he suffered, and resolved not to abide in such a condition, if, by struggling and perservance, he could avoid it. In his resolute attempt he succeeded without any very severe suffering. He was not large, rather below the ordinary size, of a brown color, and very plucky.

Here is another success story of a runaway slave from Maryland that appeared in the “Canada” book by William Still. The slave ran away in 1858:


This “article” reported himself as having been deprived of his liberty by Dr. Ephraim Bell, of Baltimore County, Maryland. He had no fault to find with the doctor, however, on the contrary, he spoke of him as a “very clever and nice man, as much so as anybody need to live with;” but of his wife he could not speak so favorably; indeed, he described her as a most tyrannical woman. Said Elijah, “she would make a practice of rapping the broomstick around the heads of either men, women, or children when she got raised, which was pretty often. But she never rapped me, for I wouldn’t stand it; I shouldn’t fared any better than the rest if I hadn’t been resolute. I declared over and over again to her that I would scald her with the tea kettle if she ever took the broomstick to me, and I meant it. She took good care to keep the
broomstick from about my head. She was as mischievous and stingy as she could live; wouldn’t give enough to eat or wear. These facts and many more were elicited from Elijah, when in a calm state of mind and whenf eeling much elated with the idea that his efforts in casting off the yoke were met wiith favor by the Committee, and that the accommodations and privileges on the road were so much greater that he had ever dreamed of. Such luck on the road was indeed a matter of wonder and delight to passengers generally. They were delighted to find that the Committee received them and forwarded them on “without money and without price.” Elijah was capable of realizing the worth of such friendship. He was a young man of twenty-three years of age, spare made, yellow complexion, of quick motion and decidedly collected in his bearing. In short, he was a man well adapted to make a good British subject.

Note: Now as I read and typed this article, I had a feeling of being on an actual train as Elijah talked about “the road”, “forwarding them”, etc. The Underground Railroad really must have been quite active here in Baltimore County; and I am so happy to have all these articles because they will lend much support to our efforts of tracking the Underground Railroad through Baltimore County.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on April 14, 1858:

$20 REWARD - Ran away at the same time and in company with the above negro man, a bright bulatto boy named THOMAS SKINNER, about 18 years old, 5 feet 8 inches high and tolorable stout made; he only has a term of years to serve. I will pay $20 reward if delivered to me or lodged in jail so that I get him again.

Towsontown, Baltimore co., Md.

This is another of those “good news” articles, because this young man, thanks to the Underground railroad, made it to Canada and freedom. The following article appeared in the book, Canada, by William Still:

About the same time that this advertisement came to hand (and he is referring to the above advertisement), a certain young aspirant for Canada was entered on the Underground Rail Road Book thus: THOMAS EDWARD SKINNER, a bright mulatto, age eighteen years, well formed, good-looking, and wide awake; says, that he fled from one G.H. Carman, Esq, head clerk of the County Court, He bore voluntary testimony to Carman in the following words: “He was a very good man; he fed and clothed well and gave some money too occasionally” Yet Thomas had no
idea of remaining in Slavery under any circumstances. He hated everything like Slavery, and as young as he was, he had already made five attempts to escape. On this occasion, with older and wiser heads, he succeeded.

Note: I think the “older and wiser heads” referred to in the Canada book, and “the in company with” referred to in the runaway slave article refers to two other run away slaves named Jacob Taylor and John Wesley Combash. I can’t find a specific reference to these two men, but their names were written on the runaway article that I posted.

Here is another “Sun” Newspaper article on a runaway slave. The article appeared in the “Baltimore Sun” on April 14, 1858:

$200 REWARD - Ran away from the subscriber, living on the York Turnpike, eight miles from Baltimore city, on Sunday, April 11th, my negro man JACOB, aged 20 years; 5 feet 10 inches high, chestnut color; spare made; good features. I will give $50 reward if Taken in Baltimore city or county, and $200 if taken out of the State and secured in jail so that I get him again.


Note: This slave’s full name is Jacob Taylor. He ran away with two other slaves, Thomas Skinner and John Wesley Cornbash, both of whom runaway slave articles were posted earlier. Jacob was one of the lucky ones who actually made it to Canada and freedom. His story, which follows, appeared in the book by William Still, “The Underground Railroad”, page 476:

“Jacob” answering to the description in Mr. Wm. J.B. Parlett’s advertisement, gave his views of the man who had enslaved him. His statement is her transferred from the record book: “My master,” said Jacob, “was a farmer, a very rough man, hard to satisfy. I never knew of but one man who could ever please him. He worked me very hard; he wanted to be beating me all the time.” This was a luxury which Jacob had no appetite for, consequently he could not resist signifying his unwillingness to yield, although resistance had to be made at some
personal risk, as his master had “no more regard for a colored man then he had for a stone under his feet.” With him the following expression was common: “The niggers are not worth a d-n.” Nor was his wife any better, in Jacob’s opinion. “She was a cross woman, and as much of a boss as he was.””She would take a club and with both hands would whack away as long as you would stand it.””She was a large, homely woman; they were common white people, with no reputation in the community.” Substantially this was Jacob’s unvarnished description of his master and mistress. As to his age, and also the name of his master, Jacob’s statement varied somewhat from the advertisement. For instance, Jacob Taylor was noticed on the record book as being twenty-three years of age, and the name of his master was entered as “William Pollit;” but as Jacob had never been
allowed to learn to read, he might have failed in giving a correct pronunciation of the name. When asked what first prompted him to seek his freedom, he replied, “Oh my senses! I always had it in my mind to leave, but I was ‘jubus,’
(dubious?) of starting. I didn’t know the way to come. I was afraid of
being overtaken on the way.” He fled from near Baltimore, where he left brothers and other relatives in chains.

Louis S. Diggs

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It All Started on Winters Lane
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African-Americans have fought in military conflicts since colonial days.

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In Our Voices chronicles the stories of many families that founded the African American settlements.

Run away Slave Ads
These Ads were extract from Baltimore Sun Newspapers.
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