Status: Complete


secret to myself as long as I could, but was compelled at last to seek some
one who should befriend me, without taking advantage of my destitution to
betray me. Such an one I found in a sailor named Stuart, a warm-hearted and
generous fellow, who from his humble home on Centre street, saw me stand-
ing on the opposite sidewalk, near "The Tombs." As he approached me I
ventured a remark to him which at once enlisted his interest in me. He took
me to his home to spend the night, and in the morning went with me to Mr.
David Ruggles, the secretary of the New York vigilance committee, a co-
worker with Isaac T. Hopper, Lewis and Arthur Tappan, Theodore S.
Wright, Samuel Cornish, Thomas Downing, Philip A. Bell and other true
men of their time. All these (save Mr. Bell. who still lives, and is editor and
publisher of a paper called the Elevator, in San Francisco) have finished their
work on earth. Once in the hands of these brave and wise men, I felt com-
paratively safe. With Mr. Ruggles, on the corner of Lispenard and Church
streets, I was hidden several days, during which time my intended wife
came on from Baltimore at my call, to share the burdens of life with me. She
was a free woman, and came at once on getting the good news of my safety.
We were married by Rev. J. W. C. Pennington, then a well-known and
respected Presbyterian minister. I had no money with which to pay the mar-
riage fee, but he seemed well pleased with our thanks.

Mr. Ruggles was the first officer on the underground railroad with whom
I met after coming North; and was indeed the only one with whom I had
anything to do, till I became such an officer myself. Learning that my trade
was that of a calker, he promptly decided that the best place for me was in
New Bedford, Mass. He told me that many ships for whaling voyages were
fitted out there, and that I might there find work at my trade, and make a
good living. So on the day of the marriage ceremony, we took our little lug-
gage to the steamer "John W. Richmond," which at that time was one of the
line running between New York and Newport, R. I. Forty-three years ago
colored travelers were not permitted in the cabin, nor allowed abaft the
paddle-wheels of a steam vessel. They were compelled, whatever the
weather might be, whether cold or hot, wet or dry, to spend the night on
deck. Unjust as this regulation was, it did not trouble us much. We had fared
much harder before. We arrived at Newport the next morning, and soon after
an old-fashioned stage-coach with "New Bedford" in large, yellow letters on
its sides, came down to the wharf. I had not money enough to pay our fare,
and stood hesitating to know what to do. Fortunately for us, there were two
Quaker gentlemen who were about to take passage on the stage,—Friends
William C. Taber and Joseph Ricketson,—who at once discerned our true

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page