Samuel J. May, Some Recollections of our Antislavery Conflict (Boston: Fields, Osgood, & Co., 1869), 285-286.
David Ruggles first became known to me as a most active, adventurous, and daring conductor on the underground railroad. He helped six hundred slaves to escape from one and another of the Southern States into Canada, or to places of security this side of the St. Lawrence. So great were the dangers to which he was often exposed, so severe the labors and hardships he often incurred, and so intense the excitement into which he was sometimes thrown, that his eyes became seriously diseased, and he lost entirely the sight of them. For a while he was obliged to depend for his livelihood upon the contributions of his antislavery friends, which they gave much more cheerfully than he received them. Dependence was irksome to his enterprising spirit. So soon, therefore, as his health, in other respects, was sufficiently restored, he eagerly inquired for some employment by which, notwithstanding his blindness, he could be useful to others and gain a support for himself and family. Having a strong inclination to, and not a little tact and experience in the curative art, he determined to attempt the management of a Water-cure Hospital. He was assisted to obtain the lease of suitable accommodations in or near Northampton, and conducted his establishment with great skill and good success, I believe, until his death.