The Underground Rail Road

Still, William. The Underground Rail Road. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872.
Source Type
Primary
Year
1872
Publication Type
Book
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 617.
Body Summary:
Contemporary with Esther Moore, and likewise an intimate personal friend of hers, Abigail Goodwin, of Salem, N. J., was one of the rare, true friends to the Underground Rail Road, whose labors entitle her name to be mentioned in terms of very high praise.

A..W. M. a most worthy lady, in a letter to a friend, refers to her in the following language:

"From my long residence under the same roof, I learned to know well her uncommon self-sacrifice of character, and to be willing and glad, whenever in my power, to honor her memory. But, yet I should not know what further to say about her than to give a very few words of testimony to her life of ceaseless and active benevolence, especially toward the colored people. "Her life outwardly was wholly uneventful; as she lived out her whole life of seventy-three years in the neighborhood of her birth-place."
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 757-758.
Body Summary:
About the year 1853, Maryland, her native State, had enacted a law forbidding free people of color from the North from coming into the State on pain of being imprisoned and sold into slavery. A free man, who had unwittingly violated this infamous statute, had recently been sold to Georgia, and had escaped thence by secreting himself behind the wheel-house of a boat bound northward; but before he reached the desired haven, he was discovered and remanded to slavery. It was reported that he died soon after from the effects of exposure and suffering. In a letter to a friend referring to this outrage, Mrs. Harper thus wrote: "Upon that grave I pledged myself to the Anti-Slavery cause."
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 190.
Body Summary:
JOHN HENRY never forgot those with whom he had been a fellow-sufferer in Slavery; he was always fully awake to their wrongs, and longed to be doing something to aid and encourage such as were striving to get their Freedom. He wrote many letters in behalf of others, as well as for himself, the tone of which, was always marked by the most zealous devotion to the slave, a high sense of the value of Freedom, and unshaken confidence that God was on the side of the oppressed, and a strong hope, that the day was not far distant, when the slave power would be "suddenly broken and that without remedy."
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 190-191.
Body Summary:
In these letters, may be seen, how much liberty was valued, how the taste of Freedom moved the pen of the slave; how the thought of fellow-bondmen, under the heel of the slave-holder, aroused the spirit of indignation and wrath; how importunately appeals were made for help from man and from God; how much joy was felt at the arrival of a fugitive, and the intense sadness experienced over the news of a failure or capture of a slave. Not only are the feelings of John Henry Hill represented in these epistles, but the feelings of very many others amongst the intelligent fugitives all over the country are also represented to the letter. It is more with a view of doing justice to a brave, intelligent class, whom the public are ignorant of, than merely to give special prominence to John and his relatives as individuals, that these letters are given.
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 746.
Body Summary:
Referred to by John Hunn, [Samuel Burris] was also a brave conductor on the Underground Rail Road leading down into Maryland (via Hunn's place). Mr. Burris was a native of Delaware, but being a free man and possessing more than usual intelligence, and withal an ardent love of liberty, he left "slavedom" and moved with his family to Philadelphia. Here his abhorrence of Slavery was greatly increased, especially after becoming acquainted with the Anti-slavery Office and the Abolition doctrine. Under whose auspices or by what influence he was first induced to visit the South with a view of aiding slaves to escape, the writer does not recollect; nevertheless, from personal knowledge, prior to 1851, he well knew that Burris was an accredited agent on the road above alluded to, and that he had been considered a safe, wise, and useful man in his day and calling. Probably the simple conviction that he would not otherwise be doing as he would be done by actuated him in going down South occasionally to assist some of his suffering friends to get the yokes off their necks, and with him escape to freedom. A number were thus aided by Burris.
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 719.
Body Summary:
Was born in Philadelphia, in 1806, and was through life a consistent member of the Society of Friends. His parents were persons of great respectability and integrity. The son early showed an ardent desire for improvement, and was distinguished among his young companions for warm affections, amiable disposition, and genial manners, rare purity and refinement of feeling, and a taste for literary pursuits. Preferring as his associates those to whom he looked for instruction and example, and aiming at a high standard, he won a position, both mentally and socially, superior to his early surroundings. With a keen sense of justice and humanity, he could not fail to share in the traditional opposition of his religious society to slavery, and to be quickened to more intense feeling as the evils of the system were more fully revealed in the Anti-slavery agitation which in his early manhood began to stir the nation. A visit to England, in 1834, brought him into connection and friendship with many leading Friends in that country, who were actively engaged in the Anti-slavery movement, and probably had much to do with directing his attention specially to the subject. Once enlisted, he never wavered, but as long as slavery existed by law in our country his influence, both publicly and privately, was exerted against it.
Citation:
William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 735.
Body Summary:
The locality of Columbia, [Pennsylvania,] where Mr. Whipper resided for many years, was, as is well-known, a place of much note as a station on the Underground Rail Road. The firm of Smith and Whipper (lumber merchants), was likewise well-known throughout a wide range of country. Who, indeed, amongst those familiar with the history of public matters connected with the colored people of this country, has not heard of William Whipper? For the last thirty years, as an able business man, it has been very generally admitted, that he hardly had a superior.

Although an unassuming man, deeply engrossed with business - Anti-slavery papers, conventions, and public movements having for their aim the elevation of the colored man, have always commanded Mr. Whipper's interest and patronage. In the more important conventions which have been held amongst the colored people for the last thirty years, perhaps no other colored man has been so often called on to draft resolutions and prepare addresses, as the modest and earnest William Whipper. He has worked effectively in a quiet way, although not as a public speaker. He is self-made, and well read on the subject of the reforms of the day. Having been highly successful in his business, he is now at the age of seventy, in possession of a handsome fortune; the reward of long years of assiduous labor. He is also cashier of the Freedman's Bank, in Philadelphia. For the last few years he has resided at New Brunswick, New Jersey, although his property and business confine him mainly to his native State, Pennsylvania.
How to Cite This Page: "The Underground Rail Road," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/19519.