Craft, William

Life Span
    Full name
    William Craft
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    Ellen Craft (wife)
    Other Occupation
    Relation to Slavery
    Slave or Former Slave
    Political Parties
    Other Affiliations
    Abolitionists (Anti-Slavery Society)

    William Craft (American National Biography)

    In 1841 his owner, also named Craft, mortgaged William and his sister Sarah to a Macon bank. Later, when the slaveholder could not make the payments, the bank sold the slaves at an auction. Craft's new owner permitted him to hire himself out as a carpenter, and Craft was allowed to keep earnings over $220 annually. In 1846 William married Ellen, the daughter of a slave named Maria and her owner, James Smith. Two years later William and Ellen planned their escape from slavery...Disguised as a white man traveling with a servant, the couple left Macon with a five-day pass on 21 December 1848. Besides dressing in men's clothing and cutting her hair, Ellen, who was illiterate, kept her right hand in a sling to make certain that she would not be asked for her signature. A large bandage covered one side of her face, making their pretext of traveling to see a specialist in Philadelphia believable, while green tinted glasses hid her eyes…In Baltimore a railroad clerk suspected that she was an abolitionist attempting to help a slave escape, but Ellen's believable portrayal of an arrogant, wealthy slave owner allayed his suspicions. When William and Ellen reached Philadelphia on Christmas Day, their 1,000-mile journey elated abolitionists. "No other escape, with the possible exception of Frederick Douglass' and Josiah Henson's, created such a stir in antebellum America," according to historian R. J. M. Blackett (1986, p. 87).
    William Seraile, "Craft, William," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Craft, Ellen, and William Craft. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery. London: William Tweedie, 1860. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Craft, William," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,