Jacob Bigelow (William Penn) to William Still, October 3, 1854

    Source citation
    William Still, The Underground Rail Road (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1872), 187.
    Author (from)
    Bigelow, Jacob (William Penn)
    Date Certainty
    Zak Rosenberg
    Transcription date

    The following text is presented here in complete form, as true to the original written document as possible. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    WASHINGTON, D. C., Oct. 3, 1854. ,

    DEAR SIR:-I address you to-day chiefly at the suggestion of the Lady who will hand you my letter, and who is a resident of your city.

    After stating to you, that the case about which I have previously written, remains just as it was when I wrote last-full of difficulty-I thought I would call your attention to another enterprise; it is this: to find a man with a large heart for doing good to the oppressed, who will come to Washington to live, and who will walk out to Penn'a, or a part of the way there, once or twice a week. He will find parties who will pay him for doing so. Parties of say, two, three, five or so, who will pay him at least $5 each, for the privilege of following him, but will never speak to him; but will keep just in sight of him and obey any sign he may give; say, he takes off his hat and scratches his head as a sign for them to go to some barn or wood to rest, &c. No living being shall be found to say he ever spoke to them. A white man would be best, and then even parties led out by him could not, if they would, testify to any understanding or anything else against a white man. I think he might make a good living at it. Can it not be done?

    If one or two safe stopping-places could be found on the way-such as a barn or shed, they could walk quite safely all night and then sleep all day-about two, or easily three nights would convey them to a place of safety. The traveler might be a peddler or huckster, with an old horse and cart, and bring us in eggs and butter if he, pleases.

    Let him once plan out his route, and he might then take ten or a dozen at a time, and they are often able and willing to pay $10 a piece.

    I have a hard case now on hand; a brother and sister 23 to 25 years old, whose mother lives in your city. They are cruelly treated; they want to go, they ought to go; but they are utterly destitute. Can nothing be done for such cases? If you can think of anything let me know it. I suppose you know me?

    How to Cite This Page: "Jacob Bigelow (William Penn) to William Still, October 3, 1854," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/958.