Reprint of an article written in the Washington Observer,
Washington, PA, November 6, 1884. Submitted by Lorraine
OLD SLAVERY DAYS
HISTORY OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
Continuation of a Thrilling Story – Adventures of the Runaways Near Pittsburg
More Light on an Old Mystery
Persons in this Vicinity who Conducted the Organization – Episodes
Part 2: A SLY MASTER OUTWITTED : Old George’s Story continues
“There was another case as bad as Randolph’s, a case we had to move very fast in. That was where two men had to be sent right on without stopping. They ran away from a man somewhere about Morgantown. Before they started, they drew the nails, pulled the shoes from their master’s horses and started afoot. They thought they had walked about a hundred miles, but as near as I can reckon, they walked about sixty. They had walked their shoes off – they were in a terrible fix when I found them. They were sent to me by Mrs. Hanna, who was over the Seminary then. She is living in town now. They didn’t think their master could get his horses shod and catch up to them, but he was right on their heels. I sent one of them over to Wassler’s and kept the other myself near here.
One morning a white man – it was a Sunday – came to Wassler’s and asked him if he could get a bite to eat. He said he was very hungry; he was going to Pittsburgh. He talked very nice to Wassler. Wassler saw him coming and gave the refugee a hint to go up into his loft. The stranger got his breakfast, talked a good deal about his long journey on foot and while they were getting breakfast ready read out of the Bible. Seemed to be a missionary. Wassler found out afterwards that all the time he was there, two men were back at the toll gate, about half a mile off, sitting on their horses and holding a third. When the stranger went away the slave came down and said to Wassler, That’s my young master.
They were in a bad box. The slave was very much frightened. But Wassler found out right away they were on horseback, got word to me and I went over to Joe Lee’s at once. You see both these men had run away before and were captured. They would have been whipped almost to death and sent down into Georgia. There was no time to lose. Lee rode into Pittsburg, told John Peck to get that man off and we sent him in the next night to Saw Mill Hill where John Peck had a party that took charge of him. That was about forty years ago – I can’t remember the year.
There have been numerous instances where slaves were brought into this city in day time concealed in peddler’s wagons and carriages. This brings us to a story related by Mrs. McFarland, residing in Washington, Pennsylvania, widow of Major McFarland, referred to by old George Walls. The name of the owner of the slaves in this instance is withheld; although years have elapsed since the occurrence, and the actors are all in their graves, publication of the owner’s name would accomplish no good purpose.
DR. LEMOYNE’S BOLDNESS
“I was aroused one night by the crinkling of the snow,” said Mrs. McFarland. “It was a very cold night, and the crisp snow crinkled so under the feet of a lot of people coming to the house that I was alarmed out of my wits. I thought there must surely be a great number. I looked out and saw them coming single file to the house. They were coming along as quietly as they could. There was quite a lot of them, too. They were slaves belonging to Mr. ------ of Virginia. They all rose up and ran away together one night. People who knew the circumstances said they did right. There was talk about selling them down south – the poor creatures, when they heard that preparations were making broke for Canada. They were concealed at S____’s for a day or two; there was a great fuss made over their escape, and the officers and owners were looking everywhere but the right place. You see S_____’s was the last place in the world anybody would think of looking for them, and Dr. LeMoyne – it was him brought them over – knew that. Well there were visitors at the time the refugees were entertained there – and they had quite a time keeping the refugees out of sight. Then Dr. LeMoyne did a bold thing! He brought carriages there, fixed trunks on them, strapped them up to look like a party traveling and put all the Negroes in the carriages and drove them to Pittsburg in broad daylight! You see no one would ever dream that they were anybody but well-to-do people traveling. Oh, yes; that was done at Dr. LeMoyne’s own expense. He seemed to take great delight in getting them off. I don’t know whether he sent them beyond Pittsburg or not. I am sure he did not put them out of the carriages until they were in a safe place, because all those people remained free – not one of them was ever found by their owner.”