American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
The slaves are terribly lacerated with whips, paddles, &c.; red pepper
and salt are rubbed into their mangled flesh; hot brine and turpentine are
poured into their gashes; and innumerable other tortures inflicted upon them.
We will in the first place, prove by a cloud of witnesses, that the slaves
are whipped with such inhuman severity, as to lacerate and mangle their flesh
in the most shocking manner, leaving permanent scars and ridges; after establishing
this, we will present a mass of testimony, concerning a great variety of other
tortures. The testimony, for the most part, will be that of the slaveholders
themselves, and in their own chosen words. A large portion of it will be taken
from the advertisements, which they have published in their own newspapers,
describing by the scars on their bodies made
by the whip, their own runaway slaves. To copy these advertisements entire would require a great amount of space, and flood the reader with
a vast mass of matter irrelevant to the point before
us; we shall therefore insert only so much of each, as will intelligibly set
forth the precise point under consideration. In the column under the word
“witnesses,” will be found the name of the individual, who signs
the advertisement, or for whom it is signed, with his or her place of residence,
and the name and date of the paper, in which it appeared, and generally the
name of the place where it is published. Opposite the name of each witness,
will be an extract, from the advertisement, containing his or her testimony.
|Mr. D. Judd, jailor, Davidson Co., Tennessee, in the "Nashville Banner,''
Dec. 10th, 1838.
||"Committed to jail as a runaway, a negro woman named Martha, 17 or 18
years of age, has numerous scars of the whip on her
|Mr. Robert Nicoll, Dauphin st. between Emmanuel and Conception st's,
Mobile, Alabama, in the "Mobile Commercial Advertiser.''
||"Ten dollars reward for my woman Siby, very much
scarred about the neck and ears by whipping.''
|Mr. Bryant Johnson, Fort Valley, Houston Co., Georgia, in the "Standard
of Union,'' Milledgeville Ga. Oct. 2, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro woman, named Maria, some scars
on her back occasioned by the whip.''
|Mr. James T. De Jarnett, Vernon, Autauga Co., Alabama, in the "Pensacota
Gazette,'' July, 14, 1838.
||"Stolen a negro woman, named Celia. On examining her back you will find marks caused by the whip.''
|Maurice Y. Garcia, Sheriff of the County of Jefferson, La., in the "New
Orleans Bee,'' August, 14, 1838.
||"Lodged in jail, a mulatto boy, having large marks
of the whip, on his shoulders and other parts of his body.''
|R. J. Bland, Sheriff of Claiborne Co, Miss., in the "Charleston (S.C.)
Courier,'' August, 28, 1838.
||"Was committed a negro boy, named Tom, is much marked
with the whip.''
|Mr. James Noe, Red River Landing, La., in the "Sentinel,'' Vicksburg,
Miss., August 22, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a negro fellow named Dick—has many scars
on his back from being whipped.''
|William Craze, jailor, Alexandria, La. in the "Planter's Intelligencer,''
Sept. 26, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro slave—his back is very
|John A. Rowland, jailor, Lumberton, North Carolina, in the "Fayetteville
(N. C.) Observer,'' June 20, 1838.
||"Committed, a mulatto fellow—his back shows lasting
impressions of the whip, and leaves no doubt of his being A SLAVE.''
|J. K. Roberts, sheriff, Blount county, Ala., in the Huntsville Democrat,''
Dec. 9, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro man—his back much marked
by the whip.''
|Mr. H. Varillat, No. 23 Girod street, New Orleans— in the "Commercial
Bulletin,'' August 27, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the negro slave named Jupiter — has a fresh mark of a cowskin on one of his cheeks.''
|Mr. Cornelius D. Tolin, Augusta, Ga., in the "Chronicle and Sentinel,''
Oct. 18, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro man named Johnson—he has a great
many marks of the whip on his back.''
|W. H. Brasseale, sheriff, Blount county, Ala., in the "Huntsville Democrat,''
June 9, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro slave named James—much
scarred with a whip on his back.''
|Mr. Robert Beasley, Macon, Ga., in the "Georgia Messenger,'' July 27,
||"Ranaway, my man Fountain—he is marked on the back
with the whip.''
|Mr. John Wotton, RockviLe, Montgomery county, Maryland, in the "Baltimore
Republican,'' Jan. 13, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Bill—has several LARGE SCARS on his back from a severe whipping
in early life.''
|D. S. Bennett, sheriff, Natchitoches, La., in the "Herald,'' July 21,
||"Committed to jail, a negro boy who calls himself Joe—said negro bears marks of the whip.''
|Messrs. C. C. Whitehead, and R. A. Evans, Marion, Georgia, in the Milledgeville
(Ga.) "Standard of Union,'' June 26, 1838.
||"Ranaway, negro fellow John—from being whipped, has scars on his back, arms, and thighs.''
|Mr. Samuel Stewart, Greensboro', Ala., in the "Southern Advocate,''
Huntsville, Jan. 6, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a boy named Jim—with the marks of the whip on the small of the back, reaching round to the flank.''
|Mr. John Walker, No. 6, Banks' Arcade, New Orleans, in the "Bulletin,''
August 11, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the mulatto boy Quash—considerably marked
on the back and other places with the lash.
|Mr. Jesse Beene, Cahawba, Ala., in the "State Intelligencer,'' Tuskaloosa,
Dec. 25, 1837.
||"Ranaway, my negro man Billy—he has the marks of
|Mr. John Turner, Thomaston, Upson county, Georgia—in the "Standard
of Union,'' Milledgeville, June 26, 1838.
||"Left, my negro man named George—has marks of the
whip very plain on his thighs.''
|James Derrah, deputy sheriff, Claiborne county, Mi., in the "Port Gibson
Correspondent,'' April 15, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, negro man Toy—he has been badly
|S. B. Murphy, sheriff, Wilkinson county, Georgia—in the Milledgeville
"Journal,'' May 15, 1838.
||"Brought to jail, a negro man named George—he has a great many scars from the lash.''
|Mr. L. E. Cooner, Branchville Orangeburgh District, South Carolina—in
the Macon "Messenger,'' May 25, 1837.
||"One hundred dollars reward, for my negro Glasgow, and Kate, his wife.
Glasgow is 24 years old—has marks of the whip on
his back. Kate is 26—has a scar on her cheek, and several marks of a whip.''
|John H. Hand, jailor, parish of West Feliciana, La., in the St. "Francisville
Journal,'' July 6, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, a negro boy named John, about 17 years old—his
back badly marked with the whip,
his upper lip and chin severely bruised.''
The preceding are extracts from advertisements published in southern papers,
mostly in the year 1838. They are the mere samples
of hundreds of similar ones published during
the same period, with which, as the preceding are quite sufficient to show
the commonness of inhuman
floggings in the slave states, we need not burden the
The foregoing testimony is, as the reader perceives, that of the slaveholders
themselves, voluntarily certifying to the outrages which their own hands have
committed upon defenceless and innocent men and women, over whom they have
assumed authority. We have given to their testimony
precedence over that of all other witnesses, for the reason that when men
testify against themselves they are under no temptation
We we will now present the testimony of a large number of individuals,
with their names and residences, of persons who witnessed the inflictions
to which they testify. Many of them have been slaveholders, and all residents for longer or shorter periods in slave states.
Rev. JOHN H. CURTISS, a native of Keep Creek,
Norfolk county, Virginia, now a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal
Church in Portage co., Ohio, testifies as follows:—
“In 1829 or 30, one of my father's slaves was accused of taking
the key to the office and stealing four or five dollars: he denied it. A constable
by the name of Hull was called; he took the negro, very deliberately tied
his hands, and whipped him till the blood ran freely down his legs. By this
time Hull appeared tired, and stopped; he then took a rope, put a slip noose
around his neck, and told the negro he was going to kill
him, at the same time drew the rope and began whipping: the negro fell;
his cheeks looked as though they would burst with strangulation. Hull whipped
and kicked him, till I really thought he was going to kill him; when he ceased,
the negro was in a complete gore of blood from head to foot.”
Mr. DAVID HAWLEY, a class-leader in the Methodist
Church, at St. Alban's, Licking county, Ohio, who moved from Kentucky to Ohio
in 1831, testifies as follows:—
“In the year 1821 or 2, I saw a slave hung for killing his master.
The master had whipped the slave's mother to DEATH,
and, locking him in a room, threatened him with the same fate; and, cowhide
in hand, had begun the work, when the slave joined battle and slew the master.”
SAMUEL ELLISON, a member of the Society of Friends,
formerly of Southampton county, Virginia, now of Marlborough, Stark county,
Ohio, gives the following testimony:—
“While a resident of Southampton county, Virginia, I knew two
men, after having been severely treated, endeavor to make their escape. In
this they failed—were taken, tied to trees, and whipped to death by their overseer. I lived a mile from the negro quarters, and,
at that distance, could frequently hear the screams of the poor creatures
when beaten, and could also hear the blows given by the overseer with some
Major HORACE NYE, of Putnam, Ohio, gives the following testimony of Mr. Wm. Armstrong, of that
place, a captain and supercargo of boats descending the Mississippi river:—
“At Bayou Sarah, I saw a slave staked out,
with his face to the ground, and whipped with a large whip, which laid
open the flesh for about two and a half inches every stroke
. I stayed about five minutes, but could stand it no longer, and left
Mr. STEPHEN E. MALTBY, inspector of provisions,
Skeneateles, New York, who has resided in Alabama, speaking of the condition
of the slaves, says:—
“I have seen them cruelly whipped. I will relate one instance.
One Sabbath morning, before I got out of my bed, I heard an outcry, and got
up and went to the window, when I saw some six or eight boys, from eight to
twelve years of age, near a rack (made for tying horses) on the public square.
A man on horseback rode up, got off his horse, took a cord from his pocket, tied one of the boys by the thumbs
to the rack, and with his horsewhip lashed him most severely. He then
untied him and rode off without saying a word.
“It was a general
practice, while I was at Huntsville, Alabama, to have a patrol every night;
and, to my knowledge, this patrol was in the habit of traversing the streets
with cow-skins, and, if they found any slaves out after eight o'clock without
a pass, to whip them until they were out of reach, or to confine them until
Mr. J. G. BALDWIN, of Middletown, Connecticut,
a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, gives the following testimony:—
“I traveled at the south in 1827: when near Charlotte, N. C. a
free colored man fell into the road just ahead of me, and went on peaceably.—
When passing a public-house, the landlord ran out with a large cudgel, and
applied it to the head and shoulders of the man with such force as to shatter
it in pieces. When the reason of his conduct was asked, he replied, that he
owned slaves, and he would not permit free blacks to come into his neighborhood.
“Not long after, I stopped at a public-house near Halifax, N.
C., between nine and ten o'clock P. M., to stay over night. A slave sat upon
a bench in the bar-room asleep. The master came in, seized a large horsewhip,
and, without any warning or apparent provocation, laid it over the face and
eyes of the slave. The master cursed, swore, and swung his lash—the
slave cowered and trembled, but said not a word. Upon inquiry the next morning,
I ascertained that the only offence was falling asleep, and this too in consequence
of having been up nearly all the previous night, in attendance upon company.”
Rev. JOSEPH M. SADD, of Castile, N. Y., who
has lately left Missouri, where he was pastor of a church for some years,
“In one case, near where we lived, a runaway slave, when brought
back, was most cruelly beaten—bathed in the usual
liquid—laid in the sun, and a physician employed to heal his wounds:—
then the same process of punishment and healing
was repeated, and repeated again, and then the poor
creature was sold for the New Orleans market. This account we had from the physician himself.”
Mr. ABRAHAM BELL, of Poughkeepsie, New York,
a member of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, was employed, in 1837 and 38,
in levelling and grading for a rail-road in the state of Georgia: he had under
his direction, during the whole time, thirty slaves. Mr. B. gives the following
“All the slaves had their backs scarred,
from the oft-repeated whippings they had received.”
Mr. ALONZO BARNARD, of Farmington, Ohio, who
was in Mississippi in 1837 and 8, says:—
“The slaves were often severely whipped. I saw one woman very severely whipped for accidentally cutting up a stalk of cotton.* When they were whipped they were
commonly held down by four men: if these could not
confine them, they were fastened by stakes driven firmly into the ground,
and then lashed often so as to draw blood at each blow. I saw one woman who
had lately been delivered of a child in consequence of cruel treatment.”
Rev. H. LYMAN, late pastor of the Free Presbyterian
Church at Buffalo, N. Y. says:—
“There was a steam cotton press, in the vicinity of my boarding-house
at New Orleans, which was driven night and day, without intermission. My curiosity
led me to look at the interior of the establishment. There I saw several slaves
engaged in rolling cotton bags, fastening ropes, lading carts, &c.
“The presiding genius of the place was a driver, who held a rope four
feet long in his hand, which he wielded with cruel dexterity. He used it in
single blows, just as the men were lifting to tighten
the bale cords. It seemed to me that he was desirous to edify me with a specimen
of his authority; at any rate the cruelty was horrible.”
Mr. JOHN VANCE, a member of the Baptist Church,
in St. Albans, Licking county, Ohio, who moved from Culpepper county, Va.,
his native state, in 1814, testifies as follows:—
“In 1826, I saw a woman by the name of Mallix, flog her female
slave with a horse whip so horribly that she was washed in salt and water
several days, to keep her bruises from mortifying.
“In 1811, I
was returning from mill, in Shenandoah county, when I heard the cry of murder,
in the field of a man named Painter. I rode to the place to see what was going
on. Two men, by the names of John Morgan and Michael Siglar, had heard the
cry and came running to the place. I saw Painter beating a negro with a tremendous
club, or small handspike, swearing he would kill him; but he was rescued by
Morgan and Siglar. I learned that Painter had commenced flogging the slave
for not getting to work soon enough. He had
escaped, and taken refuge under a pile of rails that were on some timbers
up a little from the ground. The master had put fire to one end, and stood
at the other with his club, to kill him as he came out. The pile was still
burning. Painter said he was a turbulent fellow and he would kill him. The apprehension of P, was TALKED ABOUT
, but, as a compromise, the negro was sold to another man.”
EXTRACT FROM THE PUBLISHED
JOURNAL OF THE LATE WM. SAVERY, of Philadelphia,
an eminent minister of the religious Society of Friends:—
“6th mo. 22d, 1791. We passed on to Augusta, Georgia. They can
scarcely tolerate us, on account of our abhorrence of slavery. On the 28th
we got to Savannah, and lodged at one Blount's, a hard-hearted slaveholder.
One of his lads, aged about fourteen, was ordered to go and milk the cows:
and falling asleep, through weariness, the master called out and ordered him
a flogging. I asked him what he meant by a flogging. He replied, the way we
serve them here is, we cut their backs until they are raw all over, and then
salt them. Upon this my feelings were roused; I told him that was too bad,
and queried if it were possible; he replied it was, with many curses upon
the blacks. At supper this unfeeling wretch craved a blessing!
“Next morning I heard some one begging for mercy, and also
the lash as of a whip. Not knowing whence the sound came, I rose, and presently
found the poor boy tied up to a post, his toes scarcely touching the ground,
and a negro whipper. He had already cut him in an unmerciful manner, and the
blood ran to his heels. I stepped in between them, and ordered him untied
immediately, which, with some reluctance and astonishment, was done. Returning
to the house I saw the landlord, who then showed himself in his true colors,
the most abominably wicked man I ever met with, full of horrid execrations
and threatenings upon all northern people; but I did not spare him; which
occasioned a bystander to say, with an oath, that I should be “popped
over.” We left them, and were in full expectation of their way-laying
or coming after us, but the Lord restrained them. The next house we stopped
at we found the same wicked spirit.”
Col. ELIJAH ELLSWORTH, of Richfield, Ohio, gives
the following testimony:—
“Eight or ten years ago I was in Putnam county, in the state of
Georgia, at a Mr. Slaughter's, the father of my brother's wife. A negro, that
belonged to Mr. Walker, (I believe,) was accused of stealing a pedlar's trunk.
The negro denied, but, without ceremony, was lashed to a tree—the whipping
commenced—six or eight men took turns—the poor fellow begged for
mercy, but without effect, until he was literally cut to
pieces, from his shoulders to his hips, and covered with a gore of blood.
When he said the trunk was in a stack of fodder, he was unlashed. They proceeded
to the stack, but found no trunk. They asked the poor fellow, what he lied
about it for; he said, “Lord, Massa, to keep from being whipped to death;
I know nothing about the trunk.” They commenced the whipping with redoubled
vigor, until I really supposed he would be whipped to death on the
spot; and such shrieks and crying for mercy!—
Again he acknowledged, and again they were defeated in finding, and the same
reason given as before. Some were for whipping again, others thought he would
not survive another, and they ceased. About two months after, the trunk was
found, and it was then ascertained who the thief was: and the poor fellow,
after being nearly beat to death, and twice made to lie about it, was as innocent
as I was.”
The following statements are furnished by Major HORACE NYE, of Putnam, Muskingum county, Ohio.
“In the summer of 1837, Mr. JOHN H. MOOREHEAD
, a partner of mine, descended the Mississippi with several boat loads
of flour. He told me that floating in a place in the Mississippi, where he
could see for miles a head, he perceived a concourse of people on the bank,
that for at least a mile and a half above he saw them, and heard the screams
of some person, and for a great distance, the crack of a whip, he run near
the shore, and saw them whipping a black man, who was on the ground, and at
that time nearly unable to scream, but the whip continued to be plied without
intermission, as long as he was in sight, say from one mile and a half, to
two miles below—he probably saw and heard them for one hour in all.
He expressed the opinion that the man could not survive.
four weeks since I had a conversation with Mr. Porter, a respectable citizen
of Morgan county, of this state, of about fifty years of age. He told me that
he formerly traveled about five years in the southern states, and that on
one occasion he stopped at a private house, to stay all night; (I think it
was in Virginia,) while he was conversing with the man, his wife came in,
and complained that the wench had broken some article in the kitchen, and
that she must be whipped. He took the woman into the
door yard, stripped her clothes down to her hips—tied her hands together,
and drawing them up to a limb, so that she could just touch the ground, took
a very large cowskin whip, and commenced flogging; he said that every stroke
at first raised the skin, and immediately the blood came through; this he
continued, until the blood stood in a puddle at her feet. He then turned to
my informant and said, “Well, Yankee, what do you think of that?”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MR. W. DUSTIN, a member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, and, when the letter was written, 1835, a student of Marietta College,
“I find by looking over my journal that the murdering, which I spoke
of yesterday, took place about the first of June, 1834.
“Without commenting upon this act of cruelty, or giving vent to my
own feelings, I will simply give you a statement of the fact, as known from personal observation.
“Dr. K. a man of wealth, and a practising physician in the county
of Yazoo, state of Mississippi, personally known to me, having lived in the
same neighborhood more than twelve months, after having scourged one of his
negroes for running away, declared with an oath, that if he ran away again, he would kill him. The negro, so soon as an
opportunity offered, ran away again. He was caught and brought back. Again
he was scourged, until his flesh, mangled and torn, and thick mingled with
the clotted blood, rolled from his back. He became apparently insensible,
and beneath the heaviest stroke would scarcely utter a groan. The master got
tired, laid down his whip and nailed the negro's ear to a tree; in this condition,
nailed fast to the rugged wood, he remained all night!
“Suffice it to say, in the conclusion, that the next day he was found DEAD!
“Well, what did they do with the master? The sum total of it is this:
He was taken before a magistrate and gave bonds, for his appearance at the
next court. Well, to be sure he had plenty of cash, so he paid up his bonds
and moved away, and there the matter ended.
“If the above fact will be of any service to you in exhibiting to
the world the condition of the unfortunate negroes, you are at liberty to
make use of it in any way you think best.
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
Mr. ALFRED WILKINSON, a member of the Baptist
Church in Skeneateles, N. Y. and the assessor of that town, has furnished
“I went down the Mississippi in December, 1808, and saw twelve
or fourteen negroes punished, on one plantation, by stretching them on a ladder
and tying them to it; then stripping off their clothes, and whipping them
on the naked flesh with a heavy whip, the lash seven or eight feet long: most
of the strokes cut the skin. I understood they were whipped for not doing
the tasks allotted to them.”
FROM THE PHILANTHROPIST, Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb.
“A very intelligent lady, the widow of a highly respectable preacher
of the gospel, of the Presbyterian Church, formerly a resident of a free state,
and a colonizationist, and a strong antiabolitionist, who, although an enemy
to slavery, was opposed to abolition on the ground that it was for carrying
things too rapidly, and without regard to circumstances, and especially who
believed that abolitionists exaggerated with regard to the evils of slavery,
and used to say that such men ought to go to slave states and see for themselves,
to be convinced that they did the slaveholders injustice, has gone and seen
for herself. Hear her testimony.
Dec. 25, 1835.
“Dear Mrs. W.—I am still in the land
of oppression and cruelty, but hope soon to breathe the air of a free state.
My soul is sick of slavery, and I rejoice that my time is nearly expired;
but the scenes that I have witnessed have made an impression that never can
be effaced, and have inspired me with the determination to unite my feeble
efforts with those who are laboring to suppress this horrid system. I am now an abolitionist. You will
cease to be surprised at this, when I inform you, that I have just seen a
poor slave who was beaten by his inhuman master until he could neither walk
nor stand. I saw him from my window carried from the barn where he had
been whipped) to the cabin, by two
negro men; and he now lies there, and if he recovers, will be a sufferer for
months, and probably for life. You will doubtless suppose that he committed
some great crime; but it was not so. He was called upon by a young man (the
son of his master,) to do something, and not moving as quickly as his young
master wished him to do, he drove him to the barn, knocked him down, and jumped
upon him, stamped, and then cowhided him until he was almost dead. This is
not the first act of cruelty that I have seen, though it is the worst; and I am convinced that those who have described the cruelties
of slaveholders, have not exaggerated.”
EXTRACT OF A
LETTER FROM GERRIT SMITH, Esq., of Peterboro',
PETERBORO', December 1, 1838.
To the Editor of the Union Herald:
“My dear Sir:—
You will be happy to hear, that the two fugitive slaves, to whom in the
brotherly love of your heart, you gave the use of your horse, are still making
undisturbed progress towards the monarchical land
whither republican slaves escape for the enjoyment
of liberty. They had eaten their breakfast, and were seated in my wagon, before
day-dawn, this morning.
“Fugitive slaves have before taken my house in their way, but never
any, whose lips and persons made so forcible an appeal to my sensibilities,
and kindled in me so much abhorrence of the hell-concocted
system of American slavery.
“The fugitives exhibited their bare backs to myself and a number
of my neighbors. Williams' back is comparatively scarred. But, I speak within
bounds, when I say, that one-third to one-half of the whole surface of the
back and shoulders of poor Scott, consists of scars and
wales resulting from innumerable gashes. His natural complexion being
yellow and the callous places being nearly black, his back and shoulders remind
you of a spotted animal.”
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
The LOUISVILLE REPORTER (Kentucky,) Jan. 15,
1839, contains the report of a trial for inhuman treatment of a female slave.
The following is some of the testimony given in court.
“Dr. CONSTANT testified that he saw
Mrs. Maxwell at the kitchen door, whipping the negro severely, without being
particular whether she struck her in the face or not. The negro was lacerated
by the whip, and the blood flowing. Soon after, on going down the steps, he
saw quantities of blood on them, and on returning, saw them again. She had
been thinly clad—barefooted in very cold weather. Sometimes she had
shoes— sometimes not. In the beginning of the winter she had linsey
dresses, since then, calico ones. During the last four months, had noticed
many scars on her person. At one time had one of her eyes tied up for a week.
During the last three months seemed declining, and had become stupified. Mr.
Winters was passing along the street, heard cries, looked up through the window
that was hoisted, saw the boy whipping her as much as forty or fifty licks,
while he staid. The girl was stripped down to the hips. The whip seemed to
be a cow-hide. Whenever she turned her face
to him, he would hit her across the face either with the butt end or small
end of the whip to make her turn her back round square to the lash, that he
might get a fair blow at her.
“Mr. Say had noticed several wounds
on her person, chiefly bruises.
“Captain Porter, keeper of the
work-house, into which Milly had been received, thought the injuries on her
person very bad—some of them appeared to be burns—some bruises
or stripes, as of a cow-hide.”
LETTER OF REV. JOHN RANKIN, of Ripley, Ohio, to the Editor of the Philanthropist.
RIPLEY, Feb. 20, 1839.
“Some time since, a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ebenezer,
Brown county, Ohio, landed his boat at a point on the Mississippi. He saw
some disturbance among the colored people on the bank. He stepped up, to see
what was the matter. A black man was stretched naked on the ground; his hands
were tied to a stake, and one held each foot. He was doomed to receive fifty
lashes; but by the time the overseer had given him twenty-five with his great
whip, the blood was standing round the wretched victim in little puddles.
It appeared just as if it had rained blood.—Another observer stepped
up, and advised to defer the other twenty-five to another time, lest the slave
might die; and he was released, to receive the balance when he should have
so recruited as to be able to bear it and live. The offence was, coming one
hour too late to work.”
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
Mr. RANKIN, who is a native of Tennessee, in
his letters on slavery, published fifteen years since, says:
“A respectable gentleman, who is now a citizen of Flemingsburg,
Fleming county, Kentucky, when in the state of South Carolina, was invited
by a slaveholder, to walk with him and take a view of his farm. He complied
with the invitation thus given, and in their walk they came to the place where
the slaves were at work, and found the overseer whipping one of them very
severely for not keeping pace with his fellows— in vain the poor fellow
alleged that he was sick, and could not work. The master seemed to think all
was well enough, hence he and the gentleman passed on. In the space of an
hour they returned by the same way, and found that the poor slave, who had
been whipped as they first passed by the field of labor, was actually dead!
This I have from unquestionable authority.”
Extract of a letter from a MEMBER OF CONGRESS, to the Editor of the New York
American, dated Washington, Feb. 18, 1839. The name of the writer is with
the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
“Three days ago, the inhabitants in the vicinity of the new Patent
Building were alarmed by an outcry in the street, which proved to be that
of a slave who had just been knocked down with a brick-bat by his pursuing
master. Prostrate on the ground, with a large gash in his head, the poor slave
was receiving the blows of his master on one side, and the kicks of his master's
son on the other. His cries brought a few individuals to
the spot; but no one dared to interfere, save to exclaim—You
will kill him—which was met by the response, “He is mine, and
I have a right to do what I please with him.” The heart-rending scene
was closed from public view by dragging the poor bruised
and wounded slave from the public street into his master's stable. What followed
is not known. The outcries were heard by members of Congress and others at
the distance of near a quarter of a mile from the scene.
now, perhaps, you will ask, is not the city aroused by this flagrant cruelty
and breach of the peace? I answer—not at all. Every thing is quiet.
If the occurrence is mentioned at all, it is spoken of in whispers.”
From the Mobile Examiner, August
“POLICE REPORT—MAYOR'S OFFICE
Saturday morning, August
“His Honor the Mayor presiding.
“Mr. MILLER, of the foundry, brought to the office this
morning a small negro girl aged about eight or ten years, whom he had taken
into his house some time during the previous night. She had crawled under
the window of his bed room to screen herself from the night air, and to find
a warmer shelter than the open canopy of heaven afforded. Of all objects of
pity that have lately come to our view, this poor little girl most needs the
protection of authority, and the sympathies of the charitable. From the cruelty
of her master and mistress, she has been whipped, worked and starved, until
she is now a breathing skeleton, hardly able to stand upon her fect.
“The back of the poor little sufferer, (which we ourselves saw,) was actually cut into strings, and so perfectly was the flesh
worn from her limbs, by the wretched treatment she had received, that every joint showed distinctly its crevices and protuberances
through the skin. Her little lips clung closely over her teeth—her cheeks
were sunken and her head narrowed, and when her eyes were closed, the lids
resembled film more than flesh or skin.
“We would desire of our
northern friends such as choose to publish to the world their own version
of the case we have related, not to forget to add, in conclusion, that the
owner of this little girl is a foreigner, speaks against slavery as an institution,
and reads his Bible to his wife, with the view of finding proofs for his opinions.”
Rev. WILLIAM SCALES, of Lyndon, Vermont, gives
the following testimony in a recent letter:
“I had a class-mate at the Andover Theological Seminary, who spent
a season at the south, —in Georgia, I think—who related the following
fact in an address before the Seminary. It occasioned very deep sensation
on the part of opponents. The gentleman was Mr. Julius C. Anthony, of Taunton,
Mass. He graduated at the Seminary in 1835. I do not know where he is now
settled. I have no doubt of the fact, as he was an eye-witness
of it. The man with whom he resided had a very athletic slave—a
valuable fellow—a blacksmith. On a certain day a small strap of leather
was missing. The man's little son accused this slave of stealing it. He denied
the charge, while the boy most confidently asserted it. The slave was brought
out into the yard and bound—his hands
below his knees, and a stick crossing his knees, so that he would lie upon
either side in form of the letter S. One of the overseers laid on fifty lashes—he
still denied the theft—was turned over and fifty more put on. Sometimes
the master and sometimes the overseers whipping—as they relieved each
other to take breath. Then he was for a time left to himself, and in the course
of the day received FOUR HUNDRED LASHES—still
denying the charge. Next morning Mr. Anthony walked out—the sun was
just rising—he saw the man greatly enfeebled, leaning against a stump.
It was time to go to work—he attempted to rise, but fell back—
again attempted, and again fell back—still making the attempt, and still
falling back, Mr. Anthony thought, nearly twenty times
before he succeeded in standing—he then staggered off to his shop.
In course of the morning Mr. A. went to the door and looked in. Two overseers
were standing by. The slave was feverish and sick— his skin and mouth
dry and parched. He was very thirsty. One of the overseers, while Mr. A. was
looking at him, inquired of the other whether it were not best to give him
a little water. 'No. damn him, he will do well enough,' was the reply from
the other overseer. This was all the relief gained by the poor slave. A few
days after, the slaveholder's son confessed that he stole
the strap himself.”
Rev. D. C. EASTMAN, a minister of the Methodist
Episcopal church at Bloomingburg, Fayette county, Ohio, has just forwarded
a letter, from which the following is an extract:
“GEORGE ROEBUCK, an old and respectable
farmer, near Bloomingburg, Fayette county, Ohio, a member of the Methodist
Episcopal church, says, that almost forty-three years ago, he saw in Bath
county, Virginia, a slave girl with a sore between the shoulders of the size
and shape of a smoothing iron. The girl was 'owned'
by one M'Neil. A slaveholder who boarded at M'Neil's stated that Mrs. M'Neil
had placed the aforesaid iron when hot, between the girl's shoulders, and
produced the sore.
“Roebuck was once at this M'Neil's father's,
and whilst the old man was at morning prayer, he heard the son plying the
whip upon a slave out of doors.
, of Concord township, Fayette county, Ohio, formerly of North Carolina,
a farmer and an exhorter in the Methodist Protestant church, says, that many
years since he went to live with an uncle who owned about fifty negroes. Soon
after his arrival, his uncle ordered his waiting boy, who was naked, to be tied—his hands to a horse rack, and his feet together,
with a rail passed between his legs, and held down by a person at each end.
In this position he was whipped, from neck to feet, till covered with blood;
after which he was salted.
slaves received one quart of corn each day, and that only, and were allowed
one hour each day to cook and eat it. They had no meat but once in the year.
Such was the general usage in that country.
“West, after this,
lived one year with Esquire Starky and mother. They had two hundred
slaves, who received the usual treatment
of starvation, nakedness, and the cowhide. They had one likely negro woman
who bore no children. For this neglect, her mistress had her back made naked
and a severe whipping inflicted. But as she continued barren, she was sold
to the 'negro buyers.'
, a deacon in the Presbyterian church at Bloomingburg, Fayette county,
Ohio, and a respectable farmer, says, that in April, 1837, as he was going
down the Mississippi river, about fifty miles below Natchez, he saw ahead,
on the left side of the river, a colored person tied to a post, and a man
with a driver's whip, the lash about eight or ten feet long. With this the
man commenced, with much deliberation, to whip, with much apparent force,
and continued till he got out of sight.
“When coming up the river
forty or fifty miles below Vicksburg, a Judge Owens came on board the steamboat.
He was owner of a cotton plantation below there, and on being told of the
above whipping, he said that slaves were often whipped to death for great
offences, such as stealing, &c.—but that
when death followed, the overseers were generally severely reproved!
“About the same time, he spent a night at Mr. Casey's,
three miles from Columbia, South Carolina. Whilst there they heard him giving
orders as to what was to be done, and amongst other things, 'That nigger must
be buried.' On inquiry, he learnt that a gentleman traveling with a servant,
had a short time previous called there, and said his servant had just been
taken ill, and he should be under the necessity of leaving him. He did so.
The slave became worse, and Casey called in a physician, who pronounced it
an old case, and said that he must shortly die. The slave said, if that was
the case he would now tell the truth. He had been attacked, a long time since,
with a difficulty in the side—his master swore he would 'have his own
out of him,' and started off to sell him, with a threat to kill him if he
told he had been sick, more than a few days. They saw them making a rough
plank box to bury him in.
“In March, 1833, twenty-five or thirty
miles south of Columbia, on the great road through Sumpterville district,
they saw a large company of female slaves carrying rails and building fence.
Three of them were far advanced in pregnancy.
“In the month of
January, 1838, he put up with a drove of mules and horses, at one Adams',
on the Drovers' road, near the south border of Kentucky. His son-in-law, who
had lived in the south, was there. In conversation about picking cotton, he
said, 'some hands cannot get the sleight of it. I have a girl who to-day has
done as good a day's work at grubbing as any man,
but I could not make her a hand at cotton-picking. I whipped her, and if I
did it once I did it five hundred times, but I found she could not; so I put her to carrying rails with the men. After a few days
I found her shoulders were so raw that every rail
was bloody as she laid it down. I asked her if she
would not rather pick cotton than carry rails. 'No,' said she, 'I don't get
whipped now.' ”
WILLIAM A. USTICK, an elder of the Presbyterian
church at Bloomingburg, and Mr. G. S. Fullerton, a merchant and member of
the same church, were with Deacon Larrimer
on this journey, and are witnesses to the preceding facts.
Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a teacher in Marietta College,
Ohio, and formerly secretary of the Colonization society in that village,
has recently communicated the facts which follow. We quote from his letter.
“The following horrid flagellation was witnessed in part, till
his soul was sick, by MR. GLIDDEN, an inhabitant
of Marietta, Ohio, who went down the Mississippi river, with a boat load of
produce in the autumn of 1837; it took place at what is called 'Matthews'
or 'Matheses Bend' in December, 1837. Mr. G. is worthy of credit.
negro was tied up, and flogged until the blood ran down and filled his shoes,
so that when he raised either foot and set it down again, the blood would
run over their tops. I could not look on any longer, but turned away in horror;
the whipping was continued to the number of 500 lashes, as I understood; a
quart of spirits of turpentine was then applied to his lacerated body. The
same negro came down to my boat, to get some apples, and was so weak from
his wounds and loss of blood, that he could not get up the bank, but fell
to the ground. The crime for which the negro was whipped, was that of telling
the other negroes, that the overseer had lain with his
Mr. Hall adds:—
“The following statement is made by a young man from Western Virginia.
He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and a student in Marietta College.
All that prevents the introduction of his name, is
the peril to his life, which would probably be the consequence, on his return
to Virginia. His character for integrity and veracity is above suspicion.
'On the night of the great meteoric shower, in Nov. 1833. I was at
Remley's tavern, 12 miles west of Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., Virginia. A drove
of 50 or 60 negroes stopped at the same place that night. They usually 'camp
out,' but as it was excessively muddy, they were permitted to come into the
house. So far as my knowledge extends, 'droves,' on their way to the south,
eat but twice a day, early in the morning and at night. Their supper was a
compound of 'potatoes and meal,' and was, without exception, the dirtiest, blackest looking mess I ever saw. I remarked at the time
that the food was not as clean, in appearance, as that which was given to
a drove of hogs, at the same place the night previous.
Such as it was, however, a black woman brought it on her head, in a tray or
trough two and a half feet long, where the men and women were promiscuously
herded. The slaves rushed up and seized it from the trough in handfulls, before
the woman could take it off her head. They jumped at it as if half-famished.
'They slept on the floor of the room which they were permitted to occupy,
lying in every form imaginable, males and females, promiscuously. They were
so thick on the floor, that in passing through the room it was necessary to
step over them.
'There were three drivers, one of whom staid
in the room to watch the drove, and the other
two slept in an adjoining room. Each of the latter took a female from the
drove to lodge with him, as is the common practice of the drivers generally.
There is no doubt about this particular instance, for they
were seen together. The mud was so thick on the floor where this drove slept, that it was necessary to take a shovel, the
next morning, and clear it out. Six or eight in this drove were chained; all
were for the south.
'In the autumn of the same year saw a drove of upwards
of a hundred, between 40 and 50 of them were fastened to one chain, the links
being made of iron rods, as thick in diameter as a man's little finger. This
drove was bound west-ward to the Ohio river,
to be shipped to the south. I have seen many droves, and more or less in each,
almost without exception, were chained. I never saw but one drove, that went
on their way making merry. In that one they were blowing horns, singing, &c.,
and appeared as if they had been drinking whisky.
'They generally appear
extremely dejected. I have seen in the course of five years, on the road near
where I reside, 12 or 15 droves at least, passing to the south. They would
average 40 in each drove. Near the first of January, 1834 I started about
sunrise to go to Lewisburg. It was a bitter cold morning. I met a drove of
negroes, 30 or 40 in number, remarkably ragged and destitute of clothing.
One little boy particularly excited my sympathy. He was some distance behind
the others, not being able to keep up with the rest. Although he was shivering
with cold and crying, the driver was pushing him up in a trot to overtake
the main gang. All of them looked as if they were half frozen. There was one
remarkable instance of tyranny, exhibited by a boy, not more than eight years
old, that came under my observations, in a family by the name of D—n,
six miles from Lewisburg. This youngster would swear at the slaves, and exert
all the strength he possessed, to flog or beat them, with whatever instrument
or weapon he could lay hands on, provided they did not obey him instanter. He was encouraged in this by his father, the master of the
slaves. The slaves often fled from this young yrant in terror.”
Mr. Hall adds:—
“The following extract is from a letter, to a student in Marietta
College, by his friend in Alabama. With the writer, Mr. ISAAC KNAPP, I am perfectly acquainted. He was a student in the above
College, for the space of one year, before going to Alabama, was formerly
a resident of Dummerston, Vt. He is a professor of religion, and as worthy
of belief as any member of the community. Mr. K. has returned from the South,
and is now a member of the same college.
'In Jan. (1838) a negro of
a widow Phillips ranaway, was taken up, and confined in Pulaski jail. One
Gibbs, overseer for Mrs. P., mounted on horseback, took him from confinement
compelled him to run back to Elkton, a distance of fifteen miles, whipping
him all the way. When he reached home, the negro exhausted and worn out, exclaimed
'you have broke my heart,' i. e. you have killed me. For this, Gibbs flew
into a violent passion, tied the negro to a stake, and in
the language of a witness, 'cut his back to mince-meat
.' But the fiend was not satisfied with this. He burnt his legs to a
blister, with hot embers, and then chained him naked,
in the open air, weary with running, weak from the loss of blood, and smarting
from his burns. It was a cold night—and in the morning
the negro was dead. Yet this monster escaped without even the shadow of a trial. 'The negro,' said the doctor, 'died, by—he
knew not what; any how, Gibbs did not kill him.'* A short time since, (the letter is dated, April, 1838,) 'Gibbs
whipped another negro unmercifully because the horse, with which he was ploughing,
broke the reins and ran. He then raised his whip against Mr. Bowers, (son
of Mrs. P.) who shot him. Since I came here,' (a period of about six months,)
'there have been eight white men and two negroes killed, within 30 miles of
“The following is from Mr. Knapp's own lips, taken down a
day or two since.
'Mr. Buster, with whom I boarded, in Limestone Co.,
Ala., related to me the following incident: 'George, a slave belonging to
one of the estates in my neighborhood, was lurking about my residence without
a pass. We were making preparations to give him a flogging, but he escaped
from us. Not long afterwards, meeting a patrol which had just taken a negro
in custody without a pass, I inquired. Who have you there? on learning that
it was George, well, I rejoined, there is a small
matter between him and myself, that needs adjustment, so give me the raw hide,
which I accordingly took, and laid 60 strokes on his back, to the utmost of
my strength.' I was speaking of this barbarity, afterwards, to Mr. Bradley,
an overseer of the Rev. Mr. Donnell, who lives in the vicinity of Moresville,
Ala., 'Oh,' replied he, 'we consider that a very light
whipping here.' Mr. Bradley is a professor of religion, and is esteemed in
that vicinity a very pious, exemplary Christian.' ”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM REV. C. STEWART RENSHAW, of Quincy, Illinois, dated Jan.
“I do not feel at liberty to disclose the name of the brother
who has furnished the following facts. He is highly esteemed as a man of scrupulous
veracity. I will confirm my own testimony by the certificate of Judge Snow
and Mr. Keyes, two of the oldest and most respectable settlers in Quincy.
Quincy, Dec. 29, 1838.
We have been long acquainted with the Christian brother who has named to
you some facts that fell under his observation whilst a resident of slave
states. He is a member of a Christian church, in good standing; and is a man
of strict integrity of character.
HENRY H. SNOW, WILLARD KEYES.
Rev. C. Stewart Renshaw.”
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
“My informant spent thirty years of his life in Kentucky and Missouri.
Whilst in Kentucky he resided in Hardin co. I noted down his testimony very
nearly in his own words, which will account for their evidence-like form. On the general condition of the slaves in Kentucky,
through Hardin co., he said, their houses were very uncomfortable, generally
without floors, other than the earth: many had puncheon floors, but he never
remembers to have seen a plank floor. In regard to clothing they were very
badly off. In summer they cared little for thing; but in winter they almost
froze. Their rags might hide their nakedness from the sun in summer, but would
not protect them from the cold in winter. Their bed-clothes were tattered
rags, thrown into a corner by day, and drawn before the fire by night. 'The
only thing,' said he, 'to which I can compare them, in winter, is stock without a shelter.'
“He made the following comparison
between the condition of slaves in Kentucky and Missouri. So far as he was
able to compare them, he said, that in Missouri the slaves had better quarters—but are not so well clad, and are more
severely punished than in Kentucky. In both states, the slaves are huddled
together, without distinction of sex, into the same quarter, till it is filled,
then another is built; often two or three families in a log hovel, twelve
“It is proper to state, that the sphere of my informant's
observation was mainly in the region of Hardin co., Kentucky, and the eastern
part of Missouri, and not through those states generally.
at St. Louis, a number of years ago, as he was going to work with Mr. Henry
Males, and another carpenter, they heard groans from a barn by the road-side:
they stopped, and looking through the cracks of the barn, saw a negro bound
hand and foot to a post, so that his toes just touched the ground; and his
master, Captain Thorpe, was inflicting punishment; he had whipped him till
exhausted,—rested himself, and returned again to the punishment. The
wretched sufferer was in a most pitiable condition, and the warm blood and
dry dust of the barn had formed a mortar up to his instep. Mr. Males jumped
the fence, and remonstrated so effectually with Capt. Thorpe, that he ceased
the punishment. It was six weeks before that slave could put on his shirt!
“John Mackey, a rich slaveholder, lived near Clarksville, Pike
co., Missouri, some years since. He whipped his slave Billy, a boy fourteen
years old, till he was sick and stupid; he then sent him home. Then, for his
stupidity, whipped him again, and fractured his skull with an axe-helve. He
buried him away in the woods; dark words were whispered, and the body was
disinterred. A coroner's inquest was held, and Mr. R. Anderson, the coroner,
brought in a verdict of death from fractured skull, occasioned by blows from
an axehandle, inflicted by John Mackey. The case was brought into court, but
Mackey was rich, and his murdered victim was his SLAVE;
after expending about $500 he walked free.
“One Mrs. Mann, living
near―, in―co., Missouri, was known to be very cruel to her slaves.
She had a bench made purposely to whip them upon; and what she called her
'six pound paddle,” an instrument of prodigious torture, bored through
with holes; this she would wield with both
hands as she stood over her prostrate victim.
“She thus punished
a hired slave woman named Fanny, belonging to Mr. Charles Trabue, who lives
near Palmyra, Marion co., Missouri; on the morning after the punishment Fanny
was a corpse; she was silently and quickly buried, but rumor was not so easily
stopped. Mr. Trabue heard of it, and commenced suit for his property. The murdered slave was disinterred, and an inquest held; her
back was a mass of jellied muscle; and the coroner brought in a verdict of
death by the 'six pound paddle.' Mrs. Mann fled for a few months, but returned
again, and her friends found means to protract the suit.
same Mrs. Mann had another hired slave woman living with her, called Patterson's
Fanny, she belonged to a Mr. Patterson; she had a young babe with her, just
beginning to creep. One day, after washing, whilst a tub of rinsing water
yet stood in the kitchen, Mrs. Mann came out in haste, and sent Fanny to do
something out of doors. Fanny tried to beg off—she was afraid to leave
her babe, lest it should creep to the tub and get hurt—Mrs. M. said
she would watch the babe, and sent her off. She went with much reluctance,
and heard the child struggle as she went out the door. Fearing lest Mrs. M.
should leave the babe alone, she watched the room, and soon saw her pass out
of the opposite door. Immediately Fanny hurried in, and looked around for
her babe, she could not see it, she looked at the tub—there her babe
was floating, a strangled corpse. The poor woman gave a dreadful scream; and
Mrs. M. rushed into the room, with her hands raised, and exclaimed, 'Heavens,
Fanny! have you drowned your child?' It was vain for the poor bereaved one
to attempt to vindicate herself: in vain she attempted to convince them that
the babe had not been alone a moment, and could not have drowned itself; and
that she had not been in the house a moment, before she screamed at discovering
her drowned babe. All was false! Mrs. Mann declared it was all pretence—
that Fanny had drowned her own babe, and now wanted to lay the blame upon
her! and Mrs. Mann was a white woman—of course her word was more valuable
than the oaths of all the slaves of Missouri. No evidence but that of slaves
could be obtained, or Mr. Patterson would have prosecuted for his 'loss of
property.' As it was, every one believed Mrs. M. guilty, though the affair
was soon hushed up.”
Extract of a letter from Col. THOMAS ROGERS,
a native of Kentucky, now an elder in the Presbyterian Church at New Petersburg,
Highland co., Ohio.
“When a boy, in Bourbon co., Kentucky, my father lived near a
slaveholder of the name of Clay, who had a large number of slaves; I remember
being often at their quarters; not one of their shanties, or hovels, had any
floor but the earth. Their clothing was truly neither fit for covering nor
decency. We could distinctly, of a still morning, hear this man whipping his
blacks, and hear their screams from my father's farm: this could be heard
almost any still morning about the dawn of day. It was said to be his usual
custom to repair,
break of day, to their cabin doors, and, as the blacks passed out, to give
them as many strokes of his cowskin as opportunity afforded; and he would
proceed in this manner from cabin to cabin until they were all out. Occasionally
some of his slaves would abscond, and upon being retaken they were punished
severely; and some of them, it is believed, died in consequence of the cruelty
of their usage. I saw one of this man's slaves, about seventeen years old,
wearing a collar, with long iron horns extending from his shoulders far above
“In the winter of 1828-29 I traveled through part of
the states of Maryland and Virginia to Baltimore. At Frost Town, on the national
road, I put up for the night. Soon after, there came in a slaver with his
drove of slaves among them were two young men, chained together. The bar room
was assigned to them for their place of lodging—those in chains were
guarded when they had to go out. I asked the 'owner' why he kept these men
chained; he replied, that they were stout young fellows, and should they rebel,
he and his son would not be able to manage them. I then left the room, and
shortly after heard a scream, and when the landlady
inquired the cause, the slaver coolly told her not to trouble herself, he
was only chastising one of his women. It appeared that three days previously
her child had died on the road, and been thrown into a hole or crevice in
the mountain, and a few stones thrown over it; and the mother weeping for
her child was chastised by her master, and told by him, she 'should have something
to cry for.' The name of this man I can give if called for.
engaged in this journey I spent about one month with my relations in Virginia.
It being shortly after new year, the time of hiring
was over; but I saw the pounds, and the scaffolds which remained of the pounds,
in which the slaves had been penned up.”
Mr. GEORGE W. WESTGATE, of Quincy, Illinois,
who lived in the southwestern slave states a number of years, has furnished
the following statement.
“The great mass of the slaves are under drivers and overseers.
I never saw an overseer without a whip; the whip usually carried is a short
loaded stock, with a heavy lash from five to
six feet long When they whip a slave they make him pull off his shirt, if
he has one, then make him lie down on his face, and taking their stand at
the length of the lash, they inflict the punishment. Whippings are so universal that a negro that has not been whipped is talked
of in all the region as a wonder. By whipping I do not mean a few lashes across
the shoulders, but a set flogging, and generally lying
“On sugar plantations generally, and on some cotton
plantations, they have negro drivers, who are in such a degree responsible
for their gang, that if they are at fault, the driver is whipped. The result
is, the gang are constantly driven by him to the extent of the influence of
the lash; and it is uniformly the case that gangs dread a negro driver more
than a white overseer.
“I spent a winter on widow Calvert's plantation,
near Rodney, Mississippi, but was not in a situation to see extraordinary
punishments. Bellows, the overseer, for a trifling offence, took one of the
slaves, stripped him, and with a piece of burning wood applied to his posteriors,
burned him cruelly; while the poor wretch screamed in the greatest agony.
The principal preparation for punishment that Bellows had, was single hand-cuffs made of iron, with chains, by which the
offender could be chained to four stakes on the ground. These are very common
in all the lower country. I noticed one slave on widow Calvert's plantation,
who was whipped from twenty-five to fifty lashes every fortnight during the
whole winter. The expression 'whipped to death,' as applied to slaves, is
common at the south.
“Several years ago I was going below New-Orleans,
in what is called the Plaquemine country, and a planter sent down in my boat
a runaway he had found in New-Orleans, to his plantation at Orange 5 Points.
As we came near the Points he told me, with deep feeling, that he expected
to be whipped almost to death: pointing to a graveyard, he said, 'There lie
five who were whipped to death.' Overseers generally keep some of the women
on the plantation; I scarce know an exception to this. Indeed, their intercourse
with them is very much promiscuous,—they show them not much, if any
favor. Masters frequently follow the example of their overseers in this thing.“GEORGE W. WESTGATE.”
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
II. TORTURES, BY IRON COLLARS, CHAINS, FETTERS, HANDCUFFS, &c.
The slaves are often tortured by iron collars, with long prongs or “horns”
and sometimes bells attached to them—they are made to wear chains, handcuffs,
fetters, iron clogs, bars, rings, and bands of iron upon their limbs, iron
marks upon their faces, iron gags in their mouths, &c.
In proof of this, we give the testimony of slaveholders themselves, under
their own names; it will be mostly in the form of extracts from their own
advertisements, in southern newspapers, in which, describing their runaway
slaves, they specify the iron collars, handcuffs,
chains, fetters, &c., which they wore upon their necks, wrists, ankles,
and other parts of their bodies. To publish the whole
of each advertisement, would needlessly occupy space and tax the reader; we
shall consequently, as heretofore, give merely the name of the advertiser,
the name and date of the newspaper containing the advertisement, with the
place of publication, and only so much of the advertisement as will give the
particular fact, proving the truth of the assertion
contained in the general head.
|William Toler, sheriff of Simpson county, Mississippi, in the "Southern
Sun,'' Jackson, Mississippi, September 22, 1838.
||"Was committed to jail, a yellow boy named Jim—had on a large lock chain around his neck.''
|Mr. James R. Green, in the "Beacon,'' Greensborough, Alabama, August
||Ranaway, a negro man named Squire—had on a chain
locked with a house-lock, around his neck.''
|Mr. Hazlet Loflano, in the "Spectator,'' Staunton, Virginia, Sept. 27,
||"Ranaway, a negro named David—with some iron hobbles
around each ankle.''
|Mr. T. Enggy, New Orleans, Gallatin street, between Hospital and Barracks,
N. O. "Bee,'' Oct. 27, 1837.
||"Ranaway, negress Caroline—had on a collar with
one prong turned down.''
|Mr. John Henderson, Washington, county, Mi., in the "Grand Gulf Advertiser,''
August 29, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a black woman, Betsey—had an iron bar
on her right leg.''
|William Dyer, sheriff, Claiborne, Louisiana, in the "Herald,'' Natchitoches,
(La.) July 26, 1837.
||"Was committed to jail, a negro named Ambrose—has a ring of iron around his neck.''
|Mr. Owen Cooke, "Mary street, between Common and Jackson streets,''
New Orleans, in the N. O. "Bee,'' September 12, 1837.
||"Ranaway, my slave Amos, had a chain attached
to one of his legs.''
|H. W. Rice, sheriff, Colleton district, South Carolina, in the "Charleston
Mercury,'' September 1, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro named Patrick, about forty-five years old,
and is handcuffed.''
|W. P. Reeves, jailor, Shelby county, Tennessee, in the "Memphis Enquirer,
June 17, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, a negro—had on his right leg an iron band with one link of a chain.''
|Mr. Francis Durett, Lexington, Lauderdale county, Ala., in the "Huntsville
Democrat,'' August 29, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a negro man named Charles—had on a drawing
chain, fastened around his ankle with a house lock.''
|Mr. A. Murat, Baton Rouge, in the New Orleans "Bee,'' June 20, 1837.
||"Ranaway, the negro Manuel, much marked with irons
|Mr. Jordan Abbott, in the "Huntsville Democrat,'' Nov. 17, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro boy named Daniel, about nineteen years old, and was handcuffed.''
|Mr. J. Macoin, No. 177 Ann street, New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' August
||"Ranaway, the negress Fanny—had on an iron band
about her neck.''
|Menard Brothers, parish of Bernard, Louisiana, in the N. O. "Bee,''
August 18, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro named John—having an iron around
his right foot.''
|Messrs. J. L. and W. H. Bolton, Shelby county, Tennessee, in the "Memphis
Enquirer,'' June 7, 1837.
||"Absconded, a colored boy named Peter—had an iron
round his neck when he went away.''
|H. Gridly, sheriff of Adams county, Mi., in the "Memphis (Tenn.) Times,''
||"Was committed to jail, a negro boy—had on a large
neck iron with a huge pair of horns and a large bar
or band of iron on his left leg.''
|Mr. Lambre, in the "Natchitoches (La.) Herald,'' March 29, 1837.
||"Ranaway, the negro boy Teams—he had on his neck an iron collar.''
|Mr. Ferdinand Lemos, New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' January 29, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the negro George—he had on his neck an
iron collar, the branches of which had been taken off.''
|Mr. T. J. De Yampert, merchant, Mobile, Alabama, of the firm of De Yampert,
King & Co., in the "Mobile Chronicle,'' June 15, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro boy about twelve years old—had
round his neck a chain dog-collar, with 'De Yampert
engraved on it.''
|J. H. Hand, jailor, St. Francisville, La., in the "Louisiana Chronicle,''
Jully 26, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, slave John—has several scars on his wrists, occasioned,
as he says, by handcuffs.''
|Mr. Charles Curener. New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' July 2, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the negro, Hown—has a ring of iron on his left foot. Also,
Grisee, his wife, having a ring
and chain on the left leg.''
|Mr. P. T. Manning, Huntsville, Alabama, in the "Huntsville Advocate,''
Oct. 23, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro boy named James—said boy was ironed when he left me.''
|Mr. William L. Lambeth, Lynchburg, Virginia, in the "Moulton [Ala.]
Whig,'' January 30, 1836.
||"Ranaway, Jim—had on when he escaped a pair of chain hand. cuffs.''
|Mr. D. F. Guex, Secretary of the Steam Cotton Press Company, New Orleans,
in the "Commercial Bulletin,'' May 27, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Edmund Coleman—it is supposed he must have iron shackles on his ankles.''
|Mr. Francis Durett, Lexington, Alabama, in the "Huntsville Democrat,''
March 8, 1838.
||"Ranaway—, a mulatto—had on when he left, a pair
of handcuffs and a pair of drawing chains.''
|B. W. Hodges, jailor, Pike county, Alabama, in the "Montgomery Advertiser,''
Sept. 29, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, a man who calls his name John—he has a clog of iron on his right foot which will weigh four or five pounds.''
|P. Bayhi, captain of police, in the N. O. "Bee,'' June 9, 1838.
||"Detained at the police jail, the negro wench Myra—has several marks
of lashing, and has irons on her
|Mr. Charles Kernin, parish of Jefferson, Louisiana, in the N. O. "Bee,''
August 11, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Betsey—when she left she had on her neck
an iron collar.''
The foregoing advertisements are sufficient for our purpose, scores of
similar ones may be gathered from the newspapers of the slave states every
To the preceding testimony of slaveholders, published by themselves, and
vouched for by their own signatures, we subjoin the following testimony of
other witnesses to the same point.
JOHN M. NELSON, Esq., a native of Virginia,
now a highly respected citizen of Highland county, Ohio, and member of the
Presbyterian Church in Hillsborough, in a recent letter states the following:—
“In Staunton, Va., at the house of Mr. Robert M'Dowell, a merchant
of that place, I once saw a colored woman, of intelligent and dignified appearance,
who appeared to be attending to the business of the house, with an iron collar around her neck, with horns or prongs extending out on either
side, and up, until they met at something like a foot above her head, at which
point there was a bell attached. This yoke, as they
called it, I understood was to prevent her from running away, or to punish
her for having done so. I had frequently seen men
with iron collars, but this was the first instance that I recollect to have
seen a female thus degraded.”
Major HORACE NYE, an elder in the Presbyterian
Church at Putnam, Muskingum county, Ohio, in a letter, dated Dec. 5, 1838,
makes the following statement:—
'Mr. WM. ARMSTRONG, of this place, who is frequently
employed by our citizens as captain and supercargo of descending boats, whose
word may be relied on, has just made to me the following statement:—
“While laying at Alexandria, on Red River, Louisiana, he saw a
slave brought to a blacksmith's shop and a collar of iron fastened round his
neck, with two pieces rivetted to the sides, meeting some distance above his
head. At the top of the arch, thus formed, was attached a large cow-bell,
the motion of which, while walking the streets, made it necessary for the
slave to hold his hand to one of its sides, to steady it.
New Orleans he saw several with iron collars, with horns attached to them.
The first he saw had three prongs projecting from the collar ten or twelve
inches, with the letter S on the end of each. He says iron collars are quite
To the preceding Major Nye adds:—
“When I was about twelve years of age I lived at Marietta, in
this state: I knew little of slaves, as there were few or none, at that time,
in the part of Virginia opposite that place. But I remember seeing a slave
who had run away from some place beyond my knowledge at that time: he had
an iron collar round his neck, to which was a strap of iron rivetted to the
collar, on each side, passing over the top of the head; and another strap,
from the back side to the top of the first—thus inclosing the head on
three sides. I looked on while the blacksmith severed the collar with a file,
which, I think, took him more than an hour.”
Rev. JOHN DUDLEY, Mount Morris, Michigan, resided
as a teacher at the missionary station, among the Choctaws, in Mississippi,
during the years 1830 and 31. In a letter just received Mr. Dudley says:—
“During the time I was on missionary ground, which was in 1830
and 31, I was frequently at the residence of the agent, who was a slaveholder.—
I never knew of his treating his own slaves with cruelty; but the poor fellows
who were escaping, and lodged with him when detected, found no clemency. I
once saw there a fetter for 'the d—d runaways,'
the weight of which can be judged by its size. It was at least three inches
wide, half an inch thick, and something over a foot long. At this time I saw
a poor fellow compelled to work in the field, at 'logging,' with such a galling
fetter on his ankles. To prevent it from wearing his ankles, a string was
tied to the centre, by which the victim suspended it when he walked, with
one hand, and with the other carried his burden. Whenever he lifted, the fetter
rested on his bare ankles. If he lost his balance and made a
mis-step, which must very often occur in lifting and rolling logs,
the torture of his fetter was severe. Thus he was doomed to work while wearing
the torturing iron, day after day, and at night he was confined in the runaways'
jail. Some time after this, I saw the same dejected, heart-broken creature
obliged to wait on the other hands, who were husking corn. The privilege of
sitting with the others was too much for him to enjoy; he was made to hobble
from house to barn and barn to house, to carry food and drink for the rest.
He passed round the end of the house where I was sitting with the agent: he
seemed to take no notice of me, but fixed his eyes on his tormentor till he
passed quite by us.”
Mr. ALFRED WILKINSON, member of the Baptist
Church in Skeneateles, N. Y. and an assessor of that town; testifies as follows:—
“I stayed in New Orleans three weeks: during that time there used
to pass by where I stayed a number of slaves, each with an iron band around
his ankle, a chain attached to it, and an eighteen pound ball at the end.
They were employed in wheeling dirt with a wheelbarrow; they would put the
ball into the barrow when they moved.— I recollect one day, that I counted
nineteen of them, sometimes there were not as many; they were driven by a
slave, with a long lash, as if they were beasts. These, I learned, were runaway
slaves from the plantations above New Orleans.
“There was also
a negro woman, that used daily to come to the market with milk; she had an
iron band around her neck, with three rods projecting from it, about sixteen
inches long, crooked at the ends.”
For the fact which follows we are indebted to Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a teacher in Marietta College, Ohio. We quote his letter.
“Mr. CURTIS, a journeyman cabinet-maker,
of Marietta, relates the following, of which he was an eye witness. Mr. Curtis
is every way worthy of credit.
“In September, 1837, at 'Milligan's
Bend,' in the Mississippi river, I saw a negro with an iron band around his
head, locked behind with a padlock. In the front, where it passed the mouth,
there was a projection inward of an inch and a half, which entered the mouth.
“The overseer told me, he was so addicted to running away, it
did not do any good to whip him for it. He said he kept this gag constantly
on him, and intended to do so as long as he was on the plantation: so that,
if he ran away, he could not eat, and would starve to death. The slave asked
for drink in my presence; and the overseer made him lie down on his back,
and turned water on his face two or three feet high, in order to torment him,
as he could not swallow a drop.— The slave then asked permission to
go to the river; which being granted, he thrust his face and head entirely
under the water, that being the only way he could drink with his gag on. The
gag was taken off when he took his food, and then replaced afterwards.”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MRS. SOPHIA
LITTLE, of Newport, Rhode Island, daughter of Hon. Asher Robbins, senator
in Congress for that state.
“There was lately found, in the hold of a vessel engaged in the
southern trade, by a person who was clearing it out, an iron collar, with
three horns projecting from it. It seems that a young female slave, on whose
slender neck was riveted this fiendish instrument of torture, ran away from
her tyrant, and begged the captain to bring her off with him. This the captain
refused to do; but unriveted the collar from her neck, and threw it away in
the hold of the vessel. The collar is now at the anti-slavery office, Providence.
To the truth of these facts Mr. WILLIAM H. REED,
a gentleman of the highest moral character, is ready to vouch.”
“Mr. Reed is in possession of many facts of cruelty witnessed by persons
of veracity but these witnesses are not willing
to give their names. One case in particular he mentioned. Speaking with a
certain captain, of the state of the slaves at the south, the captain contended
that their punishments were often very lenient; and,
as an instance of their excellent clemency, mentioned, that in one instance,
not wishing to whip a slave, they sent him to a blacksmith, and had an iron
band fastened around him, with three long projections reaching above his head;
and this he wore some time.”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MR. JONATHAN
F. BALDWIN, of Lorain county, Ohio. Mr. B. was formerly a merchant in
Massillon, Ohio, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church there.
In conversation with Judge Lyman, of Litchfield county, Connecticut, last
June, he stated to me, that several years since he was in Columbia, South
Carolina, and observing a colored man lying on the floor of a blacksmith's
shop, as he was passing it, his curiosity led him in. He learned the man was
a slave and rather unmanageable. Several men were attempting to detach from
his ankle an iron which had been bent around it.
“The iron was a piece of a flat bar of the ordinary size from the
forge hammer, and bent around the ancle, the ends meeting, and forming a hoop
of about the diameter of the leg. There was one or more strings attached to
the iron and extending up around his neck, evidently so to suspend it as to
prevent its galling by its weight when at work, yet it had galled or griped
till the leg had swollen out beyond the iron and inflamed and supurated, so
that the leg for a considerable distance above and below the iron, was a mass
of putrefaction, the most loathsome of any wound he had ever witnessed on
any living creature. The slave lay on his back on the floor, with his leg
on an anvil which sat also on the floor, one man had a chisel used for splitting
iron, and another struck it with a sledge, to drive it between the ends of
the hoop and separate it so that it might be taken off. Mr. Lyman said that
the man swung the sledge over his shoulders as if splitting iron, and struck
many blows before he succeeded in parting the ends of the iron at all, the
bar was so large and stubborn—at length they spread it as far as they could
without driving the chisel so low as to ruin the leg. The slave, a man of
twenty-five years, perhaps, whose countenance was the index of a mind ill
adapted to the degradations of slavery, never uttered a word or a groan in
all the process, but the copious flow of sweat from every pore, the dreadful
contractions and distortions of every muscle in his body, showed clearly the
great amount of his sufferings; and all this while, such was the diseased
state of the limb, that at every blow, the bloody, corrupted matter gushed
out in all directions several feet, in such profusion as literally to cover
a large area around the anvil. After various other fruitless attempts to spread
the iron, they concluded it was necessary to weaken by filing before it could
be got off, which he left them attempting to do.”
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
Mr. WILLIAM DROWN, a well known citizen of Rhode
Island, formerly of Providence, who has
traveled in nearly all the slave states, thus testifies in a recent letter:
“I recollect seeing large gangs of slaves, generally a considerable
number in each gang, being chained, passing westward over the mountains from
Maryland, Virginia, &c. to the Ohio. On that river I have frequently seen
flat boats loaded with them, and their keepers armed with pistols and dirks
to guard them.
“At New Orleans I recollect seeing gangs of slaves
that were driven out every day, the Sabbath not excepted, to work on the streets.
These had heavy chains to connect two or more together, and some had iron
collars and yokes, &c. The noise as they walked, or worked in their chains,
was truly dreadful.”
Rev. THOMAS SAVAGE, pastor of the Congregational
Church at Bedford, New Hampshire, who was for some years a resident of Mississippi
and Louisiana, gives the following fact, in a letter dated January 9, 1839.
“In 1819, while employed as an instructor at Second Creek, near
Natchez, Mississippi, I resided on a plantation where I witnessed the following
circumstance. One of the slaves was in the habit of running away. He had been
repeatedly taken, and repeatedly whipped, with great severity, but to no purpose.
He would still seize the first opportunity to escape from the plantation.
At last his owner declared, I'll fix him, I'll put a stop to his running away.
He accordingly took him to a blacksmith, and had an iron
head-frame made for him, which may be called lock-jaw, from the use that
was made of it. It had a lock and key, and was so constructed, that when on
the head and locked, the slave could not open his mouth to take food, and
the design was to prevent his running away. But the device proved unavailing.
He was soon missing, and whether by his own desperate effort, or the aid of
others, contrived to sustain himself with food; but he was at last taken,
and if my memory serves me, his life was soon terminated by the cruel treatment
to which he was subjected.”
The Western Luminary, a religious paper published at Lexington, Kentucky,
in an editorial article, in the summer of 1833, says:
“A few weeks since we gave an account of a company of men, women
and children, part of whom were manacled, passing through our streets. Last
week, a number of slaves were driven through the main street of our city,
among whom were a number manacled together, two abreast, all connected by,
and supporting a heavy iron chain, which extended
the whole length of the line.”
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
TESTIMONY OF A VIRGINIAN.
The name of this witness cannot be published, as
it would put him in peril; but his credibility is
vouched for by the Rev. EZRA FISHER, pastor of
the Baptist Church, Quincy, Illinois, and Dr. RICHARD
EELS, of the same place. These gentlemen say of him, “We have great
confidence in his integrity, discretion, and strict Christian principle.”
“About five years ago, I remember to have passed, in a single day, four droves of slaves for the
south west; the largest drove had 350 slaves in it, and the smallest upwards
of 200. I counted 68 or 70 in a single coffle. The
'coffle chain' is a chain fastened at one end to the
centre of the bar of a pair of hand cuffs, which are fastened to the right
wrist of one, and the left wrist of another slave, they standing abreast,
and the chain between them. These are the head of the coffle. The other end
is passed through a ring in the bolt of the next handcuffs, and the slaves
being manacled thus, two and two together, walk up, and the coffle chain is
passed, and they go up towards the head of the coffle. Of course they are
closer or wider apart in the coffle, according to the number to be coffled,
and to the length of the chain. I have seen HUNDREDS of droves and chain-coffles of this description,
and every coffle was a scene of misery and wo, of tears and brokenness
Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a teacher in Marietta College,
Ohio, gives, in a late letter, the following statement of a fellow student,
from Kentucky, of whom he says, “he is a professor of religion, and
worthy of entire confidence.”
“I have seen at least fifteen droves of
'human cattle,' passing by us on their way to the south; and I do not recollect
an exception, where there were not more or less of them chained together.”
Mr. GEORGE P. C. HUSSEY, of Fayetteville, Franklin
county, Pennsylvania, writes thus:
“I was born and raised in Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland,
where slavery is perhaps milder than in any other part of the slave states;
and yet I have seen hundreds of colored men and women
chained together, two by two, and driven to the south. I have seen slaves
tied up and lashed till the blood ran down to their heels.”
Mr. GIDDINGS, member of Congress from Ohio,
in his speech in the House of Representatives, Feb. 13, 1839, made the following
“On the beautiful avenue in front of the Capitol, members of Congress,
during this session, have been compelled to turn aside from their path, to
permit a coffle of slaves, males and females, chained to
each other by their necks, to pass on their way to this national slave market.”
Testimony of JAMES K. PAULDING, Esq. the present
Secretary of the United States' Navy.
In 1817, Mr. Paulding published a work, entitled 'Letters from the South,
written during an excursion in the summer of 1816.' In the first volume of
that work, page 128, Mr. P. gives the following description:
“The sun was shining out very hot—and in turning the angle
of the road, we encountered the following group: first, a little cart drawn
by one horse, in which five or six half naked black children were tumbled
like pigs together. The cart had no covering, and they seemed to have been
broiled to sleep. Behind the cart marched three black women, with head, neck
and breasts uncovered, and without shoes or stockings: next came three men,
bare headed, and chained together with an ox-chain.
Last of all, came a white man on horse back, carrying his pistols in
his belt, and who, as we passed him,
had the impudence to look us in the face without blushing. At a house where
we stopped a little further on, we learned that he had bought these miserable
beings in Maryland, and was marching them in this manner to one of the more
southern states. Shame on the State of Maryland! and I say, shame on the State
of Virginia! and every state through which this wretched cavalcade was permitted
to pass! I do say, that when they (the slaveholders) permit such flagrant
and indecent outrages upon humanity as that I have described; when they sanction
a villain in thus marching half naked women and men, loaded with chains, without
being charged with any crime but that of being black,
from one section of the United States to another, hundreds of miles in the
face of day, they disgrace themselves, and
the country to which they belong.”*
American Slavery As It Is
New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
III. BRANDINGS, MAIMINGS, GUN-SHOT WOUNDS, &c.
The slaves are often branded with hot irons, pursued with fire arms and shot, hunted with dogs and torn by them, shockingly maimed
with knives, dirks, &c.; have their ears cut off, their eyes knocked out,
their bones dislocated and broken with bludgeons, their fingers and toes cut
off, their faces and other parts of their persons disfigured with scars and
gashes, besides those made with the lash.
We shall adopt, under this head, the same course
as that pursued under previous ones,—first give the testimony of the
slaveholders themselves, to the mutilations, &c. by copying their own
graphic descriptions of them, in advertisements published under their own
names, and in newspapers published in the slave states, and, generally, in
their own immediate vicinity. We shall, as heretofore, insert only so much
of each advertisement as will be necessary to make the point intelligible.
|Mr. Micajah Ricks, Nash County, North Carolina, in the Raleigh "Standard,''
July 18, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro woman and two children; a few days before she went
off, I burnt her with a hot iron, on the left side
of her face, I tried to make the letter M.''
|Mr. Asa B. Metealf, Kingston, Adams Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier,''
June 15, 1832.
||"Ranaway Mary, a black woman, has a scar on
her back and right arm near the shoulder, caused by a rifle
|Mr. William Overstreet, Benton, Yazoo Co. Mi. in the "Lexington (Kentucky)
Observer,'' July 22, 1838.
||"Ranaway a negro man named Henry, his left eye out,
some scars from a dirk on and under his left
arm, and much scarred with the whip.''
|Mr. R. P. Carney, Clark Go. Ala., in the Mobile Register, Dec. 22, 1832.
||One hundred dollars reward for a negro fellow Pompey, 40 years old,
he is branded on the left jaw.
|Mr. J. Guyler, Savannah Georgia, in the "Republican,'' April 12, 1837.
||"Ranaway Laman, an old negro man, grey, has only
|J. A. Brown, jailor, Charleston, South Carolina, in the "Mercury,''
Jan. 12, 1837.
||"Committed to jail a negro man, has no toes
on his left foot.''
|Mr. J Scrivener, Herring Bay, Anne Arundel Co. Maryland, in the Annapolis
Republican, April 18, 1837.
||"Ranaway negro man Elijah, has a sear on his left cheek, apparently
occasioned by a shot.''
|Madame Burvant, corner of Chartres and Toulouse streets, New Orleans,
in the "Bee,'' Dec. 21, 1838.
||"Ranaway a negro woman named Rachel, has lost all
her toes except the large one.''
|Mr. O. W. Lains, in the "Helena, (Ark.) Journal,'' June 1, 1833.
||"Ranaway Sam, he was shot a short time since,
through the hand, and has several shots in his left arm
|Mr. R. W. Sizer, in the "Grand Gulf, [Mi.] Advertiser,'' July 8, 1837.
||"Ranaway my negro man Dennis, said negro has been shot in the left arm between the shoulders and elbow, which has paralyzed
the left hand.''
|Mr. Nicholas Edmunds, in the "Petersburgh [Va.] Intelligncer,'' May
||"Ranaway my negro man named Simon, he has been shot
badly in his back and right arm.''
|Mr. J. Bishop, Bishopville, Sumpter District, South Carolina, in the
"Camden [S. C.] Journal,'' March 4, 1837.
||"Ranaway a negro named Arthur, has a considerable scar across his breast and each arm, made by a knife; loves to talk much of the goodness of God.''
|Mr. S. Neyle, Little Ogeechee, Georgia, in the "Savannah Republican,''
July 3, 1837.
||"Ranaway George, he has a sword cut lately received
on his left arm.''
|Mrs. Sarah Walsh, Mobile, Ala in the "Georgia Journal,'' March 27, 1837,
||"Twenty five dollars reward for my man Isaac, he has a scar on his forehead
caused by a blow, and one on his back made by a shot from a pistol.''
|Mr. J. P. Ashford, Adams Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier,'' August 24,
||"Ranaway a negro girl called Mary, has a small scar over her eye, a good many teeth missing, the letter A. is branded on her cheek and forehead.''
|Mr. Ely Townsend, Pike Co. Ala, in the "Pensacola Gazette,'' Sep. 16,
||"Ranaway negro Ben, has a scar on his right hand, his thumb and fore
finger being injured by being shot last fall, a part
of the bone came out, he has also one or two large scars on his back and hips.''
|S. B. Murphy, jailer, Irvington, Ga. in the "Milledgeville Journal,''
May 29, 1838.
||"Committed a negro man, is very badly shot in the
right side and right hand.''
|Mr. A. Luminais, Parish of St. John, Louisiana, in the New Orleans "Bee,''
March 3, 1838.
||"Detained at the jail, a mulatto named Tom, has a scar on the right cheek and appears to have been burned with powder on the face.''
|Mr. Isaac Johnson, Pulaski Co. Georgia, in the "Milledgeville Journal,''
June 19, 1838.
||"Ranaway a negro man named Ned, three of his fingers
are drawn into the palm of his hand by a cut,
has a scar on the back of his neck nearly half round,
done by a knife.''
|Mr. Thomas Hudnall, Madison Co. Mi. in the "Vicksburg Register,'' September
||"Ranaway a negro named Hambleton, limps on his
left foot where he was shot a few weeks ago, while
|Mr. John McMurrain, Columbus, Ga. in the "Southern Sun,'' August 7,
||"Ranaway a negro boy named Mose, he has a wound
in the right shoulder near the back bone, which was occasioned by a rifle shot.''
|Mr. Moses Orme, Annapolis, Maryland, in the "Annapolis Republican,''
June 20, 1837.
||"Ranaway my negro man Bill, he has a fresh wound
in his head above his ear.''
|William Strickland, Jailor, Kershaw District, S. C. in the "Camden [S.
C.] Courier,'' July 8, 1837.
||"Committed to jail a negro, says his name is Cuffee, he is lame in one
knee, occasioned by a shot.''
|The Editor of the "Grand Gulf Advertiser,'' Dec. 7, 1838.
||"Ranaway Joshua, his thumb is off of his left hand.''
|Mr. William Bateman, in the "Grand Gulf Advertiser,'' Dec. 7, 1838.
||"Ranaway William, scar over his left eye, one
between his eye brows, one on his breast, and his right leg has been broken.''
|Mr. B. G. Simmons, in the "Southern Argus,'' May 30, 1837.
||"Ranaway Mark, his left arm has been broken,
right leg also.''
|Mr. James Artop, in the "Macon [Ga.]Messenger, May 25, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Caleb, 50 years old, has an awkward gait occasioned by his
being shot in the thigh.''
|J. L. Jolley, Sheriff of Clinton, Co. Mi., in the "Clinton Gazette,''
July 23, 1836.
||"Was committed to jail a negro man, says his name is Josiah, his back
very much scarred by the whip, and branded on the thigh
and hips, in three or four places, thus (J. M.) the rim of his right car has been bit or cut off.''
|Mr. Thomas Ledwith, Jacksonville East Florida, in the "Charleston [S.
C.] Courier, Sept. 1, 1838.
||"Fifty dollars reward, for my fellow Edward, he has a scar on the corner of his mouth, two cuts on
and under his arm, and the letter E on his arm.''
|Mr. Joseph James, Sen., Pleasant Ridge, Paulding Co. Ga., in the "Milledgeville
Union,'' Nov. 7, 1837.
||"Ranaway, negro boy Ellic, has a scar on one
of his arms from the bite of a dog.'
|Mr. W. Riley, Orangeburg District, South Carolina, in the "Columbia
[S.C.] Telescope,'' Nov. 11, 1837.
||"Ranaway a negro man, has a scar on the ankle
produced by a burn, and a mark
on his arm resembling the letter S.''
|Mr. Samuel Mason, Warren Co, Mi., in the "Vicksburg Register,'' July
||'Ranaway, a negro man named Allen, he has a scar on his breast, also
a scar under the left eye, and has two buck shot in his
|Mr. F. L. C. Edwards, in the "Southern Telegraph,'' Sept. 25, 1837
||"Ranaway from the plantation of James Surgette, the following negroes,
Randal, has one ear cropped; Bob, has lost one eye, Kentucky Tom, has one jaw broken
|Mr. Stephen M. Jackson, in the "Vicksburg Register,'' March 10, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Anthony, one of his ears cut off,
and his left hand cut with an axe.''
|Philip Honerton, deputy sheriff of Halifax Co. Virginia, Jan. 1837.
||"Was committed, a negro man, has a scar on his
right side by a burn, one on his knee, and one on the calf of his leg by the bite of a dog.''
|Stearns & Co. No. 28, New Levee, New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' March
||"Absconded, the mulatto boy Tom, his fingers scarred
on his right hand, and has a scar on his right
|Mr. John W. Walton, Greensboro, Ala. in the "Alabama Beacon,'' Dec.
||"Ranaway my black boy Frazier, with a scar below
and one above his right ear.''
|Mr. R. Furman, Charleston, S. C. in the "Charleston Mercury,'' Jan.
||"Ranaway, Dick, about 19, has lost the small toe of one foot.''
|Mr. John Tart, Sen. in the "Fayetteville [N. C.] Observer,'' Dec. 26,
||"Stolen a mulatto boy, ten years old, he has
a scar over his eye which was made by an axe.''
|Mr. Richard Overstreet, Brook Neal, Campbell Co. Virginia, in the "Danville
[Va.] Reporter,'' Dec, 21. 1838.
||"Absconded my negro man Coleman, has a very large
scar on one of his legs, also one on each arm,
by a burn, and his heels have been frosted.''
|The editor of the New Orleans "Bee,'' in that paper, August 27, 1837.
||"Fifty dollars reward, for the negro Jim Blake—has a piece cut out of each ear, and the middle finger of the left hand cut off to the second joint.''
|Mr. Bryant Johnson, Fort Valley, Houston county, Georgia, in the Milledgeville
"Union,'' Oct. 2, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro woman named Maria—has a scar on one side of her cheek,
by a cut—some scars on her back.''
|Mr. Lemuel Miles, Steen's Creek, Rankin county, Mi. in the "Southern
Sun,'' Sept. 22, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Gabriel—has two or three scars across
his neck made with a knife.''
|Mr. Bezou, New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' May 23, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the mulatto wench Mary—has a cut on the
left arm, a scar on the shoulder, and two upper teeth missing.''
|Mr. James Kimborough, Memphis, Tenn. in the "Memphis Enquirer,'' July
||"Ranaway, a negro boy, named Jerry—has a scar
on his right cheek two inches long, from the cut of a knife.''
|Mr. Robert Beasley, Macon, Georgia, in the "Georgia Messenger,'' July
||"Ranaway, my man Fountain—has holes in his ears,
a scar on the right side of his forehead—has
been shot in the hind parts of his legs—is marked
on the back with the whip.''
|Mr. B. G. Barrer, St. Louis, Missouri, in the "Republican,'' Sept. 6,
||"Ranaway, a negro man named Jarrett—has a scar
on the under part of one of his arms, occasioned by a wound from a knife.''
|Mr. John D. Turner, near Norfolk, Virginia, in the "Norfolk Herald,''
June 27, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro by the name of Joshua—he has a cut across one of
his ears, which he will conceal as much as possible—one of his ankles is enlarged by an ulcer.''
|Mr. William Stansell, Picksville, Ala. in the "Huntsville Democrat,''
August 29, 1837.
||"Ranaway, negro boy Harper—has a scar on one
of his hips in the form of a G.''
|Hon. Ambrose H. Sevier, Senator in Congress, from Arkansas, in the "Vicksburg
Register,'' of Oct. 13.
||"Ranaway, Bob, a slave—has a scar across his breast,
another on the right side of his head—his back
is much scarred with the whip.''
|Mr. R. A. Greene, Milledgeville, Georgia, in the "Macon Messenger,''
July 27, 1837.
||"Two hundred and fifty dollars reward, for my negro man Jim—he is much
marked with shot in his right thigh,—the shot entered
on the outside, half way between the hip and knee joints.''
|Benjamin Russel, deputy sheriff, Bibb county, Ga. in the "Macon Telegraph,''
December 25, 1837.
||"Brought to jail, John—left ear cropt.''
|Hon. H. Hitchcock, Mobile, judge of the Supreme Court, in the "Commercial
Register,'' Oct. 27, 1837.
||"Ranaway, the slave Ellis—he has lost one of his
|Mrs. Elizabeth L. Carter, near Groveton, Prince William county, Virginia,
in the "National Intelligencer,'' Washington, D.C. June 10, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a negro man, Moses—he has lost a part
of one of his ears.''
|Mr. William D. Buckels, Natchez, Mi. in the "Natchez Courier,'' July
||"Taken up, a negro man—is very much scarred
about the face and body, and has the left ear bit off.''
|Mr. Walter R. English, Monroe county, Ala. in the "Mobile Chronicle,''
Sept. 2, 1837.
||"Ranaway, my slave Lewis—he has lost a piece of
one ear, and a part of one of his fingers, a part of one of his toes is also lost.''
|Mr. James Saunders, Grany Spring, Hawkins county, Tenn. in the "Knoxville
Register,'' June 6, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a black girl named Mary—has a scar
on her cheek, and the end of one of her toes cut off.''
|Mr. John Jenkins, St. Joseph's, Florida, captain of the steamboat Ellen,
"Apalachicola Gazette,'' June 7, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the negro boy Caesar—he has but one eye
|Mr. Peter Hanson, Lafayette city, La., in the New Orleans "Bee,'' July
||"Ranaway, the negress Martha—she has lost her right
|Mr. Orren Ellis, Georgeville, Mi. in the "North Alabamian,'' Sept. 15,
||"Ranaway, George—has had the lower part of one of
his ears bit off.''
|Mr. Zadock Sawyer, Cuthbert, Randolph county, Georgia, in the "Milledgeville
Union,'' Oct. 9, 1838.
||"Ranaway, my negro Tom—has a piece bit off the top
of his right ear, and his little finger is stiff.''
|Mr. Abraham Gray, Mount Morino, Pike county, Ga. in the "Milledgeville
Union,'' Oct. 9, 1838.
||"Ranaway, my mulatto woman Judy—she has had her right arm broke.''
|S. B. Tuston, jailer, Adams county, Mi. in the "Natchez Courier,'' June
||"Was committed to jail, a negro man named Bill—has had the thumb of his left hand split.''
|Mr. Joshua Antrim, Nineveh, Warren county, Virginia, in the "Winchester
Virginian,'' July 11, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a mulatto man named Joe—his fingers on the left hand are partly amputated.''
|J. B. Randall, jailor, Marietta, Cobh county, Ga., in the "Southern
Recorder,'' Nov. 6, 1838.
||"Lodged in jail, a negro man named Jupiter—is very lame in his left hip, so that he can hardly walk—has lost a joint of
the middle finger of his left hand.''
|Mr. John N. Dillahunty, Woodville, Mi., in the "N. O. Commercial Bulletin,''
July 21, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Bill—has a scar over one eye, also one on his leg, from the bite of a dog—has a burn on his
buttock, from a piece of hot iron in shape of a T.''
|William K. Ratcliffe, sheriff, Franklin county, Mi. in the "Natchez
Free Trader,'' August 23, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro named Mike—his left
|Mr. Preston Halley, Barnwell, South Carolina, in the "Augusta [Ga.]
Chronicle,'' July 27, 1838.
||"Ranaway, my negro man Levi—his left hand has been burnt, and I think the end of his fore finger is off.''
|Mr. Welcome H. Robbins, St. Charles county, Mo. in the "St. Louis Republican,''
June 30, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro named Washington—has lost a part
of his middle finger and the end of his little finger.''
|G. Gourdon & Co. druggists, corner of Rampart and Hospital streets,
New Orleans, in the "Commercial Bulletin,'' Sept. 18, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro named David Drier—has two toes
|Mr. William Brown, in the "Grand Gulf Advertiser,'' August 29, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Edmund—has a scar on his right temple,
and under his right eye, and holes in both ears.''
|Mr. James McDonnell Talbot county, Georgia, in the "Columbus Enquirer,''
Jan. 18, 1838.
||"Runaway, a negro boy twelve or thirteen years
old—has a scar on his left cheek from the bite of a dog
|Mr. John W. Cherry, Marengo county, Ala. in the "Mobile Register,''
June 15, 1838.
||"Fifty dollars reward, for my negro man John—he has a considerable
scar on his throat, done with a knife.''
|Mr. Thos. Brown, Roane co. Tenn. in the "Knoxville Register,'' Sept.
||"Twenty-five dollars reward, for my man John—the tip of his nose is bit off.''
|Messrs. Taylor, Lawton & Co., Charleston, South Carolina, in the
"Mercury,'' Nov. 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro fellow called Hover—has a cut
above the right eye.''
|Mr. Louis Schmidt, Taubourg, Stvaudais, La. in the New Orleans "Bee,''
Sept. 5, 1837.
||"Ranaway, the negro man Hardy—has a scar on
the upper lip, and another made with a knife on his
|W. M. Whitehead, Natchez, in the "New Orleans Bulletin,'' July 21, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Henry—has half of one ear bit off.''
|Mr. Conrad Salvo, Charleston, South Carolina, in the "Mercury, August
||"Ranaway, my negro man Jacob—he has but one eye
|William Baker, jailer, Shelby county, Ala., in the "Montgomery (Ala.)
Advertiser,'' Oct. 5, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, Ben—his left thumb off
at the first joint.''
|Mr. S. N. Hite, Camp street, New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' Feb. 19, 1838.
||"Twenty-five dollars reward for the negro slave Sally—walks as though crippled in the back.''
|Mr. Stephen M. Richards, Whitesburg, Madison county, Alabama, in the
"Huntsville Democrat,'' Sept. 8, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro man named Dick—has a little finger
off the right hand.''
|Mr. A. Brove, parish of St. Charles, La. in the "New Orleans Bee,''
Feb. 19, 1838.
||"Ranaway, the negro Patrick—has his little finger of the right hand cut close to the hand.''
|Mr. Needham Whitefield, Aberdeen, Mi. in the "Memphis (Tenn.) Enquirer,''
June 15, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Joe Dennis—has a small notch in one
of his ears.''
|Col. M. J. Sheith, Charleston, South Carolina, in the "Mercury,'' Nov.
||"Ranaway, Dick—has lost the little toe of one
of his feet.''
|Mr. R. Lancette, Haywood, North Carolina, in the "Raleigh Register,''
April 30, 1838.
||"Escaped, my negro man Eaton—his little finger
of the right hand has been broke.''
|Mr. G. C. Richardson, Owen Station, Mo., in the St. Louis "Republican,''
May 5, 1838.
||"Ranaway, my negro man named Top—has had one of his legs broken.''
|Mr. E. Han, La Grange, Fayette county, Tenn. in the Gallatin "Union,''
June 23, 1837.
||"Ranaway, negro boy Jack—has a small crop out of
his left ear.''
|D. Herring, warden of Baltimore city jail, in the "Marylander,'' Oct.
||"Was committed to jail, a negro man—has two scars
on his forehead, and the top of his left ear cut
|Mr. James Marks, near Natchitoches, La. in the "Natchitoches Herald,''
July 21, 1838.
||"Stolen, a negro man named Winter—has a notch
cut out of the left ear, and the mark of four or five buck
shot on his legs.''
|Mr. James Barr, Amelia Court House, Virginia, in the "Norfolk Herald,''
Sept. 12, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro man—scar back of his left eye,
as if from the cut of a knife.''
|Mr. Isaac Michell, Wilkinson county, Georgia, in the "Augusta Chronicle,''
Sept. 21, 1837.
||"Ranaway, negro man Buck—has a very plain mark
under his ear on his jaw, about the size of a dollar, having been inflicted by a knife.''
|Mr. P. Bayhi, captain of the police, Suburb Washington, third municipality,
New Orleans, in the "Bee,'' Oct. 13, 1837.
||"Detained at the jail, the negro boy Hermon—has a scar below his left
ear, from the wound of a knife.''
|Mr. Willie Paterson, Clinton, Jones county, Ga. in the "Darien Telegraph,''
Dec. 5, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a negro man by the name of John—he has a scar across his cheek, and one on his right arm, apparently done with
|Mr. Samuel Ragland, Triana, Madison county, Alabama, in the "Huntsville
Advocate,'' Dec. 23, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Isham—has a scar upon the breast
and upon the under lip, from the bite of a dog.''
|Mr. Moses E. Bush, near Clayton, Ala. in the "Columbus [Ga.] Enquirer,''
July 5, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a negro man—has a scar on his hip
and on his breast, and two front teeth out.''
|C. W. Wilkins, sheriff Baldwin Co, Ala. in the "Mobile Advertiser,''
Sept. 22, 1837:
||"Committed to jail, a negro man, he is crippled
in the right leg.''
|Mr. James H. Taylor, Charleston South Carolina, in the "Courier,'' August
||"Absconded, a colored boy, named Peter, lame
in the right leg.''
|N. M. C. Robinson, jailer, Columbus, Georgia, in the "Columbus (Ga.)
Enquirer,'' August 2, 1838.
||"Brought to jail, a negro man, his left ankle has been broke.''
|Mr. Littlejohn Rynes, Hinds Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier,'' August,
||"Ranaway, a negro man named Jerry, has a small piece cut out of the top of each ear.''
|The Heirs of J. A. Alston, near Georgetown, South Carolina, in the "Georgetown,
[S. C.] Union,'' June 17, 1837:
||"Absconded a negro named Cuffee, has lost one finger;
has an enlarged leg.''
|A. S. Ballinger, Sheriff, Johnston Co, North Carolina, in the "Raleigh
Standard,'' Oct. 18, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro man; has a very sore
|Mr. Thomas Crutchfield, Atkins, Ten. in the "Tennessee Journal,'' Oct.
||"Ranaway, my mulatto boy Cy, has but one hand,
all the fingers of his right hand were burnt off when
|J. A. Brown, jailer, Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the "Charleston
Mercury,'' July 18, 1838.
||"Was committed to jail, a negro named Bob, appears to be crippled in the right leg.''
|S. B. Turton, jailer, Adams Co. Miss. in the "Natchez Courier,'' Sept.
||"Was committed to jail, a negro man, has his left
|"Mr. John H. King, High street, Georgetown, in the "National Intelligencer,''
August 1, 1837.
||"Ranaway, my negro man, he has the end of one
of his fingers broken.''
|Mr. John B. Fox, Vicksburg, Miss. in the "Register,'' March 29, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a yellowish negro boy named Tom, has a notch in the back of one of his ears.''
|Messrs. Fernandez and Whiting, auctioneers, New Orleans, in the "Bee,''
April 8, 1837.
||"Will be sold Martha, aged nineteen, has one eye
|Mr. Marshall Jett, Farrowsville, Fauquier Co. Virginia, in the "National
Intelligencer,'' May 30, 1837.
||"Ranaway, negro man Ephraim, has a mark over
one of his eyes, occasioned by a blow.''
|S. B. Turton, jailer Adams Co. Miss. in the "Natches Courier,'' Oct.
||"Was committed a negro, calls himself Jacob, has been crippled in his right leg.''
|John Ford, sheriff of Mobile County, in the "Mississippian,'' Jackson
Mi. Dec. 28, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, a negro man Cary, a large scar
on his forehead.''
|E. W. Morris, sheriff of Warren County, in the "Vicksburg " [Mi.] Register,''
March 28, 1838.
||"Committed as a runaway, a negro man Jack, he has several scars on his face.''
|Mr. John P. Holcombe, in the Charleston Mercury,'' April 17, 1828.
||"Absented himself, his negro man Ben, has scars
on his throat, occasioned by the cut of a knife.''
|Mr. Willis Patterson, in the "Charleston Mercury,'' December 11, 1837.
||"Ranaway, a negro man, John, a scar across his
cheek, and one on his right arm, apparently done with a
|Wm. Magee, sheriff, Mobile Co. in the "Mobile Register,'' Dec. 27, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, a runaway slave, Alexander, a scar on his left cheek.''
|Mr. Henry M. McGregor, Prince George County, Maryland, in the "Alexandria
[D. C.] Gazette,'' Feb. 6, 1838.
||"Ranaway, negro Phil, scar tnrough the right eye
brow, part of the middle toe on the right foot cut off.''
|Green B Jourdan, Baldwin County Ga. in the "Georgia Journal,'' April
||"Ranaway, John, has a scar on one of his hands
extending from the wrist joint to the little finger, also a scar on one of his legs.''
|Messrs. Daniel and Goodman, New Orleans, in the "N. O. Bee,'' Feb. 2,
||"Absconded, mulatto slave Alick, has a large scar
over one of his cheeks.''
|Jeremiah Woodward, Goochland, Co. Va. in the "Richmond Va. Whig,'' Jan.
||"200 DOLLARS REWARD for Nelson, has a scar on
his forehead occasioned by a burn, and one on his
lower lip and one about the knee.''
|Samuel Rawlins, Gwinet Co. Ga. in the "Columbus Sentinel,'' Nov. 29,
||"Ranaway, a negro man and his wife, named Nat and Priscilla, he has
a small scar on his left cheek, two stiff fingers on his right hand with a running
sore on them; his wife has a scar on her left
arm, and one upper tooth out.''
The reader perceives that we have under this head, as under previous ones,
given to the testimony of the slaveholders themselves, under their own names,
a precedence over that of all other witnesses. We now ask the reader's attention
to the testimonies which follow. They are endorsed by responsible names—men
who 'speak what they know, and testify what they have seen'—testimonies
which show, that the slaveholders who wrote the preceding advertisements,
describing the work of their own hands, in branding with hot irons, maiming,
mutilating, cropping, shooting, knocking out the teeth and eyes of their slaves,
breaking their bones, &c., have manifested, as far as they have gone in the description, a commendable
fidelity to truth.
It is probable that some of the scars and maimings in the preceding advertisements
were the result of accidents; and some may be the
result of violence inflicted by the slaves upon each other. Without arguing
that point, we say, these are the facts; whoever reads
and ponders them, will need no argument to convince him, that the proposition
which they have been employed to sustain, cannot be shaken
. That any considerable portion of them were accidental,
is totally improbable, from the nature of the case; and is in most instances
disproved by the advertisements
themselves. That they have not been produced by assaults of the slaves upon
each other, is manifest from the fact, that injuries of that character inflicted
by the slaves upon each other, are, as all who are familiar with the habits
and condition of slaves well know, exceedingly rare; and of necessity must
be so, from the constant action upon them of the strongest dissuasives from
such acts that can operate on human nature.
Advertisements similar to the preceding may at any time be gathered by
scores from the daily and weekly newspapers of the slave states. Before presenting
the reader with further testimony in proof of the proposition at the head
of this part of our subject, we remark, that some of the tortures enumerated
under this and the preceding heads, are not in all cases inflicted by slaveholders
as punishments, but sometimes merely as preventives
of escape, for the greater security of their 'property.' Iron collars, chains,
&c. are put upon slaves when they are driven or transported from one part
of the country to another, in order to keep them from running away. Similar
measures are aften resorted to upon plantations. When the master or owner
suspects a slave of plotting an escape, an iron collar with long 'horns,'
or a bar of iron, or a ball and chain, are often fastened upon him, for the
double purpose of retarding his flight, should he attempt it, and of serving
as an easy means of detection.
Another inhuman method of marking slaves, so that
they may be easily described and detected when they escape, is called cropping.
In the preceding advertisements, the reader will perceive a number of cases, in which the runaway is described as 'cropt,' or a 'notch cut in the
car, or a part or the whole of the ear cut off,' &c.
Two years and a half since, the writer of this saw a letter, then just
received by Mr. Lewis Tappan, of New York, containing a negro's ear cut off
close to the head. The writer of the letter, who signed himself Thomas Aylethorpe,
Montgomery, Alabama, sent it to Mr. Tappan as 'a specimen of a negro's ears,'
and desired him to add it to his 'collection.'
Another method of marking slaves, is by drawing
out or breaking off one or two front teeth—
commonly the upper ones, as the mark would in that case be the more obvious.
An instance of this kind the reader will recall in the testimony of Sarah
M. Grimké, page 30, and of which she had personal
knowledge; being well acquainted both with the inhuman master, (a distinguished
citizen of South Carolina,) by whose order the brutal deed was done, and with
the poor young girl whose mouth was thus barbarously mutilated, to furnish
a convenient mark by which to describe her in case of her elopement, as she
had frequently run away.
The case stated by Miss G. serves to unravel what, to one unmitiated, seems
quite a mystery: i. e. the frequency with which, in the advertisements of
runaway slaves published in southern papers, they are described as having one or two front teeth out. Scores of such advertisements
are in southern papers now on our table. We will furnish the reader with a
dozen or two.
|Jesse Debruhl, sheriff, Richland District, "Columbia (S. C.) Telescope,''
Feb. 24, 1838.
||"Committed to jail, Ned, about 25 years of age, has lost his two upper front teeth.''
|Mr. John Hunt, Black Water Bay, "Pensacola (Ga.) Gazette,'' October
||"100 DOLLARS REWARD, for Perry, one under front tooth
missing, aged 23 years.''
|Mr. John Frederick, Branchville, Orangeburgh District, S. C. "Charleston
[S. C.] Courier,'' June 12, 1837.
||10 DOLLARS REWARD, for Mary, one or two upper teeth
out, about 25 years old.''
|Mr. Egbert A. Raworth, eight miles west of Nashville on the Charlotte
road, "Daily Republican Banner,'' Nashville, Tennessee, April 30, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Myal, 23 years old, one of his fore teeth
|Benjamin Russel, Deputy sheriff, Bibb Co. Ga. "Macon (Ga.) Telegraph,''
Dec. 25, 1837.
||"Brought to jail John, 23 years old, one fore tooth
|F. Wisner, Master of the Work House, "Charleston (S. C.) Courier.''
Oct. 17, 1837.
||"Committed to the Charleston Work House Tom, two
of his upper front teeth out, about 30 years of age.''
|Mr. S. Neyle, "Savannah (Ga.) Republican,'' July 3, 1837.
||"Ranaway Peter, has lost two front teeth in
the upper jaw.''
|Mr. John McMurrain, near Columbus, "Georgia Messenger,'' Aug. 2, 1838.
||"Ranaway, a boy named Moses, some of his front teeth
|Mr. John Kennedy, Stewart Co. La. "New Orleans Bee,'' April 7, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Sally, her fore teeth out.''
|Mr. A. J. Hutchings, near Florence, Ala. "North Alabamian,'' August
||"Ranaway, George Winston, two of his upper fore teeth
out immediately in front.''
|Mr. James Purdon, 33 Common street, N. O. "New Orleans Bee,'' Feb. 13,
||"Ranaway, Jackson, has lost one of his front teeth
|Mr. Robert Calvert, in the "Arkansas State Gazetto,'' August 22, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Jack, 25 years old, has lost one of his
|Mr. A. G. A. Beazley, in the Mamphis Gazette,'' March 18, 1338.
||"Ranaway, Abraham, 20 or 22 years of age, his front
|Mr. Samuel Townsend, in the "Huntsville [Ala.] Democrat,'' May 24, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Dick, 18 or 20 years of age, has one front
|Mr. Philip A. Dew, in the "Virginia Herald,'' of May 24, 1837.
||"Ranaway, Washington, about 25 years of age, has an upper front tooth out.''
|Mr. John Frederick, in the "Charleston Mercury,'' August 10, 1837.
||"50 DOLLARS REWARD, for Mary, 25 or 26 years old, one or two upper teeth out.''
|Jesse Debruhl, sheriff of Richland District, in the "Columbia [S. C.]
"Telegraph,'' Sept. 2, 1837.
||"Committed to jail, Ned, 25 or 26 years old, has lost his two upper front teeth.''
|M. E. W. Gilbert, in the "Columbus [Ga.] Enquirer,'' Oct. 5. 1837.
||"50 DOLLARS REWARD, for Prince, 25 or 26 years old, one or two teeth out in front on the upper jaw.''
|Publisher of the "Charleston Mercury,'' Aug. 31, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Seller Saunders, one fore tooth out,
about 22 years of age.''
|Mr. Byrd M. Grace, in the "Macon [Ga.] Telegraph,'' Oct. 16, 1838.
||"Ranaway, Warren, about 25 or 26 years old, has lost some of his front teeth.''
|Mr. George W. Barnes, in the "Milledgeville [Ga.]journal,'' May 22,
||"Ranaway, Henry, about 23 years old, has one of his upper front teeth out.''
|D. Herring, Warden of Baltimore Jail, in "Baltimore Chronicle,'' Oct.
||"Committed to jail Elizabeth Steward, 17 or 18 years old, has one of her front teeth out.''
|Mr. J. L. Colborn, in the "Huntsville [Ala.] Democrat,'' July 4, 1837.
||"Ranaway Liley, 26 years of age, one fore tooth gone
|Samuel Harman Jr. in the "New Orleans Bee,'' Oct. 12, 1838.
||"50 DOLLARS REWARD, for Adolphe, 28 years old, two
of his front teeth are missing.''
Were it necessary, we might easily add to the preceding list, hundreds. The reader will remark that all the slaves, whose ages are
given, are young—not one has arrived at middle
age; consequently it can hardly be supposed that they have lost their teeth
either from age or decay. The probability that their teeth were taken out
by force, is increased by the fact of their being front
teeth in almost every case, and from the fact that the loss of no other is mentioned in the advertisements. It is well known
that the front teeth are not generally the first to fail. Further, it is notorious
that the teeth of the slaves are remarkably sound and serviceable, that they
decay far less, and at a much later period of life than the teeth of the whites:
owing partly, no doubt, to original constitution; but more probably to their
diet, habits, and mode of life.
As an illustration of the horrible mutilations sometimes
suffered by them in the breaking and tearing out of their teeth, we
insert the following, from the New-Orleans Bee of May 31, 1837.
$10 REWARD.—Ranaway, Friday, May 12, JULIA
, a negress, EIGHTEEN OR TWENTY YEARS OLD. SHE HAS LOST
HER UPPER TEETH, and the under ones ARE ALL BROKEN
. Said reward will be paid to whoever will bring her to her master, No.
172 Barracks-street, or lodge her in the jail.
The following is contained in the same paper.
Ranaway, NELSON, 27 years old,—“ALL HIS TEETH ARE MISSING.”
This advertisement is signed by “SELFER,”
We now call the attention of the reader to a mass of testimony in support
of our general proposition.
GEORGE B. RIPLEY, Esq. of Norwich, Connecticut,
has furnished the following statement, in a letter dated Dec. 12, 1838.
“GURDON CHAPMAN, Esq., a respectable
merchant of our city, one of our county commissioners,—last spring a
member of our state legislature,—and whose character for veracity is
above suspicion, about a year since visited the county of Nansemond, Virginia,
for the purpose of buying a cargo of corn. He purchased a large quantity of
Mr.—,with whose family he spent a week or ten days; after he returned,
he related to me and several other citizens the following facts.
In order to prepare the corn for market by
the time agreed upon, the slaves were worked as hard as they would bear, from
daybreak until 9 or 10 o'clock at night. They were called directly from their
bunks in the morning to their work, without a morsel of food until noon, when
they took their breakfast and dinner, consisting of bacon and corn bread.
The quantity of meat was not one tenth of what the same number of northern
laborers usually have at a meal. They were allowed but fifteen minutes to
take this meal, at the expiration of this time the horn was blown. The rigor
with which they enforce punctuality to its call, may be imagined from the
fact, that a little boy only nine years old was whipped so severely by the
driver, that in many places the whip cut through his clothes (which were of
cotton,) for tardiness of not over three minutes. They then worked without
intermission until 9 or 10 at night; after which they prepared and ate their
second meal, as scanty as the first. An aged slave, who was remarkable for
his industry and fidelity, was working with all his might on the threshing
floor; amidst the clatter of the shelling and winnowing machines the master
spoke to him, but he did not hear; he presently gave him several severe cuts
with the raw hide, saying, at the same time, 'damn you, if you cannot hear
I'll see if you can feel.' One morning the master rose from breakfast and
whipped most cruelly, with a raw hide, a nice girl who was waiting on the
table, for not opening a west window when he had told
her to open an east one. The number of slaves was only forty, and yet the
lash was in constant use. The bodies of all of them were literally covered
with old scars.
“Not one of the slaves attended church on the
Sabbath. The social relations were scarcely recognised among them, and they
lived in a state of promiscuous concubinage. The master said he took pains
to breed from his best stock—the whiter the progeny the higher they
would sell for house servants. When asked by Mr. C. if he did not fear his
slaves would run away if he whipped them so much, he replied they know too
well what they must suffer if they are taken—and then said, 'I'll tell
you how I treat my runaway niggers. I had a big nigger that ran away the second
time; as soon as I got track of him I took three good fellows and went in
pursuit, and found him in the night, some miles distant, in a corn house:
we took him and ironed him hand and foot and earted him home. The next morning
we tied him to a tree, and whipped him until there was not a sound place on
his back. I then tied his ankles and hoisted him up to a limb—feet up and head down—we then whipped him, until the
damned nigger smoked so that I thought he would take fire and burn up. We
then took him down; and to make sure that he should not run away the third
time. I run my knife in back of the ankles, and cut off
the large cords,—and then I ought to have put some lead into the
wounds, but I forgot it.
“The truth of the above is from unquestionable
authority; and you may publish or suppress it, as shall best subserve the
cause of God and humanity.”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM STEPHEN SEWALL. Esq.,
Winthrop, Maine, dated Jan. 12th, 1839. Mr. S. is a member of the Congregational
church in Winthrop, and late agent of the Winthrop Manufacturing company.
“Being somewhat acquainted with slavery, by a residence of about
five years in Alabama, and having witnessed many acts of slaveholding cruelty,
I will mention one or two that came under my eye; and one of excessive cruelty
mentioned to me at the time, by the gentleman (now dead,) that interfered
in behalf of the slave.
“I was witness to such cruelties by an
overseer to a slave, that he twice attempted to drown himself, to get out
of his power: this was on a raft of staves, in the Mobile river. I saw an
owner take his runaway slave, tie a rope round him, then get on his horse,
give the slave and horse a cut with the whip, and run the poor creature barefooted,
very fast, over rough ground, where small black jack oaks had been cut up,
leaving the sharp stumps, on which the slave would frequently fall; then the
master would drag him as long as he could himself hold out; then stop, and
whip him up on his feet again—then proceed as before. This continued
until he got out of my sight, which was about half a mile. But what further
cruelties this wretched man, (whose passion was so excited that he could scarcely
utter a word when he took the slave into his own power,) inflicted upon his
poor victim, the day of judgment will unfold.
“I have seen slaves
severely whipped on plantations, but this is an every day
occurrence, and comes under the head of general treatment.
have known the case of a husband compelled to whip his wife. This I did not
witness, though not two rods from the cabin at the time.
now mention the case of cruelty before referred to. In 1820 or 21, while the
public works were going forward on Dauphin Island, Mobile Bay, a contractor,
engaged on the works, beat one of his slaves so severely that the poor creature
had no longer power to writhe under his suffering; he then took out his knife,
and began to cut his flesh in strips, from his hips down
. At this moment, the gentleman referred to, who was also a contractor,
shocked at such inhumanity, stepped forward, between the wretch and his victim,
and exclaimed, 'If you touch that slave again you do it at the peril of your
life.” The slaveholder raved at him for interfering between him and
his slave; but he was obliged to drop his victim, fearing the arm of my friend—whose
stature and physical powers were extraordinary.”
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM Mrs. MARY COWLES, a member of the Protestant Church
at Geneva, Ashtabula county, Ohio, dated 12th, mo. 18th, 1838. Mrs. Cowles
is a daughter of Mr. James Colwell of Brook county, Virginia, near West Liberty.
“In the year 1809, I think, when I was twenty-one
years old, a man in the vicinity where I resided, in Brooke co. Va.
near West Liberty, by the name of Morgan, had a little slave girl about six
years old, who had a habit or rather a natural infirmity common to children
of that age. On this account her master and mistress would pinch her ears
with hot tongs, and throw hot
embers on her legs. Not being able to accomplish their object by these means,
they at last resorted to a method too indelicate, and too horrible to describe
in detail. Suffice it to say, it soon put an end to her life in the most excruciating
manner. If further testimony to authenticate what I have stated is necessary,
I refer you to Dr. Robert Mitchel who then resided in the vicinity, but now
lives at Indiana, Pennsylvania, above Pittsburgh.”
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM LADD Esq., now of Minot, Maine, formerly a slaveholder in Florida.
Mr. Ladd is now the President of the American Peace Society. In a letter dated
November 29, 1838, Mr. Ladd says:
“While I lived in Florida I knew a slaveholder whose name was
Hutchinson, he had been a preacher and a member of the Senate of Georgia.
He told me that he dared not keep a gun in his house, because he was so passionate;
and that he had been the death of three or four men.
I understood him to mean slaves. One of his slaves,
a girl, once came to my house. She had run away from him at Indian river.
The cords of one of her hands were so much contracted that her hand was useless.
It was said that he had thrust her hand into the fire while he was in a fit
of passion, and held it there, and this was the effect. My wife had hid the
girl, when Hutchinson came for her. Out of compassion for the poor slave,
I offered him more than she was worth, which he refused. We afterward let
the girl escape, and I do not know what became of her, but I believe he never
got her again. It was currently reported of Hutchinson, that he once knocked
down a new negro (one recently from Africa) who was
clearing up land, and who complained of the cold, as it was mid-winter. The
slave was stunned with the blow. Hutchinson, supposing he had the 'sulks,'
applied fire to the side of the slave until it was so roasted that he said
the slave was not worth curing, and ordered the other slaves to pile on brush,
and he was consunred.
“A murder occurred at the settlement, (Musquito)
while I lived there. An overseer from Georgia, who was employed by a Mr. Cormick,
in a fit of jealousy shot a slave of Samuel Williams, the owner of the next
plantation. He was apprehended, but afterward suffered to escape. This man
told me that he had rather whip a negro than sit down to the best dinner.
This man had, near his house, a contrivance like that which is used in armies
where soldiers are punished with the picket; by this the slave was drawn up
from the earth, by a cord passing round his wrists, so that his feet could
just touch the ground. It somewhat resembled a New England well sweep, and
was used when the slaves were flogged.
“The treatment of slaves
at Musquito I consider much milder than that which I have witnessed in the
United States. Florida was under the Spanish government while I lived there.
There were about fifteen or twenty plantations at Musquito. I have an indistinct
recollection of four or five slaves dying of the cold in Amelia Island. They
belonged to Mr. Runer of Musquito. The compensation of the overseers was a
certain portion of the crop.”
GERRIT SMITH, Esq. of Peterboro, in a letter,
dated Dec. 15, 1838, says:
“I have just been conversing with an inhabitant of this town,
on the subject of the cruelties of slavery. My neighbors inform me that he
is a man of veracity. The candid manner of his communication utterly forba
de the suspicion that he was attempting to deceive me.
says that he resided in Louisiana and Alabama during a great part of the years
1819 and 1820:—that he frequently saw slaves whipped, never saw any,
killed; but often heard of their being killed—that in several instances
he had seen a slave receive, in the space of two hours, five hundred lashes—each
stroke drawing blood. He adds that this severe whipping was always followed
by the application of strong brine to the lacerated parts.
informant further says, that in the spring of 1819, he steered a boat from
Louisville to New Orleans. Whilst stopping at a plantation on the east bank
of the Mississippi, between Natchez and New Orleans, for the purpose of making
sale of some of the articles with which the boat was freighted, he and his
fellow boatmen saw a shockingly cruel punishment inflicted on a couple of
slaves for the repeated offence of running away. Straw was spread over the
whole of their backs, and, after being fastened by a band of the same material,
was ignited, and left to burn, until entirely consumed. The agonies and screams
of the sufferers he can never forget.”
Dr. DAVID NELSON, late president of Marion College,
Missouri, a native of Tennessce, and till forty years old a slaveholder, said
in an Anti-Slavery address at Northampton, Mass. Jan. 1839—
“I have not attempted to harrow your feelings with stories of
cruelty. I will, however, mention one or two among the many incidents that
came under my observation as family physician. I was one day dressing a blister,
and the mistress of the house sent a little black girl into the kitchen to
bring me some warm water. She probably mistook her message; for she returned
with a bowl full of boiling water; which her mistress no sooner perceived,
than she thrust her hand into it, and held it there till it was half cooked.”
Mr. HENRY H. LOOMIS, a member of the Presbyterian
Theological Seminary in the city of New York, says, in a recent letter—
“The Rev. Mr. Hart, recently my pastor, in Otsego county, New
York, and who has spent some time at the south as a teacher, stated to me
that in the neighborhood in which he resided a slave was set to watch a turnip
patch near an academy, in order to keep off the boys who occasionally trespassed
on it. Attempting to repeat the trespass in presence of the slave, they were
told that his 'master forbad it.' At this the boys were enraged, and hurled
brickbats at the slave until his face and other parts were much injured and
wounded—but nothing was said or done about it as an injury to the slave.
“He also said, that a slave from the same neighborhood was found
out in the woods, with his arms and legs burned almost to a cinder, up as
far as the elbow and knee joints;
and there appeared to be but little more said or thought about it than if
he had been a brute. It was supposed that his master was the cause of it—making
him an example of punishment to the rest of the gang!”
The following is an extract of a letter dated March 5, 1839, from Mr. JOHN CLARKE, a highly respected citizen of Scriba,
Oswego county, New York, and a member of the Presbyterian church.
The 'Mrs. Turner' spoken of in Mr. C.'s letter, is the wife of Hon. Fielding
S. Turner, who in 1803 resided at Lexington, Kentucky, and was the attorney
for the Commonwealth. Soon after that, he removed to New Orleans, and was
for many years Judge of the Criminal Court of that city. Having amassed an
immense fortune, he returned to Lexington a few years since, and still resides
there. Mr. C. the writer, spent the winter of 1836-7 in Lexington. He says,
“Yours of the 27th ult. is received, and I hasten to state the
facts which came to my knowledge while in Lexington, respecting the occurrences
about which you inquire. Mrs. Turner was originally a Boston lady. She is
from 35 to 40 years of age, and the wife of Judge Turner, formerly of New
Orleans, and worth a large fortune in slaves and plantations. I repeatedly
heard, while in Lexington, Kentucky, during the winter of 1836-7, of the wanton
cruelty practised by this woman upon her slaves, and that she had caused several
to be whipped to death; but I never heard that she
was suspected of being deranged, otherwise than by the indulgence of an ungoverned
temper, until I heard that her husband was attempting to incarcerate her in
the Lunatic Asylum. The citizens of Lexington, believing the charge to be
a false one, rose and prevented the accomplishment for a time, until, lulled
by the fair promises of his friends, they left his domicil, and in the dead
of night she was taken by force, and conveyed to the asylum. This proceeding
being judged illegal by her friends, a suit was instituted to liberate her.
I heard the testimony on the trial, which related only to proceedings had
in order to getting her admitted into the asylum; and no facts came out relative
to her treatment of her slaves, other than of a general character.
“Some days after the above trial, (which by the way did not come to
an ultimate decision, as I believe) I was present in my brother's office,
when Judge Turner, in a long conversation with my brother on the subject of
his trials with his wife, said, 'That woman has been the
immediate cause of the death of six of my servants, by her severities.'
“I was repeatedly told, while I was there, that she drove a colored
boy from the second story window, a distance of 15 to 18 feet, on to the pavement,
which made him a cripple for a time.
“I heard the trial of a man
for the murder of his slave, by whipping, where the evidence was to my mind
perfectly conclusive of his guilt; but the jury were two of them for convicting
him of manslaughter, and the rest for acquitting him; and
as they could not agree were discharged—and on a subsequent trial, as
I learned by the papers, the culprit was acquitted.”
Rev. THOMAS SAVAGE, of Bedford, New Hampshire,
in a recent letter, states the following fact:
“The following circumstance was related to me last summer, by
my brother, now residing as a physician, at Rodney, Mississippi; and who,
though a pro-slavery man, spoke of it in terms of reprobation, as an act of
capricious, wanton cruelty. The planter who was the actor in it I myself knew;
and the whole transaction is so characteristic of the man, that, independent
of the strong authority I have, I should entertain but little doubt of its
authenticity. He is a wealthy planter, residing near Natchez, eccentric, capricious
and intemperate. On one occasion he invited a number of guests to an elegant
entertainment, prepared in the true style of southern luxury. From some cause,
none of the guests appeared. In a moody humor, and under the influence, probably,
of mortified pride, he ordered the overseer to call the people (a term by
which the field hands are generally designated,) on to the piazza. The order
was obeyed, and the people came. 'Now,' said he, 'have them seated at the
table. Accordingly they were seated at the well-furnished, glittering table,
while he and his overseer waited on them, and helped them to the various dainties
of the feast. 'Now,' said he, after a while, raising his voice, 'take these
rascals, and give them twenty lashes a piece. I'll show them how to eat at
my table.' The overseer, in relating it, said he had to comply, though reluctantly,
with this brutal command.”
Mr. HENRY P. THOMPSON, a native and still a
resident of Nicholasville, Kentucky, made the following statement at a public
meeting in Lane Seminary, Ohio, in 1833. He was at that time a slaveholder.
“Cruelties, said he, are so common, I hardly know what to relate. But one fact occurs to me
just at this time, that happened in the village where I live. The circumstances
are these. A colored man, a slave, ran away. As he was crossing Kentucky river,
a white man, who suspected him, attempted to stop him. The negro resisted.
The white man procured help, and finally succeeded in securing him. He then
wreaked his vengeance on him for resisting— flogging him till he was
not able to walk. They then put him on a horse, and came on with him ten miles
to Nicholasville. When they entered the village, it was noticed that he sat
upon his horse like a drunken man. It was a very hot day; and whilst they
were taking some refreshment, the negro sat down upon the ground, under the
shade. When they ordered him to go, he made several efforts before he could
get up; and when he attempted to mount the horse, his strength was entirely
insufficient. One of the men struck him, and with an oath ordered him to get
on the horse without any more fuss. The negro staggered back a few steps,
fell down, and died. I do not know that any notice was ever taken of it.”
Rev. COLEMAN S. HODGES, a native and still
a resident of Western Virginia,
gave the following testimony at the same meeting.
“I have frequently seen the mistress of a family in Virginia,
with whom I was well acquainted, beat the woman who performed the kitchen
work, with a stick two feet and a half long, and nearly as thick as my wrist;
striking her over the head, and across the small of the back, as she was bent
over at her work, with as much spite as you would a snake, and for what I
should consider no offence at all. There lived in this same family a young
man, a slave, who was in the habit of running away. He returned one time after
a week's absence. The master took him into the barn, stripped him entirely
naked, tied him up by his hands so high that he could not reach the floor,
tied his feet together, and put a small rail between his legs, so that he
could not avoid the blows, and commenced whipping him. He told me that he
gave him five hundred lashes. At any rate, he was covered with wounds from
head to foot. Not a place as big as my hand but what was cut. Such things
as these are perfectly common all over Virginia; at least so far as I am acquainted.
Generally, planters avoid punishing their slaves before strangers.”
Mr. CALVIN H. TATE, of Missouri, whose father
and brother were slaveholders, related the following at the same meeting.
The plantation on which it occurred, was in the immediate neighborhood of
“A young woman, who was generally very badly treated, after receiving
a more severe whipping than usual, ran away. In a few days she came back,
and was sent into the field to work. At this time the garment next her skin
was stiff like a scab, from the running of the sores made by the whipping.
Towards night, she told her master that she was sick, and wished to go to
the house. She went, and as soon as she reached it, laid down on the floor
exhausted. The mistress asked her what the matter was? She made no reply.
She asked again; but received no answer. 'I'll see,' said she, 'if I can't
make you speak.' So taking the tongs, she heated them red hot, and put them
upon the bottoms of her feet; then upon her legs and body; and, finally, in
a rage, took hold of her throat This had the desired effect. The poor girl
faintly whispered, 'Oh, misse, don't—I am most gone;' and expired.”
Extract of a letter from Rev. C. S. RENSHAW,
pastor of the Congregational Church, Quincy, Illinois.
“Judge Menzies of Boone county, Kentucky, an elder in the Presbyterian
Church, and a slaveholder, told me that he knew some
overseers in the tobacco growing region of Virginia, who, to make their slaves
careful in picking the tobacco, that is taking the worms off, (you know what
a loathsome thing the tobacco worm is) would make them eat some of the worms, and others who made them eat every worm they missed
“Mrs. NANCY JUDD,
a member of the NonConformist Church in Osnaburg, Stark county, Ohio, and formerly a resident of Kentucky, testifies that
she knew a slaveholder,
“Mr. Brubecker, who had a number of slaves,
among whom was one who would frequently avoid labor by hiding himself; for
which he would get severe floggings without the desired effect, and that at
last Mr. B. would tie large cats on his naked body and whip them to make them
tear his back, in order to break him of his habit of hiding.”
Rev. HORACE MOULTON, a minister of the Methodist
Episcopal Church in Marlborough, Massachusetts, says:
“Some, when other modes of punishment will not subdue them, cat-haul them; that is, take a cat by the nap of the neck
and tail, or by its hind legs, and drag the claws across the back until satisfied;
this kind of punishment, as I have understood, poisons the flesh much worse
than the whip, and is more dreaded by the slave.”
Rev. ABEL BROWN, Jr. late pastor of the first
Baptist Church, Beaver, Pennsylvania, in a communication to Rev. C. P. Grosvenor,
Editor of the Christian Reflector, says:
“I almost daily see the poor heart-broken slave making his way
to a land of freedom. A short time since, I saw a noble, pious, distressed, spirit-crushed slave, a member of the Baptist
church, escaping from a (professed Christian) blood-hound
, to a land where he could enjoy that of which he had been robbed during
forty years. His prayers would have made us all feel. I saw a Baptist sister
of about the same age, her children had been torn from her, her head was covered
with fresh wounds, while her upper lip had scarcely ceased to bleed, in consequence
of a blow with the poker, which knocked out her teeth; she too, was going
to a land of freedom. Only a very few days since, I saw a girl of about eighteen,
with a child as white as myself, aged ten months; a Christian master was raising
her child (as well his own perhaps) to sell to a southern market. She had
heard of the intention, and at midnight took her only treasure and traveled
twenty miles on foot through a land of strangers— she found friends.”
Rev. HENRY T. HOPKINS, pastor of the Primitive
Methodist Church in New York City, who resided in Virginia from 1821 to 1826,
relates the following fact:
“An old colored man, the slave of Mr. Emerson, of Portsmouth,
Virginia, being under deep conviction for sin, went into the back part of
his master's garden to pour out his soul in prayer to God. For this offence
he was whipped thirtynine lashes.”
Extract of a letter from DOCTOR F. JULIUS LE MOYNE
, of Washington, Pennsylvania, dated Jan. 9, 1839.
“Lest you should not have seen the statement to which I am going
to allude, I subjoin a brief cutline of the facts of a transaction which occurred
in Western Virginia, adjacent to this county, a number of years ago—a
of which was published
in the “Witness” about two years since by Dr. Mitchell, who now
resides in Indiana county, Pennsylvania. A slave boy ran away in cold weather,
and during his concealment had his legs frozen; he returned, or was retaken.
After some time the flesh decayed and sloughed—of
course was offensive—he was carried out to a field and left there without
bed, or shelter, deserted to die. His only companions
were the house dogs which he called to him. After several days and nights
spent in suffering and exposure, he was visited by Drs. McKitchen and Mitchell
in the field, of their own accord, having heard by report of his lamentable
condition; they remonstrated with the master; brought the boy to the house,
amputated both legs, and he finally recovered.”
Hon. JAMES K. PAULDING, the Secretary of the
Navy of the U. States, in his “Letters from the South” published
in 1817, relates the following:
“At one of the taverns along the road we were set down in the
same room with an elderly man and a youth who seemed to be well acquainted
with him, for they conversed familiarly and with true republican independence—for
they did not mind who heard them. From the tenor of his conversation I was
induced to look particularly at the elder. He was telling the youth something
like the following detested tale. He was going, it seems, to Richmond, to
inquire about a draft for seven thousand dollars, which he had sent by mail,
but which, not having been acknowledged by his correspondent, he was afraid
had been stolen, and the money received by the thief. 'I should not like to
lose it,' said he, 'for I worked hard for it, and sold many a poor d—l
of a black to Carolina and Georgia, to scrape it together.' He then went on
to tell many a perfidious tale. All along the road it seems he made it his
business to inquire where lived a man who might be tempted to become a party
in this accursed traffic, and when he had got some half dozen of these poor
creatures, he tied their hands behind their backs,
and drove them three or four hundred miles or more,
bare-headed and half naked through the burning southern sun. Fearful
that even southern humanity would revolt at such an
exhibition of human misery and human barbarity, he gave out that they were
runaway slaves he was carrying home to their masters. On one occasion a poor
black woman exposed this fallacy, and told the story of her being kidnapped, and when he got her into a wood out of hearing, he beat
her, to use his own expression, 'till her back was white.' It seems he married
all the men and women he bought, himself, because they would sell better for
being man and wife! But, said the youth, were you not afraid, in traveling
through the wild country and sleeping in lone houses, these slaves would rise
and kill you? 'To be sure I was,' said the other, 'but I always fastened my
door, put a chair on a table before it, so that it might wake me in falling,
and slept with a loaded pistol in each hand. It was a bad life, and I left
it off as soon as I could live without it; for many is the time I have separated
wives from husbands, and husbands from wives, and parents from children, but
then I made them amends by marrying them again
as soon as I had a chance, that is to say, I made them call each other man
and wife, and sleep together, which is quite enough for negroes. I made one
bad purchase though,' continued he. 'I bought a young mulatto girl, a lively
creature, a great bargain. She had been the favorite of her master, who had
lately married. The difficulty was to get her to go, for the poor creature
loved her master. However, I swore most bitterly I was only going to take
her to her mother's at—and she went with me, though she seemed to doubt
me very much. But when she discovered, at last, that we were out of the state,
I thought she would go mad, and in fact, the next night she drowned herself
in the river close by. I lost a good five hundred dollars by this foolish
trick.' ” Vol. I. p. 121.
Mr.—SPILLMAN, a native, and till recently
a resident of Virginia, now a member of the Presbyterian church in Delhi,
Hamilton co., Ohio, has furnished the two following facts, of which he had
“David Stallard, of Shenandoah co., Virginia, had a slave, who
run away; he was taken up and lodged in Woodstock jail. Stallard went with
another man and took him out of the jail—tied him to their horses—and
started for home. The day was excessively hot, and they rode so fast, dragging
the man by the rope behind them, that he became perfectly exhausted—fainted—dropped
down, and died.
“Henry Jones, of Culpepper co., Virginia, owned
a slave, who ran away. Jones caught him, tied him up, and for two days, at
intervals, continued to flog him, and rub salt into his mangled flesh, until
his back was literally cut up. The slave sunk under the torture; and for some
days it was supposed he must die. He, however, slowly recovered; though it
was some weeks before he could walk.”
Mr. NATHAN COLE, of St. Louis, Missouri, in
a letter to Mr. Arthur Tappan, of New-York, dated July 2, 1834, says,—
“You will find inclosed an account of the proceedings of an inquest
lately held in this city upon the body of a slave, the details of which, if
published, not one in ten could be induced to believe true.* It appears that the master or mistress, or both,
suspected the unfortunate wretch of hiding a bunch of keys which were missing;
and to extort some explanation, which, it is more than probable, the slave
was as unable to do as her mistress, or any other person, her master, Major
Harney, an officer of our army, had whipped her for three successive days,
and it is supposed by some, that she was kept tied during the time, until
her flesh was so lacerated and torn that it was impossible for the jury to
say whether it had been done with a whip or hot iron; some think both—but
she was tortured to death. It appears also that the husband of the said slave
had become suspected of telling some neighbor of what was going on, for
which Major Harney commenced torturing
him, until the man broke from him, and ran into the Mississippi and drowned
himself. The man was a pious and very industrious slave, perhaps not surpassed
by any in this place. The woman has been in the family of John Shackford,
Esq., the present doorkeeper of the Senate of the United States, for many
years; was considered an excellent servant—was the mother of a number
of children—and I believe was sold into the family where she met her
fate, as matter of conscience, to keep her from being sent below.”
Mr. EZEKIEL BIRDSEYE, a highly respected citizen
of Cornwall, Litchfield co., Connecticut, who resided for many years at the
south, furnished to the Rev. E. R. Tyler, editor of the Connecticut Observer,
the following personal testimony.
“While I lived in Limestone co., Alabama, in 1826-7, a tavern-keeper
of the village of Moresville discovered a negro carrying away a piece of old
carpet. It was during the Christmas holidays, when the slaves are allowed
to visit their friends. The negro stated that one of the servants of the tavern
owed him some twelve and a half or twenty-five cents, and that he had taken
the carpet in payment. This the servant denied. The innkeeper took the negro
to a field near by, and whipped him cruelly. He then struck him with a stake,
and punched him in the face and mouth, knocking out some of his teeth. After
this, he took him back to the house, and committed him to the care of his
son, who had just then come home with another young man. This was at evening.
They whipped him by turns, with heavy cowskins, and made the dogs shake him. A Mr. Phillips, who lodged at the house, heard the cruelty
during the night. On getting up he found the negro in the bar-room, terribly
mangled with the whip, and his flesh so torn by the dogs, that the cords were
bare. He remarked to the landlord that he was dangerously hurt, and needed
care. The landlord replied that he deserved none. Mr. Phillips went to a neighboring
magistrate, who took the slave home with him, where he soon died. The father
and son were both tried, and acquitted!! A suit was brought, however, for
damages in behalf of the owner of the slave, a young lady by the name of Agnes
Jones. I was on the jury when these facts were stated on
oath. Two men testified, one that he would have given $1000 for him,
the other $900 or $950. The jury found the latter sum.
Court House, S. C., a tavern-keeper, by the name of Samuel Davis, procured
the conviction and execution of his own slave, for stealing a cake of gingerbread
from a grog shop. The slave raised the latch of the back door, and took the
cake, doing no other injury. The shop keeper, whose name was Charles Gordon,
was willing to forgive him, but his master procured his conviction and execution
by hanging. The slave had but one arm; and an order on the state treasury
by the court that tried him, which also assessed his value, brought him more
money than he could have obtained for the slave in market.”
Mr.—, an elder of the Presbyterian Church in one of the slave states,
lately wrote a letter to an agent of the Anti-Slavery
Society, in which he states the following fact. The name of the writer is
with the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
“I was passing through a piece of timbered land, and on a sudden
I heard a sound as of murder; I rode in that direction, and at some distance
discovered a naked black man, hung to the limb of a tree by his hands, his
feet chained together, and a pine rail laid with one end on the chain between
his legs, and the other upon the ground, to steady him; and in this condition
the overseer gave him four hundred lashes. The miserably
lacerated slave was then taken down, and put to the care of a physician. And
what do you suppose was the offence for which all this was done? Simply this:
his owner, observing that he laid off corn rows too crooked, he replied, 'Massa,
much corn grow on crooked row as on straight one.' This was it—this
was enough. His overseer, boasting of his skill in managing a nigger, he was submitted to him, and treated as above.”
DAVID L. CHILD, Esq., of Northampton, Massachusetts,
Secretary of the United States minister at the Court of Lisbon during the
administration of President Monroe, stated the following fact in an oration
delivered by him in Boston, in 1834. (See Child's “Despotism of Freedom,”
“An honorable friend, who stands high in the state and in the
nation,* was present at the burial of a female slave in Mississippi, who had been whipped to death at the stake by her master, because she was
gone longer of an errand to the neighboring town than her master thought necessary.
Under the lash she protested that she was ill, and was obliged to rest in
the fields. To complete the climax of horror, she was delivered of a dead
infant while undergoing the punishment.”
The same fact is stated by Mrs. CHILD in her
“Appeal.” In answer to a recent letter, inquiring of Mr. and Mrs.
Child if they were now at liberty to disclose the name of their informant,
Mr. C. says,—
“The witness who stated to us the fact was John James Appleton,
Esq., of Cambridge, Mass. He is now in Europe, and it is not without some
hesitation that I give his name. He, however, has openly embraced our cause,
and taken a conspicuous part in some anti-slavery public meetings since the
time that I felt a scruple at publishing his name. Mr. Appleton is a gentleman
of high talents and accomplishments. He has been Secretary of Legation at
Rio Janeiro. Madrid, and the Hague; Commissioner at Naples, and Charge d'Affaires
The two following facts are stated upon the authority of the Rev. JOSEPH G. WILSON, pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Salem, Washington
“In Bath co., Kentucky, Mr. L., in the year '32 or '33, while
intoxicated, in a fit of rage whipped a female slave until she fainted and
fell on the floor. Then he whipped her to get up; then
with red hot tongs he burned off her ears, and whipped
her again! but all in vain. He then ordered his negro men to carry her to
the cabin. There she was found dead next morning.
“One Wall, in
Chester district, S. C., owned a slave, whom he hired to his brother-in-law,
Wm. Beckman, for whom the slave worked eighteen months, and worked well. Two
weeks after returning to his master he ran away on account of bad treatment.
To induce him to return, the master sold him nominally
to his neighbor, to whom the slave gave himself up, and by whom he was
returned to his master:—Punishment, stripes.
To prevent escape a bar of iron was fastened with three bands, at the waist,
knee, and ankle. That might he broke the bands and bar, and escaped. Next
day he was taken and whipped to death, by three men, the master, Thorn, and
the overseer. First, he was whipped and driven towards home; on the way he
attempted to escape, and was shot at by the master,— caught, and knocked
down with the butt of the gun by Thorn. In attempting to cross a ditch he
fell, with his feet down, and face on the bank; they whipped in vain to get
him up—he died. His soul ascended to God, to be a swift witness against
his oppressors. This took place at 12 o'clock. Next evening an inquest was
held. Of thirteen jurors, summoned by the coroner, nine said it was murder;
two said it was manslaughter, and two said it was JUSTIFIABLE
! He was bound over to court, tried, and acquitted—not even fined!”
The following fact is stated on the authority of Mr. WM. WILLIS, of Green Plains, Clark co. Ohio; formerly of Caroline co.
on the eastern shore of Maryland.
“Mr. W. knew a slave called Peter White, who was sold to be taken
to Georgia; he escaped, and lived a long time in the woods—was finally
taken. When he found himself surrounded, he surrendered himself quietly. When
his pursuers had him in their possession, they shot him in the leg, and broke
it, out of mere wantonness. The next day a Methodist minister set his leg,
and bound it up with splints. The man who took him, then went into his place
of confinement, wantonly jumped upon his leg and crushed it. His name was
Most of our readers are familiar with the horrible atrocities perpetrated
in New Orleans, in 1834, by a certain Madame La Laurie, upon her slaves. They
were published extensively in northern newspapers at the time. The following
are extracts from the accounts as published in the New Orleans papers immediately
after the occurrence. The New Orleans Bee says:—
“Upon entering one of the apartments, the most appalling spectacle
met their eyes. Seven slaves, more or less horribly mutilated, were seen suspended
by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn, from one extremity
to the other. They had been confined for several months in the situation from
which they had thus providentially been rescued; and had been merely kept
in existence to prolong their sufferings, and to make them taste all that
a most refined cruelty could inflict.”
The New Orleans Mercantile Advertiser says:
“A negro woman was found chained, covered with bruises and wounds
from severe flogging.— All the apartments were then forced open. In
a room on the ground floor, two more were found chained, and in a deplorable
condition. Up stairs and in the garret, four more were found chained; some
so weak as to be unable to walk, and all covered with wounds and sores. One
mulatto boy declares himself to have been chained for five months, being fed
daily with only a handful of meal, and receiving every morning the most cruel
The New Orleans Courier says:—
“We saw one of these miserable beings.—He had a large hole
in his head—his body, from head to foot, was covered with scars and
filled with worms.”
The New Orleans Mercantile Advertiser says:
“Seven poor unfortunate slaves were found— some chained
to the floor, others with chains around their necks, fastened to the ceiling;
and one poor old man, upwards of sixty years of age, chained hand and foot,
and made fast to the floor, in a kneeling position.
His head bore the appearance of having been beaten until it was broken, and
the worms were actually to be seen making a feast of his brains!! A woman
had her back literally cooked (if the expression may be used) with the lash; the very bones might be seen projecting through the skin!”
The New York Sun, of Feb.21, 1837, contains the following:—
“Two negroes, runaways from Virginia, were overtaken a few days
since near Johnstown, Columbia co. N. Y. when the persons in pursuit called
out for them to stop or they would shoot them.— One of the negroes turned
around and said, he would die before he would be taken, and at the moment
received a rifle ball through his knee: the other started to run, but was
brought to the ground by a ball being shot in his back. After receiving the
above wounds they made battle with their pursuers, but were captured and brought
into Johnstown. It is said that the young men who shot them had orders to
take them dead or alive.”
Mr. M. M. SHAFTER, of Townsend, Vermont, recently
a graduate of the Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut, makes the
“Some of the events of the Southampton, Va. insurrection were
narrated to me by Mr. Benjamin W. Britt, from Riddicksville, N. C. Mr. Britt
claimed the honor of having shot a black on that occasion, for the crime of
disobeying Mr. Britt's imperative 'Stop!' And Mr. Ashurst, of Edenton, Georgia,
told me that a neighbor of his 'fired at a likely negro boy of his mother,'
because the said boy encroached upon his premises.”
Mr. DAVID HAWLEY, a class leader in the Methodist
Episcopal Church at St. Albans, Licking county, Ohio, who moved from Kentucky
to Ohio in 1831, certifies as follows:—
“About the year 1825, a slave had escaped for
Canada, but was arrested in Hardin county. On his return,
I saw him in Hart county—his wrists tied together before, his arms tied
close to his body, the rope then passing behind his body, thence to the neck
of a horse on which rode the master, with a club about three feet long, and
of the size of a hoe handle; which, by the appearance of the slave, had been
used on his head, so as to wear off the hair and skin in several places, and
the blood was running freely from his mouth and nose; his heels very much
bruised by the horse's feet, as his master had rode on him because he would not go fast enough. Such was the slave's appearance
when passing through where I resided. Such cases were not unfrequent.”
The following is furnished by Mr. F. A. HART,
of Middletown, Connecticut, a manufacturer, and an influential member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. It occurred in 1824, about twenty-five miles this
side of Baltimore, Maryland.—
“I had spent the night with a Methodist brother; and while at
breakfast, a person came in and called for help. We went out and found a crowd
collected around a carriage. Upon approaching we discovered that a slave-trader
was endeavoring to force a woman into his carriage. He had already put in
three children, the youngest apparently about eight years of age. The woman
was strong, and whenever he brought her to the side of the carriage, she resisted
so effectually with her feet that he could not get her in. The woman becoming
exhausted, at length, by her frantic efforts, he thrust her in with great
violence, stamped her down upon the bottom with his feet!
shouted to the driver to go on; and away they rolled, the miserable
captives moaning and shrieking, until their voices were lost in the distance.”
Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a teacher in Marietta College,
Ohio, writes as follows:—
“Mr. ISAAC C. FULLER is a member of
the Methodist Episcopal Church in Marietta. He was a fellow student of mine
while in college, and now resides in this place. He says:—In 1832, as
I was descending the Ohio with a flat boat, near the 'French Islands,' so
called, below Cincinnati, I saw two negroes on horseback. The horses apparently
took fright at something and ran. Both jumped over a rail fence; and one of
the horses, in so doing, broke one of his fore-legs, falling at the same time
and throwing the negro who was upon his back. A white man came out of a house
not over two hundred yards distant, and came to the spot. Seizing a stake
from the fence, he knocked the negro down five or six times in succession.
“In the same year I worked for a Mr. Nowland, eleven miles above
Baton Rouge, La. at a place called 'Thomas' Bend.' He had an overseer who
was accustomed to flog more or less of the slaves every morning. I heard the
blows and screams as regularly as we used to hear the college bell that summoned
us to any duty when we went to school. This overseer was a nephew of Nowland,
and there were about fifty slaves on his plantation. Nowland himself related
the following to me. One of his slaves ran away, and came to the Homo Chitto
river, where he found no means of crossing.
Here he fell in with a white man who knew his master, being on a journey from
that vicinity. He induced the slave to return to Baton Rouge, under the promise
of giving him a pass, by which he might escape, but, in reality, to betray
him to his master. This he did, instead of fulfilling his promise. Nowland
said that he took the slave and inflicted five hundred lashes upon him, cutting
his back all to pieces, and then threw on hot embers. The slave was on the
plantation at the time, and told me the same story. He also rolled up his
sleeves, and showed me the scars on his arms, which, in consequence, appeared
in place to be callous to the bone. I was with Nowland between five and six
Rev. JOHN RANKIN, formerly of Tennessee, now
pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Ripley, Ohio, has furnished the following
“The Rev. LUDWELL G. GAINES, now pastor
of the Presbyterian Church of Goshen, Clermont county, Ohio, stated to me,
that while a resident of a slave state, he was summoned to assist in taking
a man who had made his black woman work naked several days, and afterwards
murdered her. The murderer armed himself, and threatened to shoot the officer
who went to take him; and although there was ample assistance at hand, the
officer declined further interference.”
Mr. RANKIN adds the following:—
“A Presbyterian preacher, now resident in a slave state, and therefore
it is not expedient to give his name, stated, that he saw on board of a steamboat
at Louisville, Kentucky, a woman who had been forced on board, to be carried
off from all she counted dear on earth. She ran across the boat and threw
herself into the river, in order to end a life of intolerable sorrows. She
was drawn, back to the boat and taken up. The brutal driver beat her severely,
and she immediately threw herself again into the river. She was hooked up
again, chained, and carried off.”
Testimony of Mr. WILLIAM HANSBOROUGH, of Culpepper
county, Virginia, the “owner” of sixty slaves.
“I saw a slave taken out of prison by his master, on a hot summer's
day, and driven, by said master, on the road before him, till he dropped down
The above statement was made by Mr. Hansborough to Lindley Coates, of Lancaster
county, Pa. a distinguished member of the Society of Friends, and a member
of the late Convention in Pa. for altering the State Constitution. The letter
from Mr. C. containing this testimony of Mr. H. is now before us.
Mr. TOBIAS BOUDINOT, a member of the Methodist
Church in St. Albans, Licking county, Ohio, says:
“In Nicholasville, Ky. in the year 1823, he saw a slave fleeing
before the patrol, but he was overtaken near where he stood, and a man with
a knotted cane, as large as his wrist, struck the slave a number of times
on his head, until the
was broken and he made tame; the blood was thrown in every direction by the
violence of the blows.”
The Rev. WILLIAM DICKEY, of Bloomingburg, Fayette
county, Ohio, wrote a letter to the Rev. John Rankin, of Ripley, Ohio, thirteen
years since, containing a description of the cutting up
of a slave with a broad axe; beginning at the feet and gradually cutting
the legs, arms, and body into pieces! This diabolical atrocity was committed
in the state of Kentucky, in the year 1807. The perpetrators of the deed were
two brothers, Lilburn and Isham Lewis, NEPHEWS OF PRESIDENT JEFFERSON. The writer of this having been
informed by Mr. Dickey, that some of the facts connected with this murder
were not contained in his letter published by Mr. Rankin, requested him to
write the account anew, and furnish the additional
facts. This he did, and the letter containing it was published in the “Human
Rights” for August, 1837. We insert it here, slightly abridged, with
the introductory remarks which appeared in that paper.
“Mr. Dickey's first letter has been scattered all over the country,
south and north; and though multitudes have affected to disbelieve its statements, Kentuckians know the truth of them quite too well to call
them in question. The story is fiction or fact—if fiction, why has it not been nailed to the wall? Hundreds of people around
the mouth of Cumberland River are personally knowing to these facts. There are the records of the court that tried the wretches.—There their acquaintances and kindred still live. All
over that region of country, the brutal butchery of George is a matter of
public notoriety. It is quite needless, perhaps, to add, that the Rev. Wm.
Dickey is a Presbyterian clergyman, one of the oldest members of the Chilicothe
Presbytery, and greatly respected and beloved by the churches in Southern
Ohio. He was born in South Carolina, and was for many years pastor of a church
REV. WM. DICKEY'S LETTER.
“In the county of Livingston, Ky. near the mouth of Cumberland River,
lived Lilburn Lewis, a sister's son of the celebrated Jefferson. He was the
wealthy owner of a considerable gang of negroes, whom he drove constantly,
fed sparingly, and lashed severely. The consequence was, that they would run
away. Among the rest was an ill-thrived boy of about seventeen, who, having
just returned from a skulking spell, was sent to the spring for water, and
in returning let fall an elegant pitcher: it was dashed to shivers upon the
rocks. This was made the occasion for reckoning with him. It was night, and
the slaves were all at home. The master had them all collected in the most
roomy negro-house, and a rousing fire put on. When the door was secured that
none might escape, either through fear of him or sympathy with George, he opened to them the design of
the interview, namely, that they might be effectually advised to stay at home and obey his orders. All things now in train, he called
up George, who approached his master with unreserved
submission. He bound him with cords; and by the assistance of Isham Lewis,
his youngest brother, laid him on a broad bench, the meatblock
. He then proceeded to hack off George at the ankles!
It was with the broad axe! In vain did the unhappy
victim scream and roar! for he was completely in his
master's power; not a hand among so many durst interfere: casting the feet
into the fire, he lectured them at some length.— He next chopped him off below the knees! George roaring out and praying his master to begin at the other end! He admonished them again, throwing the legs into the fire—then,
above the knees, tossing the joints into the fire—the next stroke severed
the thighs from the body; these were also committed to the flames—and
so it may be said of the arms, head, and trunk, until all was in the fire!
He threatened any of them with similar punishment who should in future disobey,
run away, or disclose the proceedings of that evening. Nothing now remained
but to consume the flesh and bones; and for this purpose the fire was brightly
stirred until two hours after midnight; when a coarse and heavy back-wall,
composed of rock and clay, covered the fire and the remains of George. It
was the Sabbath—this put an end to the amusements
of the evening. The negroes were now permitted to disperse, with charges
to keep this matter among themselves, and never to whisper it in the neighborhood,
under the penalty of a like punishment.
“When he returned home and retired, his wife exclaimed, 'Why, Mr.
Lewis, where have you been, and what were you doing?' She had heard a strange pounding and dreadful screams,
and had smelled something like fresh meat burning.
The answer he returned was, that he had never enjoyed himself at a ball so
well as he had enjoyed himself that night.
“Next morning he ordered the hands to rebuild the back-wall, and
he himself superintended the work, throwing the pieces of flesh that still
remained, with the bones, behind, as it went up— thus hoping to conceal
the matter. But it could not be hid—much as
the negroes seemed to hazard, they did whisper the horrid
deed. The neighbors came, and in his presence tore down the wall; and
finding the remains of the boy, they apprehended Lewis
and his brother, and testified against them. They were committed to jail,
that they might answer at the coming court for this shocking outrage; but
finding security for their appearance at court, THEY WERE
ADMITTED TO BAIL!
“In the interim, other articles of evidence leaked out. That of Mrs.
Lewis hearing a pounding, and screaming, and her smelling fresh meat burning,
for not till now had this come out. He was offended with her for disclosing
these things, alleging that they might have some weight against him at the
“In connection with this is another item, full of horror. Mrs. Lewis,
or her girl, in making her bed one morning after this, found, under her bolster, a keen BUTCHER KNIFE! The appalling
discovery forced from her the confession that she considered her life in jeopardy.
Messrs. Rice and Philips, whose wives were her sisters, went to see her and
to bring her away if she wished it. Mr. Lewis received them with all the expressions
hospitality. As soon as they were seated they said, 'Well, Letitia, we
supposed that you might be unhappy here, and afraid for your life; and we
have come to-day to take you to your father's, if you desire it.' She said,
'Thank you, kind brothers, I am indeed afraid for my life.'— We need
not interrupt the story to tell how much surprised he affected to be with
this strange procedure of his brothers-in-law, and with this declaration of
his wife. But all his professions of fondness for her, to the contrary notwithstanding,
they rode off with her before his eyes.— He followed and overtook, and
went with them to her father's; but she was locked up from him, with her own
consent, and he returned home.
“Now he saw that his character was gone, his respectable friends
believed that he had massacred George; but, worst of all, he saw that they
considered the life of the harmless Letitia was in danger from his perfidious
hands. It was too much for his chivalry to sustain. The proud Virginian sunk
under the accumulated load of public odium. He proposed to his brother Isham,
who had been his accomplice in the George affair, that they should finish
the play of life with a still deeper tragedy. The plan was, that they should
shoot one another. Having made the hot-brained bargain, they repaired with
their guns to the grave-yard, which was on an
eminence in the midst of his plantation. It was inclosed with a railing, say
thirty feet square. One was to stand at one railing, and the other over against
him at the other. They were to make ready, take aim, and count deliberately
1, 2, 3, and then fire. Lilburn's will was written, and thrown down open beside
him. They cocked their guns and raised them to their faces; but the peradventure
occuring that one of the guns might miss fire, Isham was sent for a rod, and
when it was brought, Lilburn cut it off at about the length of two feet, and
was showing his brother how the survivor might do, provided
one of the guns should fail; (for they were determined upon going together;)
but forgetting, perhaps, in the perturbation of the moment that the gun was
cocked, when he touched the trigger with the rod the gun fired, and he fell,
and died in a few minutes—and was with George in the eternal world,
where the slave is free from his master. But poor
Isham was so terrified with this unexpected occurrence and so confounded by
the awful contortions of his brother's face, that he had not nerve enough
to follow up the play, and finish the plan as was intended, but suffered Lilburn
to go alone. The negroes came running to see what it meant that a gun should
be fired in the grave-yard. There lay their master, dead! They ran for the
neighbors. Isham still remained on the spot. The neighbors at the first charged
him with the murder of his brother. But he, though as if he had lost more
than half his mind, told the whole story; and the course or range of the ball
in the dead man's body agreeing with his statement, Isham was not farther
charged with Lilburn's death.
“The Court sat—Isham was judged to be guilty of a capital crime
in the affair of George. He was to be hanged at Salem. The day was set. My
good old father visited him in the prison—two or three times talked
and prayed with him; I visited him once myself. We fondly hoped that he was
a sincere penitent. Before the day of execution came, by some means, I never
knew what, Isham was missing. About two years after,
we learned that he had gone down to Natchez, and had married a lady of some
refinement and piety. I saw her letters to his sisters, who were worthy members
of the church of which I was pastor. The last letter told of his death. He
was in Jackson's army, and fell in the famous battle of New Orleans.
“I am, sir, your friend,